As Christmas approaches NDML offer advice on burglar alarms and general security below.
Protect Your Business
The physical, emotional and financial impact of suffering a burglary can take a business a long time to recover from.
Having an adequate alarm system installed and adhering to basic security advice can effectively deter any wannabe thieves or petty criminals intent on harm.
Alarm systems offer two forms of protection; deterrence and detection. In the event of an intrusion, most basic alarm systems will trigger an audible or visual alarm. For better protection, many insurers insist upon a monitored alarm system; not only will this system react with a physical alarm, but it will also notify emergency responders of the situation.
Where to Start?
A quick search on the internet will return thousands of alarm companies, which can be overwhelming and discouraging. NDML suggest the following six steps to ease your search:
1. Establish what type of alarm your Insurance Company requires
2. Seek advice:- ideally through a personal referral or local law enforcement
3. Find a company with certified employees:- various training courses are available throughout the UK designed to educate people in fitting and maintaining alarm systems; at the very least they should be a qualified electrician
4. Evaluate work history:- one of the best ways to determine if an alarm company is credible is through consumer claims and work history
5. Organise meetings with potential companies:- your consultation should consist of a building inspection and security recommendations for your property
6. Learn how to use your system properly – ensure all necessary staff are trained in setting the alarm; regular tests should be carried out. NB; IF AN ALARM SYSTEM IS FITTED, THEN IT MUST BE SET WHENEVER THE PROPERTY IS VACANT. IF THERE IS ANY FAULT OF PROBLEM IDENTIFIED ON THE ALARM THEN THE PREMISES MUST NOT BE LEFT UNOCCUPIED UNTIL THE ISSUE HAS BEEN RESOLVED.– IF THIS IS NOT ADHERED TO THEN YOU MAY FIND YOURSELF NOT INSURED IN THE CASE OF A BREAK IN
A number of our clients have been affected by thieves entering the premises during normal trading hours and tampering with the magnetic alarm contacts. This means that when staff try to set the alarm when closing up for the night the alarm does not arm properly. This error might be identified from a message on the alarm panel or perhaps a different tone on the alarm. It is vital that your staff recognise whether the alarm is set properly or not.
General security advice
• Minimise the amount of cash you keep on the premises
• Leave the till open and empty after cashing up
• Make frequent pick-ups of money from tills and make regular bank deposits – employees in charge of making bank deposits should always be alert for strangers lingering at the bank. If in doubt, do not make the deposit while a suspicious person is in the area.
• Always ensure that any money in transit to the bank or elsewhere is accompanied by the relevant number of able bodied persons as required by your Insurance Policy.
• Install a good quality safe – be sure it is fireproof and securely anchored. It should be kept in plain view; and the combination should be changed when an employee who had access leaves your business. THE KEYS TO THE SAFE MUST BE REMOVED FROM THE PREMISES OUT OF BUSINESS HOURS OR PLACED WITHIN A LOCKED SAFE OR STRONGROOM THE KEYS TO WHICH ARE THEMSELVES REMOVED FROM THE BUSINESS PREMISES.
• Upgrade the security on your doors – deadbolt locks are an inexpensive way to keep intruders out of your workplace and many insurers require this as standard on all external doors and shutters.
• A more advanced way to secure your business is through an electronic access control system – this system will provide a record of who opened or attempted to open every door
• Padlocks, if used, should be close-shackle with matching locking bars. Remember to remove serial numbers from your lock to prevent unauthorised keys from being made
• Windows should have secure locks and ideally burglar-resistant glass – if absolutely necessary consider installing metal grates
• Always use interior and exterior lighting – installing and using motion sensor lighting is an inexpensive way to deter crime at your business.
• Utilise CCTV – criminal activity can be deterred by placing video surveillance cameras in plain view. Remember, you can only place video surveillance cameras in public areas
• Adapt a key control policy – your business may be vulnerable to theft if you are unsure who has access to your building. Make sure the keys to your venue cannot be duplicated without your permission. Document the names of employees who have company keys or access cards
• Create a visitor access policy – it is important to know who is coming into your business. If possible, have each visitor sign in and acquire a visitor’s badge
• Keep expensive/attractive items away from entrances
• Ensure that alarm codes are reviewed regularly and particularly when a member of your staff leaves your employ. Many alarms can be set to give each individual a different access code. This makes it is very clear who has operated the alarm at any given time.
• Be aware of suspicious strangers loitering in or near your place of business. Take particular notice of people who loiter during the opening and closing times of your business
• Try not to work alone. Studies indicate that the presence of several employees deter criminal activity
Once you are satisfied that you have robust procedures in place this will give you the peace of mind to enjoy the festive season.