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What to do if your depot has been broken into

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You’ve seen the tell-tale signs of a break-in at your depot. What are you supposed to do?

No matter how good your security is, you can never eliminate the risk of property crime; it’s something around 4.9 million UK businesses suffer each year. It’s never pleasant but with the right approach, you can minimise the disruption.

Getting things back to normal is rarely as painful as you first fear and once it’s dealt with, you can use the experience to review security and tackle any weak spots that have been highlighted.

What to do if your depot has been broken into:

  1. Stay safe & get help
  2. Keep depot secure
  3. Document everything
  4. Review and improve
  5. Ensure security of data

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Step 1: Stay safe & get help

If you’re the first person on the scene and you spot signs of a break-in, the priority is to stay safe and stay out. There’s always the risk that whoever caused the damage may still be inside the premises.

Find a safe location and contact the police. If you believe the intruder could still be there, or has only just left, it should be dealt with as an emergency 999 call. Otherwise, it can be handled via the non-emergency 101 number.

If you’re not the business owner, make sure a senior company official is alerted to what’s happening. This could be the owner or any kind of site manager or supervisor.

Step 2: Keep depot secure

If the police are attending, make sure the location where the break-in has taken place is kept secure. You don’t want employees disturbing or moving anything that could hamper the police investigation.

If something is interfered with, either by accident or before realising a crime has taken place, make sure the employees make a note of it. The police will confirm when the site is safe and when they have all the information they need.

Step 3: Document everything

Before tidying up any mess caused, make sure you take photos of the scene and any items or areas that have been damaged. Check for any items that may have gone missing and take a note of what they are.

Try to compile as much information as possible on missing or damaged items - exact model, serial/product numbers and any associated receipts or proof of purchase. Once a detailed list of damage and losses has been compiled, contact your insurer provider and start the claims process.

Step 4: Review and improve

Once the dust has settled, it’s time to review what steps can be taken to improve security and reduce future risks. Identify how the intruder gained access and look at what security measures would have prevented it.

It’s also a good time to make sure you have accurate lists of office kit and equipment and that these are properly covered by the insurance policy. All documentation should be accurate and up-to-date.

Take a look at how staff responded to the incident - did they know what to do and who to contact? If not, make sure that’s addressed - make it a part of staff training.

Step 5: Ensure security of data

While physical damage can be repaired and stolen items replaced, the biggest threat posed by a break-in is to company information. It’s the risk of vital company information being lost or compromised.

In the worst case scenario, the loss of company or client data is something that can jeopardise the future of a business. A simple way to protect against this is to use a system which stores business information via the cloud.

Cloud storage means that data is safely kept on a third party server, there’s nothing an intruder can do to access or interfere with it. Even if computers are stolen and hard drives damaged - the data remains safe.

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Image source: freeimages.com Tracy Olson

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