The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has imposed a stricter policy for dealing with false alarms on commercial properties which could force insurers to review security options with their policyholders.

Police response to security alarm call-outs will now be reduced after two false calls and eliminated after five in 12 months. Previously, police had accepted four false calls before reducing service levels.

ACPO alarms group chairman Tony Lake said police were desperate to cut the number of false alarms and had taken the step in consultation with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the security industry.

From October, in a further move to tighten up on false alarms, all new alarms will have to provide confirmed activation to get a police response and police will be free to charge an administration fee for setting up new systems.

At present about 840,000 alarm systems receive police responses and in 1999 they produced 870,000 false calls.

And 75% of false calls are caused by the same 31% of systems.

An ABI spokesman said insurers had been warned of the change and would wait for affected commercial policyholders to contact them.

The spokesman said it was unlikely premiums would rise as a result, but policyholders would probably be required to pay for additional security, such as guards, if there was a change to their security response.

“If they can't get the security to an acceptable rate, then insurers may become less sure about offering cover,” he said.