How much will I have to spend?
Do you want to protect your pub and possessions while you are away from the business, or while you are in residence, or both? In some instances a system can be purchased and installed for under £1,000 but ultimately it may depend upon your insurer’s requirements how much you have to spend. Most insurers will insist on any intruder alarm system being installed to British Standard BS4737 or PD 6662:2004 by a company listed and approved by the National Approval Council for Security Systems (NACOSS) or the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).
An on-going service that your insurers will also want to see is an annual service and maintenance contract (to the same British Standards as above) in place so you need to budget for that as well.
Burglar Alarms are your last line of defence
Prevention is better than cure, so the saying goes, and never more so in preventing burglary at your pub. There’s plenty of advice out there from the police, local authorities, security contractors and insurers. In order to deter burglars you may wish to carry out a risk assessment at your pub with specific regard to your risk of burglary.
Here are some of the things you might consider along with what you might do to minimise those risks:
A typical pub is at risk of theft/break-ins and violent attack due to the amount of items which are easy to sell on, this can range from wet stock, fruit machines, cash takings, large screen TVs etc. The industry has also seen a significant increase in theft of metals such as copper tanks, roofing lead etc. (For instance I was rudely awakened by two ne’er do wells at 3 in the morning happily trying to remove a significant area of lead roofing outside my bedroom window, although they didn’t succeed in removing it totally the cost of repair was fierce!)
You must review the security of your pub to see if there are any repairs or upgrades required to make it safer. The physical protection of your building’s often your first line of defence, how secure is the fencing around your rear yard/beer garden? Could you fit motion detector activated security lighting?
Accessible opening windows should at least have key operated locks but ideally, where permitted to do so, they should be fitted with lockable shutters, grills, or bars. (Although they don’t look good they are a necessary evil, for instance in one pub I ran, the pub was situated next to a public alleyway leading to a public car park. All the ground floor windows not only had external bars fitted but were glazed with wired glass.)
Doors should be in good condition, with substantial locks or internal bars/bolts etc, check with your insurer on what their minimum requirement is.
Cash Handling – minimise the time large amounts of cash are handled, remove till drawers as soon as is practicable after you stop serving for the night and put them in a secure location.
Locking Up Routine – all external doors and windows closed and locked, vulnerable outside kit stored away (such as BBQs, patio heaters, brollies etc). If possible change the order of your routine, burglars often “stake out” potential premises for them to rob.
Property Marking – can be very obvious, such as engraving or punching, or invisible using ultraviolet sensitive marker pens or DNA type solutions. These are available commercially from Forensic Coding suppliers such as SelectaDNA, SmartWater or Red Web Security. It is good practice and necessary to advertise the use of covert applications at entry points to premises in order to maintain the deterrent effect. Property registers such as free to use Imobilise enable you to register details of your property, such as plasma TVs or other expensive kit you may have in the pub and things like personal jewellery you may have in your private quarters.
Top Tip for keeping costs down: if you use an alarm company that monitors your system from a central control room then ensure the phone line used is not using a premium number to dial out on. A licensee reported in February 2013 that he had been charged over £3,000 in 4 years just for the call charges generated every time he set his intruder alarm system every night!
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