VPS warns company bosses over surge in break-ins during lockdown period
28 April 2020
POLICE FORCES right across the UK are necessarily having to conduct extra night-time patrols in empty city and town centres as burglars actively target shops, pubs and other commercial premises during the Coronavirus lockdown.
Collating intelligence data from police reports, news items and, indeed, the business' own feedback from customers, property security specialist VPS UK has witnessed a sudden rise in burglaries and attempted thefts in Manchester, Merseyside, Gwent and Cleveland.
“It’s no surprise that, when whole city centres are deserted, opportunistic thieves will take their chances, and especially so when there's an already stretched police service,” explained David Wormald, key account director for hospitality and retail at VPS. “As so many people are staying at home now on Government advice, there’s even fewer chances that an attempted burglary on a commercial site will be spotted and reported.”
Recently, and as reported by Security Matters, the British Security Industry Association confirmed that the current definition of key and critical workers now includes regulated and licensed security professionals. Those roles essential to supporting law and order, and with the potential to reduce demand on policing, meet the critical worker definition. This includes the security guarding and CCTV monitoring of empty or closed commercial, retail or office premises, as well as the provision of Alarm Response Centres including mobile units.
“The security industry also has to prioritise care for its workers during the COVID-19 crisis,” continued Wormald. “Inevitably, we will have some operational strains if more staff are required to self-isolate, but we're more fortunate than others in being able to deploy both security officers and/or CCTV. The latter is a safe and socially distant means of checking in on premises via a remote video monitoring operation. Vulnerable premises like construction sites, which contain valuable plant and equipment, are now standing empty so they need to be kept secure.”
Wormald concluded: “No two sites are ever the same. In terms of the crime figures issued by the Office for National Statistics, it's always worth checking to see if one area has witnessed a greater rise in criminal activity on commercial premises than another. That would be one indication of greater vulnerability for shops and pubs, for example, and may highlight where additional security measures might be necessary.”