While the UK is considered one of the safer countries in the developed world, physical crimes are still of serious concern to its residents and business owners.
Recently published data reveals 76 criminal incidents were reported per 1000 citizens between 2022-2023 – an increase of 8% when compared to figures recorded in 2021.
For Lancashire business owners, current statistics may paint a slightly worrying picture, with the area ranked as the 22nd most dangerous county in the entirety of England, Wales and Northern Ireland; Lancashire experiences a crime rate of over 80 incidents per 1000 citizens.
Theft, criminal damage and shoplifting are among the most reported offences in the county, with one report released in 2019 finding that such offences to cost the average UK business over £7,000 per year.
To help business owners better protect themselves from these threats, here are a few actionable steps Lancashire businesses can take to prevent a physical security breach.
Utilise modern access control devices
Well-implemented access control devices are perhaps the most important component of an effective physical security system.
To reliably prevent unauthorised persons entering private locations, access points must be secured behind traceable credentials; this means utilising managed key card, mobile access or biometric systems that can be viewed and adjusted remotely.
Many traditional lock and key systems are simply too easily compromised using lost, stolen or copied physical keys, with no inbuilt ability to alert security staff or allow teams to adjust active devices. In comparison, modern access systems can be programmed to alert staff of suspicious activity remotely, enabling them to revoke compromised permissions in real-time.
Strengthening access controls in this way can measurably improve incident response times and enable business owners to limit access to high-security areas. Rules can be set barring access to locations like server rooms and cash-counting areas only to employees carrying management credentials, with live access logs ensuring suspicious activity is easily traced.
Consider smart video security systems
To support the operation of managed access control systems, Lancashire businesses must make use of comprehensive video security systems. Not only can these devices support security staff in identifying and assessing potential threats, but research shows at least 60% of would-be criminals will avoid targeting properties if visible security cameras are installed.
Recent advancements in video security technologies have further improved the efficacy of these systems. Modern devices can utilise AI video analytics software to identify suspected threats autonomously, with systems programmed to send instant alerts to chosen admins if suspicious vehicles, unauthorised persons or worrying behaviours are detected in real-time.
Video security cameras must be installed to cover all entrances and exits, points of sale and staff-only areas, as well as perimeter locations, such as car parks, meaning business owners must choose appropriate cameras for each location; for example, wide-angle PTZ cameras are optimal for covering large open-areas, while long-range bullet cameras are typically used to cover building perimeters.
Develop integrated security systems
Modern physical security devices become even more effective when implemented as part of an integrated security system, as stimuli detected by one device can be used to instruct the operation of another. For example, if security cameras detect an unknown vehicle outside of a property, installed access control door locks can be instructed to engage automatically.
Integrated security systems can be customised to suit specific needs through the use of the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT devices, including sensors and actuators, are designed to send data wirelessly, and can be used to create bespoke responses to common security threats.
IoT motion sensors may be used to automatically trigger alarms and lock doors in response to movement in high-security areas, while IoT sound sensors can be programmed to lock doors if sounds consistent with a break-in are heard. Combining the operation of these tools in a cloud-based management system enables admins to view and adjust devices remotely.
Invest in employee training programs
While many modern business security technologies can help security teams to streamline threat detection processes, these devices will only be effective if staff are trained in how to use them appropriately. For example, while access control can prevent unauthorised entry to private properties, criminals may attempt to gain access by tailgating authorised employees.
Staff must be trained in how to spot suspicious behaviour, how they’re expected to notify security teams of threats, and how to safely respond to unfolding emergencies. This means frequent training sessions should be conducted, covering all active security procedures and the safe operation of installed security devices, such as access control and CCTV systems.
Employees must know how to:
- Protect access credentials from misuse
- Report lost or stolen access credentials
- Respond to common threats like theft
- Follow pre-approved emergency protocols
- Identify social engineering attempts
- Follow cybersecurity best practices
- Locate all security cameras and know where they cover
Effective security training programs will be performed frequently, with considerations made to communicate updates and changes to security policies to all staff promptly. This will ensure a strong security culture exists at the core of the business to support wider security systems.
Physical security remains a top priority for UK businesses, and teams can mitigate the risks associated with physical security breaches by following several trusted best practices.
Business owners should make use of modern security technologies like access control and security camera systems, and ensure employees are trained in how to safely respond to suspected security threats.
These are just some key steps that Lancashire businesses can take to prevent a physical security breach from causing serious harm to their organisations.