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"In God, We Trust, everything else is covert"

Published in Focus Business

Businesses are losing money hand over fist through dishonest activity on the part of customers, employers, employees and competitors. However, there are some particular specific weaknesses which can be plugged and, in many cases, simple and inexpensive techniques are very effective at reducing losses. It must be said that the vast majority of employees and customers are honest, hard-working people but, in any society, there are those who will take advantage if the situation arises. Owners of businesses should not be the only ones concerned with theft, indeed lost profits cost the consumer in the form of higher prices and could otherwise be shared with employees as extra pay and benefits. It is certainly not unusual for quite profitable companies to shut their doors because they could not absorb the losses through theft.

Put into monetary terms, if each employee, for example, takes just one small item such as a chocolate bar, this will equate to losses of approximately £200 per employee. If that figure is then multiplied by a number of employees, then a seemingly small loss will soon equate to something quite substantial. Ignoring such losses over a period of time can eventually destroy what was once a relatively healthy business.

Shoplifting is yet another crime that steals the inventory and robs profits resulting in higher prices and lost sales. Even the smallest of the country’s retail outlets report losses on a monthly basis.

Many people will happily look after friends and relatives. Commonly known as ‘sweethearting’ this crime is particularly difficult to detect. At its most simplistic, a part of a sale is rung up in order to make it look like a perfect innocent transaction but in many cases losses of up to £500 per month are regularly experienced. Open delivery doors will always be a particular temptation to any vendor looking to by-pass an official order to carry away some additional booty. Businesses can do a lot to help themselves by instituting firm policies on theft and the system abuse which should be communicated to all employees in writing. The policy should, of course, apply equally to all levels of employees. Nothing is likely to create more dissention among the ranks than double standards. If the boss dips into the petty cash before lunch, it is hardly likely that staff cannot be expected to do exactly the same if they happen to be short of a bob or two.

Increasing numbers of businesses are turning to covert video surveillance specialists to provide that powerful evidentiary tool to be used at discretion. These days, covert surveillance camera systems can be provided that record every movement in cases of suspect employees. Every cash register transaction can be recorded and superimposed onto video-tape. Telephone calls can be monitored, providing vital visual evidence of wrongdoing for prosecution purposes. In fact there is absolutely no area of a workplace that cannot be monitored. Miniature covert video cameras come hidden inside normal everyday objects, which is exactly why they work so well.

Whatever the scale of the crime, Security doesn’t cost, it pays dividends



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