UK businesses lose billions of pounds every year due to crime. Whether it’s break-ins, fraud or attacks on staff, the potential for crimes against businesses is massive.
A British Chamber of Commerce survey recently revealed that 80 per cent of organisations believe that crime against businesses is a problem in their area, while the cost of this crime is estimated at close to £13billion.
Valuable stock and equipment are lost, premises are damaged and staff morale can be affected. Although rare, in the worst cases staff themselves can be injured or even killed. Therefore, it makes sense to take appropriate security measures to protect your business.
The security measures you should employ will depend on factors such as your location, the type of goods you sell, your trading hours and the staff you employ.
Perhaps the most searching question businesses and its owners or managers should be asking themselves is: who should your company’s safeguarding and security be placed in the hands of?
Some businesses look to their own staff, but often this is a false economy. Recent research revealed that around 27,000 businesses could be at risk of workplace burglary as a consequence of misplaced keys and security procedures – contributing to raised commercial insurance premiums and potentially jeopardising operation time significantly.
Putting your business’s security needs in the hands of a professional could just be the best commercial decision you’ll ever make. You wouldn’t trust your postman to carry out specialist mechanical work on your car, so why should you put the responsibility for your business security in the hands of someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing?
Finding the right security company can be difficult. While many security companies purport to be able to offer the kind of services you’d expect (CCTV, mobile patrols, manned guarding), few are able – or willing – to really understand what the security needs of individual businesses are – and offer an appropriate solution.
One good way of telling whether a security company is up to the job is to check their accreditations. Ward Security, for example, currently holds SIA Approved Contractor Scheme for the provision of Security Guarding and Keyholding, is an Inspected Member of NASDU, which promotes welfare, standards, training and education within the security dog sector, and is an accredited member of the Approved Contract Scheme Pacesetters. Additionally, the business also holds ISO 9001 and 14001 accreditation as well as Investors in People.
So what types of services can you expect? Clearly, the service will depend on the level of security you need, the type of business and how much you are willing to invest. But some common methods used in business premises security include:
• CCTV – Closed-circuit television (CCTV) uses cameras to monitor the inside or outside of your premises. Some CCTV systems require manual operation, either by a private monitoring company or an appropriate member of staff.
CCTV can help by:
– deterring thieves
– watching remote areas or more than one area at once
– enabling premises to be watched in safety
– helping police to identify and prosecute intruders
Peter Stein, a former Metropolitan Police Crime Prevention Design Advisor, and CCTV specialist at Ward Security says the use of CCTV in securing work premises can be a valuable tool, “providing it is designed to achieve specific ‘operational requirements’.”
“An ‘operational requirement’ specifies what image is required to be seen at what distance,” explains Peter. “This information is used to select the correct lens, camera and lighting. It also specifies what action is to be taken when an incident occurs.”
Peter says there are many legal considerations in the monitoring, collection and storage of these images. “The majority of installations fail to address this vital stage and therefore fail to provide the required images,” he warns. “The specifications allow for scientific testing of images using industry standard test targets ensuring correct results. Sadly, it is not until footage of a suspected crime is requested that systems, even those that can be costly but fail to do this, are exposed, by which time it can be too late.”
• Electronic intruder alarms – alarms help to secure a building by alerting you, your security company or the police to the presence of intruders. They can also deter would-be intruders from attempting to enter the building in the first place.
These are particularly effective if they dial through to a control centre on the detection of an intruder as they allow for rapid response to your property even if you (or your keyholder) are unable to be reached.
• Static guards – a nice, visible guard on your site will help act as a deterrent for any opportunist criminals, as well as meaning that there is someone on hand if someone does attempt to break into your premises.
• Mobile patrols – if you feel that your business is too small to warrant a permanent guard presence then maybe a more random, mobile guard service would work better for you. These patrols can keep an eye on your business for you without the cost involved of a permanent presence.
• Dog patrols – patrols with dogs are particularly useful if your business is apt to attract large crowds, or be at risk of people trying to smuggle in drugs or other substances (for instance, bars or nightclubs) and also if there are large areas of property to patrol as a dog can move faster than a person
• Access Control Systems – these allow you to monitor who is entering your property when, which not only helps deter any outside criminals, but also any potential criminals within your own staff.
The message is clear: ignore business security at your peril. Speak to an expert who can properly assess your security needs. It might seem like an unnecessary cost, but can you really put a price on peace of mind?