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Locksmith Clippings and Musings December 2015 by Helen Duval

An increasingly ageing population, an overflowing NHS, personal safety, flooding and cybercrime are hardly topics that we want to be covering as we head up to the festive season, yet they are dynamics that affect us all in some way, and must be looked at as we head to the new year.

Security and safety has never been more of a focus in everyday life, particularly when considering recent events in the news, so it is somewhat soothing to see the developments that our customers are introducing to combat some of these issues.

Responding to the challenge of keeping the weaker and more vulnerable in society safe has slowly become more and more important to all of us. The Happi (Housing our Ageing Population: Plan for Implementation) reports of 2012 show that good design principles are making a noticeable difference in the construction sector, with a variety of specialist and improved care housing having been introduced into design for the elderly.

More recently, a revolutionary new housing option has been put onto the near horizon which seems to be a popular alternative. Intergenerational housing enables people of all ages to live together, removing the isolation associated with specialist housing for the more elderly. The idea being that young people and families will be mixed together with more elderly people, to give a greater sense of community to all ages. Undoubtedly, attached to that will be the need for improved home security, particularly for those who feel more vulnerable and threatened. It was notable that the BSI has revised the BS 9991 code of practice relating to fire safety in the design, management and use of residential buildings. The revised code has an added section covering fire safety precautions in sheltered housing for vulnerable residents.

The AutoLock from John Fredericks as well as exciting developments with the MACO range for 2016 also are sure to reinvigorate the home security sector. Equally, Trojan, Windoware and Avocet are inspiring the security industry with innovation and patented products that will continue to offer homeowners greater peace of mind.

With mixed usage becoming an increasing element to modern construction programmes, it was interesting to learn of a recent project which reflected the high standards required regarding increased security for multipurpose buildings. Technal announced its SOLEAL aluminium door system had been specified for an office and apartment complex, in a refurbishment project at Clifford’s Inn, London. A single product was required to serve all occupants and users of the building including staff and visitors. The SOLEAL high traffic door option, uses a 55mm deep module for pivot doors whilst achieving low U-values of 1.4W/m2K. This meets the security specifications of BS EN 1627-30 required for Class RC3 in relation to burglar resistance.

Document Q will inevitably become increasingly important in relation to industry standards, as consumers will look for accreditation and reliable guarantees when making their investments.

It is probably no surprise to anyone that cybercrime is the new demon to be faced by all of us. For some this is not a new topic but rather one that has been like a sleeping giant newly awoken, particularly with crime rate soaring for this in England and Wales. For the first time it has been incorporated into national crime statistics and its presence is quite frightening as an offence that is on the increase.

The sharp rise of criminal offences relates to a ballpark 5.1m online fraud incidents alongside 2.5m cybercrime offences. Sad statistics considering the underlying overall crime figures demonstrate a fall of 8% nationally if these two areas are excluded from the data. But sadly they aren’t and they are there for all of us to have to face. So innovation and protection surely must a major topic in this area for 2016.

FENSA is currently warning traders and businesses to be aware of online fraud with commercial criminals. A recent scam brought to light by the association relates to telephone thieves targeting registered installers, requesting their bank details. Anyone receiving such a call should contact the Police and FENSA immediately to report the incident, as registered installers are never asked to provide such details over the phone by FENSA. It is always important to reinforce these issues as we can easily forget that it is a crime that will escalate if opportunists see a gap to force.

The greater willingness of victims to report cybercrimes will eventually lead to a decrease in statistics, as laws change and penalties for these crimes become more severe – which actually, in the long run, is a hugely positive outlook.

On a very positive note, for those who took part in our Christmas Charity this year we would like to offer our sincere thanks – the children were delighted with Santa’s unexpected visit and it was so rewarding to generate a little positivity in what can only be a very difficult time for patients and their parents. The nursing staff were so welcoming which added to the good-feel moments of the day. The huge smiles all round said it all!

It just leaves me to close my section of the Locksmith Journal for this year with a seasonal message of thanks to all our customers and supporters across the industry. It has been a great year and we have enjoyed working with you tremendously. We all look forward to working with you again in 2016 and hope that it will be a positive and prosperous year for all of us.

Helen Duval

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