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Andy Fairbanks, CEO UK Protection Ltd, explains why now is a crucial time to reassess your security measures, and the ways to reduce risk as we wave goodbye to 2020 and head into a new year.

Crime, as expected, saw a significant uptick across the busy Christmas period as retailers rushed to salvage what was left of their busiest time of year.

Amongst all the craziness of trying to maintain social distancing whilst securing those vital last-minute sales came the effect of creating the perfect opportunity for the established thieves who circled around busy city centres like asset stripping sharks looking to pick off the weak and the distracted.


Situational awareness is crucial to deterring criminal activity, if something doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t.

We should always be aware of our surroundings at all times and be alert to the potential threats that come as part of the watch and jewellery industry. If in doubt, call the police.

It’s rare to hear of a bank robbery these days, though there is a good reason for that: the banks don’t have any money!

If you walk into any bank branch and ask to withdraw £10,000 in cash, they will look at you like you’ve just landed from Mars and then inform you they need to order that cash in and to come back in a few days.

But bank robbers simply didn’t go away because of the digital age of banking. They refocused their attention on to other areas of business.

Where else could they locate high-value items in small sizes, which can easily be put into a bag and transported? Watch and jewellery retailers.

We need to treat our workplaces from the same viewpoint as a bank treats its security”

You can easily fit millions of pounds’ worth of watches in a small rucksack; it’s easier to fit £500,000 worth of watches into a rucksack than £500,000 in cash, which makes our industry very attractive to criminals.

It’s important to remember where we work; it’s not a supermarket, and therefore the risks are not the same. We need to treat our workplaces from the same viewpoint as a bank treats its security.

That’s not to say we should all be sitting behind ballistic glass, but it is something that should always be at the back of your mind.

Opening and closing times are especially high risk. Often in the mornings, staff are still getting ready for the day and may not be fully awake or focused. In the evenings they are often tired and eager to lock up and make their way home.

A few simple steps can reduce the risks during these periods: 

1. Always split the keys to any store where possible; no one person should have single access.

2. Always be aware of your surroundings when walking to or from work. Are you being followed? Does anything look out of place? Can you alternate your route in and out from day to day?

3. Always enter the store as a group and leave as a group. Never be a lone worker during these times.

Stay safe and I wish you all the best for trading in 2021.

Andy Fairbanks | CEO UK Protection Ltd