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[ FSA Conference 2010 ]


ACPO IN ALARM CALL n


Delivering a presentation on security from a police


perspective, Richard Childs, managing director, ACPO Crime Prevention Initiatives and lead officer for ACPO on security, highlighted the significant benefits that have resulted from close cooperation and partnership between the industry and police. He also discussed ways in which the police service and security industry could be improved, and addressed in detail issues around the cost of the unique reference number system (URNs) for false alarms and how the system should be reformed. ‘The [police] service is facing one of the most demanding


periods in its history, in particular in relation to the cuts,’ Childs said, and he warned: ‘These could also ‘have an impact on the administration of security systems’. This may lead to regional


services not only looking for cuts for the services they provide but also looking at whether they can generate more money. Childs reiterated the legal position that the charge for an URN could only reflect the cost of running the system, and not for meeting excessive costs. There was a growing recognition across services, he said, that it was not a cash cow, and was about working in partnership with the industry. Pointing out the variations in


URN charges for false alarms, Childs said he believed these discrepancies could not continue, and called for a reduction in the variation across forces. and to make sure the most efficient business processes are followed.


Steve Norman


Improving fire safety together


Richard Childs


Surveillance surveyed n


The UK needs an adult discussion on the subject


of surveillance ‘rather than complaining about Big Brother’, professor Joshua Bamfield, director


Professor Joshua Bamfield


of the Centre for Retail Research, proposed in his presentation Society under surveillance: What the public really thinks. Presenting research into the UK public’s attitude towards surveillance and CCTV security, Professor Bamfield argued that surveillance reflected change in our society rather than a desire for control, and that what needed to be addressed was the balance about how much surveillance there was and where the boundaries should be set. While the UK public has


strong concerns about privacy,


The closing presentation to the FSA conference came from Steve Norman of the Chief Fire Officers’ Association (CFOA), who spoke about the way the fire safety industry and the fire and rescue services can work together to improve public safety, by reducing the number of false alerts and unwanted fire signals services have to deal with. Norman, station manager of


independent research showed that when asked if they agreed that public CCTV does not infringe on privacy, 80 per cent said yes and only 17 per cent said no. Other research indicated that, despite concerns, when it comes to use of CCTV cameras to help reduce crime, for instance, the public were overwhelmingly more positive than negative about its use. It showed widespread support for the use of CCTV cameras in public places. Professor Bamfield said the


debate should be on how to use surveillance effectively.


Encouraging third-party certification Stephen Adams


Stephen Adams, the general and marketing Manager of BAFE, spoke about the value of third-party certification in the fire safety industry, as he outlined BAFE’s role in helping to improve quality of systems installation in the fire protection industry. As an independent not-for-profit


organisation dedicated to improving quality in the fire protection industry, Adams described BAFE – which approves third-party certification schemes – as effectively the ‘keeper of the scrolls’. He then outlined BAFE’s


schemes to ensure fire protection products are fit for their purpose, properly installed and maintained to the relevant British Standards. Third-party certification works, he said, if people using the products can be assured that they are going to work, which credible third-party certification demonstrates. He reiterated the importance of effective policing of third-party certification, and ensuring that companies are complying with standards and updates to maintain the integrity of the schemes.


Dowgate Fire Station in the City of London, led the working group for the development of the CFOA Protocol for the Reduction of False Alarms and Unwanted Fire Signals, and more recently worked on the Code of Practice for Summoning a Fire Response via Fire Alarm Monitoring Organisations. He outlined issues surrounding false alarms and the impact on fire safety risk – and business costs – from unnecessary call-outs. He described how the protocols were developed to create a uniform process for false alarms. The code of practice aims to involve


stakeholders in the process, including fire alarm monitoring organisations, fire alarm service providers, the fire and rescue authorities and the responsible person from the protected premises. He also strongly endorsed third-party certification for fire protection products and services. Norman encouraged the fire alarm


industry to take the lead in adopting the policy, insisting on it rather than leaving it up to the fire and rescue authorities – and that they should refuse to accept any other policy from fire and rescue services. He said a consistent approach from the fire and rescue services was essential for a sustained reduction in false alarms, and to help maintain an effective industry partnership.


Winter 2010 ECA Today 39


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