Residents of Altrincham, Bowdon, Hale, Hale Barns, Sale and Timperley
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Home Security (FAQs) – Ask the police

A community initiative to make the community safer

Home Security (FAQs) – Ask the police

Your Policing Questions Answered

The following FAQs have been taken from the “Ask the Police” website answering questions about home security

A house/business burglar alarm is going off, what can I do?

The Police will attend alarms installed in line with the NPCC Alarms Policy. The majority of domestic alarms do not comply with that policy by virtue of the fact they are audible only systems.​

The Police will also respond to domestic alarms, when there is some evidence of criminal activity. Should there be an activation and there is evidence of criminal activity or you see something suspicious, dial 999. It is not advisable to put yourself in danger by making checks yourself.​

If it appears to be a false activation, still contact the police but on their non-emergency number as they may have the owners contact details on their database.

If it is a persistent problem see the question in related information about noisy neighbors.

Are external lights a good idea for security?

Yes they are. The best type of external light is one that stays on all the time. Any intruder that has made up their mind to break into a property will more than likely not be put off by lights that are triggered by movement. If the light is on all the time then it may make them think twice before attempting to break into the property. For further information on home security, please see the links in related information.

Yes they are. The best type of external light is one that stays on all the time. Any intruder that has made up their mind to break into a property will more than likely not be put off by lights that are triggered by movement. If the light is on all the time then it may make them think twice before attempting to break into the property. For further information on home security, please see the links in related information.

Can I give the police some key holder details for my house/business?

Yes, the details must be in writing, for a business and it must be on letter headed paper. The details will be forwarded on to the relevant Crime Prevention department.

Yes, the details must be in writing, for a business and it must be on letter headed paper. The details will be forwarded on to the relevant Crime Prevention department.

Can I put barbed/razor wire/broken glass on the top of my fence to stop people getting in?

Using barbed/razor wire and broken glass in order to stop people getting in to your home is not advisable. You are making yourself liable to civil action as you owe a duty of care to ensure that visitors to your property are reasonably safe. Odd as it may seem, you also owe a duty of care to trespassers.

The use of such a preventative measure could also be seen as being detrimental to the neighbourhood.

Using other methods of crime prevention such as trellis fencing and defensible planting is often more effective and pleasant to look at.​

Trellis fencing is effective because it increases the height of the boundary and it is not usually strong enough to hold an intruder’s weight Therefore, they may not want to risk climbing over it, breaking it and making a loud noise.​

Prickly plants such as Hawthorne, Poncira, Pyracantha (rapid growth), Rosa rugosa, or any kind of Berberis are an effective obstacle against possible intruders and much more pleasant to look at.​

Whatever method you use, it is important to ensure that you have planning permission, if required, and you do not leave yourself open to civil proceedings. Please see websites in related information for more detail or contact your local crime prevention/reduction officer.

Whatever method you use, it is important to ensure that you have planning permission, if required, and you do not leave yourself open to civil proceedings. Please see websites in related information for more detail or contact your local crime prevention/reduction officer.

Can I use anti-climbing paint on a building or wall to prevent trespassers and anti-social behaviour?

Yes, it is perfectly legal to use anti-climbing paint although there are a couple of factors which should be considered when applying the paint –

  • You should make sure the anti-climbing paint starts at a reasonably high level so passers by do not damage their clothing inadvertently.
  • ‘Warning anti climb paint’ types of signs should be clearly posted wherever the paint is in use. These should be posted to protect the company or householder from being sued in a civil court, e.g. to protect from civil action for damage to clothing.
  • The notices should be simple enough for a reasonably young person to understand as, apart from intruders, they are the ones likely to be trying to climb up.

Can you recommend a burglar alarm company?

We cannot make any specific recommendations. Your home insurance company would be one of the best people to contact to get advice for a burglar alarm. They may have a list of approved companies that they can recommend and by using one of them they may offer a reduction on your policy. See the link in related information to Security Alarms which provides information as to the different types of alarm systems that are available to see which ones would best suit your needs.

It would be a good idea to see if the alarm company that you select has one or more of the following accreditations (in no particular order):

  • BSIA (British Security Industry Association) or FSA (Fire and Security Association) – these are the industry’s own professional bodies
  • NSI (National Security Inspectorate) who also run other named schemes
  • SSAIB (Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board)

For further information on burglar alarms and other home security tips, please see the websites in related information.

Can you tell me about installing CCTV at my house and what to do if a neighbour has got CCTV installed and one of the cameras points at my property?

Many people are installing CCTV in their properties as a home security measure as it has proved to be an effective tool in fighting crime. Where CCTV is in operation and it only captures your home and garden then it will not be covered by the Data Protection legislation. However, if it captures any images outside the confines of your household, such as the street or other houses, then the images will be subject to the Data Protection legislation.

​Steps should be taken to ensure the CCTV is positioned correctly to avoid complaints or in some cases, accusations of violation of privacy or harassment. Additionally, there should clear notices to explain that the camera is in use.​

In the first instance, it would be advisable to speak to your neighbour to see if it is possible to move the camera so that it does not point at your property. If this is not possible and you want to take further action you would need to seek legal advice from a solicitor.​

See more details on CCTV cameras on residential property.

Do you have any general advice to make my house more secure?

There are several other websites which give more precise advice regarding protective security in relation to the home, your local crime prevention officer would also be available to advise you. The following points will be of general assistance:​

  • A burglar alarm is obviously highly recommended to make your house more secure.
  • Windows and doors with a key operated lock on them.
  • Lights on timer when you are out in the evening.
  • Tell a trusted neighbour if you are going away, who can perhaps draw the curtains on an evening and remember to cancel milk and newspapers .
  • Do not leave windows open if you are out, no matter how small.
  • Have chain and peep hole on front door.
  • Fit a restrictor to your letterbox to prevent people putting their hands through the letterbox to retrieve mail or open any locks on the door.
  • Make sure the garden shed is adequately secure.
  • Always keep doors locked even when in the house, an intruder can open the front door and grab keys/handbag in a matter of seconds.
  • All keys should be kept out of view but in an easily accessible place.

See www.immobilise.com which is a free website that you can register any property that has a serial number. See the websites in related information for more advice on how to keep your property secure.

How can I tell if the workman at my door is genuine?

It is always advisable to use a chain or peephole before answering the door to anyone that you do not know.​

If there is a person claiming to be from the electricity/gas/water company then they will have official ID. If they are genuine they will have no problems with you looking at it and telephoning the company to verify it. Look the telephone number up yourself, do not use a telephone number they give you as you cannot be sure that it is genuine.​

If you have any doubts whatsoever then do not let them in, it is better to be safe than sorry. You can always then telephone the company and make an arrangement for another day.​

If it is a person who wants to carry out some work on your garden/drive/roof and they make a cold call to your house then be very wary. Before having any major work done on the house you need at least two or three quotes from different reputable companies.

If the person gives you a price that is too good to be true then it will be. Be careful, there have been cases of people carrying out the job and then demanding more money.​

There are also cases of the workman offering to drive the person down to the bank to get the money, which is often at a massively inflated price.​

Some people who offer to carry out such tasks are genuine but there are those that are not and will take advantage of people, mainly the vulnerable and the elderly. It is advisable not to allow any workmen to carry out any tasks in your home unless they have been personally recommended to you.​

If the person keeps contacting you about the work then be very careful as reputable companies tend to be very busy and do not need to chase work.

Local council building control can advise on building contractors on an “approved list”. Also Trading Standards can advise on other contractors (eg burglar alarm installers). Also trade associations often have list of “registered” businesses. Plus ask the “workman” at the door for card, website address, names and addresses of local premises where he/she has undertaken work (and contact one or two of them to verify personally).​

See the websites in related information for more help and advice or contact Consumer Direct on: 08454 040506.

How do I find out about my local Neighbourhood Watch scheme?

The Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network is the official national umbrella body for all schemes within England & Wales providing support for all NHW schemes members. You can enter your post code on their website (see related links) to find your nearest scheme and you can also send your local scheme a message via the site.

If there is not a scheme in your area and you want to set one up, refer to the website for more details on this and other matters relating to Neighbourhood Watch. 
Neighbourhood Watch schemes are very popular and many insurance companies offer a discount on home insurance if you are a member of a scheme. 

What are the best types of locks to have on my doors and windows?

Most insurance companies would prefer a five-lever mortice dead lock (BS3621) on all doors and key operated locks on all windows.

Extra locks should be placed on all French doors and patios as they are particularly vulnerable. For patio doors – if the doors don’t have them already, most newer doors have them fitted – anti lift devices are available and extra bolt locks should be added at the top and bottom of the door.​

French doors should have a five-lever mortice dead lock and also extra bolt locks at the top and the bottom of the door.​

It is not advisable to have a key cabinet in your house, as any intruder will know exactly where to go to get the keys for the back door, the garage, the car etc… The keys for the windows and doors should be preferably kept out of view but in a place that is easily accessible. For more information and other home security tips, please see the links in related information.

What happens if my pet dog bites an intruder in my house?

Amendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act mean it is now an offence for a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place and on private property.​

Though intruders into your home would generally not be covered by the amendments, all the circumstances will have to be considered and each decision will be judged individually. For example if you deliberately set your dog onto the intruder and they then suffer injury, you may be liable for prosecution and the dog ordered to be kept under control.​

However, if you are not home and your dog attacks, it is unlikely that you would be liable for the attack. This defence only applies in your home and not other premises or land i.e. if a person (intruder of otherwise) enters your garden and is bitten by your dog, you may be liable.​

Q653 provides more information on dangerous dogs.

What is the best way to protect my shed from being broken into?

The ideal situation is not to have anything of great value in the shed but this is obviously not a viable option for many people.​

There are anti-theft padlocks available that are harder to break. If the intruder thinks it is going to take a long time to break in then they may not bother trying. Another option is to have your house burglar alarm extended to the garage or to get a battery operated alarm for the shed.​

In case the worst does happen, then it is worth checking with your insurance company that items in your shed are covered. 

What lengths can I go to, to protect myself and my home if an intruder breaks in?

It is very rare for a person to be confronted by an intruder in their home. Advice from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the National Police Chiefs in relation to “reasonable force” has been prepared in the form of a leaflet which is available at your local police station, also see link in related information. However, listed below is a brief summary of that advice.​

In all cases if possible you should call the police.​

In the heat of the moment it is not expected that you should make fine judgements as to how far you can go. What you honestly and instinctively believe is lawful and necessary self defence for either yourself, your family or your property, even if a weapon is used, could constitute reasonable force.

You do not have to be attacked first to be able to use reasonable force in self defence.​

Even if the intruder dies, provided you have used reasonable force in the circumstances described then you will not necessarily be prosecuted. If, having disabled the intruder you then go on and inflict further punishment then this would be deemed to be excessive and gratuitous force and you could be prosecuted.​

If you suspect that a person is going to break into your house and you set a trap, rather than involve the police then this would not be deemed to be self defence or reasonable force.

If the intruder escapes with some of your property or you chase after them to effect a citizen’s arrest you are still allowed to use reasonable force. The degree of force in this instance may have considerably reduced and a rugby tackle or a single blow would suffice. To go beyond this as a form of punishment would again make you liable to a prosecution for assault and possibly civil action.

It should be understood that the Police will always have a duty to investigate this type of incident, but the Police and CPS will always objectively assess all the facts recognising in the first instance that the intruder caused the situation to arise in the first place.

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