At the time of writing the government are still trying to contain the Coronavirus and in order to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, restrictions have been put in place; the public has been told to stay at home and only go out as little as possible.
Acceptable reasons are for:
Exercise – alone, or with members of your household
Shopping for basic necessities
Any medical need, or providing care for a vulnerable person
Travel to or from work, but only when you cannot work from home
What we do know is that the government has plans in place for the worst case scenarios, in which up to one fifth of the UK workforce could be off sick or in isolation at the same time. The knock on effect of this on essential services is not to be underestimated.
Most of the schools have closed, with non-essential workers having to stay home to look after children, even though they are not infected or showing symptoms themselves. The impact on essential services like the NHS, emergency services and the government is reaching extreme levels, with the police not be able to deal with lower level crime such as burglary and theft. With the public panicking about supplies could mean that these types of crimes increase, as people turn to looting to supply themselves and their families with the goods they need – we saw how looting can quickly take hold in the Tottenham riots and while that isn’t necessarily how things will go with coronavirus measures, it is a concern for business owners.
If people think they will be able to get away with theft then the incentive to do so is much higher without the deterrent of a criminal record or prison time. We’re not suggesting that everyone will start looting and stealing, but among the criminal community the opportunity to get away with it may be too tempting to resist. Business supplying valuable good as well as essential supplies may be at risk in this scenario.
Business owners should use all their existing security measures such as CCTV, burglar alarms and physical barriers such as doors, gates and fences should be locked as normal. Extra measures to take include having a physical presence on site at all times if the business is at risk from increased crime. It is also wise to be more cautious about what is left in sight when the shop is closed and about how deliveries are handled. Thieves looking to steal will be paying close attention to what stock you have and when new stock is arriving, so if this can be done out of public view then this is a good idea.
The army could be called upon to provide back up to the police but they will still only be dealing with more serious crimes and perhaps providing some control over public order if hysteria and panic continue to grip the nation. While this is reassuring to know, in real terms most business owners will want to retain as much control over their business premises and security as possible.