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Rotherham Locksmith Advice

12th July 2020

Whisper it quietly but there might finally be light at the end of the lockdown tunnel. Cautious light, that is, given that Leicester is having to re-introduce restrictions, and we’re not out of the woods yet, but non-essential shops have now re-opened, and this weekend will finally see the opening of hairdressers and pubs. Let’s just hope your hairdresser hasn’t been celebrating the re-opening of the pubs before getting to grips with your scalp. 

This re-opening is obviously excellent news for those businesses that have not been able to trade for the last 3 months, and although it won’t be easy, and sadly some businesses may not be able to re-open, those that can will be breathing sighs of relief as another step to normality is taken. 

Understandably, if you’re busy re-opening at a time like this, security may not be at the forefront of your mind, especially when you consider all the other tasks that need carrying out ahead of re-opening.  However, it is still an important consideration, with many insurance policies dependent on you paying heed to proper security. So a reminder about business security wouldn’t hurt, and that’s what I’ll look at now.

Attention is often focussed on the emotional impact of a break-in at a domestic property, on top of the practical hassle of making the home safe again, and dealing with insurance. These considerations all apply for a business-owner too, but added on to this is the cost of the disruption to the business, and the potential loss of assets of higher value than one would find in a domestic setting. Having just come out of a period of economic activity, the last thing you want is a break-in meaning you have to put the business on hold again, and without any government grant or furlough assistance this time around.  As well as the clean-up after a break-in, there may be an additional wait before you are able to replace assets that are crucial for the running of your business. As such, as business owners we need to do all we can to prevent that break-in in the first place. 

It will surprise none of us that most business break-ins take place using a door as an entry point. This makes lock selection all the more crucial when deciding how to secure your business. Most doors will either have a rim lock or a mortice lock fitted. A rim lock is usually mounted in a box on one side of the door, containing a dead bolt which clicks into a slot on the doorframe. The lock is opened by using a key on the outside and will automatically lock when the door is shut, unless you leave it on the latch. Most people will know these locks as Yale locks – although other companies do manufacture them, the term Yale has almost become synonymous with these locks, in the same way Hoover became for vacuum cleaners. These locks are not an integral part of the door, and so can suffer in comparison to mortice locks when judged on pure security. 

Mortice locks are housed within the door itself, with a key being able to be inserted on either side of the door. Therefore, when the door is shut, you cannot access the lock from either side apart from with a key, and you can only view the lock mechanism when the door is open. Turning a key in the lock results in levers in the door clicking into the door frame. This can be just one lever, but more common are mortice locks with multiple levers, with a 5-lever mortice lock being the standard on many newly-installed doors these days. The more levers there are, the more secure the door is, as it is locked in place in more locations around the frame, unlike a rim lock which may just have the one locking point. As such, mortice locks tend to be the choice when security is most prized. 

Whichever lock you choose, it’s important that it conforms to whichever standard your business insurance requires. British Standard BS3621 is generally the very minimum standard in the UK, and most locks that you can buy will meet this criteria, but you should always check, especially if you are tempted by a cheap lock that may not be up to scratch. Spend a couple of minutes researching that your lock meets the insurance company standards at the very minimum, preferably exceeding it. Unfortunately, insurance companies WILL refuse to pay out if you make a claim on a property that was not properly secured. 

Windows are also a favoured entry point for criminals. Ensure window locks are fitted – again, some insurers insist on this so check your policy. If you get new windows fitted, it’s an easy check to make sure they are all lockable. Older properties may pose a bit more of a problem, but it is usually possible to retrofit locks onto existing windows – even sash windows can be secured with a screw bolt to prevent entry from outside. 

A drawback with business properties against residential properties is that the former are often sited in an area away from other occupied buildings, especially at night. This means a burglar smashing a window to gain entry may not always be noticed. Fixing shutters or grilles to windows is to be recommended if your business is sited in such an area – either steel or aluminium ones will do the trick and can be closed each evening, opening up again in the morning. These will also discourage vandals lobbing the odd brick or rock through a window, saving expense there too. 

It’s important for businesses to be fitted with a fully functioning alarm and again, you will have to check your insurance policy to see what standards your provider insists upon. Insurers will generally be satisfied if the alarm is approved by either the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) or the National Security Inspectorate (NSI). Audible alarms are great and will hopefully frighten off intruders, but again, if the building is in an industrial area and unoccupied at night, this may not attract attention. Better still are those alarms that remotely signal to an Alarm Receiving centre when activated, alerting a security firm or police to immediately attend. These alarms are graded 1 to 4, and whilst 1 and 2 could do for residential use, I’d recommend a minimum of Grade 3 for a commercial property, going even higher if there is expensive equipment on site. 

Hoping that this information has given you food for thought, and perhaps made you think about changes you could make to your property as we get closer back to normality. It’s been a rough ride for businesses so far in 2020 and whilst we all hope it gets easier soon, the last thing we want is it being made more challenging through an insecure property and a break in. 

For any assistance at all with any Rotherham locksmith advice  or security-related matters, please call me on 01709 711055.

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