Guide to Intruder Alarm Grades and Police Response Requirements

There are currently 4 intruder alarm grades:

Grade 1

Intruders are expected to have little knowledge of the alarm system and may be restricted to a limited range of tools.

Grade 2

Intruders are expected to have a little more knowledge of the alarm system and use a general range of tools and some specialist equipment.

Grade 3

Intruders are expected to be conversant with the alarm system and have a comprehensive range of tools and portable electronic equipment.

Grade 4

When security takes precedence over all other factors. Intruders are expected to have the resources to plan an intrusion in detail and have a full range of equipment, including the means to substitute vital components in the alarm system.

Intruder alarm systems in the UK have to conform to European Standards BS EN 50131 series.

EN 50131 defines four grades of Intruder alarm system, 4 being the highest. The grade is measured by how resilient the alarm system is to attacks by intruders and other outside influences.

All components of the system are graded, including the control panel, motion detectors (PIRs) and signalling equipment. Whilst most installers will design a system using components of the same grade, it may sometimes be appropriate to mix grades of components. However, the overall system will be graded of that of the lowest graded component.

Residential installations will typically require a Grade 1 or 2 with larger homes falling into Grade 3. Most commercial premises will require a Grade 2 or 3 alarm system.

Selecting an Alarm Grade

It may be a condition of your insurance that your home or business premises is protected by at least a Grade 2 system.

Alarm receiving centres (ARCs) will normally only agree to take signals and request Police response from security systems of Grade 2 and above.

Intelligent Security and Fire only install Grade 2 and Grade 3 and Grade 4 intruder alarm systems as we do not believe that Grade 1 alarms provide sufficient security for our clients.

Police Response Requirements

Police response is only available on to professionally monitored alarm systems, installed by a UKAS accredited electronic security systems company to EN 50131 standards.

Police URNs

A Unique Reference Number (URN) is required for all police response alarms. This unique number is a police identifier specific to the property. For sake of speed and security, the ARC will simply pass this URN to the relevant county police force once they've deemed police response necessary.

Applying for a URN (Unique Reference Number)

It is usually the job of the alarm installation company to apply for the URN on your behalf. The URN fee for Intruder Alarms is £45.66 plus VAT (£54.79)*, same for Hold-Up Alarms (Panic Alarms) so combined IA/HUA = £91.32p + VAT = £109.58. Application usually takes around 10 working days to be processed.

Intelligent Security and Fire are accredited by the SSIAB which and can therefore apply for URNs for our clients . Intruder alarm companies that are not accredited to the SSAIB or NSI cannot apply for URNs.

Intruder alarm systems on police response will also require an annual maintenance contract, which includes 2 system inspections per year. With more advanced technology, one of these maintenance checks may be carried out remotely, offsite via remote access.

Selecting an Alarm Grade

There are two main categories of police response in the UK, these are level 1 response and level 3 response.

  • Level 1 – immediate response (subject to priorities)
  • Level 3 – no police response (response withdrawn)

An alarm system with Level 1 response can be downgraded to Level 3 as a result of three false calls to the police for intruder alarms or three from personal attack alarms in a rolling twelve-month period.

Downgraded alarm systems can be re-instated to Level 1 after a period of stability.