Lancashire Police are reminding business owners to keep their property and money safe this Christmas ahead of an increase in takings.
Officers have been providing crime prevention advice to banks, jewellers and post offices before the festive period as part of a regional campaign to reduce the risk of robberies and thefts.
The move is part of Operation Vault, with police carrying out operations throughout December to prevent such crimes across the county.
Supt Simon Giles, of South Division, Lancashire Police, said: “We are stepping up our fight against criminals who carry out robberies of commercial and financial premises.
“In the run-up to the festive period many businesses enjoy an increase in takings and we want to ensure that it is the business that benefits from this financial boost rather than a burglar or robber who may seek to take this as an opportunity for unlawful gain.
“We want to raise awareness of such crimes to encourage businesses to take crime prevention steps to avoid becoming a victim.”
Officers are giving business owners the following advice:
* Ensure that any intruder and panic alarms are fully operational and subject to an immediate police response in case of activation.
* Be extra vigilant during cash or stock deliveries/collections and make all your staff aware of the added risks at this time of year.
* Be mindful of any suspicious activity on your premises during opening hours. For example, individuals who are inside but do not appear to be using any of your services/buying anything. They may be observing the layout of the premises or checking out stock/cash delivery times.
* If you have a CCTV system, ensure that it is operational and that cameras are recording images from appropriate areas.
* Ensure that money is stored appropriately in a safe or other secure area.
* When visiting the bank with cash, vary your habits, for example, day, time and route; and consider how much you carry and where possible attend the bank in twos.
* Do not cash up until the premises are empty and known to be secure.
* Consider your ‘lock down’ procedures at the close of business to ensure that premises have been completely emptied and that no external doors or windows have been accidentally or intentionally left open.
* Report any suspicious activity to the police.
Supt Giles added: “Police patrols will routinely be deployed across the county to monitor cash deliveries and collections and, if local businesses want the support of the police, they should let us know.”
As part of this year’s campaign, Operation Vault will see officers deployed across the county to deter and disrupt organised robberies and thefts.
Operations will include:
* Units being made available on strategic routes, including local hot spots and vulnerable areas.
* Tasking locations to be decided week by week based on risk and threat assessments from community intelligence.
* Armed response vehicles and road policing units to be used where necessary.
* Working with neighbouring forces to identify emerging threats and respond accordingly.
* Maximise other opportunities to impact on public safety, for example road safety, and enhance public confidence.
Any suspicious activity should be reported to the police on 101 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency, always dial 999.