COVID-19: crime prevention tips for businesses


Seconded Police Scotland Officer to SBRC, David MacCrimmon, rounds up the latest safety advice for businesses as we adjust to a new way of living and working. 

The Coronavirus has had an unprecedented effect on our nation’s health and the way we interact societally.

This is now making a significant impact on the retail sector and night-time economy. There is also a potential effect on the retail sector, with the risk of increased anti-social behaviour in our stores as some people look to stockpile what they see as essentials. 

Below are some general crime prevention tips that may assist your organisations in this time.

The impact on stores will vary and will naturally be defined by its location, size, customers, produce and its security.  

Closed Premises/Venues that have been temporarily closed:

  • Test your alarm, ensure it is monitored and fully operational 
  • Identify any vulnerable areas. Rectify these. Ensure security gates, bollards and fire exit doors have been secured prior to closure of the premises
  • Ensure service doors are closed and locked when not in use  
  • Make sure you have list of key holders who can be contacted in times of emergency. Ensure your contact details for staff are up to date 
  • Consider moving high value items into secured stockrooms and out of view
  • Ensure keys to the premises or other venues are not left inside and are instead with dedicated key holders 
  • Consider timer switches or ensure sufficient lighting is left on at the premises/surrounding area 
  • Ensure there are no combustible materials left in the proximity of the building such as packaging - consider the risk of fire-raising 
  • Review your CCTV to confirm it is operational, provides good quality images and is positioned to cover as much of the stores public and private areas. You may wish to consider a mobile phone app that allows connectivity and a vocal capacity to engage with any intruder 
  • Ensure that no cash is retained on the premises overnight (consider placing a note on your premises stating that no cash or valuables are kept overnight) or store monies in a security accredited safe bolted to the floor  

Physical Protective Measures  

  • Secure by Design products – use security rated products where possible (  
  • External shutters are recommended but some buildings may be subject to planning approval before installation 
  • Ensure all doors leading from public to staff arteries-loading areas etc are kept secure and monitored. - Laminated glass or security film that can be applied to existing glass to make it more resistant to a physical assault. Shutters and grilles, subject to planning regulations, may also be a consideration 
  • An insurance rated safe should be bolted to the floor. Anti-tamper sensors can be fitted to set off an alarm if attacked 
  • Anti-ram security tested raider retractable bollards can be mounted externally to protect frontages but may require planning approval
  • Consider use of anti-theft alarms on most desirable household item
  • Fogging devices that activate as a result of an intruder activation may also be beneficial-you can’t steal what you can’t see

Large gatherings/Queuing  

  • Premises should be adequately staffed with prominent management present who can make decisions or be identifiable to emergency services 
  • Consider an allocation system or queuing to provide items that are provided on a limited basis – or possible keeping these off shop floor for collection
  • Meet and Greets on main entrances to provide reassurance, customer care and a subliminal message to any prospective thieves
  • Where possible SIA licensed security officers should have a visible presence on the premises in strategic areas
  • All prominent household item areas should have a member of staff regulating them and depending on risk assessment consider deploying security into these areas
  • Establish queueing contingency plans, including any car parking areas, and ensure there is commensurate security and staff in this area and the main entrances
  • Reassurance to customers, some of whom may be anxious, is key to reduce anti-social behaviour
  • Ensure that all staff are fully briefed each day, on emergency procedures and working practices
  • All staff should remain vigilant and report any violence or suspicious activity to the police
  • Consider minimising the number of entry points to your building in concert with fire egress
  • Ensure building perimeters are clear of any debris, dustbins, ladders or loose tools and equipment that could assist entry
  • Check that your emergency equipment/grab bags, first aid supplies and radio communication systems are operational
  • Check and test your building security and emergency systems

The Scottish Business Resilience Centre was created to improve partnership and communication with the business community to reduce the impact of crime in partnership with local policing and now wider with Police Scotland, and other partners. 

If we can assist further or you require more bespoke advice, please contact us by emailing: [email protected] 

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