The 2013 Home Office Commercial Victimisation Survey revealed that 40% of premises suffered some form of crime during the course of 2012 and 2013. Having surveyed 7.3 million different incidents, it transpired that theft was the cause of 7 in 10, or 5.1 million.

It is blatantly clear to see from these statistics that taking crime, and in particular theft seriously, is vital. Just as you carry out risk assessments for health and safety, so you should pay the same attention to security. Included in the risk assessment should be the level and types of crimes occurring in your local vicinity. You can call in the help of your local police in this respect, and you should also speak to your insurance brokers once you have your risk assessment complete to ensure you are covered at the right level, and fully aware of any particular security measures that are required by warranty.

Meantime, we’re going to take a look at three of the greatest theft related threats to business security, offering suggested solutions along the way.

Threat #1: Burglary

Even a break-in that doesn’t result in anything being stolen can lead to a raft of costly issues. Insurance premiums are likely to rise; sales could be lost and productivity affected.

Preventive security can be a major help in averting break-ins. Intruder alarms, security lighting and CCTV are some of the best deterrents you can invest in and, backed-up with physical measures such as security grilles, window bars and insurance graded locks, will provide you with an excellent first line of defence.

Another measure that can act as a deterrent is to security mark valuable items such as IT equipment, plant and machinery and tools. ‘SmartWater’, created by former police officer Phil Cleary, is a traceable liquid that carries a unique forensic ‘code’ registered to a particular address or location. Once applied it is virtually impossible to remove and can only be detected under UV light. Phil Cleary says, “Thieves who target businesses are far more likely to avoid premises where property has been made traceable, as it makes it difficult to sell on. Security marking items of financial value can deter theft in the first instance, and connects the goods back to the scene of the crime, enhancing the chances of them being returned.”

Threat #2: Employee Theft

According to the Home Office Commercial Victimisation Survey, there is reluctance amongst employers to tackle theft amongst staff. Just 30% of crimes like these were reported, compared to 83% of entry burglaries. Whilst a lot of businesses secure their premises from theft ‘on the inside’ using CCTV, it is important this is properly managed so as not to breach certain regulations. The Data Protection Act 1998 provides that data must be obtained lawfully otherwise it could be construed as a criminal offence, and that any evidence collected or stored outside of the provisions of the Act is likely to be inadmissible in court proceedings.

We dedicated a post to CCTV and the law back in January which you may wish to revisit if you are in any doubt as to your duties concerning the use of cameras and your legal obligations. In summary, any tools used for monitoring must, according to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) must be proportionate to the risk, must not infringe privacy and there should be limits to the information collected, with strict attention paid to its secure storage.

Threat #3: Retail Theft

The British Retail Consortium states that the impact of theft on UK retailers is at its highest in ten years. It also reports that in-store theft costs businesses on average £241 per incident.

Usually the first line of defence employed by retailers is security guards together with surveillance and monitoring measures such as CCTV. But there are other good ways to prevent theft in a retail environment.

Fitting display cabinets and showcases on the shop floor with high security locks is one of them. These come in a range of formats suitable for a variety of thicknesses of glass and types of cabinets, including those with sliding doors or double doors, or standard single or double hinged doors. To maintain aesthetics, you can also choose from various finishes such as bright chrome or satin nickel.

Storing high value stock items in safes during closed periods is another way to prevent retail theft. Choosing the right safe is important, and is something we have provided guidance on in a previous post: Spotlight on Safes.

Finally, controlling access to stock areas beyond the shop floor can make a significant difference. With an access control system you can set permissions so that you are in full control of who can enter what areas, and when. Systems can also provide an audit trail for tracing purposes.

Security Threats Come From a Range of Angles

In summary, threats to business security can come from a range of angles, including from the inside. The good news is that there are simple ways to secure your commercial premises and in doing so potentially save a great deal of time and money. For tailored advice on security measures that will meet all the needs and particular risks faced by your business, talk to the experts at Barry Bros Security.