Ensuring you avoid a nasty Christmas surprise


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Christmas should be a time of relaxation with family and friends, however, the joy of Christmas can be spoilt if you are called out to attend a break-in or other incident at your site. David Ward of Ward Security gives some advice on safeguards to ensure this doesn’t happen.

While Christmas is a time when many businesses and staff wind down and take a well-earned break, we should never forget that the criminal element will see the festive period as a bumper opportunity.

Many business premises will be vacant or operating with a much reduced staff and therefore will present an easy target for burglars and others. And as Christmas tends to affect all businesses, you cannot rely on neighbouring businesses to be vigilant on your behalf as they will similarly be vacant or operating with a skeleton staff,

The other complication at this time will be the unusual behaviour of the Great British Public. You will see people at Christmas behaving in ways they don’t throughout the rest of the year. People will be out and about at odd times throughout the day and night, and it is behind this general confusion that burglars and others can operate without attracting attention.

So what simple steps can you take to help ensure your Christmas isn’t ruined by a call from the police to tell you of a break in?

1. Ensure staff don’t overlook security in their pre-Christmas excitement. Staff will often be focussed on office parties; Secret Santa; tying up loose ends and tidying desks before the Christmas break; and wishing customers, partners and each other a Happy Christmas. With the final week before Christmas typically very busy with such activity, it is easy to forget the basics. So make sure you remind them to be security aware and think about scheduling a mandatory time when all staff conduct a final security check of the site to ensure doors and windows are closed and locked.

2. If you have an intruder alarm make sure your keyholder details are up to date and your alarm receiving centre or helpdesk has an updated list of approved contractors. The last thing anybody wants is to be called out on Christmas Day to attend an intruder alarm particularly after drinking wine over Christmas lunch. A relatively inexpensive keyholding contract for the year will be far more cost effective.

3. Ensure the keyholding company and contracting staff are fully aware of locations of key items like stopcocks, fire extinguishers and other essential services. This is very important if there is an incident such as a burst pipe or fire caused by intruders. Giving contractors this vital (but often overlooked) information could be invaluable if there is an incident and you are not available to attend the scene.

4. If you do not have an intruder alarm or fire protection system, consider installing a Wireless Intruder Detection System (WIDS) for the Christmas period which can be rented on a weekly basis and can be easily installed and set to report back to a control room to ensure your premises are monitored. This WIDS system can tie in to your keyholding service to give a better level of security cover.

5. If you don’t currently employ a security company then it may be a good investment to consider booking temporary security staff to cover on a short term contract basis. Ensure they begin by conducting a proper risk assessment of your site, no matter how small it is, and that you receive a breakdown of their operations procedure and a schedule for your business that shows who is on site and when. Finally, don’t leave your security until last minute because security companies and their staff are already booking in their additional Christmas work now. The closer you get to the Christmas period, the harder it will be to find a good quality service provider.

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