New CPS Alarm Bylaw Changes

INFORMATION FOR CALGARY POLICE SERVICE PERMIT HOLDERS RE: Phased-In Changes to City of Calgary Alarm Bylaw 31M95 and CPS Dispatch Criteria

The Calgary Police Service recently approved a phased-in approach to revise the current Alarm Services Bylaw (31M95) and how officers are dispatched. This will result in a change in how and when police respond to alarm calls. Public safety is paramount to the Calgary Police Service; these changes will facilitate an improved service to permit holders and licensed alarm agencies.

The Calgary Police Service currently responds to approximately 45 alarm calls each day. Of these calls, 96 per cent are deemed to be false alarms. It takes significant police resources to clear a false alarm call. These changes allow CPS to respond to legitimate public safety concern calls for service.

Changes to the dispatch criteria will make for more efficient use of police resources and will better align Calgary with how other major police services across Canada and North America respond to alarm calls.

Please note that all calls for service involving panic, hold-up or duress alarms, and any verified valid alarm activations will still be attended to by police.

Changes to Police Dispatch Criteria

Effective May 15, 2016, Calgary 9-1-1 will no longer dispatch police to ‘1-hit’ alarm activations, where only one zone has been activated in a premise. Alarm agencies will also be required to conduct enhanced call verification, where they must attempt to contact at least two key holders prior to contacting police.

A second phase will be brought in during the second half of 2016, which will result in changes to Calgary’s current alarm permit system, associated penalties and additional dispatch changes.

Alarm System Permits

The Calgary Police Service will also begin charging for permits, which will require an annual renewal. Permitting fees will enable the Service to recover the costs associated with alarm calls, ensuring an efficient use of resources. The permit fee for residential and commercial/financial premises is still under review.

New False Alarm Penalty Fees

A new false alarm penalty structure for recurrent false alarms will also be implemented. Recommendations are being considered for the new false alarm penalty structure that will hold permit holders and alarm agencies more accountable when police are asked to attend alarm calls.

These recommendations are currently pending approval by City of Calgary Council.

False alarm penalties will continue to be charged to the licensed alarm agency requesting that police attend an alarm call. The false alarm
penalty fee structure will be based on a 12-month period.

These measures will recover costs associated with alarm bylaw administration and align with practices in other major jurisdictions.

Additional Police Dispatch Changes

Calgary 9-1-1 will no longer dispatch calls for service to premises where:
1) no alarm permit exists;
2) the permit is suspended;
3) the call for service is within 14 days of installation; and
4) the alarm agency is not properly licensed. Alarm calls will also no longer be dispatched for commercial premises during regular business hours, as indicated on the registered alarm permit.

Without having to respond to false alarms, members of the Calgary Police Service will be available to respond to other calls. We anticipate that Calgary will see improved call response times, with a focus on responses to valid alarm activations and priority calls, and no increased risk to the public.

You will receive further notification when an official date has been determined for the second phase of these changes.

If you have any questions regarding these changes please contact the Calgary Police Service Alarm Bylaw Unit at or 403-428-8336.

Additional Links

CPS: Alarm Permit Online Services

CPS: Responding to Alarms