The evolution of standards in Europe and the importance of the new PD6669.

5 Mar 2018

Change is always difficult, but standards have to evolve and adapt to alternate processes and technologies. PD6669 helps to explain how the alarm transmission standards should be applied.

Evolution of standards in Europe

In 2000 the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO, as it was then), published a policy with a primary aim of reducing the false alarm rate of monitored alarm systems, which was rising to unmanageable proportions. Each site would require a Unique Reference Number (URN) to identify it as a system acceptable for Police response. Three consecutive Police attendances to false alarms would lead to withdrawal of Police response. Further, the client was required to upgrade the alarm system to “confirmed technology”, to restore response which included an Alarm Transmission System (ATS) with two Alarm Transmission Paths (ATPs), a Dual Path System, and a period of time where no further false alarms were encountered. Only at this point, would there be a re-instatement of the URN and Police response.

The ACPO2000 policy has continuously evolved and is now the NPCC (National Police Chiefs’ Council), “Guidelines on Police Requirements & Response to Security Systems”. Underlying this is the European family of Alarm Transmission Standards, EN50136, which is coupled with the alarm system standard, EN50131. These have gone through extensive revision over the years to accommodate changing technology, methodology and improved processes. EN50136 in particular, is an excellent standard and is being adopted in other areas of alarm transmission, the Fire sector being an example.

The Insurance sector has always had a very firm stance on remotely monitored systems and has required ATS providers (like WebWayOne) to embrace standards in their design and manufacture of products and services, and to obtain a “rubber stamp” through independent testing and certification. This approach builds on the basis that standards create excellence, innovation and confidence. It also ensures that the equipment installed is of a high quality and not based on cost. Statements such as “complies with” or “meets the requirements of” should be treated with caution, these products and services are most likely self certificated with little or no independent validation.

Standards throughout Europe
European standardisation is difficult to manage, especially in agreement between countries on the construction of the standards. This generally means that in some countries, the European Standard is seen as the minimum requirement. The UK market, led by the BSIA & BSI has very good representation at committee level, and WebWay are very proud to be associated in this process.

Make no mistake that when trading at a European level, it is imperative for an ATS provider to obtain certification to the EN standard. Some countries appear to have a view that no one uses the standards (the Republic of Ireland is one of these although the view point is changing), however this is far from the truth. In Spain, for instance, the Police insist on Certification to EN50136. In other countries, EN50136 is seen as the minimum and have additional requirements documented. For example, Sweden has SSF14, Belgium has Incert and the Netherlands has KIWA.

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