Police criticised for intruder alarm call-out charge

Nicholas Crace

Nicholas Crace

First published in News
Last updated
by , Chief Reporter

A PENSIONER has criticised Hampshire Constabulary for introducing a charge to a scheme in which the police respond to intruder alarms.

Nicholas Crace received a letter from Kathy Hawkes, systems and business support supervisor, informing him that, as of July 1, he now needs to pay £24 a year for police to respond to his alarm.

The letter said: “For many years, Hampshire Constabulary has provided a free service to ensure peace of mind to both business and domestic residents by recording keyholder details.

“We have developed a new and improved service and are inviting new or existing record holders to subscribe.”

Hampshire Constabulary claims the new scheme will “save time and inconvenience, and may reduce damage to your property,” adding: “The scheme enables the building to be accessed and secured by a keyholder, avoiding further loss, cost or injury.”

But 85-year-old Mr Crace, from Overton, who made national headlines in 2012 for becoming the oldest altruistic kidney donor, believes the charge is not justified.

He said: “This service, previously free of charge, consists of Hampshire Constabulary, on being informed of the alarm sounding on the premises, attempting to contact the owner or one of his nominated keyholders by telephone. That’s it. Five minutes at most, all for another £24 a year.”

He added: “Overton lost its popular and effective PC Richard Baldwin earlier in the year. He was moved to other duties, being replaced with a cheaper PCSO, with fewer powers and less training.

“Villagers are being recruited by Hampshire Constabulary for its SpeedWatch project, where unpaid volunteers using a handheld speed gun will monitor and report speeding motorists in the village. This is a job properly carried out by a uniformed traffic patrol.

“Where will it stop? The rising cost of Hampshire Police seems in inverse proportion to the service they provide.”

Assistant Chief Constable David Pryde, who oversees the department that will be looking after the alarm scheme, said: “The current keyholder scheme is closing and those on it are being offered the opportunity to join our new enhanced service, which begins on July 1.

“Presently this service is provided free of charge, but it is running at a loss. We appreciate that people value the free keyholder scheme. However, it is no longer affordable in times of austerity. By making a small charge, we will provide an improved service which will be self-financing.

“Under the new system, members can provide the police with additional call-out numbers such as their preferred plumber or boarding-up company. In addition, we will also provide a window sticker, key fob recovery service and a pack of information about crime prevention and immobilise. The service is available to residents for just £24 a year, and £50 for commercial premises.”

Comments (12)

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1:07pm Wed 16 Jul 14

CrossofLorraine says...

I actually didn't realise the police were run as as a profitable organisation, surely responding to alarms being triggered is basic policing and not a matter of cost! I wonder then if all existing key holders take up the new scheme, do the police make a profit on this? I'd like to think the police are not using the austerity ticket to turn a profit.
I actually didn't realise the police were run as as a profitable organisation, surely responding to alarms being triggered is basic policing and not a matter of cost! I wonder then if all existing key holders take up the new scheme, do the police make a profit on this? I'd like to think the police are not using the austerity ticket to turn a profit. CrossofLorraine
  • Score: 2

2:17pm Wed 16 Jul 14

Folkestone Saint says...

I have not needed the police for 20 years or more, I'm not sure how much of my rates go towards the Police, who incidently just gave me a crime number for the theft of my daughters swing, and when a scumbag was caught with several garden toys stolen from peoples gardens did they call me, did they hell, so I propose that untill I need them I pay nothing, and when I do need them I can pay by results, and if they send a PCSO I get 50% discount as they can only do half the job.
I have not needed the police for 20 years or more, I'm not sure how much of my rates go towards the Police, who incidently just gave me a crime number for the theft of my daughters swing, and when a scumbag was caught with several garden toys stolen from peoples gardens did they call me, did they hell, so I propose that untill I need them I pay nothing, and when I do need them I can pay by results, and if they send a PCSO I get 50% discount as they can only do half the job. Folkestone Saint
  • Score: 0

2:38pm Wed 16 Jul 14

JJ38JJ says...

Nothing new in this. The same thing happens with fire alarms on commercial properties. The emergency services see at as their business to respond to genuine emergencies but a lot of automatic call-outs are false alarms. If this forces people to maintain their alarms and use them properly then it's not a bad thing. But on the other hand I don't see why an annual charge is needed. Surely it is better to charge for false alarms.
Nothing new in this. The same thing happens with fire alarms on commercial properties. The emergency services see at as their business to respond to genuine emergencies but a lot of automatic call-outs are false alarms. If this forces people to maintain their alarms and use them properly then it's not a bad thing. But on the other hand I don't see why an annual charge is needed. Surely it is better to charge for false alarms. JJ38JJ
  • Score: 16

5:09pm Wed 16 Jul 14

robertspet8 says...

'Hampshire Constabulary claims the new scheme will “save time and inconvenience, and may reduce damage to your property,” adding: “The scheme enables the building to be accessed and secured by a keyholder, avoiding further loss, cost or injury.” '
There is a contradiction here - the new scheme will save time and inconvenience and avoid further loss, cost ot injury. No charge for the expensive, old scheme, but £24pa for the time and cost saving, new scheme!
Also, surely the fitting of an intrudor alarm acts as a deterrent (that is why insurance companies offer a discount on house cover if you have one fitted), so shouldn't the police be encouraging us to fit them? Perhaps they can contribute to the cost of installation (and regular service to reduce false alarms).
The cost of prevention must be far cheaper than what the police have to spend in manpower and resources after a property has been broken into.
The only thing they should charge for are call-outs resulting from poorly maintained alarms.
'Hampshire Constabulary claims the new scheme will “save time and inconvenience, and may reduce damage to your property,” adding: “The scheme enables the building to be accessed and secured by a keyholder, avoiding further loss, cost or injury.” ' There is a contradiction here - the new scheme will save time and inconvenience and avoid further loss, cost ot injury. No charge for the expensive, old scheme, but £24pa for the time and cost saving, new scheme! Also, surely the fitting of an intrudor alarm acts as a deterrent (that is why insurance companies offer a discount on house cover if you have one fitted), so shouldn't the police be encouraging us to fit them? Perhaps they can contribute to the cost of installation (and regular service to reduce false alarms). The cost of prevention must be far cheaper than what the police have to spend in manpower and resources after a property has been broken into. The only thing they should charge for are call-outs resulting from poorly maintained alarms. robertspet8
  • Score: 8

8:13pm Wed 16 Jul 14

jonone says...

I'll have the police element of my council tax refunded then please. They do the square root of nothing anyway, unless on a doughnut run.
I'll have the police element of my council tax refunded then please. They do the square root of nothing anyway, unless on a doughnut run. jonone
  • Score: -6

9:06am Thu 17 Jul 14

Folkestone Saint says...

jonone wrote:
I'll have the police element of my council tax refunded then please. They do the square root of nothing anyway, unless on a doughnut run.
When you say "run", you do mean in the car don't you
[quote][p][bold]jonone[/bold] wrote: I'll have the police element of my council tax refunded then please. They do the square root of nothing anyway, unless on a doughnut run.[/p][/quote]When you say "run", you do mean in the car don't you Folkestone Saint
  • Score: -2

10:20am Thu 17 Jul 14

Peter H. says...

What this article doesn’t say is these systems not only provide peace of mind, but earn a substantial discount off your household insurance premiums - more than enough to cover this charge.

Alternatively, he could choose a managed system (which I have) that avoids it altogether.

In answer to an earlier point, average household pays £3 per week for policing from the Community Charge. Depending on which side of the law you are on I guess this is either too much or too little :)
What this article doesn’t say is these systems not only provide peace of mind, but earn a substantial discount off your household insurance premiums - more than enough to cover this charge. Alternatively, he could choose a managed system (which I have) that avoids it altogether. In answer to an earlier point, average household pays £3 per week for policing from the Community Charge. Depending on which side of the law you are on I guess this is either too much or too little :) Peter H.
  • Score: -3

11:06am Thu 17 Jul 14

laurence86 says...

The government are forcing the vast majority of police forces to make cuts year on year. Whilst the vast majority of police officers work hard to keep our police service functioning, long term it is going to have an effect on the service that we receive.
The government are forcing the vast majority of police forces to make cuts year on year. Whilst the vast majority of police officers work hard to keep our police service functioning, long term it is going to have an effect on the service that we receive. laurence86
  • Score: 1

2:31pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Sam_Walker123456 says...

Folkestone Saint says... 'I have not needed the police for 20 years or more,....'
Looking at the latest crime rates for Folkestone I can see why you have such a jaundiced view of the police. They are worse than for Basinsgtoke - especially serious crime and crimes against the person. Perhaps you should move back.
Folkestone Saint says... 'I have not needed the police for 20 years or more,....' Looking at the latest crime rates for Folkestone I can see why you have such a jaundiced view of the police. They are worse than for Basinsgtoke - especially serious crime and crimes against the person. Perhaps you should move back. Sam_Walker123456
  • Score: 5

4:13pm Thu 17 Jul 14

Folkestone Saint says...

Sam_Walker123456 wrote:
Folkestone Saint says... 'I have not needed the police for 20 years or more,....'
Looking at the latest crime rates for Folkestone I can see why you have such a jaundiced view of the police. They are worse than for Basinsgtoke - especially serious crime and crimes against the person. Perhaps you should move back.
I did say they were poor when I did need them granted, but I did say "I have "NOT" needed them for 20 years or more", thats good isn't it?. I have to be a bit defensive of them as three of my freinds are policemen, as for crimes against the person, there is an area of Folkestone that has a very high imigrant head count and they do tend to settle arguments with knives, so that sort of crime is disproportionate as to the non-imigrant populas.
As for moving back, I would love to but I have two businesses here and my wife has a very good job, but I wouldn't miss the seagulls if I did.
[quote][p][bold]Sam_Walker123456[/bold] wrote: Folkestone Saint says... 'I have not needed the police for 20 years or more,....' Looking at the latest crime rates for Folkestone I can see why you have such a jaundiced view of the police. They are worse than for Basinsgtoke - especially serious crime and crimes against the person. Perhaps you should move back.[/p][/quote]I did say they were poor when I did need them granted, but I did say "I have "NOT" needed them for 20 years or more", thats good isn't it?. I have to be a bit defensive of them as three of my freinds are policemen, as for crimes against the person, there is an area of Folkestone that has a very high imigrant head count and they do tend to settle arguments with knives, so that sort of crime is disproportionate as to the non-imigrant populas. As for moving back, I would love to but I have two businesses here and my wife has a very good job, but I wouldn't miss the seagulls if I did. Folkestone Saint
  • Score: -5

8:33am Fri 18 Jul 14

JJ38JJ says...

laurence86 wrote:
The government are forcing the vast majority of police forces to make cuts year on year. Whilst the vast majority of police officers work hard to keep our police service functioning, long term it is going to have an effect on the service that we receive.
Perhaps they should look at the amount of sick leave taken in the police force and the ridiculously low wage they can get their full pension.
[quote][p][bold]laurence86[/bold] wrote: The government are forcing the vast majority of police forces to make cuts year on year. Whilst the vast majority of police officers work hard to keep our police service functioning, long term it is going to have an effect on the service that we receive.[/p][/quote]Perhaps they should look at the amount of sick leave taken in the police force and the ridiculously low wage they can get their full pension. JJ38JJ
  • Score: -4

9:24am Fri 18 Jul 14

laurence86 says...

JJ38JJ wrote:
laurence86 wrote:
The government are forcing the vast majority of police forces to make cuts year on year. Whilst the vast majority of police officers work hard to keep our police service functioning, long term it is going to have an effect on the service that we receive.
Perhaps they should look at the amount of sick leave taken in the police force and the ridiculously low wage they can get their full pension.
Most forces have around about 1% of officers off with stress, which isn’t bad considering that they are being asked to do their job with less people year on year. Some forces have taken to pairing with a neighbouring force to share cost. It seems that would be a great time to cut out a £72K per annum chief inspector and some other duplicated manager rolls to achieve the required cost cutting, but alas no apparently it makes sense to cut numbers of low ranking officers.

Oh yeah the modern police pension isn’t particularly great, it used to be good but now it is the same as the pension you or I would get from our work.
[quote][p][bold]JJ38JJ[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]laurence86[/bold] wrote: The government are forcing the vast majority of police forces to make cuts year on year. Whilst the vast majority of police officers work hard to keep our police service functioning, long term it is going to have an effect on the service that we receive.[/p][/quote]Perhaps they should look at the amount of sick leave taken in the police force and the ridiculously low wage they can get their full pension.[/p][/quote]Most forces have around about 1% of officers off with stress, which isn’t bad considering that they are being asked to do their job with less people year on year. Some forces have taken to pairing with a neighbouring force to share cost. It seems that would be a great time to cut out a £72K per annum chief inspector and some other duplicated manager rolls to achieve the required cost cutting, but alas no apparently it makes sense to cut numbers of low ranking officers. Oh yeah the modern police pension isn’t particularly great, it used to be good but now it is the same as the pension you or I would get from our work. laurence86
  • Score: -3

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