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What is keyholding and what are the benefits?

What is keyholding and what are the benefits?
What is keyholding and what are the benefits?


Keyholding means just that – your contracted security provider holds keys to your property, including any alarm codes or entry fobs required to gain access if there is an emergency, such as a security alarm, fire alarm or attempted intrusion.

Clearway keyholding ensures that a trained, reliable team of security personnel can address issues, respond to alarm call-outs, and verify whether there is an active breach, liaising with the emergency services where required and logging visits.

Many alarm activations are false, which can be stressful and costly for small businesses covering the expense of out-of-hours attendance by a designated keyholder.

Delegating this responsibility to a security provider ensures a prompt response to any possible issues and avoids putting staff in harm’s way.

Key Takeaways

  • Keyholding is when a trusted security provider holds the keys to your property.
  • Along with keys, this can also include alarm codes, entry fobs and other means of access.
  • The main benefit of keyholding is having a specialist take care of any vacant property security issues.


Keyholding Services

Keyholding Options for Business Premises

Traditionally, companies would nominate an emergency responder, usually a general manager or another person with a position of authority within the business, to be a keyholder.

This nominated individual would receive an alert if an alarm were activated for any reason, typically outside of operational hours.

For many companies, this model is ineffective and could require a staff member to attend an alarm call-out to find a robbery in progress or travel to a remote work site alone in the early hours.

Professional keyholding means that a security provider has your keys and can attend alarm call-outs. They can also provide lock and unlock services which, although slightly different, are important for higher-risk properties and premises.

Three Key Benefits of Professional Keyholding

  • Peace of mind: A keyholding service provides assurance and peace of mind that a competent security responder will attend and secure your site in your absence.
  • Verification: They can verify it as false if needed, identify the cause of the alarm, or liaise with the police, emergency services and site managers if the alarm is genuine and relates to criminal activity or an environmental risk.
  • Availability: Keyholders are available 24/7/365 and can react quickly. This offers many advantages, one of which being that staff will no longer be required, or relied upon, to respond out of hours to emergencies.

Safety Benefits of Keyholding

Although a large proportion of alarms are false, there remains the potential for a genuine alarm caused by

  • Fire
  • Smoke
  • Gas leak
  • Flooding
  • Intrusion
  • Break-in
  • Other criminal activity

Leaving a staff member to act as keyholder is inherently risky, particularly if they are expected to respond to alarms alone, in remote areas, and overnight.

Keyholding services ensure a qualified security responder or patrol team will react to alarms and take follow-up action as necessary and according to your security protocols.

Clearway keyholding is managed through local security teams, with alarms monitored and immediately logged at our NSI Gold Cat II Alarm Receiving Centre. Our trained responders receive an instant alert if an alarm is activated anywhere within your business.

Our facility operates 24/7/365 days a year, and can liaise with:

  • On-site responders
  • Police
  • Site management
  • Security personnel and patrols

To respond in an emergency, managing the situation until your premise is safe and secure and the alarm has been deactivated.

Having a security keyholder on hand means that regardless of the cause of the alarm or the severity of the incident, they will know how to respond.

Trained responders can identify how to react, who to contact and how to de-escalate situations.

In-house staff are not required to respond to alarms during unsociable hours, with associated costs for overtime, night-time work, or travel. They can focus on productivity without worrying that they may receive an alarm call-out at any time.

On the rare occasions that an alarm call-out is a genuine emergency and there is a risk of injury or abuse, a professional security responder will be dispatched to manage the situation rather than putting untrained team members at risk.

Open and lock up keyholding services

Keyholding Responses to Break-Ins

Many clients enquire about the protocol keyholders will follow if an alarm is activated by a break-in, attempted burglary, or vandalism – and it is important to have confidence that any call-out, from a false alarm to a criminal attack, is in good hands.

Our keyholding service begins with a site survey, ensuring we understand entry and exit points, have sight of your premises risk assessment, and have full knowledge of your security requirements, policies and systems.

If a keyholder attends a call out due to a break-in, the responder will remain on site until the situation is resolved, including waiting for boarding-up services if a window has been broken or waiting for the police if they are en route.

Clearway only employs certified security guards, who will conduct a site inspection, examine any damage caused, and file a full report to assist with insurance claims and police prosecutions.

protect vacant property with locks

Business Benefits of Keyholding

Any business can benefit from a secure keyholding service, relying on a professional security partner to deal with call-outs, protect assets and employees, and verify that a false alarm has been resolved.

Keyholders can also be tasked with additional duties to ensure your site is secure during periods of higher risk or when senior management is not on hand to open the building.

Clearway is a highly established security provider, working with businesses, public sector organisations and corporations nationwide, providing keyholding and other security services to a broad range of facilities, including:

  • Hospitality businesses: bars, restaurants, hotels, cafes, clubs and entertainment venues.
  • Education institutions: colleges, schools, nurseries,and university campuses.
  • Retailers: shopping centres, supermarkets, retail parks and outlets.
  • Construction and industrial sites: developments, warehouses, workshops, production sites and storage units.
  • Healthcare organisations: hospitals, care homes, health centres and clinics.

Managers of offices and co-working spaces also rely on keyholders to provide secure access, respond to alarm call-outs, and ensure that any emergency has been handled correctly and efficiently.

For more information about keyholding services, the benefits, and associated services, please contact Clearway.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the potential risks of using an internal staff member as a keyholder?

Having internal staff as keyholders could pose risks through putting the employee in a potentially unsafe situation or causing them to suddenly travel at unsociable hours to remote locations.

This could lead to stress, burnout and dissatisfaction among employees who feel they need to be on call outside their normal working hours.

How can keyholding services enhance the security of high-risk properties?

Keyholding services enhance the security of high-risk properties by ensuring a rapid and professional response to alarms. Beyond this, lock and unlock and inspection services can also ensure the vacant premises remain secure, reducing the risk of break-ins, with manned security acting as a deterrent to those looking to gain access.

How does a site survey conducted by a keyholding service provider benefit the client?

A site survey conducted by a keyholding service provider is beneficial as it ensures the security team has comprehensive knowledge of the premises, including entry and exit points, security systems, and specific risk areas. This allows them to respond more effectively to any incidents and provide more accurate and detailed reports following a call-out.

Why might a business choose a professional keyholding service over traditional alarm response options?

Professional keyholders are trained to handle a variety of emergencies, reducing the risk to staff and ensuring a prompt and appropriate response to any situation. This professional approach minimises disruptions, protects assets, and can often be more cost-effective than relying on internal staff responding to a traditional alarm, who may not be adequately prepared.

The Clearway Team

The Clearway Team

Clearway is one of the UK’s most successful, innovative and rapidly expanding integrated security services and intelligent protection organisations – designed to protect people, property and assets.

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