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In recent years the trend for larger GP practices, coupled with the wider use of computers, has increased the attraction of such premises to thieves. GP surgeries may also prove attractive to thieves because of drug storage or dispensing, the latter often indicating that cash may be present.
This Hardfacts outlines a range of general precautions that can be taken at GP's and other surgery premises, e.g. vets and dentists. More detailed information on particular topics is available in other Hardfacts information sheets.
Premises Security - Physical
The physical security of your building perimeter is an obvious area for attention. ‘Hardfacts' Door & Window Security provides further information, but in general consider:
All premises will have at least one perimeter door, which, if you are in shared building, may not be to outside but from your portion into a shared or common area. In any event consider:
Doors and frames should be in good condition, of good fit and well secured to the building structure. Glazing should be well secured i.e. no loose or perished putty and beading.
Timber doors should be of 'external grade' (a min thickness of 45mm/1 ¾ '') with hardwood doors generally stronger than softwood. For PVCu or metal doors, especially if glazed, the manufacturer's intended use should be observed. Weaker doors, or areas e.g. panels or glazing, can usually be improved by adding secondary plywood panels, steel sheet, bars, grilles or mesh.
Inward opening doors can be improved by fitting a second lock, outward opening ones by fitting two hinge bolts.
If the glass installed is toughened (despite its name, a safety not security material), security can be improved and still meet safety requirements, by replacing it with laminated glass.
Our ' Security Glazing' Hardfacts provides further information.
Locks and Padlocks
A huge range of door locks and padlocks are available, but in general for hinged single leaf doors consider:
Hinged Double Doors
These are usually adequately secured by:
Emergency (Fire) Exit Doors
These doors are often relatively weak but, subject to strict controls to ensure unlocking at all times when the premises are in use, extra visible security devices, e.g. bolts, or secondary protection (see below*) may be appropriate. If in doubt seek advice from the fire brigade or your insurers, and always record any such measures in your fire risk assessment.
*Detailed advice on this topic is available in a document published (as a free download) by The RISCAuthority see http://www.riscauthority.co.uk/free-document-library/RISCAuthority-Library_detail.s11-security-of-emergency-exit-doors-in-non-residential-premises.html
Most premises will have perimeter windows, so consider:
Condition and Glazing
The points mentioned for doors also apply to windows.
All accessible opening windows should be fitted with key lockable handles/window locks. Accessible windows are generally regarded as those that may easily be reached from the ground or adjacent single storey roofs, walls, ledges and large drain or soil pipes.
Forced entry through windows can be greatly hindered by the installation of steel bars or grilles. These can be made to many designs, and it is wise to contact your insurers for advice before proceeding.
Roller shutters/grilles are a good form of protection to windows, or for that matter doors or a whole shop front.
Insurers Minimum Security Requirements
When insurance is sought against theft its provision may be conditional upon the premises providing a certain level of physical security, often termed ‘Minimum Security Requirements' (MSR's). MSR's tend to concentrate on the fitting and use of common locks on typical doors and windows and may vary according to the insurer, type of property, e.g. domestic or commercial, or the type of insurance contract.
Other Security Measures
Security is often dependant upon more than just door/window locks. For example:
Maintain good relations with occupiers of any adjacent living accommodation, and ask them to contact you in the event of seeing anything amiss.
Lights left on within premises can aid natural surveillance by the public/police. Lights left on outside premises or activated by sensors will deter entry to yards, alleys or doorways.
The effectiveness of most security measures depend upon those charged with using them, so make sure staff understand the reasons for, and correct operation of, all your security measures
Other matters that may be worthy of attention include:
Premises Security - Electronic
Given time and sufficient motivation to enter, almost any physical security measure can be overcome. With this in mind measures to deter and detect intruders by electronic means can be a very useful, for example;
An audible alarm with at least one high level external sounder can act as a deterrent to forced entry and otherwise limit the time an intruder would be prepared to stay in the premises.
However, it is preferable for an alarm to be connected to an Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC),
whose operators can notify premises keyholders and, for qualifying systems the Police, in the event of alarm activations.
If fitting an alarm the use of suppliers with NSI/SSAIB approval is advised, as this will ensure the alarm is installed, maintained and monitored to appropriate technical standards.
‘Hardfacts' Intruder Alarms - Guidelines for Purchasers provides further information.
CCTV systems range from simple internal systems, e.g. viewing and recording activity in strategic areas, to remote monitored or local authority manned town/shopping centre systems.
Internal CCTV systems can help deter or capture evidence of theft, robbery, acts of vandalism or aggression, etc.
Monitored external systems can help capture thieves in action. If you wish to rely on a system run by a third party, e.g. landlord or council, you should carefully check the coverage and operation of the scheme e.g. you may find cameras only cover part of you premises.
If fitting a CCTV system the use of suppliers with NSI/SSAIB approval is advised.
‘Hardfacts' CCTV Systems - Guidelines for Purchasers provides further information.
Areas that house theft attractive items or confidential information should be protected against ‘walk in' theft by being kept locked. Where that proves impractical, electronic access control locks and intercoms can help control access. Access control can reduce theft risks and also help protect staff from assault or intimidation, especially where they may be working late or in reduced numbers.
Security of Target Items
In addition to the foregoing, measures to specifically protect items often targeted by thieves can usefully be considered. In this regard a useful general precaution is to create an ‘inner perimeter' at or around rooms or areas housing theft attractive items. This inner perimeter can then be provided with enhanced physical and/or electronic security. In addition, measures to specifically protect items commonly targeted by thieves should be considered, as follows:
Drugs likely to be attractive to criminals should, as a minimum, be kept within a locked drugs cabinet, or fridge within a locked room; but ideally in a suitable security safe.
Cash is uniquely attractive to thieves, so:
Our range of ‘Hardfacts' Cash Security provides further information.
Whether owned by the surgery or an outside body, e.g. a PCT or PFI group, computer security should be of concern to the users. Consider:
Our 'Hardfacts' Computer Security provides further information.
Whether held in paper or electronic form, you have a duty under the Data Protection Act to register such record holding with the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) and should then take suitable steps to protect confidential records, for example:
Key Action Points
Sources of Further Information
Other Hardfacts in the Property Protection - Security Series, which are available in our ‘Knowledge Store' at www.aviva.co.uk/risksolutions
Master Locksmiths Association. Tel 01327 262255 or visit www.locksmiths.co.uk
National Security Inspectorate (NSI). Tel 01628 637512 or visit www.nsi.org.uk
Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB). Tel 0191 296 3242 or visit www.ssaib.org
LPCB (For computer entrapment suppliers) Tel 01923 664100 or www.redbooklive.com
The RISCAuthority (the UK insurers' technical advice body). visit www.riscauthority.co.uk
Selectamark Ltd. Tel 0800 328 6268 or see www.selectamark.co.uk
Your local police Crime Prevention Unit.
European Certification Board - Safes (ECB-S). See www.ecb-s.com
Information Commissioner's Office. Tel 01625 545700 or see https://ico.org.uk/
This document contains general information and guidance and is not and should not be relied on as specific advice. The document may not cover every risk, exposure or hazard that may arise and Aviva recommend that you obtain specific advice relevant to the circumstances. AVIVA accepts no responsibility or liability towards any person who may rely upon this document.
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