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. 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 or unforeseen emergency at your site?
- Ensure staff don’t overlook security in their pre-Christmas excitement. With the final week before Christmas typically very busy, it is easy to forget the basics. 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.
- Giving the appearance of occupation can be a useful deterrent. The use of timed lights, semi-open blinds and arranging for third parties such as cleaners to make regular visits to the property can help. Also removing articles of value, both internal and external, which can draw attention to the building. It is also good practice to schedule somebody to collect any post, which can be a clear sign to potential intruders that the building is vacant.
- 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 than a driving ban.
- Ensure the keyholding company and contracting staff are fully aware of locations of key items like stopcocks, gas and electricity supply 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.
- 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.
- 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 conduct a proper risk assessment of your site, no matter how small it is, and that you receive a breakdown of their operations procedure that shows who is on site, when, and detailing their planned activity. Finally, don’t leave your security until last minute as security companies and their staff are already booking in their additional Christmas work. The closer you get to the Christmas period, the harder it will be to find a good quality service provider.