Alarm Event Response Procedures

Each State Regulator has instituted an Alarm Response Policy to reduce Police responses to unwanted alarm events thereby making best use of Police resources for actual security breaches.  The Alarm Response Policies have been put in place to ensure accountability for verification of alarms by the Private Security Industry and its clients.  Each alarm event has to fulfil certain conditions before Police will guarantee to attend.

In some States Police have established a priority line for high priority events such as hold-up.  There is a charge for use of this priority line which is passed on to the client by ART.

ART Security’s Monitoring Centre complies with the requirement of the State Fire Brigades for visual confirmation of a fire on site before Fire Brigade assistance can be requested.  Substantial charges can be levied by the Fire Brigade for attendance where there is no genuine event.  If such charges are levied to ART this cost will be passed on to the client.

As the Alarm Response Policies and Procedures of the State Regulators are similar we detail the Victorian model hereunder which was implemented by Victoria Police in 1998.

Alarm Categories and Definitions

Victoria Police categorise alarm events by type and definition.  The type of alarm event and meeting the requirements of the definition determines the category of the alarm event.   Victoria Police response procedures are defined according to the category of alarm and the type of event.  For example, Victoria Police will guarantee to attend a multi-sector or multi-break burglary event that fulfills the requirements of the definition.

In Victoria three categories of alarm events exist: Category A, B and C.

Category A: hold-up, duress, alarms from high risk premises, multi-sector or multi-break burglary and communication failure alarm events that comply with the following four requirements of the definition.

Alarm events generated from a security system that is:

  1. installed in any premises;
  2. is maintained in line with the recommendations of Australian Standards;
  3. monitored by an approved monitoring centre (licensed by Victoria Police and graded to Australian Standards); and,
  4. activated by the owner, occupier or representative because of an apparent risk or an apparent intruder.

For multi-sector or multi-break burglary events an additional requirement must be complied with:

  1. keys to the premise are available to enable Police access within a reasonable time (an authorised person with keys and code to turn off the security system – client and/or patrol).

Note: In some States alarm events generated from mobile devices, such as pendants, cannot be classified as hold-ups.

Category B: are monitored alarm events that do not fulfill the requirements of Category A.

Category C: are alarm events generated from an unmonitored security system.

Victoria Police:

  • will attend all Category A alarm events providing they meet all the requirements of the definition; and,
  • will only attend Category B & C alarm events when there is confirmation that an offence has been or is being committed.

Copy of the Victoria Police pamphlet ‘Spotlight on Alarms’ available on request.

Standard Operating Procedures for Alarm Event Responses

The Monitoring Centre can request immediate response from Victoria Police for hold-up alarms and communication failure.  Hold-up alarms attract the highest priority, rapid response.

To qualify for Police response all other Category A alarms including Duress require:

  • audio or visual verification of an intruder on site; or
  • multi-sector/multi-break alarm events

When an alarm event is notified to ART’s monitoring centre, in general terms, the operators respond in two distinct ways:

  1. Hold-ups: immediate request for Police response, with a follow up welfare call to the site after 15 minutes.
  2. Other alarm events including system alarms: duress, communication fail, burglary, smoke alarms*, low battery, A/C fails**, sensor trouble, etc.
    1. Call site, if no answer at site, proceed to b.
    2. Call authorised contact list, including Police (if compliant alarm event) or a patrol, in line with the choice of standard operating procedures (R1-5) that the client has deemed most appropriate for their needs and taking into consideration any particular instructions the client may have in their monitoring records.
    3. If no authorised contact is available, or at the request of an authorised contact, a patrol is dispatched by ART’s monitoring centre operators on behalf of the client to fulfil the contractual condition for a response to an alarm event to be made – this is a chargeable service to the client.

* The monitoring centre will only call for Fire Brigade assistance after visual confirmation of the fire is received from the site. Under exceptional circumstances ART Security’s Monitoring Centre will call the Fire Brigade immediately if a smoke alarm is received without visual verification of fire.  This requires specific instructions in writing from the client in which they agree to pay the substantial Fire Brigade levy for attendance to a site where there is no genuine event. Without visual verification there is no guarantee the Fire Brigade will respond.

** The procedure for system alarms is as above with the exception of AC power fail events where a delay of 30 minutes is applied as most low power conditions restore within that time.

Standard Operating Procedure for Alarm Responses: R1 to R5

Many years of industry experience has proven that consistency is paramount when responding to alarm events. Therefore, ART Security has established a standard set of alarm response procedures. These procedures have taken into account the requirements of all State Regulators of the security industry.

R1 – NORMAL RESPONSE – if no responsible person on the contact list is able to be reached when a high priority alarm (burglary/line communication failure) is received in monitoring centre, ART reserves the right to send a Patrol.

R2 – AUTHORISED RESPONSE – patrol nominated on contact list is sent only on authority of a responsible person from that contact list or if no responsible person on contact list is available.

R3 – PRIORITY RESPONSE – nominated patrol will be sent on authority of first responsible person on authorised contact list or if first person on contact list is not available.  The remaining authorised contacts will then be rung.

R4 – AUTOMATIC RESPONSE – the nominated patrol is despatched automatically to respond to alarm events. Keys and code preferred.

R5 – AUTOMATIC RESPONSE – the nominated patrol is despatched automatically to all actionable events if specific Client approved criteria (such as time of day) are met. As above, keys and code are preferred.

Additional instructions – indicated by a ‘+’ after numeric – for example R5+

Patrol responses are despatched on the direct or implied authority of the client. As such they are chargeable to the client and are not covered under any warranties of this Company.

Authorised Contact List

Authorised contacts are listed in monitoring records to be available to attend if a security breach is alerted to the ART monitoring centre.  Authorised contacts also have the authority to instruct our Monitoring Centre to send a patrol.  They must have a verified voice code, a complete set of keys to allow entry into the property and an access code to disarm the security system.

Authorised contacts should have the full authority of the client to act on their behalf and know how the client would want them to act.  They should be available, responsible and educated.  A minimum of three individual authorised contacts should be listed on a client’s monitoring records on three separate telephone numbers.

It is important to keep Authorised Contact details up to date.

ART Security recommends that clients have the option of a patrol response with keys as part of their monitoring instructions and would advise that when an alarm event is detected at your premise that you only attend accompanied by Police or patrol.