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Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have a question about policing or the law? You may be able to find the answer here.

Through our frequently asked questions section we aim to help you find the answers you need without having to call us to ask for information. We've provided answers to questions on a range of topics which are regularly asked of police forces up and down the country.

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There are various different types of smoke alarm. Smoke alarms are widely available and can cost as little as £5. The cost of a smoke alarm varies on the type of detection it uses.

Ionisation

  • These types of smoke alarms detect free burning flames such as chip pan fires.
  • They detect the smoke before it gets thick.
  • Cost from under £5
  • Availability - can be found in most supermarkets and DIY stores

Optical

  • These are more sensitive and will detect slow burning fires
  • Less likely to go off whilst you are cooking
  • Cost from £15
  • Availability - can be found in DIY and electrical stores

Combined

  • These detect both free burning flames and slow burning fires
  • Cost from £5
  • Availability - can be found in DIY and electrical stores

Some fire services offer free smoke alarms to the elderly and vulnerable, contact your local fire station for more details.

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Answers in this FAQ section are provided by the 'Ask the Police' website. Produced by the Police National Legal Database (PNLD) team, 'Ask the Police' is an official police site approved by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC). All FAQ answers are © PNLD.