Business

Don't let your business premises be an easy target for criminals during lockdown

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Jacqueline McGivern

THE Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on every business, with the resolve of owners being tested to the limit.

For some businesses it has brought about complete changes to how they operate, such as remote-working, a reduction of staff on-site, in order to adhere to social distancing measures and enhanced and vigorous cleansing routines.

But for others, the pandemic has led to the temporary closure of their premises.

According to the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics, only 16 per cent of all businesses who were forced to temporarily close, as a result of Covid-19, plan to re-open in the next two weeks. And of those businesses re-opening in the next fortnight, only 12 per cent of staff will return to the office with the rest working remotely.

While the vast majority of those in our society are looking out for one another during the pandemic, there are still criminals who will seek to take advantage of buildings they consider to be an ‘easy target'.

PSNI chief constable Simon Byrne has said if the economy does not pick up soon, there will be a risk of an increase in the levels of burglary and theft.

Securing your business premises is more important than ever, not only from the threat of criminals but also from the potential for accidental damage during periods of inactivity.

Weekly on-site visits, at different times so as not to let criminals identify a pattern, will give anyone watching the premises a sense that they are regularly used. The visits will also let managers identify any issues which need to be addressed and to remove any build-up of post which would suggest the building is not occupied.

It may also be prudent to secure windows and doors with additional security measures. Modern intruder alarms also offer software which allows users to view their premises from a smartphone app.

All electrical equipment should be switched off while all devices such as fire and intruder alarms should be in good working order and tested regularly.

There is no doubt it is a confusing time with regulations changing at an alarming rate as the Government seeks to transition the country out of lockdown.

It is times like this when expert and reliable insurance brokers can help guide customers through these trying times. They are also on hand to offer crime prevention advice as well as providing reassurance to businesses that they will be supported when they need it most.

It is advisable for businesses to speak regularly with their insurance brokers to ensure any changes to the business won't impact on existing policies.

And for those about to renew policies it is important to speak to your advisor about any recent changes to your business operations.

Having one less thing to worry about will let businesses prepare better for a future post-lockdown.

:: Jacqueline McGivern is key account manager at Autoline (www.autoline.co.uk)

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