As an employer you have a legal duty for the health and safety of employees. Bringing in measures to improve staff safety and making employees and customers aware of their responsibilities can also improve the security of your business.
Improve staff security
Steps you can take might include:
- checking visitor and delivery personnel identities
- always checking the identity of people you deliver to
- getting signatures for the receipt and issue of goods
- CCTV system to cover entrances and exits
High security risk businesses
If your business handles a lot of cash or expensive goods, it makes sense to use a properly fitted protective screen to protect staff (eg at a cash register), closed-circuit television (CCTV) and secure storage such as a safe. See business security: cash.
If your business is at risk, or is in a high-risk area, it might also be appropriate and cost-effective to employ security guards.
Customers and business security
All customers should be asked to remove motorcycle helmets and scarves that cover a face before they enter your business premises. A height mark at the door can be used by staff to accurately gauge the height of a criminal if a report of crime needs to be made to police. If the height mark is highly visible this can also act as a deterrent for potential criminals that target your shop.
Employees who work alone
If you employ staff who work alone, you can help to reduce risks to them by using:
- personal alarms
- radio link scheme
- controlled access or CCTV with audio
- automatic warning devices
- lone-worker monitoring devices
- regular police or security checks
You could also ask staff to vary their routes and times for added security. Ensure lone workers' safety.
When a violent incident happens
Violent incidents can involve theft, angry customers or customers under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You can offer staff training in conflict management to deal with aggressive customers. Advise staff not to put themselves at risk, to move away from aggressive customers but avoid becoming isolated. PSNI business advice to protect your staff.
When necessary they should dial 999 or get help quickly by using an alarm. They should try to write down information about what happened and secure CCTV footage and the scene until the police arrive.
All such incidents should be reported to the police. This can be done by dialling 999 in an emergency, or 101 for non-emergency situations.
Read PSNI guidance through the Safe Shop initiative that helps businesses employ the principles of prevent, detect and deter in order to protect themselves from crime and promote a safer working environment.
If a member of staff is a victim of violence, they may need medical attention, which may be available in-house or may be required from the ambulance service. However, they will need your support. This might include:
- a debriefing - talking about what happened
- giving time off to recover
- suggesting specialist counselling
Other staff who witnessed the incident may also be affected. They can get help and support from Victim Support NI.
Tiger kidnap involves the short-term hostage taking of family members of an employee who has immediate access to cash or valuables. The captives are frequently held overnight and the aim of the criminals is to frighten their victims to such a degree that they will not contact the police, even when they have an opportunity to do so. The PSNI have advice for businesses on reducing the risk of a tiger kidnap.