Police are warning all businesses about the increased risk of crime as premises remain empty during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
The following steps have been issued by some Police forces to ensure your property does not become a target for thefts, arson or illegal occupancy:1. Review your property portfolio
Conduct a detailed security review of all occupied and unoccupied property and land that you have responsibility for: starting with the boundary and working your way inwards.
Out of sight, out of mind - Lock away any items that could be stolen, used as a climbing aide or targeted for arson.2. Access and boundary treatments
Invest in a recognized security standard gate and locking mechanism, which is securely fixed to the ground and in alignment with the boundary fence. Ensure your boundary is security rated and high enough to deter someone from climbing over it. A minimum height of 2.1metres is recommended.3. Prevent vehicle access to the site
A strong vehicle height restrictor can stop large vehicles entering your site. If the site
is closed, you can prohibit vehicle access to the entrance/boundary by securing it with heavy-duty concrete blocks or security rated bollards.4. Surveillance
Having a monitoring station with remote access to the site means police and, if applicable, the local authority can be instantly notified upon an illegal entry.
Ensure your CCTV system is an accredited system (correctly installed) and positioned in a way that will cover your premises and any vulnerable areas. Make sure your staff can operate the system in the event of criminality. It should also not be in a position where it can be easily attacked or removed.
There are also CCTV systems available that you can link to an App on your phone allowing you to monitor your buildings. Some of these possess a vocal capacity, which is tremendously beneficial because you can ‘communicate’ with any intruder.
According to police, some criminals have grown ‘used to the presence of cameras’ and simply presume no one is monitoring them. Hearing a voice can change that.5. Forensic marking
There are several property marking deterrents which can be used to enhance your security and protect your infrastructure and assets. These contain a unique traceable liquid/DNA code that can provide evidence of a vehicle or individual’s presence at your property.
There are also similarly constructed DNA spray type devices available that can be linked into an intruder alarm system.
Highly visible warning signs will show your property is protected and warn of the dangers or consequences of entering.6. Removing utility supply
Access to your site’s utilities can be attractive to illegal occupants. Police recommend cutting off the utility supply to your building. However, it is not advised if you have any security or fire alarm systems in place, as cutting power will stop them from working.7. Protecting buildings within your site
The vulnerability of a building will depend on a number of factors including its location, local criminality and the type of boundary that exists. If the location is close to the boundary, it will make it easier to target, as there is no additional layer of protection.
Protect your doors and windows by using security accredited shutters or grilles. The security rating will be dependent on your building and its contents.
Some venues have been targeted historically for illegal occupations and raves on account of having large rooms inside (halls, large dining areas etc.) so if these have entrance doors secure them.8. Fit a monitored alarm to the building
This is a good deterrent and a variety of alarms are available. Two industry bodies accredit reputable companies: The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) and the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).9. Add another tier of security
If using a security officer is not an option, consider using a timer switch to create ‘the illusion of occupancy’. Or why not invest in monitored CCTV which is far cheaper than employing a security guard in the long run10. You can’t steal what you can’t see
Consider the use of fogging systems which are triggered upon an alarm being activated. These have a proven record of being dissuasive to criminality.
We recommend a safe, with the correct security and insurance accreditations, bolted to the floor and located in a safe and secluded location.11. Lighting affects behaviour
Ensure that your property has good lighting levels (police recommend BS5489- 2013 for public spaces). Bollard mounted lights are not
recommended as they are prone to vandalism and do not sufficiently illuminate the face of any potential intruder.
Parking vehicles close to or in front of the entrances to buildings can reduce vulnerability by making them harder to access. If your company has access to heavy-duty vehicles, you can deploy them in any outdoors areas around your business, thus ‘designing out the space’ and preventing any prospective occupation.
If you don’t have any vehicles or trailers large enough to accomplish this, consider offering your space to other nearby businesses who could use it for storage of their vehicles or freight, and whether this a viable option for legitimately occupying the space.
Please ensure this is safe to do so to comply with fire regulations.
Please ensure that with any extra security steps being taken, you are following the latest government and NHS guidelines on coronavirus and social distancing.
As key workers, Justice Fire and Security are still operating, and staff are working remotely. All engineers attending your site are compliant with the latest guidelines on coronavirus.
From our West Midlands base, we have an extensive network of local offices, handling all manner of commercial and domestic security and surveillance systems for clients throughout the counties of Shropshire, Staffordshire and Warwickshire, covering Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Stoke and Tamworth and elsewhere. In the East Midlands, we work across Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. Our South East region handles projects throughout Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire, whilst our office in the south west offices covers Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. We also have a big presence in the North West from our base in Cheshire.
If you have any concerns regarding your current commercial or home security arrangements or your existing provider, please call one of our local offices or our main number on 0845 468 0927