♦Cannabis ♦CCTV ♦Employees ♦Immobilise Property Register ♦Property Marking ♦Commercial Vehicles ♦Making your business safer ♦Where to get Advice? ♦HGV Crime ♦Security Smoke Cloak ♦Moped and motorcycle CP Guide ♦Supply Chain ♦Knife Crime Training ♦Keep burglars out of your business ♦Fight crime with a business partnership ♦Association of Covenience Stores ♦Advice when phoning police in an emergency ♦Impact Statements for Business ♦Suzy’s Charter for Workplace Safety
Cannabis – a growing problem
Don’t turn a blind eye – as a landlord or letting agency you have a legal and ethical responsibility to protect and preserve the communities in which we live. Under current legislation (Misuse of Drugs Act 1971) landlords or property managers can receive a prison sentence or large fine if they allow the production of controlled drugs to take place in their accommodation. How to spot a cannabis factory:
- A strong, pungent smell coming from the building;
- Electrical wiring that has been tampered with powerful lights left on all of the time;
- Windows blacked out;
- A sudden increase in electricity bills;
- Large quantities of rubbish – bin bags full of vegetable matter.
The production of other types of drugs also takes place; most of the chemicals required to make these drugs are readily available, but it is the process involved in producing them which is extremely volatile. When a drug production has taken place it can take months for the property to be returned to its former use. How to deter drug production in your property:
- Be wary of any prospective tenant willing to pay months of rent in advance, or above the going rate, particularly in cash;
- Never accept tenants without checking references and backgrounds;
- Be suspicious if the tenant will not allow you access to the property or only allows you in small areas;
- Has the tenant asked to meet away from the property to pay rent etc.;
- Has the tenant put deadlocks or alarms on internal doors or made attempts to install fortifications on the exterior of the property.
Remember, this can happen in a property or building you rent out. What to do if you suspect a tenant of illegal drug activity:
- Record your suspicions and any vehicle details
- Contact Police on 101 (if non-emergency)
- Speak to your local Safer Neighbourhood Team in confidence
- Contact Police on 999 if a crime is taking place
Do you really need CCTV? Look at a number of ways to improve the security of your home before considering purchasing a CCTV system. However, when installed correctly and used for the right purpose, CCTV can be an effective tool. It can discourage anti-social behaviour and reduce crime because offenders don’t want to be caught on camera.
If you own the property then it is perfectly legal to install CCTV (even with recording and playback capabilities) to protect your property against intruders and trespassers. You cannot put cameras up on other people’s property without their consent. So if you do not own the property you will need the written permission to use CCTV.
If you wish to use CCTV:
- Check – with your local authority before you install a CCTV system as certain installations require planning permission.
- Positioning – decide on the most effective positioning of the camera(s) and field of view. Make sure that your CCTV camera(s) trained on your own property rather than that of your neighbours.
- Installation/Maintenance – whilst it may be possible to do this yourself, if you intend using a private company it is always a good idea to check references first to satisfy yourself they are of good character. Whilst most are reputable, there are still some who may use this unique opportunity to gain inside knowledge of your system.
- Safety – ensure your camera(s) are fitted and installed correctly, securely and safely to avoid risk to either you or other members of the public.
Whilst it is lawful for you to monitor your own property for security purposes, you should however make sure that your field of view does not extend beyond your boundaries or focused on adjacent private areas.
Cameras being deliberately trained on areas outside an individual’s property, could amount to harassment and potentially give rise to prosecution under the Public Order Act or Protection from Harassment Act.
The Human Rights Act covers our right to privacy. Article 8 of the Act entitled: “The Right to Respect for Private and Family Life, Home and Correspondence” means that your CCTV cameras should be sited so that they only observe activity on your property.
When it comes to physical and online crime prevention there are several things to consider when it comes to working with your employees. Employees are arguably the greatest asset to a business but can also be working against the businesses. In both instances it is important to consider the following:
It is important to instil good practice, potentially through the use of policies, put cyber onto the agenda!
Potential policies should include: appropriate use of the internet, use of email, regulations on downloading unapproved applications, the use of passwords.
It would also be useful for a business to stress the importance of reputation and data. Education around the Data Protection Act and other legal obligations would help to affirm the importance of handling data, especially on a computer.
When it comes to passwords, staff should be advised that they should not be written down, computers should be ‘locked’ when they are not in use and work space is kept tidy and free of confidential information. This could be contained in a Computer Usage Policy.
Staff should only have access to information that is relevant to them – consider managing access.
Something as simple as human error in opening email attachments with a virus embedded could be costly to the businesses systems. It is important to educate employees of the dangers of viruses etc.
There has been a rise in CEO Impersonation Fraud in which fake emails are sent to employees requesting an invoice to be paid and when they do so, it turns out that the CEO had not ordered this to be done.
It is important to inform employees of the physical security onsite so that if they need to implement any of the security measures, they can do so.
It is important that those members of staff who are responsible for managing security are confident in procedures etc.
Use strict visitor policies and ensure all staff help implement this.
Encourage staff to be vigilant and challenge non-employees as to their reasons for being on site.
It could be that employees are attempting to defraud the business by stealing stock, money or other assets. Disgruntled employees may be assisting others in causing harm to the business, consider access to various parts of the building.
Keep a regular check that policies and procedures are being followed.
Immobilise Property Register
What is it?
It is a free online asset register (database) of owned property. It is linked to the Police database and missing property can be flagged as lost or stolen by the account owner and it immediately updates records accessible to the Police. The database is approved and has the Secure By Design licence approved by the Association of Chief Police Officers.
Who can use it?
It can be used by anyone to create an online record of their valuable property including business and educational establishments as it create an asset register. It is useful to everyone if property should be stolen or lost in a fire as the information can be used to aid police and provide information to insurance companies.
What can be registered?
Anything with a uniquely identifiable reference ( e.g. an IMEI number/serial number/frame number/chassis number/identifying tag). Also any property uniquely coded using UV pens, SmartWater or other DNA marking systems. Unique barcoded stickers can also be used.
How do the Police gain access?
The police have access to encrypted scanners that are used when property comes into their possession (e.g. execution of a search warrant or search on or after arrest). The scanner checks the database to see if the property is stolen and if this is the case they can contact the account holder.
How can I use it?
The rural crime project is offering the chance to registered with immobilise at their organised property marking events. The project has its own immobilise computer allowing the operator to set up an account there and then. All they need is a mobile phone or other item with a bar code. Once the account is set up an email will then be sent to the account holder allowing them to access their account and start to add property at their convenience. You can even upload photographs of property to assist in identification. The project also has a bar code scanner so property can be added to the account very quickly. This is useful where multiple items need to be added.
If you are not able to visit an event in person then go on line to www.immobilise.com where you can register and set up your account.
Marking your property is a positive way to fight crime, it can act as a deterrent, it allows you to prove ownership and helps you to identify your property easily if it is offered for sale. Marking your property also provides a means for the Police to identify stolen goods and return them to their owners.
There are a number of different ways to mark your property:
Visible Markers Permanent marker pens Waterproof paint Stencils Engraving Specialised overt marking kits available on the market such as Cremark (being used for Rural Crime property marking events)
Invisible marker UV Pens Specialised forensic kits such as SmartWater, SelectaDNA, Red Web etc. (SmartWater kits are available through Warwickshire Horse Watch and Neighbourhood Watch at discounted prices).
There are a number of different ways to mark your property:
- Permanent marker
- Waterproof paint
- Specialised overt marking kits available on the market such as Cremark (being used for Rural Crime property marking events)
- UV Pens
- Specialised forensic kits such as SmartWater, SelectaDNA, Red Web etc. (SmartWater kits are available through Warwickshire Horse Watch and Neighbourhood Watch at discounted prices).
What to Mark Your Property With:
You can put any kind of mark on your property to distinguish it from other similar items. Warwickshire Police, Warwickshire Business Watch and Neighbourhood Watch recommend using your postcode prefixed with the number of your address, i.e. 23 B78 1XX. A post code is unique to your property, which most organisations recognise and allows the goods to be identified and returned to you. Just putting a name or symbol on the property makes it identifiable, but does not provide details to the Police of who owns the property and where it came from.
It is strongly recommended that you take a photo of all your valuables and make a note of any distinguishing marks, including where and how you have property marked it. You can then print the photographs off and keep in a safe place, load onto your computer or keep on a memory stick.
By having these records if your property is stolen you will have as much information as possible to give to the Police and also pass to retailers and other organisations to help locate your property.
Commercial vehicles are being targeted by criminals
There has been a recent increase of commercial vehicle crime in this area involving theft of tools and equipment from unattended vans.
Vans are often used for work requirements and, as a result, transport a range of technical goods, tools and equipment. These items are often valuable and easily sold on by criminals.
To avoid property being stolen from your van ensure all valuable items such as tools are removed from the van overnight.
Protect your vehicle, secure tools and equipment.
Please help us tackle this crime
Take steps to reduce the chances of your vehicle being targeted.
We need to know about any suspicious activity around parked vehicles.
Please contact us with any information about what is happening in your area. Please call 101 to speak to your safer neighbourhood team. (Call 999 if you witness a crime in progress.)
Contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org to report information anonymously.
For more information, please visit our websites: www.warwickshire.police.uk ; www.westmercia.police.uk .
Tips on how to protect your vehicle
- Park your vehicle in a secure area (in a garage or behind locked gates, if possible).
- If you park it on a driveway, consider installing motion activated lighting and CCTV. Otherwise, park in a well lit, populated area.
- Where possible, empty your vehicle every night and lock your equipment way in a secure place.
- Forensic security marking kits are available to mark your property and parts on your vehicle. ‘High clearance’ vehicles are common targets for catalytic converter theft. Mark yours to deter thieves.
- Fit vehicle security equipment within your vehicle.
- Use high visibility signage to deter thieves but stating that no valuables are stored in the van overnight.
- Be aware of people acting suspiciously nearby.
Making your business safer
You can prevent crime by taking simple measures to ensure site safety and security inside and outside your business. This will help to deter criminals from attempting to gain access to your business.
Tips to consider:
When installing perimeter security, fencing is highly recommended and effective against criminals. It is important to make sure all entry points are robust and secure.
The level of security you invest in should depend on the level of risk your business is subjected to e.g. the area the business is located, age of the building and business specialism. CCTV, alarms, security lighting and naturel surveillance by employees are some of the most important security features to consider.
Alarms are an effective deterrent against criminals. They provide a useful warning.
There are a wide variety of alarms available to purchase depending on requirements and budget. A reputable alarm company will be able to advise you on options available. It is also worthwhile checking with your insurer as your premium can be reduced by taking extra security measures.
CCTV systems are an effective and useful tool for crime prevention and can help with the investigation of crime. However, careful consideration must be given to placement and management of any CCTV system.
For the system to be effective you should take the following advice:
- Make sure the camera faces towards the main doorway/entrance so you get a clear head and shoulders image of everybody entering and leaving the premises.
- Make sure there is enough light for the camera to give a proper picture.
- Place CCTV signs and public warning signs that they are being recorded around your building/s and inside reception areas.
Installing security lighting outside your business is a good deterrent for criminals. It often makes criminals feel vulnerable and observed; it should highlight high-risk areas and allow occupiers to see people approaching.
The type of lighting you require will depend on the level of risk, the geography of the area and the type of surveillance you already have in place. The most common form of lighting is passive infrared, which is activated when someone comes into its field of vision.
Car parks should be in good view; in well-lit areas that are safe to access from the buildings they serve.
Professionally installed CCTV systems and guard patrols (for larger car parks) are ideal for car park security.
Barriers are also effective.
Your building security is vital to help prevent thieves entering your premises. It is important to identify possible weak points, which can include doors, windows, delivery bays, and skylights, access hatches and ventilation grilles.
Windows on the ground floor and at the back or side of your building should be fitted with good quality window locks.
Blinds can be fitted to prevent criminals from seeing any electrical equipment, high value goods or stock inside. – Shutters and grilles can be added as additional security.
Quality doors locks for many businesses still provide the most cost effective and simple security measures. – External doors should be strong enough to withstand attack and possibility linked to an alarm.
Consider security for internal doors as well as external so you can limit access for thieves if they do happen to get in e.g. locking stationery cupboards or computer rooms when they are not in use.
One of the most important areas of security is your reception area. It is normally the first point of contact in any business so it provides the first line of defence.
- The reception area should never be left unattended during business hours.
- Every visitor entering the building should sign in and out and be issued with an identification badge or security pass.
- Ensure your reception staff are given basic security training.
- Ensure reception has an emergency alarm button.
- Install electronic or mechanically controlled doors where necessary.
- Bank daily, do not keep cash on the premises if at all possible.
- Bank at different times of the day and preferably at different branches, try not to be in a regular routine.
- If you have a safe, secure it to the floor and site it away from view.
Where to get Advice?
Many of the Advice Sheets talk about specific issues; this Advice Sheet aims to signpost you to the range of useful resources out there to help you protect your business both physically and online.
Online Crime There are an array of Government backed websites and initiatives which aim to assist individuals and businesses in increasing their knowledge of the online world and they include:
(Click on the photo to navigate to the website)
With regards to traditional crime
Police Designing Out Crime Officer North Warwickshire –Mark English – firstname.lastname@example.org
Police Designing Out Crime Officer South Warwickshire – Ian King – email@example.com
Warwickshire County Council Business Crime Advisor – Bogdan Fironda – firstname.lastname@example.org
Reporting Fraud and Cyber crime If you have been or believe you have been a victim of Fraud or Cyber Crime please report it to Action Fraud. This can be done by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or calling 0300 123 2040.
Remember, if you require the assistance of the Police, the number for an emergency is 999 but in the event of a non-emergency it is 101.
Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) Crime. Preventing Lorry and Load Theft
Secure, Protect, Prevent!
Road freight crime is a common problem across Europe and costs the UK economy up to £250million every year. This causes huge economic loss and disruption to the haulage industry and its drivers. As Warwickshire is positioned in the centre of the country, it is vital that businesses and drivers are taking necessary precautions to reduce lorry crime across the county.
By following this simple advice you can prevent lorry theft and reduce the chance of becoming a victim of crime.
- Always secure your lorry when you leave it – lock
and set alarms.
- Always take your keys with you – never leave them in
- While driving – lock the trailer load doors.
Lock your cab when loading or unloading.
- Plan your route before you start your journey.
- Avoid taking the same routes or stops for breaks. A recognisable pattern makes you an easier target for criminals.
- Arrange a procedure with your company for authorising changes to your delivery destination.
- Before starting your journey, decide where you are going to park overnight.
- Use secure overnight lorry parks with the Park Mark® label.
- Locations of secure lorry parks in England are at www.highways.gov.uk/knowledge/13659.aspx
- Park your lorry where you can see it.
- Park with the loading doors close to another vehicle or wall.
- If your trailer is empty it is also advised to leave one loading door open to let criminals know that there is nothing inside. This might also prevent any further damage done by criminals attempting to break in the trailer.
- When returning to your lorry, check for signs of any interference.
- Record your check on a checklist.
- Never pick up passengers.
- Do not leave your personal property on view in the cab.
- Avoid talking about loads or routes with other drivers or customers (including over radios and telephones).
- Protect documents such as shipping orders and consignment notes. If these are stolen, criminals can use them to pick up valuable loads.
- Criminals may try to stop you while you are driving or delivering by using a number of different methods to steal your lorry or load.
- These include ‘staged’ accidents, impersonating police officers or pretending that your trailer doors are open.
‘Round The Corner’ Theft
Criminals pretend to be working at your delivery destination. They may appear to know what load you are carrying and even dress in staff uniforms or high visibility jackets. Various cover stories are used, such as a flooded warehouse, broken forklift or long queues ahead; they will offer to help you unload or take you ‘round the corner’ to another yard to unload.
- If you are approached and asked to unload at a different destination, always telephone your own transport office to check that the request is genuine.
- If you are driving and receive a telephone call asking you to divert to another destination (and don’t recognise the caller), always telephone your own transport office to check that the request is genuine.
HGV Drivers’ Hours
Driver hours rules for good vehicles in the UK and Europe
There has been a spate of thefts from commercial vehicles where the target has been the new digital tachographs. It is now believed that there is ready market for these due to the recent change in drivers hours rules in December 2012.
Each tachographs is calibrated to a particular vehicle and when removed will maintain a record of certain details of that vehicle including the VRM, the vehicle VIN number and chassis number. To remove this information the tachographs should be taken to an approved calibration centre.
It is thought that some drivers will simply insert the tachographs into the cab of their vehicle relying on the fact that most police officers will see the tacho present and not examine it fully and the fact that the tacho is stolen will only come to light if the vehicle is involved in a serious incident.
In light of this it is requested that whilst on patrol officers stop check vehicles that fall into the categories shown and examine any tachographs that may be fitted. This may identify stolen tachographs and assist with enforcing the new regulations.
For further information regarding the Drivers hours Regulations please go to the Department of Transport Website.
Prevent burglaries and robberies with Security Smoke Cloak or “Security Fog”
“If you can’t see, then you can’t steal”!
Smoke Cloak is is one of the cutting edge technology when it comes to prevention of theft from your business or property.
If you have items of great value, Security Fog installation is a excellent way of stopping the burglar in his tracks.
In the event of a genuine break in, within a matter of seconds, the Smoke Cloak or Security Fog device fills the protected area with an impenetrable cloud of smoke that prevents the loss of property, this confuses the thief, and forces the intruder out of the premises until the response team arrives.
The fog created is completely harmless and mess free, the protected area typically takes just a matter of minutes to completely clear once ventilated.
Some of the advantages are:
- Reduces losses by up to 95%.
- Currently securing billions of £s worth of stock in the UK and Warwickshire.
- There are UK companies that develop and manufacture security fog devices.
Many businesses from various sectors and industries throughout UK and here in Warwickshire adopted this crime prevention strategy to help reduce the risk and potential loss of their goods, but also protecting their employees from potential harm.
Moped and motorcycle crime prevention guide
The theft of motorcycles, scooters and mopeds is a problem in Warwickshire, and a major problem in many parts of the country, especially in urban areas. When stolen the vehicles are either broken up for the value of their parts or alternatively are used in further crimes, such as snatch theft of personal property or robbery. This secondary use is causing a rise in crime.
It is relatively easy to protect a vehicle from theft and Metropolitan Police have put together a guide to outline the simple measures that can be taken to do this. A list of suitable security tested products will also be given, along with the differences in how they are certified.
Always check your insurance to see if your insurer expects a minimum level of security to cover the value of your vehicle. Throughout this guide, the term powered two wheeler will be sometimes used to describe all motorcycles, scooters and mopeds, irrespective of their differing engine capacities.
How well do you know your Supply Chain?
Have you considered what you would do if things went wrong in your supply chain?
The cost of weak links in supply chains is too high to ignore. It is essential that businesses realise the importance of security and work together to keep the supply chain strong.
Businesses in Warwickshire with medium to large size supply chains face a complex array of challenges related to the social and environmental impact of their entire value chain. As consumer and shareholder expectations continue to increase, brands struggle to improve visibility and control over the production of their products. In addition, regulations such as the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 requirements have increased the urgency of establishing sound practices to identify and mitigate the risks associated with dynamic supply chains.
This informative toolkit for businesses and SMEs aims to raise awareness of counterfeit goods entering legitimate business supply chains, and offers them guidance on how to strengthen and protect their assets. It includes a step by step approach on what action should be taken if concerns are to be raised within the supply chain.
Whether you are a small, medium or large business in Warwickshire, you should know:
- More about your supply chain
- The associated vulnerabilities
- If your supplier adheres to your values
- If their facilities and shipments are secured to avoid cargo theft, costly delays, smuggling and counterfeit exposure
- What are their working conditions and who/how are they actually making the product
Training for storage, display, sale and delivery of knives
This training package comprising of five modules, is designed for everyone involved in the sale or delivery of knives including managers, retail staff and delivery drivers. It aims to standardise training across all retail sectors by raising awareness, improving knowledge and understanding of how good product placement and additional security measures can prevent theft and illegal sales of knives.
Each module comprises of a short animation and knowledge check.
Modules 2, 3 & 4 are essential for delivery drivers to enable them to ASSESS, CHALLENGE and CHECK age in order to comply with the requirements under the Offensive Weapons Act 2019.
Each module including the knowledge check will take 5-10 minutes to complete.
Module 2: How to ASSESS Age
This module explains why it is important to always assess the age of the customer to ensure knives are sold responsibly, prevent underage sales and confirm delivery to someone over the age of 18.
Module 5: When to call the police
The Metropolitan police, Mayor’s Office for Police and Crime (MOPAC) and London Trading Standards have been working to produce a good practice guide for knife retailers in addition to collaborating on the training modules. Alongside this is a Voluntary good practice agreement and resources to assist with training. These may also be useful in other parts of the country. Visit the Knife Retailer Toolkit for more information.
How to keep burglars out of your business
You’ve invested a great deal of time, energy and money in your business premises, but burglars are cunning and make it their business to gain entry to it. Below you’ll find advice on how to deter them.
Protect your business from the outside in
1. A well-maintained exterior free of rubbish and graffiti will reduce the likelihood of your business being targeted by criminals. So try to remove any graffiti. If any appears on a nearby wall or structure, call the local council who will send their specialist team.
2. Identify areas that may be vulnerable to forced entry and have them made more secure.
3. Make sure any service doors are locked and secure when not in use.
4. Make sure you have a monitored alarm and that it’s fully operational. For advice and approved suppliers of alarms and CCTV, visit the National Security InspectorateExternal Link and the Security Systems Alarms Inspection Board.External Link
5. Make sure your CCTV is operational, provides facial recognition as well as good quality images and covers any vulnerable areas. 24-hour digital CCTV is also highly recommended. You’ll find useful advice on buying surveillance equipment, from the Surveillance Camera Commissioner hereExternal Link.
6. Make sure that wheelie bins are stored away as these can be climbed on to gain access to the building, especially via the first floor.
7. Make sure there is sufficient lighting around the premises, especially loading areas.
8. Consider moving high-value goods away from display windows overnight.
9. Prune any overgrown bushes or nearby trees, as they can provide cover for anyone trying to hide from view.
10. Doors and windows are particularly vulnerable – use security-rated products to make them more burglar-resistant. For more details visit Secure by Design.External Link
11. External shutters, although effective, may require planning approval. Use attack-resistant laminated glass in sturdy frames where possible. Alternatively, film can be applied to glass to make it more resilient.
12. Anti-ram raider bollards mounted externally can be used to protect frontages but may require planning approval.
13. Try not to keep cash on the premises and always use a bolted-down safe with a time lock and anti-tamper sensors that trigger an alarm.
14. Make sure stockrooms are locked and, where possible, keep stock out of sight.
15. Smoke-generating devices that activate on unauthorised entry create a smokescreen and foil burglary. They’re designed not to damage stock.
Fight crime with a business partnership
Crime and the fear of crime can impact on the profitability of your business. Joining a partnership will help you to reduce shoplifting and anti-social behaviour as well as theft from your customers. The added benefit is that it will empower you, your employees and your partners, helping to educate and instil greater peace of mind for all.There are various crime prevention initiatives which are proving effective in helping to combat crime against businesses. Check out those listed below, to see which best suits your business needs. By being in constant touch with other businesses – sharing information, intelligence and ideas – you’ll be far better protected.
Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP)
A BCRP is a subscription-based, business-led, non-profit making action group working with police and the local authority to tackle and reduce crime and disorder affecting businesses. The overall aim is to create a safer environment within Warwickshire’s diverse business community – from department stores to small and medium-sized enterprises.
For further information please contact your local Business Crime Advisor at email@example.com
Business Improvement District (BID)
A Business Improvement District is a business-led and funded body formed to represent and improve a defined commercial area. They can be a powerful tool for directly involving local businesses in local activities, and allow the business community and local authorities to work together to improve the local trading environment. For business owners, this means that you are plugged into a cohesive organisation that has your interests at heart, and will keep you informed of, and involved in, local initiatives designed to maintain a safer environment.
Pubwatch is a voluntary scheme which allows licensees to work together to reduce anti-social behaviour related to alcohol and substance misuse, improving the safety of their premises for customers, staff and the local community. For more information contact WRCI.
Shopwatch is a community-based crime prevention scheme that promotes communication between retailers and local police to reduce crime. For more
information contact WRCI.
Shared radio scheme
Joining a shared radio scheme will give you direct access to a radio network, which is monitored by local police officers, CCTV suites and other businesses, meaning that warnings of criminal activity can be efficiently communicated between members. For more information, please contact Warwickshire Retail Crime Initiative.
The Association of Convenience Stores
The Association of Convenience Stores is the voice of over 33,500 local shops, supporting our members through effective lobbying, comprehensive advice and innovative networking opportunities.
ACS’ core purpose is to lobby Government on the issues that make a difference to local shops, supported by an expanding research
programme designed to discover new information about the convenience sector which can be used to inform decision making both in Government and with those involved directly in the sector.
The 2019 Local Shop Report has revealed that the 46,388 stores in the UK convenience sector currently employ around 405,000 people, generating sales of over £40.3bn over the last year. The report, launched this week by the Association of Convenience Stores, demonstrates how important the UK’s network of convenience stores are to thousands of communities and millions of customers.
Key findings from this year’s report include:
- The convenience sector contributed over £8.8bn in GVA over the last year, as well as over £7.7bn in direct and indirect taxes like excise duties, VAT, business rates and corporation tax
- Convenience store retailers have invested £633m in the last year on improving their stores, extending the range of services available to customers and making their businesses more efficient
- Post Offices and convenience stores are the top two services that have a positive impact on a local area
- 19% of independent convenience store owners work more than 70 hours a week
- 26% of convenience store customers visit their local shop every day
ACS has launched a new animation to help retailers and their staff manage and prevent violence and abuse in stores.
The 2018 ACS Crime Report estimates that there have been over 13,000 incidents of violence in store over the last year, with theft seen as the most common trigger of abuse in stores. There have also been an estimated 9,000 robberies in the sector in the last year.
The animation provides tips and guidance for people working in stores to ensure that they stay safe in the workplace and do everything they can to prevent violent and abusive situations from happening.
ACS has developed a package of guidance which aims to support retailers in assessing and managing the crime threats that their businesses face. The guidance focuses on partnership working as well as how to mitigate crimes including robbery, violence and verbal abuse, staff theft and best practice around preventing theft at self scan tills.
Every local shop is different and requires an individual assessment for what action they need to take. The guidance includes infomation on crime prevention equipment including CCTV, external security measures and locating high value products in sight of the till.
Welcome to Warwickshire!
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Philip Seccombe provided support for the work the ACS is doing around business crime, and meeting ACS was the opportunity for the PCC to find out more about their work and for update them on what is being done in Warwickshire to address the issue.
We were joined by the OPCC’s Development and Policy Lead Debbie Mullis and Business Crime Advisor Bogdan Fironda, who was able to outline the work he carries out to support ACS members, through the Warwickshire Business Watch, crime prevention visits and through partner agencies.
Crime Report 2019
The 2019 Crime Report shows that crimes committed against the convenience sector cost an estimated £246m over the last year, equivalent to over £5,300 for every store in the UK, or what amounts to a 7p tax on every transaction.
The single biggest trigger for violence and abuse was shop theft. ACS estimates that there have been over a million incidents of theft over the last year, with retailers reporting that the vast majority of thefts committed against their business (79%) are by repeat offenders that aren’t being dealt with by local police forces.
Key findings from this year’s Crime Report include:
- The three biggest concerns for retailers are violence against staff, theft by customers and verbal abuse against staff
- The report estimates that there were almost 10,000 incident of violence in the sector over the last twelve months
- Of crimes committed where a weapon was present, the most commonly used weapon was a knife (68% of incidents)
The report also shows that there is a clear link between retailers just doing their jobs by upholding the law, and being subject to abuse. The top three triggers for aggressive or abusive behaviour are challenging shop thieves (1), enforcing age restrictions, for example refusing a sale to someone without ID (2) and refusing to serve drunks (3).
Advice when phoning police in an emergency
The National Business Crime Centre have issued advice to businesses and private security staff about how to report a crime to police over the telephone in an emergency. More information is available here.
Impact Statements for Business – Guidance
Under the Victims’ Code, all businesses or enterprises (such as charities) that have had criminal offences committed against them are entitled to make an Impact Statement for Business (ISB) to set out how the offence(s) have affected the business. This document provides additional guidance for businesses that wish to make an ISB.
Suzy’s Charter for Workplace Safety launched
Today Suzy Lamplugh Trust is launching ‘Suzy’s Charter for Workplace Safety’ to help employers and employees make workplaces safer for everyone.
Implementing the Charter’s simple steps can go a long way to ensuring that personal safety risks are identified and mitigated where possible.
Suzy Lamplugh Trust has worked with a wide variety of organisations over the past year including unions, large and small businesses as well as the police and employees themselves, to create a charter that makes it simple for organisations and the people they want to protect to fulfil their obligations to keep workers safe. The NBCC are pleased to have supported the creation of the charter including the Stay Safe at Work Conference in the summer as we recognise the importance of safety in the workplace.
The HSE estimates that 374,000 adults of working age in employment experience violence at work annually, including threats and physical assault. The human costs of personal safety incidents for employers are far-reaching and devastating and can also result in substantial economic costs due to loss of productivity, insurance claims, administrative and legal costs and health and rehabilitation costs. The loss of quality-of-life to the individual can be even more damaging, with ongoing impacts on health and wellbeing, loss of confidence and inability to return to the workplace.
Suky Bhaker, Acting CEO, Suzy Lamplugh Trust said
‘It is unacceptable that anyone should face violence and aggression in any form whilst at work. We hope this Charter will help employees and employers create safer workplaces and we would encourage all organisations to work through the Charter a step at a time to make these important changes. Suzy Lamplugh Trust are ready to assist any organisation in the implementation of Suzy’s Charter.’
Patrick Holdaway, Operational Lead for the NBCC said
‘Understanding and tackling violence and abuse in the workplace is a key objective for the National Business Crime Centre. We welcome evidence based initiatives from within industry and the charitable sector to contribute to this vital work and support the efforts of Suzy Lamplugh Trust. They have brought together both employers, employees and respective unions to raise awareness of these issues and identify a charter to help minimise the risk of violence.’
More information about the charter is below and at https://www.suzylamplugh.org/national-personal-safety-day-2019-launch-of-suzys-charter-for-workplace-safety
Suzy’s Charter for Workplace Safety
1. Embed a workplace personal safety culture
- Employers can do this by ensuring regular consultation and dialogue with staff about the risks they face and the steps they would like to see implemented. This should counter any perceptions or acceptance by employees of violence and aggression being ‘part of the job’.
- Employees must follow all safety policies and procedures provided by employers which support them to feel and be safer.
2. Implement robust risk assessments
- Employers must carry out regular risk assessments to mitigate risks for all employees and ensure compliance with legislation and guidance for the protection of the personal safety of workers.
- Risk assessments should include specific consideration of lone workers as well as risks related to all specific environments that different staff work in, such as private homes, out of hours work in usually-populated workplaces, and remote locations etc.
- Risk assessments should include consideration of all forms of violence, aggression, stalking and harassment, both online and offline. This should include behaviours motivated by prejudice on the basis of a worker’s personal characteristics or perceived personal characteristics (e.g. race, gender, identity etc.).
- Risk assessments should include the impact of stress and mental health implications of violence and aggression connected to work.
- Risk assessments should be regularly reviewed by the department responsible for personal safety, with employees to reflect the changing reality of their work.
- Training should be implemented to ensure that all employees have understood the risk assessment once written.
- Dynamic risk assessments should also be carried out to take account of any temporary changes in the work environment or nature of the work.
3. Provide robust reporting procedures
- Employers should provide access to reporting tools for all employees, including remote workers and options to report anonymously, to enable immediate and reactive reporting of all personal safety incidents relating to, or impacting on, work.
- Reporting procedures should include incident follow-up with employees to ensure employee wellbeing and wider risk mitigation for the organisation, as well as sign-posting to support services where required.
- Employees and employers should be encouraged to report incidents to the police.
4. Provide personal safety training
- Employers should trainv all employees in preparing for and responding to personal safety risks i.e. violence and aggression related to work, as well as skills in conflict de-escalation, to support and embed policies and procedure, according to specific risk assessments.
5. Implement a tracing system
- A designated colleague, called a ‘buddy’, should always be informed about the whereabouts and contact details of a specific employee while they are lone working, including out of normal office hours.
- Employers should ensure employees share contact details of the person they are meeting with their buddy. This should include travel details, the exact location (e.g. coffee shop, flat/room number and block name etc) and time of appointment as well as name and contact details of the person they are meeting where relevant.
- Have a clear procedure to follow if a colleague does not return or check in when expected with clear lines of escalation inside and outside the organisation.
6. Have a system in place for colleagues to covertly raise the alarm
- Enable employees to alert colleagues in case of an emergency while working alone e.g. use of a code word, panic alarm installed in the workplace etc.
- Where possible have discreet lone worker devices available or provide access to an alert system to covertly call for immediate help even in areas without phone signal.
7. Offer staff a personal safety alarm according to their risk assessment
- Depending on the outcome of risk assessments, employees should be offered a personal safety alarm which they carry to distract an aggressor where appropriate and aid escape from a personal safety incident.
8. Regularly consult on and review safety policies and procedures with employees
- Keep these updated, inform staff and provide access to, and training on, all personal safety measures available.