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How to prevent ram raids and protect retail premises

by Andy Clutton

Business owners face a mounting challenge in combating the rising threat of retail crime, particularly the increasing risk of ram raids. Hostile vehicle mitigation specialists, Heald highlights the critical need for collaboration between local authorities and retail businesses to strengthen security measures and prevent these attacks.

Searches for terms like ‘anti-ram bollards’ and ‘anti-ram barriers’ surge in autumn/winter, showing a heightened demand for extra security among retailers during this time.

Heald discusses rising retail crime concerns with the British Independent Retailers Association’s (Bira) CEO, Andrew Goodacre: “This year, we have seen a significant increase in retail crime as it reaches epidemic levels. As shops become targets for criminals, Bira is concerned that crime levels will increase even more as we build up to the festive period.”

Recent reports indicate that a ram raid could set back a high street store anywhere between £10K to £60K. The owner of a Nisa Local shop in Cambridgeshire revealed that the £60K damage they experienced would require up to six months for repairs, leading to additional financial losses from the inability to operate as usual.

Retail expert Andrew adds: “Ram raids tend to be used to steal high-value items, and the nature of the crime means that the impact on the business owner is significant. There is a loss of stock and significant damage to the property that needs repairing, which may lead to a closure period. Ram raids damage and disrupt businesses in so many ways. We’re calling for the police to take retail crime more seriously, respond to reports and do more to deter the criminals.”

One shop in Burnham faced a £10,000 bill for repairs following a ram raid and was refused planning permission for security shutters³. Heald’s co-founder and managing director, Debbie Heald MBE, says: “Retailers and local authorities need to join forces in safeguarding high-traffic areas. Ram raids are not just a threat to businesses but also to the safety and security of our communities. By working together to implement the right perimeter protection measures, we can create a safer environment for everyone. This is an important consideration with the festive season ahead, as this generates higher footfall on our high streets.”

Haulage companies and car garages are among the other businesses that could be affected by ram raid crime. In London and the south of England, a string of ram raids caused £1.8m in damages to various businesses⁴. The perpetrators used stolen Range Rovers and Land Rovers to crash into the premises repeatedly.

Debbie shares tips for preventing ram raids and protecting retail premises: “When safeguarding retail premises against the escalating threat of ram raids, prioritising hostile vehicle mitigation should be the cornerstone of any comprehensive security strategy. The installation of purpose-designed anti-ram bollards and barriers can serve as an effective frontline defence, acting as a formidable deterrent against potential vehicular attacks.”

A traffic calming measure ideal for inner cities and footways includes Heald’s Synergy Bridge Bollard System, and for protection immediately outside shop frontages, the Apex Shallow Mount Bollard would be a prime option. For wide high street protection, the revolutionary Matador Sliding Bollard is a great choice for locations where even shallow mount is impossible due to its ability to be surface mounted – this means it’s also ideal for temporary events.

Heald’s Electro-Mechanical (EM) Matador has been installed in high street locations across the UK, including in a high-profile area of Stockton-On-Tees. The EM Matador was installed with Heald’s Architectural Paving System, which allows paving systems to be added to the Matador base enabling the system to integrate into the streetscape seamlessly.

Debbie continues: “It’s also crucial to address certain practical aspects that often go unnoticed. Adequate lighting is a simple yet powerful measure. Significantly enhancing visibility around premises, deterring potential intruders, and reducing the likelihood of incidents during darker hours. Regular security assessments and maintenance routines should not be overlooked, ensuring that existing security infrastructure remains at optimal performance levels.

“Encouraging strong community relationships and promoting the prompt reporting of suspicious activities can contribute to an enhanced security ecosystem. Collaborating with local authorities, sharing best practices, and staying vigilant together is instrumental in deterring and addressing potential threats effectively. By combining advanced technology and community-driven efforts, we can collectively strengthen the security of our retail spaces, making them less vulnerable to such criminal activities.

“The Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill was also part of the King’s speech on the 7th of November, indicating that Martyn’s Law is a priority on the Westminster Government’s agenda; this is something that premises and events will have a legal responsibility to consider in the near future.”

To learn more about how to protect retail premises against ram raids this autumn and winter, visit here

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