This is your ultimate guide to securing your business premises against theft, arson and vandalism.
Almost all businesses with a public-facing premises are at risk of crimes like theft and vandalism and these incidents affect your bottom line. Having suitable security in place will reduce the potential damage caused by criminal activity.
Businesses of all sizes are worried about security, especially as so many businesses have found themselves closed by COVID-19 restrictions this year, leaving their stores, restaurants, workplaces and offices sat empty in desolation.
This guide contains helpful steps that you can take to protect your business against crimes such as theft and vandalism. At CTR Secure Services, we operate a security hub that has grown to become one of the leading monitoring and command centres in the UK and Europe. We’re highly experienced in providing advice and consultancy to businesses just like yours.
On-Premises Security Tips for Businesses
Perform a Risk Assessment
Before putting security measures in place, you need to take stock of all the risks in your business.
You should gather local data from other business owners and be active within your local business community. Be alert to local incidents of vandalism, graffiti and thefts in the same area. Consider meeting your local Police Community Support Officers and introduce yourself, make sure that you keep in contact with your local police service in the event of any local crimes if you feel that you’re at risk.
As well as looking at outside risks, look at the risks within your own business too!
Here are some things to consider when undertaking your risk assessment:
- Where are all the possible entrances and exits to the premises?
- How long would it take between the alarm sounding and someone to arrive?
- How easy or difficult would it be for criminals to get away with stolen goods?
- Which areas are most vulnerable to theft? E.g. areas used to store high value goods
- Do you have a written and visual record of who enters and leaves?
- What would be the cost of damage and loss to the business?
Take Simple Security Precautions during Business Hours
To start with, there are some simple and highly cost effective precautions you can put in place to improve security in your business premises.
Training all your staff on security will ensure that it’s always at the front of everyone’s mind. Also, individuals should all know exactly what their responsibilities are.
Premises Access Control
Keep a record via a singing in/out system for staff and visitors, ensure that staff wear ID badges and visitors wear visitor badges. This makes it very quick to identify genuine visitors from intruders during business hours.
“Hello, Can I Help You?”
Encourage all your staff to ask this question to anyone they don’t recognise in the building/on the premises, ask all visitors to state their name and give their reason for visiting.
Physical Security Measures
Windows and Doors
Windows and doors are an obvious vulnerable point in your business premises. Here is some advice on securing your doors and windows:
- Lock all windows and doors when the premises is empty, or when the last member of staff is leaving for the day.
- Use a “locking up” procedure or checklist and ensure all staff are fully trained
- Test all of your locks and ensure that they are conforming to British Standard 3621
- Never label keys with descriptive labels, always use a code that’s only for employees to understand
- Consider window bars or grilles for ground-level windows to protect them from vandals and those trying to gain entry by smashing through a window
- Consider installing steel shutters to cover windows and doors when the premises is unoccupied for extra security
Perimeter fences are useful for businesses that have car parks, yards, or other outside spaces. Valuable materials and vehicles may need to be left in these outdoor areas so it’s important that they’re not overlooked in your security arrangements.
- Secure fences and gates with padlocks when the premises is being left unmanned
- If possible, lock vehicles and valuable goods out of sight
- Ensure that the fence is well-lit and captured by CCTV cameras (if you have them)
- Consider your employees and visitors too, don’t make the environment seem unwelcoming with too many fences and walls! This may put customers off visiting you or affect staff well-being if it feels imposing.
Members of staff may have security as part of their daily job responsibilities, or you may have dedicated security guards and other security personnel.
Premises storing valuable goods that have been targeted by thieves in the past often have security guards patrolling the premises throughout the day and night to deter criminals.
Ensure that security guards have a valid SIA license issued by the UK Government, it’s illegal for a security guard to work without one!
Electronic Security Measures
Electronic systems allow for an additional level of security, beyond physical barriers and patrols.
CCTV not only acts as a deterrent, it’s also used as evidence in court to convict criminals.
In almost all cases, CCTV requires expert installation by an approved installer. We design, build and deploy various types of CCTV cameras, including covert CCTV, rapid deployment CCTV and full building installations for all types of businesses.
Here’s what you need to consider before installing a new CCTV system:
- How many cameras, and which types of cameras will you need to maximise coverage of your premises?
- Where will you position your cameras for the best results?
- Will your CCTV footage be monitored remotely in real-time or simply recorded for future viewing if required?
- Where is the CCTV footage stored and for how long?
- Do you have the appropriate privacy notices and signage in place to be compliant with the law?
There are some additional benefits to having high quality CCTV system in your premises:
- You have more control over who enters your premises
- Insurance companies can use CCTV for claims against your policy
- CCTV deters and prevents employee theft
Having CCTV installed in a public premises is a no-brainer and can save you a lot of money in the long-term!
When considering an alarm system for your business premises, you need to think strategically about its features:
- Instant response services and remote monitoring have greater benefits than audio-only alarms. It’s preferable for a system to alert both the police and the keyholders if it sounds.
- Ensure that your alarm system complies with British Standard 4737-3.0:1988 and is installed by a reputable supplier
- Check the particulars of your insurance policy for any specifications regarding the alarm system before committing to make a purchase
- Consider whether you need additional features such as a panic alarm for staff to use
- Ensure that your keyholders are local and able to attend the premises quickly in the event of the alarm sounding, for example, in the middle of the night. This is a big responsibility for any staff member to take on.
- Be aware of false alarms, the police may refuse to attend your premises if it happens too often. You can avoid false alarms by undertaking regular maintenance and testing
Fire Safety Measures
Fire safety regulations also contribute to the security of your premises. Arson attacks on businesses are frequent, so reliable fire safety systems can help reduce the damage and risk to people’s safety.
Here are some measure you should have in place:
- Store all combustible and flammable materials securely and away from public-facing areas where they may be used by criminals
- Control access to areas where dangerous materials are stored
- Regularly test all your fire suppression and alert systems including sprinklers, fire alarms, extinguishers, fire curtains or any other fire protection equipment you hold
- It is your legal responsibility to carry out regular fire risk assessments, you can be fined for not doing so.
Fire safety is vital to all premises and should never be underestimated as a risk to any business.
Insurance and Mitigation
It’s vital that you communicate all changes to your security systems to your insurance companies, as your policies may be invalid if you don’t! You should discuss the different measures mentioned in this article with your insurance provider to see whether you can save any money on your premiums by installing additional security.
In order to mitigate the risk posed by criminals as much as possible, you’ll also need:
- An updated inventory of all your assets
- Photographs of your assets stored remotely using Cloud storage or an off-site backup facility
- A detailed disaster recovery plan to cover various situations (fire, theft, flood, national emergencies, etc)
What to do in the event of a security incident?
If your business has been the victim of a criminal attack or theft, you need to act immediately for the best results of catching the culprits and recovering any damage.
Here’s what to do if your business is affected by a security incident:
- Call the police immediately and follow their guidance
- Involve your insurance company as soon as possible, delayed reports of incidents could have an impact on your claim
- Secure windows and doors if they were broken, but wait for the police to gather any evidence first!
- Assess the damage and potential losses
- Document the incident for your own records and for internal reviews/audits
- Review and improve your existing security systems to prevent future incidents
Speak to a Security Expert today
Are you worried about your business premises? It’s common for business owners and staff to feel anxious, especially during a nationwide-lockdown or over the Christmas Break. Our security consultants work with businesses of all sizes to provide critical advice and guidance to ensure that your assets, buildings and facilities are as secure as they should be.
Whether you need advice on the best way to protect yourself or guidance on how to increase security within your organisation, our advisory services can assist.