A new survey conducted by Reliance Security Services and Storage Handling Distribution magazine in February 2009, suggests that more than three quarters of the warehousing and logistics sector believes that the current economic downturn will raise the level of crime affecting their businesses. The survey asked security managers and those with responsibility for security in logistics businesses across the UK, what their concerns were in the current environment, what provisions they already had in place and how these might change given the ongoing difficult trading circumstances.Key findings:
Expected increases in crime
Of the three quarters that expect an increase in crime, 85% believe that break-ins will increase, 69% believe that internal theft/fraud will rise, more than half (52%) expect an increase in vehicle hijacking, while a third (32%) see a likely increase in car crime. Some 15% expect vandalism to increase, while 13% believe drugs-related issues affecting the industry will also rise.
On site security arrangements
Two-thirds of respondents have security officers on site at their storage operations. The same proportion of these use contract security staff, with a fifth employing in-house personnel. A marginal 4% use a facilities management company for their security manpower. In addition to the use of on-site security personnel, the other security solutions used by respondents include CCTV surveillance (84%), electronic access control solutions (68%), remote monitoring (44%), covert surveillance (25%) and lone worker devices (22%).
Responsibility for security
Some 43% of respondents are responsible for the security arrangements of a single warehousing / logistics site. A further fifth (19%) look after two sites, with the same number having responsibility for three or four sites. The remainder (7%) of security managers look after more than 50 sites.
Risk assessments and security reviews
In response to questions on the frequency of security reviews and risk assessments, 85% of respondents said they conducted annual risk assessments. A similarly high proportion of these sites – 76% – also review their security arrangements once a year.
Key security concerns
When it came to security concerns, logistics sites with and without on site security teams said that the issue of most concern to them was break-ins (85%). In addition to this, almost three-quarters (68%) of respondents to the survey said that employee theft and fraud was one of its greatest security concerns.
Experience of crime in the last year
Internal theft and fraud have been most frequently experienced, with 29% claiming to have been victims of this type of crime. Break-ins have been the second biggest problem occurring at 26% of sites, whilst vandalism has also been an issue for 22% of respondents. Other incidents have included car crime (15%) and drugs-related issues (12%) with 9% of organisations falling victim to vehicle hijacks. Only 6% have experienced a fire or flood and none have experienced terrorist activity.
Regulation and licensing of the security industry
The majority of respondents (74%) believe that standards in the security industry have improved since the introduction of security industry regulation in 2006. Those with an on-site security team have seen improvements in vetting (65% or respondents), training (59%) and the overall quality of security personnel (38%). A third (35%) believe that security staff retention has improved, whilst almost half (47%) believe that the overall perception of the security function has also improved as a result.
Regulation of the in-house sector
Over half the respondents (51%) expressed the view that the in-house sector should be licensed in the same way as the contracted sector and of those with an in-house security team, the majority (60%) said that they now vet their security personnel more closely than they did before the introduction of regulation.
Analysis of security spend
Over the past twelve months, the biggest area of increased spend for all respondents has been in electronic surveillance and CCTV. Almost half (43%) have increased expenditure in this area. Other electronic solutions have also benefited with a quarter (25%) increasing expenditure on access control systems and 16% increasing spend on remote surveillance. At the same time, 24% of respondents have seen a rise in expenditure on manned guarding – a reflection that ultimately, security staff make a valuable and visible contribution to business safety.
Future security spend
A similar trend applies to anticipated future spend, with a mix of manpower and technology dominating the survey’s view of where the industry intends to implement its resources in the future.
With the recession biting and budgets under pressure, security managers of logistics businesses are looking for ever more innovative solutions in the value of their security provision. Thanks to technological advances, the security mix is now greater than ever, giving buyers extensive flexibility in terms of choice and cost. The significant advances that have been made in areas such as surveillance, response services and vehicle and asset tracking (among others) also mean that security providers can offer a myriad of choices to the customer that recognise today’s harsh economic climate and provide the right mix of manpower and technology.