With Olympic fever already building, now has never been a better time to review the security you have in place at your sweet shop to ensure you can cope with any increased customer levels during the games.
Dr Steffan George, development director of the Master Locksmith’s Association looks at the security issues which small and independent UK retailers face and looks at the possible impact the Olympics could have:
“The Olympics are going to bring a huge influx of people into the UK, and not just to the site of the games. Many people will use their visit as an opportunity to explore, both within London and throughout the country. So it’s important that retailers, however small their shop, have thought about how they are going to cope with the sudden increase in customers and taken steps to ensure their security is adequate.
“It’s well worth considering engaging extra staff or asking them to double up on the rota so you can ensure extra vigilance when there are lots of customers in the shop.
“If you’re expecting a significant increase in volume of people in your premises you may want to check your fire risk assessment and ensure that any emergency exits you may have meet requirements.
“The locks to your shop should always be a main priority; if the basics aren’t right you can leave yourself wide open to risk. Consider when your locks were last replaced. It’s a frightening thought that copies of the keys to your shop could be in circulation without your knowledge. Consider having a patented lock system installed, where keys can’t be copied without providing proof of ownership. This means only those you authorise can access your premises and past owners or employees cannot gain entry. It’s advisable to get an MLA licensed locksmith to check your locks and make sure they meet your insurance requirements, are in good condition and well fitted.
“Windows can be smashed to gain entry, so consider adding reinforced glass if you don’t have it already or even using grilles at night. Make sure you always clear away delivery crates and other debris from outside the shop so they cannot be used to gain access.
“You may well already have an alarm system fitted, but it’s essential that you regularly change your alarm code to ensure that nobody could have memorised the code and passed it on.
“If you take large volumes of cash, review how often you bank the cash to check you aren’t laying yourself open to risk. Alternatively you could look into having a safe of the appropriate cash rating professionally installed. It’s also worth checking that staff are trained to identify counterfeit notes.
“One of the most cost-effective ways to increase retail security is to work alongside neighbours to share resources. Retailers can join forces to boost security: good quality locking systems and secure external doors, grates, fences, lighting and CCTV can be installed throughout a row of shops so all outlets are protected and cost can be divided. CCTV and dusk-to-dawn lighting in particular can act as deterrents as well as monitoring aids, which in turn helps create a good reputation for the area.
“By seeking expert advice and ensuring all security measures are up to date, you can rest assured that you are not only acting responsibly towards your staff and customers but that you’re also safeguarding your shop”.