Police monitored alarms – what are they and are they worth it?

For a police monitored alarm you pay a premium subscription, so it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting and whether it’s worth it.

What we mean by ‘police-monitored’

The first thing to know is that a police-monitored alarm is not directly connected to the police. Instead, when triggered the alarm notifies an alarm receiving centre (ARC). Professional security personnel at the ARC will then respond, requesting the police if necessary and notifying the property owner and/or nominated key holders.

These centres run 24/7 and are crucial for reducing unnecessary police callouts to false alarms. If the police repeatedly show up at your home because of a nosy cat setting off a sensor then they may downgrade the responsiveness to your property – luckily for you though, our intruder alarm at Boundary is pet friendly.

When is an alarm considered ‘confirmed’?

The ARC has a direct line to the police, and will request a response only if the alarm is confirmed by two sensors in the home.

When only one sensor is triggered, it is more likely that this will have been by accident – a false alarm – so the ARC will notify the homeowner and/or nominated keyholder.

However, should two sensors be triggered within a certain amount of time then this is more likely to be a burglary and the ARC will contact the police for immediate response.

The break-in scenario

To illustrate what happens when a burglar breaks into a home with a police monitored alarm, here’s our very own fictional scenario. Picture the scene …

  1. John is on holiday in New York. It’s 11pm. He’s fast asleep. Back at his home in Manchester, it’s 4am and burglars have targeted his home, smashing a small window panel in the backdoor and reaching through to tamper with the lock. When the door is opened, the contact sensor is immediately triggered.
  2. The alarm goes off and automatically sends a notification to the ARC, who check whether a second sensor has been triggered – none have.
  3. Because John is out of the country, the ARC notify his nominated keyholder to alert them to the situation. If a second sensor isn’t triggered, the keyholder will need to go round to John’s house to turn off the blaring siren.
  4. By this time, the thieves have entered the home, triggering multiple sensors in the process. They look around in panic as the downstairs lights, which are Philips Hue and linked with the Boundary alarm system, start flashing red.
  5. With more than one sensor triggered, the ARC now has confirmation of the burglary and calls the police control room via a direct line, requesting a level 1 immediate response.
  6. Once the police have been notified the ARC gets back in contact with John’s nominated keyholder, confirming the break-in and informing them to stay away from the property until the police arrive.
  7. Spooked by the flashing red lights and blaring siren, the burglars make a break for it, disappearing into the night before the police arrive on scene.
  8. Once the scene is deemed safe, the nominated keyholder deactivates the alarm and the police begin their investigation into the burglary. They request a tradesperson to secure the property, boarding up the smashed window. The nominated keyholder resets the alarm.
  9. The keyholder then contacts John, informing him of the events that have unfolded overnight. With his home now safe and very little he can do from New York, they insist he continues to enjoy the rest of his holiday.

So what are the key benefits of police-monitored systems?

Quick response

The efficacy of an unmonitored alarm depends entirely on being heard and acted upon by a neighbour or passer-by. A police-monitored system guarantees your alarm will never be ignored and the ARC can call the police as soon as two sensors have been triggered. What’s more, a quick police response increases the likelihood of apprehending the burglar.


Police-monitored systems, such as ours at Boundary, have an External Warning Device that must be professionally installed onto the exterior of your property. These panels are deterrents in their own right, having the potential to put any burglar off before they have even started. With these panels, your home instantly loses its sheen as a viable target.

Peace of mind

Connection to an ARC means that your home is monitored at all times. Better yet, connection with the police means that ARC controllers can immediately assess the situation and alert the police quickly and efficiently if need be – quite a comfort if you’re on holiday or just a particularly sound sleeper!