Today’s modern entrance doors do an excellent job of keeping us secure. Yet the letterbox is the only part of your home that is open 24 hours a day, presenting a weakness in home defence. Alison Orrells, Managing Director of The Safety Letterbox Company, offers some ingenious solutions for protecting vulnerable residents and properties from unwanted items posted through the door.
Arson is a serious crime which causes deaths, injuries and damage to property. Home Office figures suggest arson costs the UK economy some £2 billion annually and is the single largest cause of fires in Britain.
The statistics are alarming. According to the Arson Prevention Bureau, each week in the UK there are more than 2,200 arson attacks, killing two people and injuring 53. No type of building is immune from the threat of attack; every week 262 homes, as well as 20 schools and colleges are damaged or destroyed by arson.
Deliberate fires can, of course, be started by various means. But one of the most distressing methods is via the letterbox. Flammable materials, such as fireworks or petrol, are pushed through the letterbox with often devastating consequences, making headline news. This ever-present crime threat is of particular concern for some communities leaving residents fearing for their safety, especially around November 5th.
To combat this threat, The Safety Letterbox Company (SLBC) developed a wide range of secure fire-rated and anti-arson mailbox solutions suitable for domestic, public sector or commercial use to protect against attack.
As the UK’s leading manufacturer and supplier of secure mailing systems, we work closely with architects, developers, social housing providers, governments and postal authorities to deliver the best solution for the project. We manufacture and install more than 120 models of mailboxes to suit any site profile, location and budget, from robust fire-rated products to design-led bespoke installations. All accept a minimum of A4-sized items.
Our key anti-arson product is Flaplock FL05, the internal lockable letterplate. Practical and affordable, it has achieved Secured by Design accreditation and is now being used by social housing associations, fire and police authorities across the UK and Ireland. It is a very significant product - unique, simple and a real solution to a growing problem.
As an effective security solution to address criminal methods of attack, access or any unwanted items being posted, through the letterbox, it is specified in Section 21 of SBD New Homes 2010 - a guidance document published by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). Flaplock FL05 also carries LPCB (Loss Prevention Certification Board) certification 1175 Issue 6, Security Level 1.
Robustly constructed from steel up to 3mm thick, Flaplock FLO5 is mounted on the inside of an external door using four dome-headed bolts which travel through the door. Steel pegs lock the flap and if forced, the mechanism become mores positive to resist intrusion.
It can be fitted quickly and easily onto any existing property, providing instant peace of mind for residents or landlords and securing occupied, empty or vulnerable buildings from attack via the letterbox. It can be left locked or unlocked to suit. When locked at all times, a separate individual mailbox such as a Eurobox can be fixed to an external wall to receive mail delivery.
Alternatively, an all-metal enclosed box can be installed over the letterbox opening on the inside of a front door to contain mail, unwanted or flammable materials and fire. For extra safety, a discreet fire extinguisher system can also be fitted. These solutions also address two other distinct crime risks highlighted by police - fishing (theft via a letterflap) and lock manipulation (opening the lock via the letterflap).
Flaplock is proving to be a very popular product and is being installed in a number of at-risk properties. For example, Sheffield Homes is an ALMO managing around 40,000 properties in the city. It has already fitted hundreds of Flaplocks and says feedback from tenants has been very positive. Flaplocks are fitted to a mixture of ‘vulnerable’ properties - flats and houses - and generally in response to threats, such as arson, or after such attacks.
“It’s a simple, but very effective way of providing peace of mind for our tenants,” says Alex Westran, Senior Housing Officer, Sheffield Homes. “If people are concerned about leaving their post in an external letterbox, we can offer a Flaplock instead. This means they have the option to lock their letterflap after mail has been delivered, with all the additional security that provides.”
Another customer, Chevin Housing Group, is fitting Flaplocks to long-term void properties as
Dennis Blewitt, Technical Officer, Property Services Department, says: “I find them very useful and they prevent ingress of unsuitable items etc.” For Devon & Cornwall Housing Association, the product meets an identified need for some of their properties and it has repeatedly ordered from us.
It’s not just residential buildings that benefit, as Stephen Maynard, Director of Robert S Maynard Ltd told us: “We are very pleased with the Flaplock as it was bought for our own use to stop vandals throwing fireworks and cigarette butts through the letter box at my office. It is a fabulous design. We only have the one letter box so we will not need any more, but we can highly recommend it and are happy to endorse it.”
Keeping our homes and business premises safe is an on-going challenge. From simple security products, such as Flaplock, to the complete design and installation service of innovative mailing solutions for all market sectors, SLBC aims to deliver.
For more information, contact The Safety Letterbox Company on 01639 633525 or visit the website - www.safetyletterbox.com.
Flaplock 2 FL05
Thanking you for your prompt delivery of the "Flaplock - tm1," now in situ. I'm very much impressed by its rugged construction,yet stylish appearance, along with the added security factor it undoubtedly provides.
"extremely easy to fit", even for the elderly.
I would not hesitate to recommend this product to family and friends, along with the excellent customer service i have received'. Mr Harrison Co Durham