Break-ins are a highly distressing experience for many businesses, and can result in the theft of property, destruction of stock, and risk to personal safety.
It is well-documented that sites which have been burgled before are more likely to fall victim again; as such, it is essential to report any break-ins to the police to raise awareness of criminals operating in your area.
These reports should include all available information to help identify suspects, including significant dates and times, whether the suspect is armed, and descriptions of any stolen items.
If you suspect that a break-in is motivated by harassment, stalking, or violent behaviours, it is essential to bring this aspect to attention. You may do this by moving to a safe location, calling 999, and expressly stating that you feel that your personal safety is in immediate danger.
When To Dial 999
The 999 line is strictly for emergencies only; call this line only if the break-in is currently ongoing, or if you feel your personal safety is currently at risk. You can call 999 if:
• There is a threat to life
• Violence to a person or property is imminent
• A serious offence is currently in progress
• A suspected offender is currently at the scene of an incident, or any delay in reporting the incident may prevent the offender from being apprehended
• Serious disruption to the public is currently taking place, or is likely to take place
When To Dial 101
The 101 line is used for reporting crimes that do not require an emergency response. Call 101 to:
• Get crime prevention advice
• Speak to your local police officer
• Report a non-emergency crime (including burglary or break-in of a property after the event)
When To Use The Online Non-Emergency Crime Reporting Form
The Non-Emergency Crime Reporting Form is used for reporting burglaries of non-domestic and commercial premises, such as outbuildings, vehicles, and places of work.
You can use the online Non-Emergency Crime Reporting Form to inform the police about:
• A burglary of non-domestic or commercial premises
• Theft from - or damage to - vehicles
How To File A Police Report
The police are skilled in handling calls with victims of crime who are in distress, or who are currently in a dangerous situation. Your officer will guide you through a series of questions, which you will need to answer to the best of your knowledge, with as much detail as you can accurately provide.
To make sure the police service can assist you as much as possible, follow these steps:
1. Ensure You Are Safe
If the intruder is still inside the building, you will need to ensure your own safety before telephoning the police. The safest option is always to exit your premises through a door or window and find shelter at a neighbouring property.
If you are unable to exit the building, you should find a locked room such as a toilet cubicle or storage room. Hiding within an object - such as a wardrobe or cupboard - should be a last resort.
You are legally permitted to use reasonable force against an intruder if you feel that your life, or the lives of others, are in immediate danger; you do not have to wait to be attacked to defend yourself in your property. In addition, you may legally use an object as a weapon to defend yourself.
If the intruder is no longer in your building, but you continue to feel at risk of violence from stalking, harassment, or threats, ensure that you are in a safe place (such as a neighbouring premises or outdoor public area), and call 999.
2. Do Not Touch Anything
The police may need to take fingerprints to identify the intruder.
To avoid corrupting evidence, avoid touching anything within your premises until the police can investigate. This may require you to temporarily leave the area until the investigation has taken place.
3. Record The Call
Place the phone on loudspeaker and record the conversation using a call recording smartphone app or other recording device, as you may need this for evidence later.
Immediately inform the police that you are recording the conversation before continuing the report.
4. Answer Questions Accurately And In Detail
The police will guide you through a series of questions: you should answer accurately, providing all confirmable details including dates and times.
However, do not attempt to guess information - such as the point of entry or items stolen – and only give details that you are able to verify.
5. Store Your Crime Reference Number
The police should issue you with a crime reference number; if not, ask for one. You may require it for follow-up telephone calls, or for reports to your insurance provider.
6. Obtain CCTV Footage
If you have a CCTV system, or any other video recording device (such as a video doorbell, for example), ensure you have downloaded any relevant footage to show to the police. This could be essential to identifying a suspect.
If you do not have access to a recording device, you may wish to approach neighbouring properties to ask if their cameras have captured anything suspicious.
7. Direct The Police
When the police arrive at your premises, immediately direct them to any cameras that may have captured an intruder. Provide them with all information available to you, including any relevant information that may have been gathered by other security technology - such as the time of the intrusion, and the point of entry.
8. Call Your Insurance Provider
When the police have left, immediately inform your insurance provider. They may be able to issue advice about whether you are covered for burglaries and repairs.
9. Stay Secure
If you are unable to call your insurance provider, or if you are unsuccessful in your repair cover claim, you may need to carry out the repairs of any damage yourself.
While the work is ongoing, you may wish to operate from another location until your property is fully restored – especially if you feel your property will remain unsecured or unsafe until the job is completed.
Want to properly protect your premises against thieves, vandals, and other intruders? Make sure you contact us!