Save up to £150 on home security bundles

Unmonitored vs Monitored vs Police Response Burglar Alarms: What’s the difference?


Burglar alarm: monitored vs unmonitored
vs police response


Whether you’re looking for a brand new home security system or are upgrading, you’ll probably have heard mention of these terms: unmonitored, monitored and police response. But what do they actually mean? And which one do you need?

At Boundary, we offer all three of these different types of alarm monitoring. We’re going to guide you through the difference between each to help you make an informed decision when purchasing a new security system.

What is an unmonitored security system?


An unmonitored home security system is, essentially, a simple system that sounds the alarm if there’s a break-in. It means that no one is keeping an eye on the alarm apart from you, your neighbours.

Because of this, unmonitored security systems are often referred to as ‘self-monitored systems’.

For many people, this is a level of protection they’re happy with. They rely on an outdoor siren to act as a deterrent and, with a smart home security system like Boundary, they can receive alerts when they’re out and about through an app on their phone and alert keyholders themselves.


What happens when an alarm is triggered on an unmonitored system?

So, when unmonitored systems are triggered, what actually happens? This entirely depends on the type of system you have and whether it’s a traditional system or a smart system.

Traditional unmonitored alarm systems:

  1. A trigger occurs from a sensor.
  2. Your alarm will sound.
  3. The alarm will continue to sound until it hits the time limit or a keyholder de-activates the system.

Smart unmonitored alarm systems, like Boundary:

  1. A trigger occurs from a sensor
  2. You receive an alert on your phone and the alarm sounds
  3. You can either check your system remotely, contact a keyholder or call the police
  4. Your alarm will continue to sound for the time limit, you can deactivate it remotely, or a keyholder can do so when they check your home.

What is a monitored security system?


monitored alarm system is the next step up in monitoring. This is where an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) comes into play. You’ll always have a third party monitoring your system for triggers, so if a sensor detects an intruder, they’ll be alerted. An ARC is an independent security company that can then kick into gear and act on your behalf.

A monitored security system is not a direct line to the police.


What happens when an alarm is triggered on a monitored alarm?

When an alarm is triggered on a monitored home security system, it’s a little more complex than the alarm sounding and the police showing up at your door.

A monitored security system works like this:

  1. A trigger occurs.
  2. The Alarm Receiving Centre is notified, you receive a notification and your siren sounds if you have one.
  3. The ARC will contact the designated keyholder to confirm there’s an issue.
  4. If the alarm receives a second trigger, they will then call the police, who will attend the scene if they have someone available.

What is a police response security system?


police response alarm system is another step up again in security. Not only do you have everything you’d get with a monitored alarm system, but the ARC will contact the police and the police will prioritise the callout.

What happens when an alarm is triggered on a police response system?

With a police response system, it’s a little different again when your sensors are triggered, although it still goes through the ARC:

  1. A trigger occurs
  2. The ARC is notified, you receive a notification and your siren sounds.
  3. The ARC contacts your designated keyholder.
  4. If the alarm receives a second trigger, they will call the police, who are obligated to make the call out a priority.
  5. The police have a pre-registered Unique Reference Number (URN) for the property to ensure as swift a response as possible at that moment.

What is the difference between the monitored
and unmonitored?


The main difference between monitored systems and unmonitored security systems is who is checking your alarm when it’s triggered. For unmonitored home security systems, the monitoring comes down to you and potentially a neighbour. While the system itself works as a deterrent to the burglar, you will be in full control of checking and monitoring your home security.

A monitored system adds a layer of security that unmonitored security systems just don’t have; a third party security company who will act on your behalf if you don’t respond.



What’s the difference between a monitored system and
a police response system?


The core difference between monitored security systems and police response systems is how the ARC monitors your system. Both systems receive 24/7 surveillance from the ARC, but a police response requires them to call the police on a second trigger. It also means that the police are then obliged to come out to police monitored systems.

To qualify for police response, an alarm system must meet a strict set of parameters. Police response is only available if you have a graded alarm system certified to EN50131 UK and European alarm standards, that has been installed by an SSAIB registered engineer. Boundary has been designed to be a Grade 2 security system. (Testing in progress.)

Why is police response better than unmonitored?

Simply put, police response is better than an unmonitored home system because it adds a further level of reassurance and security on top of the system itself being a deterrent to intruders.

Police response is better because:

  • Your system is guaranteed to have met stringent levels of reliability, accuracy and security
  • An ARC will watch your security system 24/7, your alarm will never be ignored
  • You will know in the event of a burglary, the police will be on their way. The police are obligated to come out when called by the ARC.

Unlock home security system monitoring with Boundary


At Boundary, we offer a range of monitoring options, depending on what you want for your home. We currently offer three different pay monthly house alarm plans for real flexibility.

Our Lite plan is completely free and offers you a self-monitored security system that you can control from the Boundary app. Or, if you’d like the added reassurance of knowing that if you’re unable to respond, someone else will act on your behalf, then either our Smart Plan with keyholder calling, or our Pro Plan with police response (coming soon) would be the way to go.

It’s worth remembering that if you’d like a police response either now or in future, you will need to choose professional alarm installation.

Whether you opt for a monitored system or an unmonitored system, check out our home security tips to keep your house more secure.