Intruder alarms

Audible intruder alarms are used to protect property from unauthorised entry.

These can be triggered by a fault in the system causing a noise problem for nearby neighbours, especially if it occurs frequently. Complaints are usually due to the duration of the alarm rather than the actual volume.

The government has produced a code of practice to try to reduce the incidence of nuisance caused by these alarms.

The code states that alarms should be fitted with an automatic cut-out device which should stops the ringing automatically after a period of 20 minutes from the activation of the system.

The code also says that the householder should inform the council of the installation of any alarm and the names and addresses of two key-holders who should be well versed in operating and silencing the alarm at short notice. You can do this by phoning 01634 333 333.

Medway residents who have an audible intruder alarm fitted to their property should log details of reliable key-holders with our environmental protection team. This is not a legal obligation but can save time and expense if the alarm goes off in their absence.

These details are kept on a confidential database and are only used if an alarm is reported as sounding. The details will not be passed to any third party without consent.

What to do

You should:

  • complete the online key-holders form or contact environmental protection at the address below
  • ensure the alarm has a 20 minute cut-out and is serviced on a regular basis
  • when taking over an existing alarm, have it serviced to ensure it is working correctly.

If no key-holder is available and it is not known if the householder is due home soon, a council officer will visit to assess the noise for nuisance. If the noise from the alarm is deemed to be a statutory nuisance, formal action will be taken by the officer.

This will involve the serving of a noise abatement notice under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

If the notice is not complied with, such as the sounder turned off within 20 minutes, the officer will arrange for an alarm company to disable the alarm from the outside. This may mean that the property is no longer covered by the alarm until it is reset.

Any costs that we incur will be recovered from the owner. We prefer not to take this kind of action and if owners of alarmed premises can register a key-holder who can be contacted at all times, this could save money and be less irritating to neighbours.


The alarm is there to protect property but if it sounds often, it may be ignored and is therefore not doing its intended job.

What to do if an alarm is going off

You should:

  • if you suspect a forced entry to the property, contact the police immediately
  • talk to neighbours to see if there are any key-holders and when the owner is expected to return
  • if the alarm continues after 20 minutes, phone us on 01634 333 333.

Staff will check the database to see if a key-holder is known. If they are, we will contact them to reset the alarm.