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Jingle Bells or Alarm Bells, dont let the alarm call outs ruin your Christmas

Alarm bells ringing, are you listening.

Fed up of getting that alarm call in the middle of the night, fed up of getting that alarm call during the Christmas Party, you don’t have to be the one carrying the keys and responding to your Intruder or Fire Alarms this year, we at Securipol can do the alarm call outs for you.

We specialise in Alarm Response and Key Holding, the service can be short or long term its entirely up to you. We will attend and rectify the alarm problem and nobody will be the wiser until you return to work after the Christmas festivities.

Don’t know what Alarm Response, Key Holding is, just ask the question “What is Key Holding” into google.

Covering all of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire every day during your Christmas close down, the alarm call outs are no problem to us.

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I wish I had a good company like Securipol to attend my Alarm Call outs

Give us a call and we will be happy to help.

Securipol Security do it again and apprehend Intruder

Intruder arrestedWe received a call from our Monitoring Centre stating that Intruder have been seen with torches inside one of the empty Oxfordshire County Council properties that we look after.

Our Mobile Security Officers were dispatched and after carrying out an external check found 2 insecure windows, this information was relayed back to the Securipol Control who contacted Thames Valley Police.

On arrival of the Thames Valley Police Dog handlers the property was entered and a thorough search was undertaken whilst this one being carried out the Police Dog found 1 Intruder inside the premises, this person was then arrested.

None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for our Wireless Active Witness deterrent system, the property doesn’t need any power or phone lines.

Dont let Intruders into your property catch them in the act without them them even knowing their being watched.

Squatting in unoccupied commercial properties

A history of squatting

In 1977, the introduction of both the Criminal Law Act and Protection from Eviction Act made it an offence to threaten or use violence to enter a property where someone is present and opposes the entry. This reduced the options that landlords had in attempting to physically remove trespassers from their property. The outcome has been that, in many cases, costly and time-consuming civil remedies have been the only option to remove a squatter.

However, while there was a level of protection for squatters in empty properties, most people don’t realise that in certain circumstances squatting was already a criminal offence – particularly in cases where a squatter’s actions affect the rights of an existing tenant or lawful occupier.

The new legislation has been designed to provide increased protection, specifically to residential landlords who own properties that may lie vacant for a period of time, pending re-let or sale. In practice, this means local authorities and property investment companies are likely to be the main beneficiaries.

What has changed?

The new anti-squatting provisions are found in section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. The act makes it an offence for an individual to enter a residential building, in the knowledge that they are trespassing on that property. The police can arrest and remove trespassers, as long as it can be shown that the trespassers intend to live in the premises.

However, the effectiveness of the legislation from a landlord’s point of view could be limited by its relatively narrow definition of a squatter. The act does not apply to previous or current tenants who have not paid their rent, or have stayed on after the end of a tenancy. Though landlords may have hoped to use the strengthened laws as a way to evict tenants who habitually fail to pay rent or refuse to move out when requested, this is not its intended purpose.

What’s more, it may be difficult for the police to establish the difference between a squatter and a tenant who is “holding over” when called upon by a landlord to remove an individual from a property. This in turn may make many police forces reluctant to get involved in cases where it is not immediately clear if an individual actually is a squatter.

Will the new legislation work?

Regular squatters are quick to learn how to exploit loopholes and in future are likely to be more apt in their tactics to avoid being charged under the new rules. There are a variety of tactics that squatters could conceivably use to deny wrongdoing – from claiming to have been squatting in an attached commercial unit, to pleading that they have been the victim of a fraudulent letting. In such cases, it may be difficult for the police officers on the scene to justify making an arrest.

So, while the first sentencing under the new legislation has shown that the courts won’t be afraid to come down heavily in cases where it is clear that the defendant is guilty, there are many contentious areas regarding the legislation that could yet limit the effectiveness of section 144.

Michael Whitworth is an associate in real estate at national law firm DWF

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