Brian Sims

ECHO initiative hailed as “absolute game-changer” at PCPI Conference

KEN MEANWELL, the compliance manager at Police Crime Prevention Initiatives, has extolled the virtues of the Electronic Call Handling Operations (ECHO) initiative to a packed audience attending the 2023 Secured by Design ATLAS National Training Conference and Exhibition.

Meanwell – who also provides the secretariat for the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) Security Systems Group and works closely with leading certification and trade bodies for the security industry to ensure the technical standards and Codes of Practice are observed – informed delegates that ECHO is an “absolute game-changer” when it comes to police response to alarm calls.

The NPCC is currently working with the alarms industry towards having alarm activations from compliant systems passed electronically direct from Alarm Receiving Centres into police Control Rooms thanks to the development of ECHO.

Meanwell stated: “ECHO is an absolute game-changer, revolutionising the way in which we deal with alarm calls and improving response times. No matter how big or how small your police service happens to be, you will benefit from ECHO.”

He continued: “Automation is the way forward. We are always looking to improve on response times, and ECHO achieves this by ensuring a response in seconds as opposed to minutes, as well as freeing-up call handlers’ time so that they can deal with the essential work that they do in respect of responding to 999 and 101 calls.”

Service roll-out

The ECHO alarm transfer service is currently being rolled out to police services across the country and facilitates greater effectiveness in police response to emergency alarms. It’s a fully automated electronic alarm transmission service between ECHO-connected Alarm Receiving Centres and the police, eliminating the communication errors and delays associated with manual telephone call handling in order to deliver a quicker police response.

ECHO delivers time savings in circumstances where ‘every second counts’ as blue light services respond to emergency alarms. Alarm signalling to the police via the ECHO hub replaces the traditional manual handling of alarm calls (by voice calls) between Alarm Receiving Centre and police Control Rooms. On average, this can save up to three minutes in police response times.

The Metropolitan Police Service and Essex Police were the first police forces to be ECHO-connected in 2021, with the Avon and Somerset Police, Northumbria Police, Bedfordshire Police, the Cambridgeshire Constabulary, the City of London Police, Kent Police, the Hertfordshire Constabulary and Greater Manchester Police following suit. Merseyside Police and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary are now in test mode.

With upwards of 300,000 alarm installations now ECHO-connected and supported by ECHO, tangible benefits are already being delivered, including improved police alarm response times and the more effective deployment of police responders to ECHO-connected alarmed premises.

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