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Sign in shop window says closed due to coronavirus

Crime prevention advice for businesses

by Gemma Melling

The UK Government has brought in new national restrictions to help combat the spread of COVID-19. This includes the temporary closure of shops selling non-essential goods.

This will likely raise concerns for business particularly regarding the safety of their premises, so Knowsley Council are offering advice and guidance that businesses may want to follow to help keep themselves, their staff and their business safe.

Cllr Shelley Powell, Knowsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods said: “These are challenging times for everyone, including business owners in Knowsley. We understand they may be concerned about the safety of their premises so we encourage them to take a moment to read this advice and take the precautions they can.”

Additional guidance about Coronavirus can be found here on Knowsley News.

Advice for closed premises/venues that have been temporarily shut:

  • Review your security, considering your new situation and repair or address and weaknesses as soon as possible.
  • Check your insurance is up to date and that your policy will cover your new circumstances.
  • Ensure security gates, bollards, fire doors and external doors have been fully secured prior to leaving the premises.
  • As well as external security, ensure internal doors are locked and that access is restricted internally wherever possible – this could buy time in event of a break-in.
  • Test and check your alarm system is working.
  • Check and re-check your CCTV. Is the time correct? Are all cameras operational?
  • Do not leave any cash on the premises.
  • Remove stock or valuable display items from view and place them in a secure area or remove from the premises.
  • Consider the risk of arson – Ensure there are no combustible materials left in the proximity of the building such as packaging.
  • If stock has to be displayed, consider using less desirable or cheap items or use ‘empty box’ tactics.
  • For larger premises, plan for ‘steaming’ offences where large groups can run through clearing shelves.
  • Speak to your neighbours and other businesses nearby – what measures are they taking, is there anything you can do collectively AND keep in touch to alert people of any incidents.
  • Make sure you have an up to date list of key holders to be contacted in an emergency.
  • Ensure keys for other premises are not left inside the building.
  • Ensure service doors are closed and locked when not in use.
  • Make sure you have list of key holders who can be contacted in times of emergency.
  • Ensure your contact details for staff are up to date.
  • Consider timer switches or ensure sufficient lighting is left on at the premises/surrounding area.

Additional measures to consider:

  • External shutters.
  • Visible security patrols.
  • Laminated glass of security film which can be applied to existing glazing.
  • An insurance rated safe should be bolted to the floor. Anti-tamper sensors can be fitted to set off an alarm if attacked.
  • Consider use of anti-theft alarms on most desirable household items.
  • Fogging devices that activate as a result of an intruder activation may also be beneficial- you can’t steal what you can’t see!

 Advice for essential businesses remaining open

  • Guidance on social distancing should be observed in all instances.
  • Premises should be adequately staffed to ensure social distancing is taking place, provide reassurance for customers and to check ID if relevant (emergency services accessing during restricted hours).
  • Consider an allocation system or queuing to provide items that are provided on a limited basis – or possible keeping these off shop floor for collection.
  • Establish queueing contingency plans, including any car parking areas, and ensure there is commensurate security, and staff in this area and the main entrances.
  • Ensure that all staff are fully briefed, each day, on emergency procedures, working practices (including social distancing) and remain vigilant to any suspicious or criminal activity.
  • Check that your emergency equipment/grab bags, first aid supplies and radio communication systems are all operational.
  • Ensure all doors leading from public to staff arteries-loading areas etc are kept secure and monitored.
  • Consider use of anti-theft alarms on most desirable household items.