Business crime accounts for 20% of all recorded crime in the United Kingdom, and cybercrime, in particular, is a growing threat. Meanwhile, criminals are continually looking for more creative ways to deprive genuine, hard-working business owners. This means that you, as the owner of a small business, have to think extra carefully about the security measures that you put into place to protect you, your business, and the people that work for you. Here are some of the things to think about:
- Risk assessments
A risk assessment is essential for not only protecting your business against crime but for keeping you, your employees, visitors and customers safe while working for you or on your premises. In fact, it is a legal requirement as laid out by the HSE in The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1999).
When it comes to crime, a thorough risk assessment will identify the factors that make you vulnerable and makes you think about how you can mitigate these risks. Are there specific points of the day where a robbery is more likely to occur? Note this down in your risk assessment and consider what you will do – perhaps having more staff on the rota to provide more eyes on the business, for example.
- Secure your premises
Strengthen doors, fit window locks, and add security lights if necessary. They will discourage burglars since most robberies are unplanned. Consider wireless CCTV camera system installation if access points are vulnerable. If you don’t have an alarm, get one in place and put up signs to warn visitors of its presence. These measures will cost you initially, but you may well find that your insurance premiums drop thanks to the increased protection. Other measures to put in place may include shutters or grills, although some areas require planning permission from the council.
- Make sure everyone knows what they are doing
Ensure that appropriate safety training is accessible and that everyone knows what to do in the event of a serious threat. Remind your staff that it is always better to give up commodities or cash than to get hurt by trying to defend it. As well, train your employees to spot signs of suspicious behaviour in those entering your premises. Your staff should know how to report the crime to you, too.
Keep as little cash as possible on-site and empty tills daily. Take any excess money to the bank as often as possible, but not at the same time every day – you never know who is watching and monitoring your routine. Put up signage alerting people to areas which should only be accessed by staff members.
- Carefully vet your employees
While some unscrupulous people might slip through the net occasionally, carrying out thorough checks on new staff members before you hire them is advised. Ask for a personal reference and a professional one – this should be the last person they worked for or are currently working for, or in the case of first jobs, someone from their place of education.