Scottish businesses warned of threats to vacant premises

David MacCrimmon, seconded to SBRC from Police Scotland as its lead for serious and organised crime and counter terrorism

EMPTY workplaces across the country are being seen as potential easy targets for thieves and vandals looking to commit crime according to the Scottish Business Resilience Centre.

The warning comes following a spate of attacks on premises, suggesting criminals are keen to exploit the current COVID-19 lockdown which is leaving most commercial premises empty for extended periods – and a lack of potential witnesses on the streets.

The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), which includes experts across policing, fire and rescue and the security sector, are coming together to help advise businesses of the risks and dangers, via an upcoming free webinar.

David MacCrimmon, seconded to SBRC from Police Scotland as its lead for serious and organised crime and counter terrorism, will be speaking at the session which takes place on Thursday at 10am.  

He said: “With most of us stranded in our homes, the clear and obvious place that burglars, arsonists and vandals will sadly be looking to will be our empty offices, clubs, bars and shops.

“This could range from a one-off break in to steal alcohol from a bar, to an organised effort to steal valuable assets.

“But businesses can limit their exposure to the risk – and there are reasonable steps they can still be taking to protect their premises while sticking to lockdown advice. This webinar will give us a chance to fully explain some of those options and for those that sign up to ask questions.”

Gary Wood, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service watch commander who is also seconded, will lead a discussion on fire and safety risks – with simple tips that can be followed.

He said: “With many businesses temporarily closed due to the current Government restrictions on Covid-19, premises may now be unoccupied.

“Fire does not discriminate and can strike at any time including periods of unprecedented situations such as the global pandemic we currently face. But with a number of straightforward steps, it is possible to appropriately manage fire risk within your temporarily vacant premises.”

Further expertise will be provided by Ronnie Megaughin, regional manager for Scotland and Northern Ireland with the Security Industry Authority and Allan Burnett QPM, operations director with SecuriGroup.

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