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It is time for the SIA to stop focussing on generating income and, instead, improve the quality and reliability of KHAR (key holding alarm response)


John Hicks, Director of Property Security Group Limited suggests that it is time for the SIA to stop focussing on generating income and, instead, improve the quality and reliability of KHAR (key holding alarm response)

I am so proud that Property Security Group Limited protect construction sites, building site scaffolding, vacant properties, remote rural outbuildings, farms, country estates, business parks, void property, vacant hotels, pop up shops and private airfields across the UK.

Property Security Group’s core business is the hire of 4G intruder detection alarm systems with wireless, visual verification cameras monitored 24hrs. They are solar or battery powered and do not require telephone, broadband, wi-fi or electricity connections. These systems are hired at affordable weekly rental with no minimum hire period.

In the event of a PIR activation, Property Security Group 24hr monitoring team will review the video clip and, if appropriate, activate the on-site 110db siren which usually deters intruders and trespassers from remaining on site. They will then despatch a local keyholder company to site.

Over the years, Property Security Group has developed good relationships with key holding companies in specific areas. However, as the company’s portfolio of clients expanded, Property Security Group initially relied on the SIA ACS accreditation as the “gold standard” and used their local keyholders in other areas.

Of course, the first hurdle was to weed out those KHAR companies who do not offer a 24hr service. Yes, you would not credit that some only work restricted hours such as 10pm to 6am, not 24hrs. Unbelievable!

Then, the national companies who come up on searches for key holding companies in a target area but who are just creative at having a local web page, even though they could be hundreds of miles away, have to be weeded out. They often simply subcontract to unassociated companies without a guarantee of response or hands-on control.

So, then we come to appointing a contractor relying on their SIA accreditation.

But what a let down that is. The SIA do not actually audit response times. The impression I have is that they just take the money and run – and do not care that these KHAR companies are an unknown quantity for their client until they have been called out to site a few times.

Because the reality is that some key holding companies can take hours or days – or not attend at all. Some think that a response time of two to four hours is brilliant and six hours is acceptable.

Others find it okay to say, the next day when chased for a report, that they never made it to site as traffic was heavy, it was windy and trees were down on some routes, they went to the wrong property or the price of fish had gone up – well, okay, the last one is made up, but the other appalling excuses are ones that I have heard too many times. Then some add insult to injury by offering to send someone later that day.

In my opinion, the SIA should get a grip of this situation and test ACS companies. After 20 years’ experience, my perception is that the service is getting worse.

If the SIA cannot justify their value to the UK security industry by rooting out the fake contractors or ones that fail to deliver, then I would hope some creative web designer or social media expert can create some form of “approved response service” directory. I am thinking along the lines of Check-A-Trade but one which will build a good reputation.


Construction site security




Author: John Hicks is Director of Property Security Group Limited – construction site security, scaffolding alarm hire and vacant property security specialists

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