CCTV security camera
Businesses are well aware of the need to protect their people and premises from crimes such as theft, arson and vandalism. But the recent terrorist attacks have created an additional dimension for businesses and organisations to think about in their planning. It’s incumbent on us all to continually review what can be done to enhance workplace security and the areas around them. Your employees play an essential role As with all crime prevention, vigilance is key. It’s always been important to be alert to anyone or anything that looks suspicious. But police have particularly emphasised the need for businesses and the public to be alert to anyone who might not only be looking at locations as possible targets for theft but for acts of terrorism too. Frequently a phase of information gathering will take place as criminals assess various locations for their vulnerability. This presents a crucial opportunity to disrupt plans. If employees see someone acting in way that concerns them they need to know how to deal with the situation but that can be easier said than done. How confident would they be identifying potentially suspicious behaviour? Do they know how to react if they see items lying around that cause them concern? Would employees feel comfortable raising any worries about suspicious activity and do they know who to flag it up to quickly – or would they talk themselves out of it, convincing themselves they are making a ‘fuss over nothing’? Talk to your employees about what suspicious activity could look like. In some instances it may be appropriate for them to politely ask the individual if they can be of any assistance, for example, as criminals do not want to know they have been spotted but employees should only do this if it is completely safe to do so. They must also be reassured that if they raise any concerns, those concerns will be taken seriously and investigated quickly. Stress that if it turns out there is an innocent explanation for the behaviour witnessed there will be absolutely no repercussions for making a report. Become unpredictable Good security measures are usually associated with processes and processes tend to be associated with predictability. But actually there are times when unpredictability can be an effective tactic. Predictable security arrangements can help a criminal with their planning so where practical, explore whether it’s possible to vary things like the timings of search regimes and opening and closing of buildings. Review your approach to visitor management and access control Consider whether you can tighten access to your building by reviewing and improving your access controls. Close off any unnecessary entrances to prevent unauthorised access. Remind employees of their role in this too; access control will only be effective if doors have not been propped open by fire extinguishers and windows are not left wide open and unattended… You may also need to review your approach to visitor management. Depending on the nature of your building and business consider whether you can enhance security using measures like visitor passes or bag checks.  Inform visitors before their appointment of any specific measures in place that might require them to arrive early. Maintain and monitor your CCTV system Even if your company has installed CCTV cameras, systems need to be maintained and it’s surprising how many companies completely overlook this. While the actual cameras and associated signage alerting people to their presence are valuable deterrents, it’s really important they are working effectively. If someone is hanging around or outside your building, and it looks as if they could be doing hostile reconnaissance, it will help with quickly identifying them before anything happens. This will only be the case however if there are clear, good quality images being captured - and if someone is monitoring those images too. It also means if a crime takes place there’s footage to help catch the perpetrators. The police don’t own CCTV cameras; in the main they are dependent on local authorities and businesses providing them with CCTV images to assist them in crime prevention and investigation. Make sure recordings are stored appropriately and it’s worth checking settings to make sure footage shows the correct time and date. If you would like further advice about ways to enhance the physical security of your building, please get in touch with us. You’ll also find more detailed information specifically relating to increasing security in response to the terrorism threat, including effective ways to recognise and respond to suspicious behaviours, on the GOV.UK website.