Few planned for a pandemic, but its impact on the world has been extreme. Darren Hyde, MD, VIP Security, offers his advice to Security Managers to keep all assets safe through a lockdown.
At the beginning of the year life was pretty straightforward with business running as usual, but suddenly due to the impact of Covid-19, everyday security practises and systems may now seem irrelevant to your current situation but as this continues it will affect potentially every business and every person to look at how secure they are.
Since the government’s lockdown, literally millions of people have been working from home or self-isolating, this has left premises vacant, retail parks and High Streets looking like ghost towns and schools empty of children. As we’re all too aware, empty buildings become immediately vulnerable to theft, vandalism and squatters. So what measures should we put in place to counteract threats?
The answer is simple; take heed of our stringent three-point plan to navigate your way through a pandemic; focus on deterring crime, alarm response and post-emergency security. At such a time of crisis all Security Managers would be well advised to take a fresh look at their organisation, reflect on its current state of operation and review what action needs to be taken to sure-up the organisation’s defences.
Your organisation will already have a number of security options at its disposal, but now is the time to decide if these security measures need stepping-up. If you still have employees, or reduced staff on site, reassess your standard risk assessments and put in procedures to ensure the wellbeing and security of all employees. Consider what assets you have onsite, do high value goods need to be moved to a more secure location?
Also take a fresh look at your security, walk around the premises and think about whether your CCTV provides an adequate deterrent? Will CCTV still be monitored? Are your perimeter boundaries safe and secure, are they covered? Would you benefit from metal grills on some of your windows? What measures have you developed to keep a ‘check’ on your premise? Are groups of people likely to congregate? Are you vulnerable to squatters? Do you have goods that would be attractive to looters? Here it is probably essential that all security is stepped-up during a pandemic with a strong security guard presence on all sites to deter crime, get a professional to survey you property or building.
Rethink your keyholding system during a pandemic, ask yourself this question – is it the right thing to do, to expect a member of staff to attend an alarm activation during the lockdown?A sensible way forward would be to outsource your keyholding responsibilities to ensure no employee is put into a situation they are not skilled to handle, or are put at risk. Remember that ‘penny pinching’ decisions can soon backfire if costly personal injury claims transpire from an ill-prepared staff member reacting to a break-in.
Securing a premise post-emergency
In an effort to keep their anonymity, vandals or intruders are very likely to try and damage a premise’s CCTV system, as well as breaking windows or doors to gain access inside. Make sure you have a swift action plan ready if this emergency should arise. If you’re working from home, ensure you have the same emergency contacts available to you as you would in your office. You’ll also need a team member to attend the scene, along with the police to make an assessment of damage and stolen goods. Ensure all inventories are up-to-date for insurance claims and your organisation has a firm grip on stock control.
Once the emergency services have left the building you’ll need to ensure the premises, assets and any onsite personnel are all safe and secure. Security guards will need to patrol the premises until boarding-up or glazing services can arrive to secure the building. The CCTV and alarm system will need to be repaired/replaced, and again, until that time, you will need 24-7 security guards onsite patrolling the perimeters and buildings. In a pandemic security services can be stretched, so ensure you partner with a professional security service provider who can give you the extra manpower when required. Professional companies can also demonstrate their time and movements on site with specialist GPS tracking equipment to monitor guards and ensure they’ve made regular visits to each check-point whilst on duty, supported by a 24 hour control room.
Once the complex/premise is secure, review all your security processes and step them up a level to ensure another crisis is averted.