The 2021 Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS) found that between April 2020 and March 2021, 38% of businesses were a victim of crime, with the most common offences being theft (27%), violence and threats (12%), and burglary (10%).
The survey also identified certain deficits in the reporting processes. For instance, while 93% of burglaries were reported to the police, that figure fell to 58% for customer thefts.
Thankfully, you can protect yourself, your business, and your staff by ensuring that you have the appropriate security measures in place. This will help you prevent theft and fraud, protect your employees and customers from the risk of violence, and safeguard confidential company and client data.
Let’s take a closer look at the most common security threats, and outline the steps you can take to protect against them.
1. Theft And Fraud
Many UK businesses have identified a rise in thefts and frauds since the end of the Covid-19 lockdowns, and figures released by the Office Of National Statistics reported a 32% increase in frauds during the year ending June 2021.
And while there was a temporary fall in theft incidents during the Covid-19 pandemic, this can mostly be attributed to the large number of business premises that were forced to close. Then, following the re-opening of non-essential stores in July 2020, incidents of theft from retail premises immediately rose by 27%.
In addition, thefts from supermarkets have risen by 22% since the recent cost of living crisis began, and two-thirds of shoplifters surveyed by My Favourite Voucher Codes identified rising retail costs as a motivation for theft.
Meanwhile, there has also been a rise in first-time shoplifters, and police officers have been issued with advice to ‘use their discretion’ when deciding whether to prosecute people who are stealing to feed themselves and their families.
The Security Solutions
• According to securitymagazine.com, there has been a rise in 'flash mob' burglaries since the pandemic, whereby a large group targets a business, making it unlikely that security or the police will successfully apprehend all suspects.
This risk can be greatly reduced by using measures such as CCTV, which will help the authorities to identify suspects by analysing the recorded footage.
• Using routine stock checks, in conjunction with a robust theft strategy and reporting process, is essential for identifying offenders and preventing repeated offences.
• Retailers that have previously been targeted by theft are more likely to be targeted again in future. Using a CCTV system helps to deter potential shoplifters, thereby making it less likely that your business will be targeted and then retargeted, while also helping to reduce thefts by opportunistic criminals.
• Using door locking systems and access controls will limit access to your premises when it is empty, and restrict unauthorised access to controlled areas. This helps to prevent theft and fraud offences by both customers and staff members.
2. Workplace Violence
Under the Health And Safety At Work Order (HASAWO, 1978) all employers have a legal responsibility to safeguard the health and wellbeing of their employees, and to identify and take preventative measures against violence, bullying, and harassment.
Despite these regulations, incidents of violence have continued to rise, with statistics from the British Retail Consortium (2021) suggesting that as many as 455 retail workers are being abused daily.
In addition, data from USDAW - the retail union for UK businesses - found that 90% of surveyed workers had been verbally abused, 60% had experienced threats of violence, and 9% were physically attacked. Meanwhile, statistics from The Health and Safety Executive (2020) found that public-facing workers were particularly at risk, accounting for 60% of all reported violent incidents.
The data on workplace violence also shows a worrying trend in serious injury, with as many as 35% of workplace violence incidents involving head injuries that can cause serious harm to health - and even potential death. Other commonly targeted sites on the body are the upper body (21%), the trunk (14%), and the lower body (7%).
Online harassment is also becoming a prevalent issue, as 23% of female workers have reported an increase in sexual harassment at work, with 42% of female victims of sexual harassment reporting that the incident happened online. 23.3% of employees also report bullying via email.
The Security Solutions
• CCTV cameras will capture evidence of any instances of workplace violence, thereby allowing perpetrators to be identified and reported to the police. CCTV also acts as a deterrent for violent crime, helping your employees to feel safer at work.
• Strict adherence to zero-tolerance anti-violence policies and reporting procedures are essential for risk reduction and effective management of workplace violence. Many victims of violence feel intimidated, and as such, employees must be given adequate support to report their experiences.
• Identifying risk factors is the first step toward preventing workplace violence, and risk assessments for workplace violence should be undertaken regularly. Managers should be aware of any conflicts within their teams, and alert to any employees who are struggling with stress or behavioural management problems.
• Using Access Controls helps to prevent security breaches by unauthorised members of staff and the general public. This protects your employees from the threats posed by potential wrongdoers, and also provides them with ‘safe spaces’ they can go to escape incidents of violence.
• Using alarms - such as panic alarms or intruder alarms - allows your employees to raise an alert if they feel threatened. This enables management to inform the authorities quickly and efficiently, and to provide a recorded time of the incident.
3. The Human Factor
Lax attitudes toward security protocols, appropriate behaviours, and adherence to company policies can account for a range of security issues from data leaks to incidents of violence.
Employees who are unhappy with their employer may pose particular risks, as a survey by security firm Cyber-Ark found that 88% of information technology workers would steal sensitive data if they were to lose their job.
Terminating volatile employees can also present significant risks to managers, who may be threatened with violence and harassment.
The Security Solutions
• Employees must receive regular training and management to enable them to properly adhere to your security policies and protocols.
• Managers must be trained in identifying potential security threats and de-escalating tense situations.
• Employers must de-activate employee ID cards and passwords immediately following their termination.
• Managers and employees should be given the support they require to report threats or instances of violence.
Want to use industry-leading security equipment to protect your premises, your business, and your team? Contact us and let’s get started!