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Prevention of retail and commercial robbery

The following advice on preventing retail and commercial robbery is directed towards owners and managers of both small retail stores and larger commercial premises.

The below information can be downloaded in PDF format and can be used as an information sheet for staff.

Be alert

  • all members of staff should maintain vigilance at all times, anything unusual, e.g. people loitering outside, should be noted and reported to management and the police
  • put up a sign asking motor cyclists to remove helmets before entering premises. Be suspicious of those not complying. Such signs are available from you local police station
  • put a height marker near the door to help description taking

Vision and lighting

  • maintain a high level of lighting inside and outside the premises
  • be careful when putting up displays and signs, ensuring good vision inside premises and through windows. Do not stack shelving/gondeliers too high with products. You should be able to see around the whole of your shop from the till area

Early acknowledgement

  • visitors or customers should be made aware that a member of staff has seen them enter. In other words eye contact or a verbal greeting should be made

Dangers of habit

  • company premises holding large sums of money are most vulnerable when staffing levels are low, e.g. during lunch hours or when opening or closing the business. Staff working alone need extra security arrangements. While it is accepted that procedures within any organisation are necessary, predictable routines should always be avoided; e.g. vary cash delivery/collection times and routes to and from your bank or business.
  • if it is necessary to hold large sums of cash, consider professional cash handling services

Reduce the risk

  • reduce the quantity of cash held in tills by using deposit safes with time controls
  • all staff should familiarise themselves with company emergency procedures
  • post signs to say that you have a time delay safe, staff don't have the keys and large quantities of cash are not kept in tills

Dealing with a robbery

  • do not be a hero and remain calm
  • follow the robber's instructions and be non confrontational
  • instead, concentrate on memorising a description of the robber and what they have said, particularly if names are used
  • don't stand in the way of exits or try to stop the robber leaving or moving round the premises
  • once they have left, if safe, look outside to see if they have car and note the colour, type and registration number. Write it down
  • ring 999 and ask for the police and an ambulance if someone has been injured
  • write down starlight away all the information that you have remembered
  • do not touch anything or tidy up as the police will want to do a forensic examination of the premises


For further free advice please contact one of our  Crime Prevention Design Advisors.

ACS Crime Report 2014 - Self Scan Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
ACS Crime Report 2014 - Self Scan
Crime Prevention

The Crime Report 2014 by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has detailed account of the costs, both human and monetary, of crime including shop theft, burglary, robbery and violence.

It also features comprehensive guidance on how you can prevent criminal activity from happening in your store.

November 2014: The Crime Report now features new information for retailers on dealing with issues surrounding self service tills. 

The report can be downloaded via the related link.