EdApp by SafetyCulture

Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises

By Aviva
15 Lessons
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About this course

This course is split into two modules with a total of 15 lessons. Module 1: In this section, you’ll learn about the different kinds of physical security options you can use, identify the types of surveillance available and understand different computer security options you can adapt. Module 2: This section discusses the essential components of alarm systems, outlines different alarm detection devices and remote signalling available, and explains how the police deal with false alarms.

Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Lessons

Click through the microlessons below to preview this course. Each lesson is designed to deliver engaging and effective learning to your team in only minutes.

  1. Overview
  2. Surveillance
  3. Building Construction
  4. Door Security
  5. Locks
  6. Security Glazing, Grilles, and Supplementary Shutters
  7. Computer Security
  8. What's an Intruder Alarm
  9. Detection of Intruders
  10. Detectors
  11. Deliberately-operated device (panic switch, panic button)
  12. Alarm Receiving Centres (ARC)
  13. Selecting an Alarm Company and False Alarm Cases
  14. Keyholders
  15. Glossary
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Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises course excerpts


Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Course - Lesson Excerpt

Physical Security and Surveillance An Overview

There are numerous forms of property attacks which can occur.

However, there are a variety of security devices and services available for us to help combat them.

These are called 'Layers of Protection'.

Which are the six goals of physical security?


Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Course - Lesson Excerpt

Lesson 2: Surveillance

Surveillance is a major deterrent. Surveillance involves people either on, or remote from the protected premises and often also includes the use of various forms of technology.

The lack of presence and physical isolation are significant features of many premises.

Many industrial estates are deserted in the evenings and at weekends, and many shopping streets have no one living in the flats over the shops.

Surveillance in these situations has to be technological, using an intruder alarm and Video Surveillance Systems.

However, surveillance needs to be complemented by good physical security, purely to counter the lack of people in the vicinity.

#1 Guards and dogs

Building Construction

Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Course - Lesson Excerpt

Lesson 3: Building Construction

A building’s construction is one tool available in terms of protecting the building itself and what is inside. In this lesson, you'll learn about the level of security provided by common forms of construction.

Corrugated iron Standard of security: Low This is rarely used now in modern construction.

Corrugated asbestos cement Standard of security: No security unless an additional barrier is added to the inside. This is no longer used in modern construction.

Profiled metal cladding Standard of security: Low level of security unless an additional barrier is added to the inside. This is very commonly encountered.

Timber Standard of security: Low security. This is susceptible to attack with hand and power tools.

Glass Standard of security: No security unless it's laminated. Method of fixing is critical. Wired glass – negligible increase in security as designed to provide fire resistance. Glass 'bricks' - good security.

Door Security

Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Course - Lesson Excerpt

Lesson 4: Door security

All doors are susceptible to attack. Security comes from having the right combination of door frame/panel materials and a suitable lock. Door security should be compatible with the security of the building construction. In this lesson, you will be able to identify different door types and determine how you can use them to strengthen your property's physical security.

Which between the two wooden doors do you think is stronger? The door with the darker brown colour is stronger because it is a type of hardwood door made from oak. On the other hand, the door with the light-brown colour is a softwood door made from pine.

Which between the two wooden doors do you think is stronger? The door with the darker brown colour is stronger because it is a type of hardwood door made from oak. On the other hand, the door with the light-brown colour is a softwood door made from pine.

Timber doors

Some timber panels are weak and thieves will simply kick out a lower timber panel and crawl through.

Many cheap doors are part hollow frameworks clad in laminated plywood.

Glass panels are particularly vulnerable – security can be improved with the fitting of an internal bar or mesh grille or ornamental wrought-iron grille.

Where the building construction is substantial, it can be cost-effective to improve the physical security of timber doors with a steel lining/facing.

Folding shutter doors These consist of vertical steel panels hinged together which open and close in a concertina fashion and run in guide rails top and bottom.

Roller-shutter doors These are constructed from horizontal metal laths which are hinged together. They are constructed around a revolving barrel mounted internally above the door opening and the shutter rolls down along guide-rails fitted to either side of the opening.


Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Course - Lesson Excerpt

Lesson 5: Locks

Locks for doors British Standard 3621 'specifies design requirements, test methods and performance requirements for thief-resistant locks operated by keys with mechanical patterns and intended for fixed mounting on hinged or sliding doors to provide reasonable security against unauthorised entry'. This is the minimum standard of lock to aim at for all timber perimeter doors. A lock which complies must carry identification of its manufacturer and also the claim by its manufacturer to BS-3621 i.e the British Standard Kitemark.

The term ‘dead’ in connection with locks means that the bolt or latch can be withdrawn only with a key (i.e. not just by turning a knob). Here are some examples:

Mortice deadlock

Rim lock

Guess which between the two padlocks is more secure The answer is the image with the hand. This is an example of a close-shackle padlock.

Guess which between the two padlocks is more secure The answer is the image with the hand. This is an example of a close-shackle padlock.

There are also padlocks with concealed shackles, and these are even more secure. A padlock should be used with a matching staple or locking bar, which must be securely fixed to the door or building.

Security Glazing, Grilles, and Supplementary Shutters

Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Course - Lesson Excerpt

Lesson 6: Security Glazing, Grilles, and Supplementary Shutters

These grilles which fold, slide, or roll up can be operated either manually or electronically. They can be lattice-pattern, or solid (i.e. impossible to see through), or solid with limited vision apertures. If the grille is intended primarily to protect the glass from missiles and vandals, it’s best on the outside. But how about for keeping out burglars?

Reasons for installing a grille internally: It can’t be compromised or worked on secretly before the attack. It’s more difficult to pull through a window than to pull off the wall or push out of the way. If there’s an intruder alarm, this should activate when the glazing or frame is broken while the grille is still intact. It won’t rust or deteriorate so quickly as if it were outdoors. It will probably be more acceptable to local planning authorities.

Weldmesh grille

Iron bar grille

Expamet grille

Ornamental grille

External shop grille

External shutter - solid

Internal shop grille

Shutters -- internal or external

Punched lath and Perforated lath

Why is it ideal to fit grilles internally? Select all that apply

Computer Security

Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Course - Lesson Excerpt

Lesson 7: Computer Security

Computer-aided design (CAD) systems.

Apple-Mac and Silicon Graphics PCs.

File servers

Specialist computers

Portable equipment (i.e. laptops)

Laser printers

Sophisticated monitors and keyboards

Which important questions should you ask when it comes to computers? Select all that apply

Don’t assume that because computers look alike they perform similar functions. Risk assessment is helpful to identify which computer equipment will be most looked at by thieves and so that additional security for higher value equipment can be considered. We know that thieves will breach most perimeter physical security if they’re sufficiently determined. Intruder alarm protection with remote signalling should ensure a police response, but this will take time to arrive. Thieves in sufficient numbers can strip the premises very quickly. Individual article protection aims to bridge this time frame.


Lock Down Devices


Software is expensive and has featured in a number of Insurance claims. It is sometimes stolen simply because it’s in the machine, rather than deliberately, although this is of little comfort.

Provided that the software licence permits, then copies should be taken and stored securely, either in a fire-resisting data-safe or removed to another secure location away from the premises.

'Dongles' are devices issued with software, without which the software won’t operate. The dongle is normally inserted in the printer port at the rear of the PC (the printer connector is then inserted in the dongle).

If a dongle is stolen with the PC, then the software manufacturer won’t supply a replacement. Therefore, even if a copy of the software has been taken, it can’t be used and new software must be purchased, increasing the cost of the claim.

Ideally dongles should be secured in a security enclosure, either away from the computer itself or one enclosing the whole computer.

Summary In this section, you've looked at: The different types of physical security options available The different forms of surveillance available What’s meant by target computer equipment

What's an Intruder Alarm

Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Course - Lesson Excerpt

Lesson 1: What's an Intruder Alarm

Intruder alarms are quite complex technically, but can be a sensitive and reliable security tool.

When designing a new intruder alarm system, compliance with PD6662:2017 should be the basic requirement. This scheme for the adoption of the latest version of the European Standards is concerned with security features and the reliability of an intruder alarm.

There are many individuals and firms who can install intruder alarms, but unfortunately they aren’t all equally competent and honest.

To deter theft (and to a lesser degree malicious damage and arson) and by ensuring a suitable response occurs, limit the time available to intruders and so the potential size of any loss.

Detection of Intruders

Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Course - Lesson Excerpt

Lesson 2: Detection of Intruders

**Bells and sirens ** These need to make a distinctive and loud sound. Their function is both to warn owners and neighbours and passers-by that an alarm has activated, and also to put the intruder under pressure. If the intruder doesn’t know whether someone is taking action on hearing the alarm, they will usually restrict the time they spend at the premises. The presence of a visible bell or siren often acts as a deterrent. When an alarm system includes remote signalling, there may be a delay of a few minutes after the alarm activates before the bell or siren sounds, to allow the police to get there before the intruder is aware that he has been detected. A delay can however allow more damage to be done, and increases the risk that more goods will be taken if the intruder isn’t caught. Outside bells or sirens usually switch off automatically after twenty minutes, so as to avoid disturbing the neighbours (pollution by noise). Many bells and sirens incorporate a flashing light, which helps the police to identify which premises to go to, and it continues to flash after the sound has stopped to continue to give warning of the burglary.


Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Course - Lesson Excerpt

Lesson 3: Detectors

There are also three main types of so-called volumetric detectors: Passive infrared (PIR) - Commonly used Ultra-sonic - Now rarely used Microwave - Rarely used on its own, usually coupled with PIR in ‘dual technology’ (dualtec) detectors. These ‘watch over’ or ‘cover’ a three-dimensional field. As a result, they may cover most of the volume of a room. This provides the advantage that they will detect an intruder once in the room, whether they’ve entered through a door, window, roof, wall or floor. In this respect, they are more versatile than, say, a door contact that requires the door to be opened and ignores all other means of entry including breaking a hole through the door. On the other hand, they are more complex and can give rise to false alarms more readily.

Designed to detect the infra-red energy given off by a human body moving into their field within a specified range of distances. A larger object further away, or a smaller object much closer, can register as if they were humans.

In one case, the cause of a false alarm was found (from its footprints in the dust) to have been a mouse, which walked along a beam on which the passive infra-red detector was fixed. It stood on the detector and looked over the front. From that distance, its nose registered as if it was a man several feet away.

They need to be sited carefully to avoid any features in their environment likely to cause false alarms, e.g. changes in temperature, strong lights.

**Modulated infra-red rays ** They use a transmitter and a receiver but these are in different places within protected premises.

The transmitter sends out a ray of infra-red radiation towards the receiver. If the ray is broken, the receiver registers the interruption and gives an alarm condition.

The more rays there are, the better the protection.

Deliberately-operated device (panic switch, panic button)

Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Course - Lesson Excerpt

Lesson 4: Deliberately-operated devices and remote signalling

Deliberately-operated device (panic switch, panic button)

These are commonly used for warning of hold-ups (e.g. in cash offices and near tills).

They are situated so that they can be operated unobtrusively.

Types of Remote Signalling An alarm needs to be able to send a signal somewhere, and at its simplest, this can be to a siren or bell at the premises.

Alarm Receiving Centres (ARC)

Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Course - Lesson Excerpt

Lesson 5: Alarm Receiving Centres (ARC)

In addition to receiving and acting on alarm messages, they can: Monitor alarms as they are set and unset By arrangement, for high risk premises, treat as alarms any deviations from the prearranged routine, e.g. an alarm being unset at an unusual time Monitor plant and receive messages regarding the failure of refrigerators and heating systems Investigate remotely an alarm activation, using pictures transmitted from the protected premises or listening through microphones in order to establish if an alarm activation is genuine or false.

**Confirmed alarms ** In a conventional (non-confirmation) alarm system, activation of a single detector causes the alarm to electronically ‘lock’ itself into the alarm condition and send an appropriate signal to the ARC. The police and keyholders are then requested to attend the premises.

Which of the following are the methods of confirmation? Select all the correct answers

Selecting an Alarm Company and False Alarm Cases

Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Course - Lesson Excerpt

Lesson 6: Selecting an Alarm Company and False Alarm Causes

The NSI structure The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) offer a 'one-stop shop' for users of security and fire products and services, presented under one common logo design. The NSI is the UK’s most trusted and respected independent certification body in the security and fire safety sector. The NSI branding provides a simple, unified approach making it easy to identify NSI approved companies across the security and fire industries.

Gold Gold is awarded to companies achieving the highest level of business excellence by meeting both the technical requirements delivered against British and European Standards, together with ISO 9000 Quality Management. These companies will be more suitable to handle multiple numbers of customers and larger systems.

Silver Silver companies achieve the technical requirements and must deliver sound customer management to meet trading requirements.

**False alarms and NPCC policy ** Police respond to intruder alarms by custom rather than legal obligation.

During the 1950s/1960s, when alarms began to develop, the police, who were often walking the beat, inevitably responded to the sound of an alarm bell ringing. Eventually routine police response came to be expected.

The intervention of the police can be material to security. Insurance companies will want to know not only the type of alarm and signalling, but also the current level of Police response For existing systems, it’s vital that when the level of response is reduced, suitable action is taken to investigate the nature of the false calls, and the problem is rectified. A number of police forces are deviating from NPCC policy as they face increasing demands on their resources. So there are certain circumstances where customers may need to arrange for alternative means of response, in particular from commercial response companies.


Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Course - Lesson Excerpt

Lesson 7: Keyholders

**The keyholder can: ** Admit the police into the premises Check what has been taken or damaged Provide the police or fire brigade with useful information Re-secure the premises Some security firms provide a keyholding service.

Select ALL the responsibilities of a keyholder

Substitution of commercial keyholding or security companies as an alternative to police response to intruder alarms.

Police response still remains the preferred option and the following guidelines should be followed when selecting a commercial response company.


Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises Course - Lesson Excerpt

Section 2: Intruder Alarms Glossary

Detectors **Capacitive proximity detectors ** These detect the presence of a person close to or touching the object being protected. They’re useful for protecting things such as paintings and works of art. Continuous wiring Carries an electric current and when a wire is broken the closed circuit is broken and an alarm condition created. It’s fixed over the inner surface of the door, cupboard, wall or ceiling, or window to be protected. The detector wire is brittle and taut, and snaps easily if moved. Door contact/protective switches These contain reed contacts which are held in the closed position by a permanent magnet. Opening the door or window removes the magnet and the reed contacts open to create an alarm condition. These contacts/switches can be circumvented by an intruder going through the door itself. Linear detectors, acoustic wires These consist of a special type of cable which is fixed to the structure of the building. Vibration detector This detects vibration coming through the solid material (for example the wall) to which the sensor is attached. The signals are analysed electronically so as to discard the signals caused by all the vibrations that are normally present and select only those typical of an attack. Volumetric capacitive detectors These are less common and use capacitance to detect the presence of a person within the protected area.

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Prevention of Theft from Commercial Premises


Aviva is one of the largest UK insurance brands and a leading savings and retirement business with more than 320 years of heritage. Aviva Risk Management Solutions helps you to look at risks that arise in your place of work and put into action customised measures to control them.

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