Why are keyholders so important for security?

Retail and shop security


As a remote monitoring station we work on a regular basis with keyholding companies. We don’t provide keyholding services ourselves, just as we never install a security system. We simply specialise in the very best remote monitoring services.

However, the relationships we establish with keyholders are often vital for the security of sites. We work in partnership with keyholders to ensure a rapid and appropriate response when needed.

What is a keyholder?

A keyholder is an individual or company responsible for responding to an incident, after the alarm has been raised from a site’s security system.

At Farsight, we receive an alarm from the site and can immediately begin to monitor CCTV cameras live to investigate the cause. If appropriate, and agreed in the response agreement with the site, we will call the keyholder and update them on the situation.

The keyholder will then be required to visit the site, possibly alongside the appropriate emergency services. Our operators at Farsight can continue to monitor the CCTV to help coordinate the keyholder’s visit – letting them know if an intruder has travelled to a certain area of a site or if the type of threat has changed or worsened.

What is the difference between having a professional keyholding company and simply assigning someone from my business to be responsible?

Keyholding is a huge responsibility. Without the right training or resources keyholders could put themselves and the site at risk.

Any keyholder needs to be:

Available 24/7 and based within 20 minutes travel time of the site
This is a big ask for someone without the appropriate training. Can nominated employees at your business really be within 20 minutes of your site, to carry out keyholding duties 24/7? Can you rely on them to attend the site in the middle of the night or on their days off?

A professional keyholding company will have experts on hand 24/7 and within a designated area near the site. This ensures they can always have someone respond to a security threat when required.

For us at Farsight it is crucial that keyholders are available to attend sites round the clock. For a threat to a site to be removed, our operators will rely on trained personnel being able to get there – at any time.

Similarly, if a connection with a site has been lost then we will need to contact the keyholder immediately. If we continue to be disconnected from the site, then the site is vulnerable. And a loss of connection can happen at any time.

Always reachable
If your nominated keyholder goes on holiday, who will replace them? Are you sure they won’t lose mobile signal and become out of reach during an emergency?
People’s contact details change all of the time and normally that’s okay. But if your remote monitoring station can’t reach your keyholder because they’ve changed phones or are out of battery then your site could become vulnerable.

Aware of the appropriate security procedures
Whether it’s properly restraining an intruder before the police arrive, deciding whether it’s safe to enter a site, when to declare a false alarm or what signs to look out for to identify where an intruder may be located – all of these factors need to be trained for.

If you choose to nominate keyholders from your company then you need to be confident they have the necessary training to deal with security breaches, such as those listed above – as employers have a legal responsibility to asses and mitigate risk and ensure workers are “reasonably” safe, including supplying relevant training and safety devices to lone workers. If they are not capable, you could be putting your site’s security at risk as well as the health and safety of your keyholder.

Quick to respond
Security incidents happen quickly. Intruders can be in and out, with valuable goods, within minutes. That’s why our security operators have to go through rigorous training to make sure they respond to alarms as rapidly as possible.

It’s similarly important for keyholders to be able to respond within moments of an alarm being received. They will need to make a quick decision about what action to take to ensure the site is not put at risk and be able to communicate effectively with the remote monitoring station.

Often, keyholders with the right security training are required to attend the site when an incident arises. That means they are often required to be nearby – within 20 minutes drive – when they are acting as keyholder.

Technical knowledge
One of the big benefits of working with a professional keyholding company is that they can often also be your installation and maintenance company – which is a massive help if you have a system issue or false alarm.

If your security system fails – either a fault is identified or false alarms are being triggered – then your keyholder can carry out the necessary work to get everything back up and running again.

This saves time calling out two separate parties – a keyholder and then the maintenance company – crucial if your system has failed and your site is left vulnerable.

There really are many benefits to working with a professional keyholder to boost the security of your site, alongside remote monitoring.

To recap, whether you opt for a keyholding company or choose to train an appropriate member of staff, they must be:
– within 20 minutes of the site when they are a designated keyholder
– available to respond at any time and quickly
– be easy to contact
– have the right training and ability to deal with challenging situations (to put this in perspective, some keyholding companies have resources that include canine units and more!)
– have the ability to update and maintain security systems when necessary

Having a trustworthy and reliable keyholder in place is also critical in keeping security systems cost-effective as it ensures alarms are responded to in an appropriate manner. Discover five other ways you can achieve cost-effective security.