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Essential Security Measures for Small Businesses.

by Tia

Small businesses – the lifeblood of our communities, may not always have the luxury of large budgets like their larger counterparts. However, there is a wealth of measures that can be implemented to safeguard these vital small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from the clutches of crime.

It is in everyone’s best interest that this sector is able to trade without having to worry about crime, says Charnel Hattingh Group Head of Marketing and Communications at Fidelity Services Group.

Charnel Hattingh

“All employers have a legal duty to provide and maintain a safe working environment for staff. Proper physical security systems in a workplace show commitment to employee health and safety,” says Hattingh.

She adds that business-related crimes continue unabated and points out that keeping large amounts of cash on the premises is a definite risk for everyone working there.

“We continue to see businesses being targeted not only during opening and closing times but also when opportunity arises. If they know there is something worthwhile to take, a small window of opportunity when a staff member is vulnerable is all criminals need. To avoid being targeted, business owners need to prioritise safety and get security in place which is linked to an armed response service,” says Hattingh. 

Preventing an incident

Businesses are encouraged to scrutinise their security, from the perimeter inwards – or, better still, have a risk evaluation done by a reputable security company.  Hattingh explains that good security starts with your perimeter and should be peeled back, like the layers of an onion, right to the core. 

The layers of security are:

  • Perimeter. Walling, palisade fencing and gates are deterrents and can be even further protected with systems like electric fencing, security beams, CCTV and security guards which monitor vehicles and people coming in and out.
  • Parking. Moving inwards on the property, the next zone which will need to be secured is the staff and customer parking area. Here, CCTV is a valuable asset too and you can also use security guards to patrol the area.
  • Entrance. The front door is probably the most vulnerable area of a business premises. This is a hot zone because if a criminal makes it through the front door they are there for a reason and unlikely to leave without what they came for. Front entrances should be protected with security gates which work on an intercom system and staff should be equipped with panic buttons linked to armed response.
  • Interior. Inside the workplace, staff need mobile and fixed panic buttons, access to emergency telephone numbers and a clear emergency plan to follow in the event of any scenario (fire, hostage situation, violent attack, medical emergency or robbery).

There must also be a proper security solution in place for opening and closing times. Support from a guarding or armed response service provider is a good extra layer of protection for staff who are undertaking this on a daily basis. 

Hattingh says members of staff also need to understand that they cannot leave their crime-prevention sense at home.

“Almost any crime that can happen at home or in a neighbourhood can happen in the workplace. Staff need to be as vigilant and security conscious at work as they are at home,” she says.

“We don’t like to think bad or violent things can happen to us at work, but the reality is they can – if the workplace is not secured and employees are not security conscious. Many incidents at business premises can be avoided or have a different outcome with improved security systems in place and staff being more security savvy,”  concludes Hattingh.

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