Home security is at the top of many people’s list of concerns. When you’ve just purchased a new property, it’s a good idea to review its alarm system and security measures to make sure they’ve moved with the times.

Although burglary is reported to be on the decline, there are a shocking number of incidents involving theft or vandalism directed against property. In fact, in 2015, a government survey estimated there were an estimated 6.4 million incidents of crime against households in England and Wales alone.[i]

Technology appears to be in the front line in the fight against crime with everything from remote access CCTV to smart lighting helping to provide the nation’s homeowners with extra peace of mind.

These systems, tailored to your requirements and fitted by a professional, can not only save you worry but also cash thanks to reduced insurance premiums. That’s where speaking to a local security specialist is a very smart move indeed.

What they do

Security specialists will design a bespoke security system to fit both your needs and your budget. They’re experts in thinking like the criminals to spot potential weak points in your home’s defences. Then creating a system that gives you the advantage and puts the bad guys off even thinking about targeting your home. Their job involves:

  • Discussing security plans
  • Installing security systems to detect intruders
  • Installing electronic surveillance equipment
  • Testing systems
  • Checking and servicing existing systems
  • Repairing malfunctioning ones

What they charge

Security specialists charge around £12 per hour on average, but will generally quote for an entire job including all equipment, wiring and labour.

A bit like most technology, the sky’s the limit when it comes to how much you can pay and features you can include in your security system.

You can pick up a basic domestic CCTV system for less than £100, though an all-seeing setup that will provide crystal clear resolution whatever the light levels will run into thousands. You’ll also need to decide whether to go wireless or wired as the former will be easier on the eye with no wires, but the latter will provide a more reliable signal.

You should be able to hire an installer to fit out your home with a wireless alarm for between £700 and £800. The same wired system would come at between £500 and £600.

If you’d like to add smartphone operation that allows you to activate or turn off your alarm and even monitor your CCTV from wherever you are, that will add an extra few hundred pounds to the cost.

Maintenance is another factor to consider and an alarm maintenance contract is often required by your insurance policy. These can cost from £50 to £250 per year, depending on the level of service you require.

What to ask

Here are a few questions to ask your security specialist to ensure you get the right service and the correct system to keep your home secure:

  • Can they give you a written, fixed price?
  • Can they provide a full specification list?
  • Is call-out cover or repair cover provided?
  • Will you receive a Certificate of Conformity (such as those provided by the SSAIB) for the installed system?
  • Will the CCTV system provide convictable evidence?
  • Do you offer warranty coverage on your cameras?
  • Are you certified with SSAIB or other trade bodies (see below)?
  • Which standards does this equipment meet?

Trades to trust

The following trade bodies are logos to look out for as a good indication that your security specialist is competent and professional.

The Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) is a leading certification body for organisations providing security systems and services, fire detection and alarm systems, telecare systems and services, manned security services and monitoring services.

The National Security Inspectorate (NSI or NACOSS) offers burglar alarm accreditation schemes for installers and alarm companies.

The law

You may need to be aware of data protection law if you are using CCTV on your property. Find out more here.

Ready to hire?

3 is the magic number

As always, try and get three quotes from three different security specialists to ensure you pay a fair price for the job.

Certification and references

Don’t be shy about asking for any relevant certification, proof of public liability insurance and references or photos from previous jobs. If the security specialist is trustworthy and competent, they’ll be pleased (and proud) to show you both.

[i] https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/crimeinenglandandwales/yearendingdecember2015#main-points