When we receive an alarm from a site we follow a set plan of action, which is always agreed upon when a site is first commissioned – connected – to us. This is called the Service Level Agreement (SLA).
For the sites we monitor we follow these steps when we receive an alarm:
- Operators investigate the cause of the alarm
- If the cause of the alarm is identified as a threat to the site – either intruders, fire or something else, the operator takes action
- They call:
- The relevant emergency services
- The key holder for your site
- And you, if you wish
- We then continue to monitor the site live until the incident is resolved.
These steps ensure that we notify the right people and act swiftly to reduce risks and minimise the impact of the incident.
However, because we are based remotely from the site and because site owners want to know they are getting value from their investment in remote monitoring, some site owners wish to ‘test’ our responses and the SLA – either the speed of our response or whether we identify risks correctly.
So, this blog aims to help you understand how you can test our performance here at Farsight – but in a safe and responsible way. We’re dedicated to be completely transparent with both installers and customers, ensuring that they can find out any information they require – including any updates on our performance.
Wilful waste of police time
The vast majority of our customers trust our remote monitoring services – making use of our reporting system to keep track of how we’re doing. However, we do occasionally get people trying to test us in other ways – often by posing as intruders on their own site.
In this attempt to test us, individuals enter their site during hours when we’re monitoring and when we understand that no staff are due to be present.
Essentially, they mimic an intruder.
Although this may seem like a quick and easy way to test our remote monitoring and vigilance, it can actually be very risky.
Testing an RVRC could be classed as ‘wilfully wasting police time’
According to section five (2) of the Criminal Law Act 1967, it is illegal to wilfully waste police time:
“Where a person causes any wasteful employment of the police by knowingly making to any person a false report tending to show that an offence has been committed, or to give rise to apprehension for the safety of any persons or property, or tending to show that he has information material to any police inquiry, he shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for not more than six months or to a fine of not more than two hundred pounds or to both.” For more information click here.
Because we make sure we’re completely transparent about our response agreement, the site owner – often the one who attempts to test our response times – is fully aware of the set of actions we take when we answer alarms.
If our operators do not recognise the individual posing as an intruder on their site, they will continue to complete the agreed response agreement. They will call the relevant emergency services key holders and the site owner.
As a result, the police could potentially be called – by our remote monitoring staff – to an incident that is in fact staged by the site owner. This can be classed as wilfully wasting police time.
So what happens then?
Because the site owner or intruder imposter is fully aware of the set response agreement, they could face up to six months in prison if the police respond to the call and arrive on site.
We highly recommend that site owners do not try to test our remote monitoring services by impersonating an intruder. It is extremely risky and beyond the potential waster of police time, the time our operators spend dealing with the alarm could mean that a real alarm, caused by a real incident, is not dealt with as swiftly as it could have been.
How can you test an RVRC’s performance without risking waste of police time?
It is, however, important that you can assess the performance of your remote monitoring station. You need to feel reassured that your site is being effectively monitored and that the money you spend on security is an investment well made.
That is why, here at Farsight, we’ve put in place a number of procedures that aim to help you understand what we do at our remote monitoring station and test our performance. We’re fully transparent – so we welcome questions and testing (you can find out more about why we consider is so important in our blog: Security and Trust: Why it’s Essential Private Security Services are Transparent).
1. Request reports as frequently as you want
Did you know you could receive reports on how we monitor your site? You can have these reports sent to you on a daily, weekly or monthly basis and this is probably the easiest way to test our performance. The reports include four graphs on the following:
2. Alarm trends per hour for chosen days
3. Reason for alarms provider by operators and displayed in a pie chart
4. Number of alarms per detector
There is also narrative included to show the number of audio warnings and the total number of alarms.
We can produce these reports any time up to a year after the alarm.
2. Talk to us
This one is quite obvious but talk to us about the service we’ll provide. We’ve got a team of experts here at Farsight and they’ll be able to explain the operational and technical side of remote monitoring so you can understand more about how to judge our performance.
We have to meet some very strict regulations on all sorts of aspects of remote monitoring, from how quickly we answer alarms through to how secure the Observatory is. For us to meet the industry standards we have to demonstrate a certain performance level. Find out more about the standards we meet and exceed.
4. Walk tests and soak tests
Walk tests and soak tests are completed when your site is first connected to our remote monitoring station. These are a way for us at the remote monitoring station to work with installers on establishing whether we can effectively monitor your site. By understanding that these tests have been completed you can feel reassured that we’re confident in the quality of your security systems for the purpose of remote monitoring.
In addition, security installers or owners can conduct a walk test with us between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday without prior arrangement. We actively encourage regular walk tests, as they ensure that all systems on site work as expected and according to your standards.
5. Use the fault tracker
With our fault tracker installers and end users can log in at any time, to see first hand if their site has faults that could affect monitoring. Individuals who you want to receive alerts can also be emailed when incidents or faults occur. If you aren’t currently using the fault tracker, get in touch with us.
6. Email alerts
We can also email all incidents daily to nominated parties, should your site have an incident raised by us. If you’re in any doubt about our remote monitoring service or performance, you can call us on 0845 371 0101 to find out what incidents have occurred or to find out to whom we are currently sending incidents.
Each of these points is a great way of testing how we perform at Farsight – whilst also helping you to understand more about the lengths we go to, to ensure we monitor your site effectively. Another great way to make sure we’re able to monitor your site effectively is to put in a little bit of time to maintaining your security systems. Have a read of our resource: End-User Maintenance Guide