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Noise from burglar alarms

We receive many complaints about noise from burglar alarms. Find out what constitutes a nuisance.

‘The Code of Practice on Noise from Audible Intruder Alarms 1982’ was introduced to reduce the amount of noise nuisance caused by burglar alarms.

It has the following main points:

  • your system should be properly designed, installed and maintained to prevent false alarms. British Standard BS 4737 sets out the specification and procedure for installation and maintenance of alarm systems. Make sure the company responsible for your alarm operates to these standards
  • get your alarm system regularly maintained (as set out in BS 4737). Your insurance company may insist on this too
  • your system should be fitted with an automatic cut-off device to stop the alarm ringing after about 20 minutes. Most modern alarms have this, plus a flashing light that keeps going after the ringing has been cut off. You must tell your insurers if you have an automatic cut-off device
  • tell the police the names, addresses and phone numbers of at least two keyholders (including yourself) within 48 hours of installing a new alarm system or taking over an existing one. You should also tell the local authority that you are responsible for the alarm and let them know the address of the police station where the keyholder details are kept
  • if you do not have a cut-off device fitted, you are expected to have nominated keyholders to the police who can silence the alarm within 20 minutes of being notified
  • if your alarm is causing a noise nuisance and no keyholders can be found, then the local authority can order you to fit an automatic cut-off device to prevent further noise nuisance incidents

The code of practice does not itself create offences – it is meant to help councils interpret laws. However, you can be prosecuted for creating a noise nuisance.

Noise complaint form

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