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Protecting your business against robbery

Robbery is the term used when someone steals something by the use or threat of force. Businesses may be targets for robbery due to a range of factors, including the goods they provide or sell, location and opening hours, but there are measures you can put in place to reduce the risk to your business and staff.

Simple precautions

  • Keep windows clear. Remove advertising or posters from windows if they obstruct the view of staff and any passers-by
  • Don’t hold large amounts of cash in your till. Impose a realistic (£50-£250) till limit that you and your staff stick to
  • Don’t count cash in public view. Cashing up should take place in a back room, preferably where the safe is located, with the door locked
  • Extra vigilance is required from staff at opening and in the lead up to closing time
  • Staff should be trained in how to deal with the public in violent or confrontational situations. They should also be trained in the firm’s procedures, security measures and what to do in the event of a robbery
  • Keep a log of all suspicious incidents, including date, time, description of suspicious people or vehicles and what they were doing. Report such activity to the police on 101
  • Advertise your security measures with posters and signs in prominent locations

Security measures

  • Consider installing CCTV – find out more about different systems in our CCTV guide
  • Consider fitting intruder and hold-up alarms. Find details of approved alarm companies on the National Security Inspectorate website at www.nsi.org.uk
  • Install a remote locking device which allows you to control who enters the premises
  • Use a safe with a time-delay system to store any cash held on the premises. Minimise cash held by making regular bank runs

Simple steps for safer banking

  • Identify a number of safe routes to the bank
  • Use physically fit staff who have received relevant security training
  • Vary the days, times and routes of bank runs
  • Place cash in a rucksack, for example, instead of a cash bag or tin
  • If walking, face oncoming traffic and walk in the centre of the pavement
  • If driving, place the money in the boot and park in areas covered by CCTV
  • If you become suspicious during a bank run go to a place of safety, such as a police station or other retail premises and call the police

What to do if a robbery takes place   

  • Remain calm: Try not to panic and don’t make sudden movements
  • Think safety: Your safety, and that of your customers and staff is paramount. No-one should risk their life by trying to stop or detain a robber
  • Alarms: If there is a hold-up alarm (panic alarm) installed then use it, but only if safe to do so
  • Descriptions: It is important to remember as much detail as possible. Even if you have CCTV your description of offenders and events will play a vital part in any investigation. When the incident is over make notes of what you remember, especially about:
  • Suspects: How many? How tall? How old? Any visible features? Clothing (brands and labels), any items carried (bags or weapons)
  • Actions: Try to remember exactly what happened and in what order
  • Accomplices: Look out for accomplices outside or in a vehicle
  • Escape: Try to see the direction of travel that offenders take, and any details of any vehicle make, model and registration number
  • Reduce the loss: Your safety and the safety of customers and staff must always come first but you can reduce the loss:
  • If ordered to fill a bag, stuff small denomination notes and coins in (unless instructed otherwise)
  • Don’t look towards safes or other cash storage areas

What to do following a robbery

  • Close your business immediately as this will help the police crime scene examiners
  • Help customers or staff who may have been injured or who appear to be suffering from shock
  • Call police by dialling 999 and provide the operator with details. They will need the address, details of any injuries, and details about the offenders. These questions are important as police responding to the call will be looking out for the offenders while travelling to the scene
  • Don’t touch anything that has been handled or left by the robber(s). Firearms or other weapons should not be touched but left in place for police to deal with
  • Write down descriptions of the robbers and as many details as you can remember about what happened while you wait for officers to arrive
  • Inform your security department (if you have one)
  • Secure any CCTV images. Do not watch the footage, but tell police that CCTV exists
  • Don’t give any information to the media before speaking to the police. There will be information the police might not share if it could jeopardise the investigation

Robbery is a traumatic offence and affects people differently. If you or a colleague need help contact the Victim Support Helpline on 0808 16 89 111or visit www.victimsupport.org.uk, or Voice, a support service for victims and witnesses to crime, on www.voicenorthants.org or 0300 303 1965.

To speak to our crime prevention team about protecting your business email crimeprevention@northants.pnn.police.uk

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