ECHO Alarm

Here’s the latest about ECHO. That’s short for Electronic Call Handling Operations, the not for profit industry body set up by industry groups with the aim of delivering automated alarm signalling between the alarms industry and the police. The result; a faster, more effectively prioritised response, which is saving typically between one and four minutes, as estimated by the Metropolitan Police.

Since launching in April 2021, knocked back by the covid pandemic, ECHO connectivity signalling intruder and hold-up alarm activations to the police now serves 11 ECHO-connected police forces and over 300,000 police approved alarm systems protecting sites and premises. That does mean that most police forces haven’t gone over to ECHO yet; but industry organisers say that its influence as a deterrent against intruder and hold-up crime is on the rise. In 2022, Essex Police, the Met, Avon and Somerset Constabulary, City of London Police and Northumbria Police became ECHO-connected. Early in 2023 they were joined by Bedfordshire, Kent, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Greater Manchester.

According to police estimates, ECHO significantly reduces response times to ‘confirmed’ alarm activations, saving up to four minutes once any of the 37 ECHO-connected ARCs (approved Alarm Receiving Centres) validates alarm signals. ECHO automatically transfers alarm activation signals from the ARCs to police control rooms, replacing legacy manual voice calling procedures. Just as useful all around, going automated means faster ‘stand-down’ of responders where an alarm may be discovered as false prior to police arrival.

Ciaron Irvine, Durham Deputy Chief Constable, is the NPCC (National Police Chiefs’ Council) lead for the security systems group. She said: “Having a direct impact on police deployment and effectiveness at a rate of 40,000 incidents a year is no mean feat! The inroads in police control room efficiencies and police responders’ impact at the scene of intruder and hold up incidents in those 11 ECHO-connected forces areas is remarkable. Other forces looking closely at how they can get ECHO-connected are encouraged to do so at the earliest opportunity.”.

Organisers say that in all up to a million residential and commercial users – including retail outlets – of professionally installed intruder and hold-up alarms (installed by NSI or SSAIB approved installers) are set to benefit as more police forces across the UK get ECHO-connected during 2023/24.

Martin Harvey, a founding director of ECHO, said: “Enabling a speedier and more effective alarm response to over 40,000 police response incidents a year is testimony to the impact ECHO is having with just 11 forces ECHO-connected. Looking forward, the countrywide impact is set to be truly remarkable. It justifies the NPCC vision and the security industry’s commitment to delivery improved security in collaboration with the police, assisting efficiency in the deployment of police resources, faster police response and crime deterrence.

“ECHO now supports intruder and hold-up police response alarm systems in over 300,000 residential, commercial and public sector sites and buildings offering homeowners, commercial and publicly operated properties of all sizes a greater degree of assurance with speedier and more effective police response. ECHO is standing by to engage with any police force wishing to prioritise its ECHO connection.”

Approved installers are asked to check with their ARCs about ECHO support for their customers’ intruder and hold-up alarms. Visit

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