The importance of property marking and asset registration

Business Resilience Adviser and seconded Police Officer to SBRC, Angela Brand, explores property marking to help secure your businesses premises and assets.

One of the principles of crime prevention is to reduce the payoff for a criminal – in other words, reduce the gain for a criminal on committing a crime.

This is particularly important given the uncertain times we are experiencing, with more businesses now operating remotely and staff working at home. As a result, business premises may be unoccupied for a considerable length of time, with unattended assets within.

Best practice under these circumstances would be to remove any valuables from the property; failing that, store them in a safe or other secure, lockable location within the premises.

This may not always be possible, however, dependant on the type of valuable property and the premises themselves. In these circumstances, it is highly advisable to permanently mark all valuables to make them less appealing to criminals.

If property has been marked then it is far harder for a criminal to redistribute it or sell it, and if they are caught in possession of stolen goods then they can be implicated in the crime.

· Property should be permanently marked with the postcode or other unique identifier. This can be done in several ways: by using an ultraviolet marker pen, a diamond tipped scribe, a ceramic marker or a forensic marking technique. Care should be taken to ensure that the appropriate method is used for the material being marked, so as not to damage the item.

· Signage should be displayed on the premises to advise potential thieves that all property has been security marked, which can also be an effective deterrent to the opportunistic criminal.

· It is good practice to also prepare an inventory of all valuable property within your premises that has been marked, and take photographs, if appropriate. This is in addition to any insurance requirements to itemise any property of particularly high value.

One of the best ways to increase the chances of property being recovered, should it still be stolen despite the above precautions being taken, is to register it online. Police forces across the UK routinely check these databases when dealing with recovered lost or stolen property, to enable them to return the property to the rightful owner.

These databases help you to prove that you are the rightful owner and can assist police forces with obtaining convictions. The databases are usually UK wide, so if your assets are stolen in Scotland but recovered elsewhere in the UK, they can still be traced back to the rightful owner.

There are many options available, however Secured by Design hold a list of accredited companies which meet the police preferred specification for both asset marking and online property registration.

Secured by Design is an official police security initiative working alongside police forces across the UK. Any member of the business community in Scotland can use this database as it is open to the general public, and it can be accessed here.

SBRC are hosting a webinar on Thursday 16 April where a panel of guests from law enforcement and security will look at vacant properties and how to make them more secure during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

You can register for the webinar here. 

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