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The Christmas / New Year rush has begun and now, more than ever, security matters for all businesses – particularly retailers and other consumer-facing ones. Here are some things you can do to protect your people, property and profits.
Review your opening and closing procedures: It is essential to have structured opening and closing procedures, particularly at times of the year when you have extra cash on site and some staff finishing work later than usual.
When opening, look at the surroundings before approaching your premises. Ask yourself if there is anything out of the ordinary (for example, occupied car/s parked at an unusual time or place). If in doubt, keep out then go to a safe place and call security or police.
When closing, leave as a group or have a buddy system with other nearby businesses. Check that staff park vehicles in a high-visibile, well-lit place, rather than somewhere dark and remote. Consider arranging transport home for employees who work late nights.
Review emergency evacuation procedures: Review all emergency evacuation procedures to ensure they are up-to-date. Get all employees – even longstanding ones – to re-familiarise themselves with the procedures. Don't assume that just because someone has read the procedures, that they will understand or remember what to do. Check by asking them to describe the procedures. This will quickly identify any knowledge gaps.
Consider holding annual emergency simulation sessions to ensure people remember what to do.
Restrict access to staff-only areas: Sneaky thieves and other criminals will take any opportunity to get out the back and steal personal property, stock and what's in the safe. Ensure that doors to these areas are controlled and deny requests from people asking to gain entry to use the toilets (or any other excuse).
Check all fire exits, loading docks, and other access points are secure, that the locks are in good working order and access is controlled. If the doors are controlled by timers, ensure these have been altered to reflect the closure and stop doors opening automatically when the premises are closed.
Regular security patrols: Arranging a regular security patrol of your site provides peace-of-mind for employees. It also acts as a deterrent for those tempted to seize a perceived opportunity, as well as those who have criminal intent.