Nuisance Burglar Alarms

The issue of nuisance burglar alarms has been raised  on several occasions by members. The Police will respond when a crime is in progress but the responsibilty for Noise Nuisance rests with the local authority, in our case Charnwood Borough Council. We sough their advice in October 2018 on how residents can report such nuisance, especially when the Council Offices are closed. We received this reply from the Environmental Protection Manager

Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (CNEA), the local authority has the power to enter premises in order to silence nuisance alarms where key-holders cannot be reached or are not expected to return within a reasonable time.

For an external intruder alarm;

  • An officer can enter premises to silence an alarm if it has been ringing continuously for more than 20 minutes or intermittently for more than one hour and is causing an annoyance to persons living or working in the area.  In most cases this will involve disconnecting the wires inside the external alarm box.  Officers would attend site and speak to immediate neighbours. They would then make an assessment of whether the alarm meets the above criteria. Once satisfied that the alarm was unlikely to be silenced within a reasonable time either due to occupiers being absence or no key holder being identified etc. a formal notice would be served and works undertaken in default to silence the alarm.

For an internal alarm or an external intruder alarm where we cannot disconnect the wires on the outside box or we cannot get safe access to the external intruder alarm box;

  • We can obtain a warrant from the magistrates’ court authorising us to enter a premises, using reasonable force if necessary, to silence the alarm

The legislation allows councils to recover from the responsible person any expenses reasonably incurred in connection with any works undertaken to silence an alarm.

We will usually take reasonable steps to establish contact details of the property owner/occupier/key holder or their whereabouts.  However, in cases where we cannot establish the imminent return of a key holder we will silence the intruder alarm.

We would generally recommend that house alarms are serviced on an annual basis and the system checked regularly to identify any potential faults. Preventatives maintenance should be undertaken as soon as reasonably practical to avoid unnecessary disturbance or further annoyance to neighbouring residents.

It is generally recommended that alarms should have a cut-off time (ideally 15-20 minutes) to prevent it ringing continuously, especially overnight.

We would also recommend that occupiers arrange to leave a house key with a family member, neighbour or friend who can attend in case of problems, and inform other immediate neighbours of their contact details.

Whilst we do not currently operate an out of hours or weekend service, residents can advise us of nuisance alarms during these time via our on-line forms available on our website at:

https://vof.charnwood.gov.uk/form/auto/eh_report_noise

Alternatively a message can be left on our answerphone, on 01509 634626. We would look to respond within 24 hours of receipt of such a report or the next working day, whichever is the earliest.