construction sites, coronavirus lockdown,
© Richardjohnsonuk

Police across the UK are carrying out extra night patrols, as burglars target construction sites during the coronavirus lockdown

Police forces across the UK are taking extra patrols in emp­ty city and town cen­tres, as bur­glars tar­get shops, pubs and construction sites dur­ing the coro­n­avirus lockdown.

Gathering intel­li­gence data from police reports, news items, and their own cus­tomer feed­back, the prop­er­ty secu­ri­ty spe­cial­ists, VPS UK, has seen a sud­den rise in bur­glar­ies and attempt­ed thefts in Man­ches­ter, Mersey­side, Gwent and Cleveland.

Oppor­tunis­tic thieves

David Wormald, key account direc­tor for hos­pi­tal­i­ty & retail at VPS, said: “It’s no sur­prise that when whole city cen­tres are desert­ed, that oppor­tunis­tic thieves will take their chances, espe­cial­ly with an already stretched police ser­vice.

“And because so many peo­ple are stay­ing at home now, there’s even few­er chances that an attempt­ed bur­glary on a com­mer­cial site will be spot­ted and reported.”

Last week the British Secu­ri­ty Indus­try Asso­ci­a­tion con­firmed that the cur­rent def­i­n­i­tion of key crit­i­cal work­ers includes reg­u­lat­ed secu­ri­ty pro­fes­sion­als.

Roles essen­tial to sup­port­ing law and order, with the poten­tial to reduce demand on polic­ing, also meet the crit­i­cal work­er def­i­n­i­tion. This includes the guard­ing and CCTV mon­i­tor­ing of emp­ty or closed com­mer­cial, retail or office premis­es, and the pro­vi­sion of alarm response cen­tres includ­ing mobile units.

Vulnerable construction sites

Wormald added: “Even though it is a des­ig­nat­ed key work­er sec­tor, the secu­ri­ty indus­try also has to place a pri­or­i­ty of care for its work­ers dur­ing the virus cri­sis. Inevitably we will have some oper­a­tional strains if more staff are required to self-iso­late.

​“But we are more for­tu­nate than oth­ers in being able to deploy both guards and/​or CCTV secu­ri­ty sys­tems, because the lat­ter is a safe, social­ly dis­tant means to mon­i­tor premis­es via a remote video mon­i­tor­ing cen­tre.

“Vul­ner­a­ble premis­es like con­struc­tion sites, which con­tain valu­able plant and equip­ment, are now stand­ing emp­ty for a few weeks, so they need to be kept secure.”

He concluded: “No two sites are ever the same, and when the March UK crime sta­tis­tics are pub­lished soon, it would be worth check­ing to see if one area has wit­nessed a greater rise in crim­i­nal activ­i­ty on com­mer­cial premis­es than anoth­er.

“That would be one indi­ca­tion of greater vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty for shops and pubs, for exam­ple, and may high­light where addi­tion­al secu­ri­ty mea­sures might be need­ed.”

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