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Security Alarms: Monitoring and Unique Reference Numbers (URNS)

Most alarm systems aren’t connected directly with the emergency services. Instead, alarm alerts are managed by intermediaries in an alarm receiving centre (ARC). These are the people you pay to monitor your system and action any alerts.

Any alarm system installed since June 2019 must conform to PD 6662:2017 and BS 8243 to qualify for police response. If yours doesn’t, then the ARC won’t be able to contact the police in the event of an activation. They will only be able to contact the keyholder.

A URN is a unique reference number assigned by the police to a security system. It flags to the police properties that will receive immediate Police response should a verified alarm signal be triggered.

How to obtain a Police URN

To obtain a Police URN you should:

  • Use an alarm system with a Type A signalling system. This is a Remote Signalling System terminating at a recognised Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) or monitoring station.
  • Alarm systems installed after June 2019 must conform to PD 6662:2017 and BS 8243.
  • Your alarm installation company and Alarm Receiving centre should be certified by a UKAS accredited body such as the National Security Inspectorate (NSI)
  • A Police URN is issued by a local Police constabulary. 
  • Your qualified Alarm installer and ARC will then administer the application and receive your Police URN number.

6 Benefits of a monitored alarm

If you often experience false alarms, your neighbours won’t notice when the alarm is in response to a real incident. They’ll assume it’s another false alarm and might even put in a noise complaint. 

A monitored alarm system means you don’t have to rely on the kindness of your neighbours or even strangers passing by – your alarm will not be ignored.

Whether it’s a false activation or a real emergency, the monitoring station will be alerted. They can monitor the situation and respond accordingly. If the alarm is due to an actual incident they will be able to notify emergency services.

High-quality monitored systems that are compliant with requirements are eligible for immediate Police response. 

As above you are able to register for a URN, properties with a URN take priority in police response. Due to the direct connection between the alarm receiving centre and the police this could potentially result in catching thieves in the act. 

Burglars prefer easy targets. Properties with monitored systems are not worth the risk of getting caught. The monitoring centre is alerted as soon as the alarm is tripped. In some cases joint with CCTV they may even be able to see what is going on inside and use an intercom to ward off intruders. 


The noise regulations state that Police may use a warrant to enter your home to silence an alarm if your alarm doesn’t have a 20-minute cut-off, and providing they have taken necessary steps to contact the key holder.

if your alarm is monitored it negates the need for this to happen, once the alarm is triggered the operator can assess the situation and deactivate the alarm remotely. 

Home security goes far beyond just dealing with intruders, while it is not standard security systems can be designed and upgraded to send alerts for fire and other emergencies that can happen at home to the relevant emergency services. 

The cost of having a monitored alarm can be balanced with a reduction in your home insurance. Wile considering the additional cost of having monitored vs un-monitored it is worth thinking about how much peace of mind it will give you over the security of your home.

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