This is a regular monthly featured article in our Clippings & Musings series by our Editor Helen Duval
Security is a continually hot topic as violent crime and burglary figures continue to rise. A number of exhibitions in March are showcasing the latest technological developments and allowing businesses and consumers to evaluate new automated systems that could provide greater security around the home and business environments.
The SCT expo at Olympia this year presented full security solutions for professionals responsible for protecting businesses and people across the UK. The UK Security Week exhibition was held over two days and now incorporates 5 events with over 350 exhibitors. Additionally, more than 10,000 security professionals took part in an immersive learning programme to discover the very latest in security technology.
With a focus on areas such as forensics and counter terrorism and a greatly increased footfall this year, it does make you think about our vulnerability and staying safe, in a whole new way.
Turning to home security, when a house alarm suddenly explodes into klaxonic noise, and Police cars do not come screeching down the road, what should really be expected from home security systems, should an opportunistic burglar strike?
In light of the fact that there are still many systems out there that have not been upgraded for quite some time, it does make me question what any of us do when we hear a house alarm in full flow. It would seem we just wait. Watch a little while and then wait a little longer. Many seem to presume, that irrespective of the time that has passed, that somewhere along the line the Police or a private security company have been notified and any potential burglary stopped in its tracks. I wonder how many people with older alarm systems that are not linked into the police or video verification systems, realise the true vulnerability of their properties.
While add-ons to alarm systems such as sensors, heating and plumbing monitors, and services that provide medical assistance expand the use and value of security systems, a combination of security measures seems to be the answer – along with an annual check on the locks and bolts and any necessary upgrades. Some security systems do give customers a sense of efficiency with highly effective monitoring centres, while others promote the idea of ensuring products are coded properly, so if there is a technical fault it can easily be found.
Barking dogs may still seem a great additional deterrent but it’s been shown that experienced burglars know how to bypass the pet. Combining tried, tested and trusted security systems including multi-point locks, dead bolts, CCTV, security gates and home automation continue to be the preferred winning formula. These prevent the need for Police notification or intervention. The fact remains that prevention is evidently better than cure.
Without doubt, events such as the UK Security Week bring together those with a common goal of providing improved security options and reassurance at a time when nationally, it has never been more needed.
Looking at general home security and locks discussion continues about Locksmith regulation and whether it is required.
There certainly are many forums and discussion groups out there with the highly trained locksmiths all posting pictures of shoddy workmanship. Costs, time and standards have all become a focus for the locksmith trade, with some real concern regarding unqualified people completing jobs for unsuspecting homeowners.
The Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) has taken huge strides to introduce regulation and is currently the UK’s largest trade association for locksmiths to join.
As a non-profit making body the MLA has established benchmarks for the industry that promote good standards of conduct, practice and materials within the trade.
Actively encouraging members to maintain and improve their skills via training, education, regional meetings and seminars, the MLA has introduced solid platforms for those looking to enter the locksmithing profession. It operates its own scheme, which is recognised by the Home Office, insurers and the Police. Yet the sector remains unlicensed.
Access to accredited training courses may give some reassurance in the long run to end users, however many who have been locksmiths for years question the validity of credentials that can be gained in 2 – 7 days.
A licence would seem to be the preferred route alongside work inspections and a paid membership that would demonstrate adherence to the craft involved.
Some feel that those offering training courses could set a good example by allowing inspections of the courses offered. This would demonstrate the quality standards of the teaching and assessment provided during training programmes; it would also validate standards and give those with years of experience the support they need to further develop their own businesses.