The way your premises are designed or laid out can have a big impact on the prevention and management of the risk of work-related violence. You can get detailed advice about how to design premises to reduce the risk of crime from your local authority architectural liaison officer or police crime prevention officer. In the meantime, the following tips should get you started. Remember, you don't need to be doing a major refit to implement some of these measures.
Remember to consider the needs of staff or customers with disabilities when planning changes to the work environment.
There are several schemes (for example 'Secured by Design') that you can get involved in - why not have a look at the relevant website for more details?
- Modify the layout of your store so that all corners are visible. If there are structures/pillars that obstruct the sight line or create concealed spaces, install mirrors or cameras.
- Consider whether high aisle display units reduce visibility.
- Provide adequate lighting to prevent shaded areas and to ensure CCTV images are suitable.
Location of cash tills
- Position service counters/tills where staff can see customers entering and leaving and allow a good visual line across the store.
- Locate till equipment behind a closed counter or in counter units to provide extra security and minimise risk of theft. Site the cash drawer away from customer reach, eg using plastic screens at the back of single checkouts, screens at the end of a row of tills, or plastic covers over the cash drawer.
High and wide counters
- Counters should be high enough to prevent customers climbing or leaning over, wide enough to prevent customers reaching staff, and without gaps at the ends of counters to prevent people walking into staff areas. Designing counters with raised flooring can separate the public from your staff and give better sight lines.
Location of high-value or age-restricted goods
- High-value goods should be located in a clearly visible part of the store, away from the exit, on higher shelves, or near/behind the tills where staff can see them.
How customers move around your store
- Tell customers where they need to go for checkouts etc and prevent them from entering 'staff only' areas. Depending on the size and nature of your store, routing could include signage, clear queuing lanes, one queue with a call forward system to prevent queue jumping, or a reception point for quick queries.
Outside the building
- Make sure people can't get access to your roof by locking away ladders or climbing aids.
- Maintain the exterior of your building - make it look welcoming to your customers, and minimise the number of places potential assailants can hide.
- Consider shutters, security fencing or anti-climb paint.
The bar area
Sufficient bars and good bar access help to avoid extensive crowding and queuing. Try to use layouts promoting small group formations rather than large areas which can encourage solitary drinkers or large groups. However, you will need sufficient staff to cover your bars. Optimal designs of bar areas may include open plan areas, divided in such a way staff can monitor all customers. Where blind spots are inevitable, carefully positioned CCTV or mirrors can be useful.
High and wide bar counters
- Raise the floor height of the bar area for staff to increase their ability to view the bar, and keep the counter top clear.
- Consider fitting bars with a roller shutter which can be locked in when necessary, for example outside normal operating hours or when there is trouble.
- Keep stocks of glasses out of customers' reach so they can't easily be used as weapons.
Use appropriate furniture, and provide sufficient seating areas
Heavier furniture can't be easily lifted and used as weapons. Try to secure outdoor furniture or provide secure storage for it. Avoid furniture where objects can be hidden, and decide if you need storage for customers' possessions, eg 'Chelsea clips'.
- Are toilet entrances clearly visible from the bar and away from main entrances to the pub or other 'at risk' areas?
- Shared toilet entrances with separate doors to each facility behind the first entrance are the most difficult to control - consider CCTV for these entrances and lobby areas.
- Provide separate staff and customer toilet facilities.
- Ensure staff checks of facilities are routine and frequent to maintain security.