This article is contributed by Carl Smith.
Security comes down to much more than the installation of a few alarms and a few CCTV cameras. Just as important is your policy and the attitudes of your staff, and if you can educate your employees on how to deal with trespassers and have a clear policy for how they should act subsequently, then you’ll find that a lot of security issues are dealt with almost automatically and that there are far fewer ways for trespassers and trouble makers to ‘slip through the net’.
Take for instance the way that you deal with ‘suspicious behaviour’ on your premises. This is something that very few businesses actually address, but it can make all the difference when it comes to preventing an incident. Thefts, vandalism and other crimes don’t always involve someone breaking into your building under the cover of night: often they involve people making grab-and-runs in the broad light of day, getting into fights with your staff and customers, and generally just causing trouble by blending in with the rest of your crowd.
Unfortunately no lock and no alarm is going to help you to prevent these kinds of problems, but if you know how to spot the kinds of people who are likely to start trouble and if your staff know how to deal with them then you can prevent the problems from ever arising. Here are some ways that you can identify and deal with suspicious behaviour and shifty individuals.
The Warning Signs
First of all, it’s important to make sure that you can spot the people who are likely to start trouble in the first place. This is a delicate process however as you don’t want to ‘accuse’ anyone of anything based on their appearance and behaviour alone: there are many ways this can prove to be a mistake and there are many reasons that guests might be acting strangely and yet be perfectly innocent.
Take for instance the way that police are trained to look for trouble at a marathon or similar event. Often they will be told to look out for people who seem to be ‘looking around’ and not paying attention to the event itself; people who are hanging back and people who perhaps are acting individually rather than in a group. This of course can be a useful stance to take, but it does run the risk of offending someone who may have a mental disability such as Alzheimer’s or autism. Such people might appear to act differently from the crowds around them, but that doesn’t make them automatically guilty of any crime.
Training your staff to look for these signs is useful then, but you also need to teach them to spot signs of mental illness and to be sympathetic to other reasons that people might not be acting normally. If someone is snooping around and on their own in your building then the first thing you and your staff should do is to rule out the possibility that they are suffering from a condition by looking for other symptoms. If they appear to be fully cognizant and otherwise switched on and are acting suspiciously, then it might be time to step in.
How to Approach
Even if you and your staff are confident that someone is about to cause trouble though, it is still critical to approach the situation with sensitivity and delicacy. This may still be a misunderstanding, and the individual might also be potentially dangerous if angered. Thus a member of staff should never take a hostile stance and should instead simply open up a dialogue in an attempt to get more information. A good starting point here might be to ask if you can help in any way, or whether the person is lost. This isn’t offensive, but it nevertheless lets the person know they are being watched.
Of course keeping an eye on such individuals is also a good idea, and staff may also want to alert other members of the team to the potential threat. This way they will be monitored, but it won’t be an issue unless they actually are up to no good.
Another consideration is that your staff may benefit from self defence training – even if they aren’t likely to need it. Restraining a potential criminal is something that no-one wants to do, but if it can be done safely then it is preferable to other options.
Author Bio: Carl Smith is one of the team at White Knight Industries, a leading security company. He keeps himself busy during the weekends by taking up restoration work for his home.