The Crime Prevention Website

Please find below the latest article from our friend in Essex Police, Stephen Armson-Smith, the police crime prevention expert covering the Braintree and Uttlesford Districts.

This time Stephen is talking about the problems surrounding cold calling alarm companies and although he’s put the message out because there is a local problem in his area it’s the sort of warning that the rest of us should heed. I might add that sales people have been knocking on doors trying to sell us alarms at silly prices for years and if this hasn’t been happening down your street for a while, don’t worry, because it will.

Here’s Stephen’s article...

Following calls from residents concerned about cold callers selling burglar alarms the police advice is as follows:

  • If you are concerned about your security and considering fitting a burglar alarm, contact your local police crime reduction officer who will give you free advice. (Unfortunately not all police services employ crime prevention officers, so please use the pages of this website to get further advice)
  • Before choosing an alarm company we recommend that you get at least three quotes from accredited companies found on these websites  or, or choose a Trading Standards “Buy with Confidence” accredited company. Buy with Confidence companies have been vetted by Trading Standards and have all the right accreditations. Visit or ring 0345 404 0506.  
  • Also note that residents throughout the county [of Essex] have reported receiving unsolicited telephone calls from companies who say that crime is on the increase and that they are at risk.  These companies offer to install a free or a very cheap burglar alarm and claim or imply they are working with agencies such as the Home Office or the police.  This is not true.
  • Most people who have been contacted by these companies have had the good sense not to allow them to visit their home but on the odd occasion where work has been carried out, the cost to the customer has been exorbitant.  On occasions the company has stated that this is a ‘special offer’ due to the householder’s age or other circumstances and the burglar alarm will be either very cheap or even free. What is not mentioned though is that there will be a yearly monitoring and maintenance fee, which in some cases is very expensive.
  • However, if any interest is shown in their product the company will persistently call and badger the homeowner to agree to a visit particularly if they find out they are elderly. If this happens to you then you might want to consider getting a telephone call blocking device or service, so they can’t call you back. 
  • Our general advice is not to buy a burglar alarm from a cold caller over the telephone or at the door and don’t agree to a visit.
  • If you do feel that you have been a victim of cold calling regarding home security then contact Trading Standards on 08454 040506 [Essex] or email them on

“As a crime prevention officer I always welcome calls from people who want advice to keep themselves and their property secure, whether it is installing an appropriate burglar alarm or something as simple as having proper locks fitted to your home.”

Crime prevention officers listed below for your area [in Essex] will be happy to help with any queries about home security and they can all be contacted using the national police non emergency telephone number 101.                                              

  • Stephen Armson-Smith – Braintree and Uttlesford
  • David Gillies -Chelmsford and Maldon
  • Angie Pearson – Tendring and Colchester

Good advice! I’m sure you will agree.

For additional advice please follow this link: 

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