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Shoring up your shop’s security over the festive period

‘Tis the season to be jolly but also to keep up your guard as a shop owner in the UK. As the festive spirit builds, so do your chances of encountering shoplifters. Colder weather, pressures to buy gifts and more opportunities to steal undetected mean that theft rates often hit their peak over winter..

Staying vigilant as a shop owner can be difficult in peak season, with so many other things to consider, but avoiding losses from shoplifting can mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful festive period.

Here are a few considerations that could help make sure you’re as secure as you can be.

Security guards

If you can afford to hire security personnel, it’s a valuable way to give you more eyes and ears on the shop floor. Guards can not only spot and confront people shoplifting but deter thieves before they even try anything.

This may not be feasible if you’re a small business but you don’t have to hire security professionals. Consider any friends or family who may be able to help out where possible.

CCTV

Cameras installed around your premises can help to spot shoplifting as it’s happening. But they may also allow you to provide evidence to the police or if you need to make a claim on the insurance for your shop after the fact. CCTV is another potential deterrent; petty thieves may not feel that shoplifting is worth the risk of being caught on camera.

If you haven’t already got some installed, consider where surveillance cameras would add the most value to your premises. You could focus on entrances and exits or on product hotspots where thieves usually target.

Exterior lighting

Theft isn’t just a threat during opening hours – overnight break-ins can be more likely during the festive period, with greater levels of stock being held in shops. Strong locks and shutters are necessities but exterior lighting can also deter thieves from attempting to gain entry.

Motion-sensor lighting is relatively affordable and can be incredibly effective, so it may be worth investing in preparation for winter.

Cash handling procedures

More small businesses are moving to cashless systems but cash handling is still an important process for some. With higher takings over this peak period, you’ll need to be extra vigilant with handling procedures.

Taking all cash offsite at the end of the day or investing in a secure safe should help to reduce the losses caused by a break-in. Either way, it’s always worth hanging signs saying that all cash is taken off the premises overnight, to avoid someone trying their luck.

Staff training

Security protocols should be known by all staff, including any seasonal workers you’re employing over the festive period. These can include how to spot and handle suspicious behaviour and what to do if a shoplifter is detected. Drills are also useful to simulate real situations and help prepare staff for the worst. With some preparation, you can put yourself in the best position to protect your livelihood this Christmas

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Jon Victor

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