Protecting your business
Last month’s riots across the UK highlighted the need for retailers to install the correct security systems to protect stock and their shops. David Pittman spoke to the security industry for its advice.
he widespread destruction caused by rioters on high-streets across the UK last month caused much distress for independent retailers, from London’s suburbs to Bristol and Manchester. The looting that went hand-in-hand with the damage to property left many businesses broken and destroyed, and, in some cases, forced owners to shut up shop for good.
While the riots and looting are extreme examples of law-breaking that has a direct impact on independent retailers, they raised a number of questions that the security industry is working to answer: Am I doing enough? What systems are the most effective deterrent?
Predictably, many security system suppliers and installers saw an upturn in business during the immediate aftermath. Tim Harris, of system installer Guard Tec Security, said: “It’s clear more and more businesses are now looking at their security. They have been spurred on by the risks that they now see their business might be subjected to and are thinking again about security.
“It’s sad but it needs an event like this to spur people into action. People need and want systems that are up to the job.”
Jodie Goffin, of manufacturer and installer Roché Systems, agreed, saying: “It’s not nice circumstances but we have generated lots of business as a result because retailers want peace of mind.
“We have seen a lot of interest and received phone calls from business owners wanting security shutters for the whole of their shop front.”
She said much of the work it has received has been centred on replacing broken shutters and installing new ones for those that were unprotected prior to the riots, rather than repairing, such was the damaged caused. “Smaller, independent retailers are looking for solid security systems that they can pull down at
“People are increasingly seeing the payback from having CCTV installed and the number of installations has been growing.”
Another system that Harris advocates is that of the fog cannon. Guard Tec Security installs fog cannons from Denmark’s Protect A/S. Protect’s fog cannons fill a room with dense fog in a matter of seconds, making it impossible to see. This, it is claimed, disorientates intruders and forces them to flee.
the end of the day and then lift up in the morning.
“They want something that does the job and we are finding that solid slat shutters are proving the most popular.”
A spokesman for Arrowe Security Systems said: “You can never prepare for something like riots and smash-and-grab incidents, but there are things you can do that will help day-to-day. Everyday systems like roller shutters are effective and monitored alarms that trigger a police response can bring reassurance.” The spokesman raised a concern that some businesses buy their security systems on price, particularly when it comes to CCTV, which can cause issues in the long-term.
“That’s human nature, but it’s not the right way. Customers have been telling us that CCTV is a waste of money but it has come to light that the majority of convictions being made around the riots are retrospective and from footage caught on CCTV.
“This goes to prove that CCTV can be very useful and we recommend buying a quality system.”
Harris said even basic CCTV systems can now prove effective as the technology has progressed in recent years.
“CCTV quality has come on leaps and bounds, which means even the most basic systems can now provide good identification images.
Harris said: “An intruder’s intent is diminished if they are disorientated and can’t see what they are doing. It’s used widely in jewellers and banks, but would be ideal for all retailers holding high- value stock.”
Vivienne Tregidga, from Protect’s UK operation, said its customers have responded positively to the fog cannon’s ability to deter intruders, even during the riots.
“One customer had the system installed the day prior to the riots and it worked so well that it forced the looters back out, who went on to attack neighbouring premises who didn’t have as good security.”
She said businesses often aren’t doing enough to protect themselves, again deterred by potential costs.
“They think a system like ours is expensive when it’s not if it saves your business. It comes down to what price you put on your livelihood.” Tregidga noted that Protect has gone so far as to work out a finance deal with Tower Leasing so retailers can have the fog cannon system installed for less than £35 a month.
“£35 is our top of the range system but it can cost less. The system can also be activated by a panic button so provides security to shop staff during the day and it can be deployed three times after being triggered to keep the smoke topped up and keep intruders at bay so they can’t just sit and wait for the smoke to clear.
“It provides total peace of mind as when you’re not working the fog cannon is.”
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