With over a third of our lives being spent at work, having a secure office base is vitally important.
Modern security solutions such as CCTV systems play a major role in crime prevention and the identification of criminals who may be operating in professional settings. These measures, combined with regular training, supervision, and adherence to security policy give your business the best protection against criminal activity.
But what are the biggest security risks to office spaces, and what can business owners do to overcome them?
1. Theft And Fraud
If your office is private and closed to the public, you may believe that there is no risk of theft to your business. However, employee theft affects 95% of companies and costs UK businesses a total of £190 million per year.
As many as 67% of British office workers admit to stealing from their office. These items are often considered minor, with stationary (71%), toilet roll (52%), and food and drink (44%) being the most commonly stolen things, however, a shocking 11% of employees reported having stolen personal items from a colleague's desk.
In addition, nearly three-quarters of individuals who reported stealing from the workplace were never caught.
Fraud also constitutes a large proportion of lost revenue, with £76 million lost to employee fraud. 40% of fraud committed against UK businesses is committed by employees, 12% of which is committed by upper-level management.
Document theft is another danger that businesses should be aware of; this form of corporate theft puts confidential information at risk and opens the company up to potential risks.
Small businesses are particularly at risk of theft and fraud, with 80% of thefts occurring in workplaces with fewer than 150 employees, and 50% in workplaces with fewer than 25 employees.
Installing a CCTV system with access controls enables your business to restrict entry to unauthorised personnel, and monitors the activities of occupants entering and leaving the building.
In fact, CCTV and intruder alarms are considered essential theft deterrents, and can be set to alert a member of management - or a central call centre - in the event of a break-in. CCTV also allows business owners to identify when employees enter a restricted area, which can help to reduce the impact of employee theft.
2. Harassment And Assault
Harassment and assault constitute 12% of crimes committed against businesses, according to statistics from the Home Office.
A shocking statistic released in 2021 found that as many as 88% of UK workers had experienced verbal assault, and government data (2021) has revealed that half of women and two-thirds of LGBTQIA+ people have experienced harassment in the workplace.
Sexual harassment may be particularly difficult for employers to identify; while 45% of women report sexual harassment in the workplace, 58% do not file a complaint, as many report fears of further repercussions.
Figures released by the Health and Safety Executive also found that there were 688,000 reports of workplace violence in 2019/2020 - 299,000 of which were physical assaults. And in 2018/19, workplace violence accounted for 8% of all non-fatal work-related injuries.
Perpetrators of assault were most likely to be unknown to the victim, with 60% of violence committed by strangers. Of the 40% remaining known perpetrators, they were most likely to be clients, or a member of the public known through the workplace.
Lastly, almost half (46%) of CVS survey respondents stated that they had experienced an increase in violent crime since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Installing a CCTV system is an effective deterrent to aggressive and antisocial behaviour.
And if the situation escalates, it is also an effective tool for identifying the crime and the perpetrator, so that they can be reported to the relevant authorities.
3. Vandalism And Criminal Damage
Vandalism accounts for 9% of commercial crime and costs UK businesses £9.8 billion every year.
Although often going unreported, vandalism can be devastating for many companies and can cost thousands of pounds to rectify. Some forms of criminal damage - such as arson, and vandalism that incites hate - pose a risk to life. They are therefore considered serious offences in UK law and carry heavy sentences.
Property damage can also expose your premises to further criminal activity - for example, broken locks, smashed windows and doors, and damaged security systems can all lead to your business being the victim of additional crimes. As such, it is imperative that businesses act as soon as possible when damage to property occurs.
Installing a CCTV system outside your premises deters vandals from targeting your business and helps to identify offenders. Using gate automation and intruder alarms can also help to prevent criminals from gaining access to the site, and will limit any damage that your property sustains.