Home security is high on most people’s agendas, but unbeknown to many, millions of UK homes are at risk because of a serious deficiency in a product we all see as providing a barrier between burglars and our possessions – the trusty old lock.
Raymond Pearce, technical and operations manager for Avocet Hardware, talks to MyTrade TV about the fight against lock-snapping.
“If you mention lock-snapping in conversation, the chances are the vast majority of people will know what you’re talking about. What’s more worrying is that an ever increasing number of people now know someone directly affected by it.
But the most worrying aspect of all is that when you tell people the hard facts about lock-snapping, every last one of them will be left shocked and stunned. And that’s because the facts make extremely unpleasant reading.
Today, millions of homes across the UK are at risk of lock-snapping attack because the Euro cylinder lock that is fitted as standard on all uPVC and double glazed doors can be snapped in a matter of seconds.
And to give you an idea of the extent of the problem, many police forces freely state that over 50 per cent of all break-ins can be attributed to lock-snapping.
When you realise the scale of the problem you would think that everybody in a position to do something about it would be reading from the same song sheet and making sure everything that possibly could be done to stamp it out, would be. Shockingly, they’re not.
- Insurance companies still insist on replacing snapped locks with like-for-like products, a practice that puts burgled homes back at risk
- A host of lock manufacturers confuse the picture by claiming their products are snap-proof or snap-secure when tests categorically show they aren’t
- Numerous products boasting the British Standards Institute’s TS007 3-star certification for snap-secure locks – a standard that is meant to provide peace of mind – have been proven unable to withstand a lock-snapping attack carried out using tools that can be purchased freely and cheaply on Amazon.
When you lay out the facts like this they truly are scandalous.
And that’s before you take into account that national TV programmes like This Morning have broadcast incorrect information about lock-snapping and how to stop it as fact.
One of the main reasons for the shocking situation we find ourselves in, and the lack of anything resembling a cohesive plan to turn things around, is that lock-snapping has long been seen as a geographical problem, with certain areas affected more than others. The argument being put forward that publicising the issue will only exacerbate the problem across the entire country.
But I can’t think of one person who would prefer to be kept in the dark about a security aspect of their home that is in fact a major security risk.
Thankfully certain elements of the media are slowly coming round to this way of thinking, with the BBC’s Watchdog Test House and Crimewatch Roadshow recently airing informative pieces on lock-snapping.
Incredibly there is a solution, but for some reason it hasn’t been welcomed with open arms, which when you consider everybody is aware of it is perhaps the most unbelievable aspect of the whole lock-snapping debacle.
Sold Secure was established by Northumbria and Essex police in 1992 and given Home Office backing. Its aim was simple – to reduce the risk of crime through the assessment of security products. Today it is administered by the Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) and amongst its various standards is SS312 Diamond accreditation.
This is the most robust testing process on the market and is continually updated. If a lock carries this standard it is snap-secure. And what’s more, manufacturers have to resubmit their products for testing every 12-months to ensure they can be tested against the latest lock-snapping techniques.
If everyone took this on-board and advertised the fact then lock-snappers would quickly be stopped in their tracks, a move that would make homes across Britain far more secure.”
“LOCK SNAPPERS STOLE MY GIRLFRIEND’S CAR”
On Saturday 22nd March, Mark Davies and his long-time girlfriend, Ruth Harrison went out for a romantic meal at their favourite restaurant, but when they returned to their West Yorkshire home they found their locks had been snapped and Ruth’s most prized possession, a Mini Cooper that matched her hair colour, had been stolen from their driveway.
And to rub salt into the wound, Mark’s insurance company stated that it would only replace the snapped locks with like-for-like replacements – meaning his and Ruth’s home would be left as at risk as it was before the burglary.
“What really irritates me is that had we known our locks were at risk of being snapped so easily then there is absolutely no doubt we would have upgraded them a long time ago,” said Mark.
“But it wasn’t until Avocet Hardware read our story in the local paper and contacted us to offer a free upgrade to their ABS snap secure locks that we did some research. We were absolutely staggered to find out about the scale of the lock-snapping problem and the fact it is something that the British public isn’t fully aware of.”
“Everyone from the police to the media and right through to the insurance companies, who are simply replacing snapped locks with like-for-like replacements, should take it on themselves to inform the British public of the danger and let everyone decide for themselves if they want to take steps to properly secure their homes.”
“I, for one, am extremely angry that it took our home being burgled and our possessions stolen for us to find out the truth about lock-snapping.”
Raymond Pearce of Avocet added: “Like Mark says, everyone needs to pull together, and this should start with insurance companies who need to provide incentives for those upgrading their doors to snap-secure solutions or, at the very least, ensure homes that have been broken into have at-risk entry points upgraded to a suitable standard of lock.”
Avocet Hardware was recently announced as NHWN’s primary sponsor for security products for 2014 / 2015 – a partnership aimed at helping secure local communities through a process of education, promotion and incentivisation.
The company also manufactures the ABS snap-secure lock, which has Sold Secure’s SS312 Diamond accreditation. For additional information visit www.homesecurityandsafety.co.uk or call 01484 725601