Alarm centre with a bunker mentality
IT’S like something from a Hollywood movie – but Securi-Guard’s heavily protected underground bunker is real and actually next to Plymouth’s Holt Wood.
The Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) was built in Estover 15 years ago at a cost of about £500,000.
Next door to Securi-Guard’s offices, it’s sunk underground in a fenced-off compound, with 18-inch reinforced concrete walls, a steel-lined entrance, bulkhead doors, CCTV cameras, a back-up power supply and shock and gas detectors.
That’s because the ARC has to be ultra-safe from any sort of attack, whether from criminals or terrorists.
It was even built to withstand an airplane crashing on it, as it’s a stone’s throw from the now closed Plymouth City Airport.
Managing director Scott Boyd said: “We didn’t have to put it underground but decided to do it that way.
“We are considered a target, potentially, for someone who wants to target our clients’ vehicles or property.”
Inside the bunker, staff work around the clock monitoring 30,000 domestic and commercial alarms, keeping tabs on up to 3,000 lone workers, checking 500 CCTV cameras, and monitoring 20,000 vehicles.
Frank Kerr, the ARC’s senior supervisor, said 50 staff cover four 12-hour watches.
He said the centre was completely refurbished in February and added: “We can monitor any type of alarm: domestic, commercial, shopping centre, anywhere throughout the UK.
“We are tracking cars for various companies, domestic cars, HGVs, high-value loads.
“Lone working is there now too. That could be doctors and nurses with the NHS, anyone vulnerable: it’s growing.
“And the type of information we hold is very sensitive.”