Reaction Unit


Reaction unit response times

Prompt response times are of paramount importance to all clients. The vast majority complaints received from disappointed clients are about poor response times.

What causes poor response times?


  • Delayed dispatch of reaction vehicles by Controllers because of simultaneous alarm activations.
  • Managing premises keys on behalf of clients.
  • Peak hour traffic – congested
  • Reaction officer not knowing the area. Needs guidance from the Control Centre if no GPS available.
  • Literacy when using a GPS.
  • No Alpha signboards at a premises.
  • Premises without properly marked street- or plot numbers.
  • Responding to false alarm signals.
  • Responding to over active faulty systems.
  • Responding to power surges.


Simultaneous alarm activations.

Alpha Security operates with an average of eight response vehicle 24/7. Which is double and in some cases even more than the number of reaction vehicles of the opposition companies. All reaction vehicles operate in specific allocated areas making use of identified standoff points that offers the best response time in that particular area. However, in the event of receiving simultaneous alarm signals from an area, the Controller have to decide to either wait for the reaction officer to complete the first investigation or to dispatch an officer from the adjacent area to attend to the second alarm condition.

What are the implications?


  • If the officer investigating the first alarm condition detects a burglary, he has to remain on the premises until he is relieved by the Shift Commander. This can sometimes be time consuming as the Shift Commander roams all areas to check and assist his officers. He could also be attending to another incident.
  • The officer of the adjacent area whom is dispatched to attend to the second alarm condition can only observe the premises from outside the parameter, since he will not have the key to gain entry to the premises. Yet he offers a response time to make an observation to inform the Control Centre of the urgency of the alarm condition. Once the officer with the keys of that area arrives at the premises he relieves his colleague who then returns to his area. The officer with the area keys will then proceed with the investigation.


Client premises keys

Alpha Security presently have to manage ten containers containing on average between 250 and 400 premises keys per container. The keys are tagged with a security code completely different to the client’s alarm security code recorded in the Control Centre. It is an additional code to identify the key on one of the various key rings in the container. The Control Centre numbers the rings per area and registers the key code per ring on the client’s record in the Control Centre. (e g.) When an officer arrives at a premises, the Controller will inform him to look for ring number 8, key code 459. The officer will then take ring number eight and proceed to the gate.

What are the implications?


  • Premises keys are not duplicated.
  • The officer working a specific area is responsible for his area keys. In some cases he has to detach the key from the ring to enable him to gain entry to a premises because of the limited space to insert the key into the lock at the gate. Once the gate is unlocked he puts the key in his pocket and proceeds with his observation. By the time he has given feedback to the Control Centre, he has forgotten about the key in his pocket. Especially when it gets busy and he has to proceed to the following alarm condition.
  • When the next shift takes over, they will not have a key to the premises.
  • When responding to the same premises the officer who came on duty will search through all the key rings in the container to ensure that it was not misplaced by his colleague, thus making him look incompetent in the eyes of the client or whoever is watching him.
  • Irate clients had from time to time reported that they found a bunch of keys on a key ring lying at the gate or on the pavement. It could easily have fallen into the hands of criminals giving them access to various premises in that area. Though there are no addresses displayed on the key tags, they can still try to use them.
  • Reaction vehicles are on the road 24/7 which make them prone to accidents. It has on occasions happened that the key container was flung out of the vehicle during an accident, causing staff to search the area for keys. One will only know what was lost once the keys are checked against the records kept in the Control Centre. This is a very time consuming exercise and also very embarrassing to inform clients that their premises keys have been lost.
  • Whilst in the process of checking the key records in the Control Centre, officers will have to respond to alarm conditions in that area without premises keys. Once again, making them look incompetent.
  • Taking responsibility for premises keys, is a liability that clients should take upon themselves by making use of trustworthy key holders to unlock their premises when needed. Whoever insists on leaving their keys with the security company, will have to pay an acceptable levy to the security company to act as key holder for them. Alternatively should they consider to install electronic access control equipment at the gate to allow access to their premises. To view the products available, visit our products page.


Power Failures

During power failures, the Control Centre receives a multitude of alarm signals simultaneously from the affected area. Every single signal on the stack received has to be attended to. The quickest way to clear the stack is to scroll down the stack and firstly attend to all the panic signals received. All subsequent signals will automatically be added to the bottom of the stack.

What are the implication ?


  • All reaction vehicles are used to attend to the power fail areas.
  • Lengthy delays in attending to the subsequent signals received causing poor response times.
  • Irate and dissatisfied clients because of poor response times give cause to clients wanting to cancel.


Question arising.

Why should security service providers be accountable for power failure signals without being rewarded with an acceptable levy?