Crime in the workplace
Prevention is better than cure, you do not have to wait until
you have a real problem and large losses before introducing measures
to prevent theft.
Introducing controls where none have existed can present a major
culture change to the company.
Trust Vs Controls
The concept that the trust once placed in the employees is to be
replaced by new security measures may be alien to some, but it can
be argued that is beneficial to the employees to have controls in
The dangers of theft
CRIME STATISTICS FOR THE BRITISH RETAIL
The cost of crime in the retail industry
jumped 15% in 1999 to £2.2 billion.
The BRC indicate that an increasing
proportion of staff theft is to support drug taking.
The cost of staff theft rose to £520
million in 1999, with 25,000 incidents.
Smaller businesses are at greater risk
Staff theft accounts for 32% of the
cost of crime, the second largest figure after customer theft
at 42%. The next greatest cost is unexplained losses at 12%
Legislation now requires the employer to take steps to minimise
health and safety risks to the employee while in the workplace,
adequate safety measures must be in place. Exposure to theft can
be as dangerous to the health of an employee as any high voltage,
or rotating blade.
An employee earning £5 an hour may be expected to handle thousands
of pounds worth of goods every day and is potentially subject to
temptation. The employee may not consider the potential danger that
stealing exposes them too. Once an employee starts to successfully
thieve, the value of the thefts can build up over time and by the
time the losses are discovered the company can have a major theft
problem to deal with. The penalties facing the culprits once caught
are large, they will almost certainly be dismissed, face prosecution
and possibly imprisonment. Their lives may be irreversibly damaged
by their actions, loss of employment, imprisonment, family break
up, and health problems could be the result.
It could be considered that employers have “duty of care” to their
employees to put in place adequate security controls to protect
them from the potential risks.
Search Techniques introduce a scheme for loss prevention in the
Applications include Factories, warehouses and retail premises
The system is based on operating a random selection search policy
The objectives are:
- To minimise stock loses
- At minimum cost
- With minimum inconvenience
The Benefits are:
- Simple to operate
- Monitors and measures losses
- Protects the best interest of the company and employees
How the system works
An electronic random selection system is used to take a sample
of the personnel leaving the facility. The individuals selected
are subjected to a search, this can be by a hands on frisk, bag
search or scanning using a hand held metal detector. The search
conducted should be as thorough as is necessary to determine that
the person searched has no company property in their possession.
All personnel press the push button on exit. The Selector is in
view of the security personnel.
A red light accompanied by a high tone indicates search, whilst
a green light with a low tone indicates a pass.
The overall percentage of personnel to be selected can be adjusted
from 0-100% (in 1% increments).
How much is being lost by not searching everybody?
If the percentage setting of the random selection system is set
to a constant value, e.g. 5%, then the value of any company goods
discovered on the individuals searched will give a measure of the
The exit search facility is a monitoring process in which a continuous
random sample is taken and tested, the results can be used to calculate
the total value of losses of goods by theft by the formula:
(100/search percentage) X (value of material
found in search (£???)) = £ Losses Total
e.g. for 5% search = (100/5) X (£???)
= 20 X (£???)= £Losses Total
Because of the deterrent effect of the search system the amount
of material discovered during the search process is very low. Operation
over a period of time shows that, staff are not prepared to “run
the gauntlet” of a random search system even when the percentage
setting is low. The statistics produced show that there is no financial
advantage in operating the system at a high percentage level and
any additional operating costs would not be justified.