National Security Inspectorate

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by National Security Inspectorate's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from National Security Inspectorate is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

www.nsi.org.uk

THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
16 | NATIONAL SECURITY INSPECTORATE
Chief Executive RichardJenkins
NSI’s in-house security and fire safety experts
deliver robust, ongoing audit programmes to
organisations throughout the UK
The National Security Inspectorate is the UK’s leading
independent third-party certification body within security
and fire safety, helping to protect the general public,
public sector, businesses and homeowners. Using rigorous audit
programmes, the NSI certificates on an ongoing basis more
than 1,800 security and fire safety providers across the country.
CEO Richard Jenkins discusses the importance of certification in
today’s security sector.
In the light of recent tragedies, public consciousness of the security and fire safety
risks faced by society has never been higher. News of tragedy is brought to us with
unnerving regularity, often with little left to the imagination. The public can only
hope lessons will be learnt, but somehow incidents continue to happen.
The necessity of a robust approval regime
Markets by and large deliver what is asked of them: they work to a price, given
the rigour – some might say the lack of rigour – of legal requirements and market
demands. Without statutory requirement, and appropriate enforcement by way of a
robust approval regime, then cost and “value engineering” will take precedence over
safety and compliance.
The vehicle MOT test was introduced in 1960 and, with its approved test
centres and test technicians underpinned by legislation, helps to keep all road
users safe. However, without the legislation in place, how many vehicle users
would voluntarily submit their vehicles for a road worthiness test? Under current
FACTS ABOUT
NATIONAL SECURITY
INSPECTORATE
»Chief Executive:
RichardJenkins
»Established in 1971
»Based in Maidenhead,
Berkshire
»Services: Third-party
certification for the security
and fire safety sectors across
the UK and Ireland
»No. of employees: 65
National Security
Inspectorate
17NATIONAL SECURITY INSPECTORATE |
FIRE & SECURITY
legislation, approved MOT test centres
keep people safe with thousands of
potentially dangerous vehicles properly
maintained every year.
In contrast to the MOT, despite the
introduction of the Fire Safety Order
2005 in England and Wales and its
equivalent legislation in Scotland
and Northern Ireland, enforcement
is weak. Many fire detection and
alarm systems are not competently
“MOT’d” and unreliable fire alarms
are commonplace. Some organisations
are committed to high standards of
fire safety and competent fire risk
assessments, yet many more are not.
Effective approval regimes work well in
many markets, keeping people safe at
work, at home and in all walks of life.
Third-party certification bodies play a
large part in making this happen, as
indeed we at NSI do in security and
firesafety.
Intruder alarms: a case study
A compelling example of certification
making a positive difference is in
security and the longstanding alignment
between the private sector and the
police with regard to monitored
intruder alarms. Built on agreed
standards, third-party certification has
been delivering substantial benefits for
over 30 years and continues to do so.
The NPCC, formerly ACPO, and the
security industry built this effective
alliance in the 1980s to address the
problem of the significant adverse
impact of false alarms on victims of
crime, insurers and the police.
At the time, intruder alarms were
notoriously unreliable, almost
encouraging criminals to chance their
luck. Consequently, burglary rates
were high and responding to them
was considered both costly and a huge
waste of police resources, hence many
were ignored.
To address the problem, the NPCC laid
down requirements, in conjunction
with industry, for the installation
and monitoring of alarm systems
covered by police automatic response.
This was only to be undertaken
by approved providers. Becoming
approved necessitated signing up to
third-party certification and therefore
undergoing an ongoing programme of
independent third-party inspection and
approval, delivered in part by NSI.
Over the long term, the false alarm rate
has reduced by over 90 per cent, and
the deterrent effect of now reliable
approved alarms serves its purpose well:
the number of burglaries has fallen,
fewer police officers are deployed on
wasted call outs and there have been
immense savings to the public purse.
In addition, from the insurers’ point of
view, burglary is no longer the greatest
overall risk to be covered. It has long
been overtaken by fire and flood, and
this has been reflected in insurance
premiums over the long term.
Commitment to third-party certification
has delivered the desired outcome.
The evidence base is clear: strong
governance in the form of third-
party certification – or TPC – of alarm
Third-party certification
provides assurance for
security and fire safety
in a wide variety of built
environments
Undeniably, the
world is safer as
a result of
partnership
between the
police and the
private sector
based on a
standardised
approach
underpinned by
third-party
certification
BEST PRACTICE SPONSOR 2020
17NATIONAL SECURITY INSPECTORATE |
FIRE & SECURITY
legislation, approved MOT test centres
keep people safe with thousands of
potentially dangerous vehicles properly
maintained every year.
In contrast to the MOT, despite the
introduction of the Fire Safety Order
2005 in England and Wales and its
equivalent legislation in Scotland
and Northern Ireland, enforcement
is weak. Many fire detection and
alarm systems are not competently
“MOT’d” and unreliable fire alarms
are commonplace. Some organisations
are committed to high standards of
fire safety and competent fire risk
assessments, yet many more are not.
Effective approval regimes work well in
many markets, keeping people safe at
work, at home and in all walks of life.
Third-party certification bodies play a
large part in making this happen, as
indeed we at NSI do in security and
firesafety.
Intruder alarms: a case study
A compelling example of certification
making a positive difference is in
security and the longstanding alignment
between the private sector and the
police with regard to monitored
intruder alarms. Built on agreed
standards, third-party certification has
been delivering substantial benefits for
over 30 years and continues to do so.
The NPCC, formerly ACPO, and the
security industry built this effective
alliance in the 1980s to address the
problem of the significant adverse
impact of false alarms on victims of
crime, insurers and the police.
At the time, intruder alarms were
notoriously unreliable, almost
encouraging criminals to chance their
luck. Consequently, burglary rates
were high and responding to them
was considered both costly and a huge
waste of police resources, hence many
were ignored.
To address the problem, the NPCC laid
down requirements, in conjunction
with industry, for the installation
and monitoring of alarm systems
covered by police automatic response.
This was only to be undertaken
by approved providers. Becoming
approved necessitated signing up to
third-party certification and therefore
undergoing an ongoing programme of
independent third-party inspection and
approval, delivered in part by NSI.
Over the long term, the false alarm rate
has reduced by over 90 per cent, and
the deterrent effect of now reliable
approved alarms serves its purpose well:
the number of burglaries has fallen,
fewer police officers are deployed on
wasted call outs and there have been
immense savings to the public purse.
In addition, from the insurers’ point of
view, burglary is no longer the greatest
overall risk to be covered. It has long
been overtaken by fire and flood, and
this has been reflected in insurance
premiums over the long term.
Commitment to third-party certification
has delivered the desired outcome.
The evidence base is clear: strong
governance in the form of third-
party certification – or TPC – of alarm
Third-party certification
provides assurance for
security and fire safety
in a wide variety of built
environments
Undeniably, the
world is safer as
a result of
partnership
between the
police and the
private sector
based on a
standardised
approach
underpinned by
third-party
certification
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
18 | NATIONAL SECURITY INSPECTORATE
installers and monitoring centres has
raised standards in the market with
significant benefits for all and the
widerpublic.
TPC is a proven, widely respected
model for delivering consistent high
standards across the marketplace.
Undeniably, the world is safer as a
result of partnership between the
police and the private sector based on
a standardised approach underpinned
by TPC.
The next stage: the fire and
rescue service
We are convinced the approved
intruder alarm partnership between
industry and the police, built on the
requirement for TPC, is transferable to
the fire and rescue service. We believe
it could reap similar, or even greater,
benefit in saving lives and property,
and reducing false alarms. The “police
alarms URN model”, if adopted into
fire safety, and with particular regard
to critical infrastructure, could have
significant effect.
BS 5839-1:2017 – the code of practice
for design, installation, commissioning
and maintenance of fire detection
and fire alarm systems in non-
domestic premises – is the national
guidance recognised by the NFCC
and industry. Through more rigorous
implementation and enforcement of
the code, there is a clear opportunity
to increase fire safety and reduce
falsealarms.
There are of course other areas of
active and passive fire safety where
TPC can reduce risk of tragedy.
Thishas long applied to manufactured
fire safety products. The challenge
is no longer in the componentry:
it’s in the design and installation of
systems on site. TPC can help embed
standard practices through robust
ongoing sampling and inspection of
service providers and their installations.
Infrastructure for TPC is ready to
deploy regarding all fire safety
disciplines if and when demanded.
One of our particular specialisms
within the area of TPC is the BAFE
suite of fire safety schemes including
fire detection and alarms, fire risk
assessment and, most recently,
commercial kitchen fire protection
systems. These are all disciplines that
add greatly to fire safety and are
broadly supported by insurers. We are
also currently actively engaged in the
roll out of the new standard for the
design, installation, commissioning
and maintenance of evacuation alert
systems, BS8629:2019.
We are proud TPC has served the
police-private sector alarms partnership
and continues to stand the test of time.
It is our belief that in the fire and rescue
service arena third-party certification
remains an area with great potential to
help prevent further tragedy.
It is our belief
that in the fire
and rescue
service arena
third party
certification
remains an
area with
great potential
to help
prevent further
tragedy
Third-party certificated
security and fire safety
systems protect people
and property where they
live, work and spend
leisure time

www.nsi.org.uk

This article was sponsored by National Security Inspectorate. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.