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Physical Security

andalism and theft are two of the major security risks for many businesses. Whilst electronic systems can offer a good level of protection, physical measures can also play a part. Some small businesses are pushed to breaking point because of the cost of repairing damage from attempted break-ins and vandalism. Such scenarios are not one-offs, but instead are typical of the problems faced by hundreds of sites all over the country. For many, dealing with the clear-up after an attack has become part of everyday life – it is faced up to with an air of resignation. After all, windows are – by their nature – vulnerable to attack and easily broken. The options for protection are also limited, as no one wants to see their site turned into a fortress. Physical security measures must, therefore, strike a balance between being effective and not being intrusive – in other words, they must be easy to live with. One thing to consider when selecting a physical security solution is that these devices simply work by making it too difficult and/or too time-consuming for criminals to effect an entry or to damage property. They will need to be used in conjunction with other systems if they are to be truly effective. For example, a steel door will be able to be opened by a determined criminal, and once this has been achieved, the site is obviously vulnerable. Alternatively, an alarm system might summon the police, but if they take ten minutes to arrive, a swift criminal could be long gone with valuable assets when they actually turn up. Obviously a combination of physical security and electronic systems is the best option. As it will take significantly longer to get through a security-rated steel door, the site is unlikely to be attractive to a crook, as they will be aware that such a delay will make the risk of arrest more likely.


Shutting up More commonly seen on retail establishments, retractable security shutters have now become a more popular choice for all manner of premises as they offer a security solution that can easily be removed from view. The devices can be swiftly lowered to protect a premises outside of working hours, and just as quickly raised to be virtually invisible. However, care should be taken when specifying products. A good place to start is with the Secured by Design scheme. Beyond this, it is important to insist on certain quality requirements when specifying a shutter or grille. These include that the components used to contain the device

Getting tough within the window frame should be made of metal and should deliver enough rigidity to ensure the shutter or its mounting structure cannot be bent out of position. The shutter must also be fully trapped at the top and bottom of the frame so that it cannot be levered out of place, and external rivets should be protected from attack or preferably concealed within the unit. Locks and cylinders can be highly vulnerable, and they should be of good quality and not easily accessible to potential intruders. Many lock cylinders will be resistant to attack with drills and have anti-picking technology, and these obviously give a higher level of protection. Also you can consider shutters and grilles which are locked internally, either by mechanical or electronic means, where such devices are suitable. Furthermore, the best units are equipped with reinforced side rails and slats which will defy the attempts of a determined thief. The majority of shutters are retro-fitted to existing windows, and are usually installed externally. Modern security shutters are ideal for use on tilt and turn or sash windows, but can also be adapted to all window types including those which open outwards. Thought should always be given to providing a solution which keeps the operating mechanisms out of sight as much as possible. On new build properties this should not create any difficulty as shutters can be fitted to door and window frames prior to installation to minimise work on site and to ensure a true fit. The shutter box and guide rails can then be built into the walls to ensure both a neat finish and one which is tamper resistant. Security shutters can be operated manually or electrically, and the choice of operation will depend on such things as the number and size of shutters installed. Manual operation is relatively easy as, if properly installed, the shutters will run freely and require little force. On larger buildings where automation would be desirable, systems can activate all the shutters with one command, a particular group of shutters, or any individual one. They could all also be operated manually. Grilles offer a different kind of solution, by providing some form of grid structure usually inside the window. This doesn’t prevent the window from being broken but does provide a physical barrier, stopping anyone from entering through the window aperture. These are often favoured for use in office areas, as they address

As incidents of theft, vandalism and malicious damage continue to cost businesses significant amounts, many are reconsidering the role of physical security measures in a total solution. Such an approach offers a good level of protection with a minimal cost of ownership.


Benchmark April 2013  

Benchmark April 2013