By the time you read this, I will be back from leave. I wouldn’t have publicised that in advance. Not because I don’t want you to think I don’t ever need a break – but it’s all about security. We are facing a period of real challenge in many sectors of society and when the cost-of-living increases – so does crime. On top of that the summer months always see a 10% increase in burglary.
I hope you will also be able to get a break but have a think about your security arrangements – at home and at work.
Before I turn to RFD security, it’s worth recognising some UK statistics on crime. On average there are 34 burglaries every hour – and most happen during daylight hours with 58% happening with the owners at home. Most burglars do not carry any equipment and are in and out in 10 minutes. 67% break in through a door and 43% of burglars know their victims.
Household goods are not the usual target – rather money, jewellery, laptops (for the data as well as the item), car keys, bank statements, passports and birth certificates. The burglary may be just the first crime with you as the victim.
There are plenty of sources for advice on protecting yourself and your property but the following might be useful:
- Lock doors and windows and double/deadlock where possible.
- Lights on timers, exterior lights with sensors, CCTV, alarms etc.
- Neighbour support
- Lock away tools that might be useful in break-ins.
- Hideaway spare car keys
- Valuables out of sight from outside and inside. Documents secure.
At work, it’s still worth having a think about security, even if you have other staff on hand. We naturally have expertise in security but it's worth doing a refresher for everyone, as it's easy for us all to become complacent.
Most recently my concerns have been around the Trade being vulnerable to fraud. Lin has just published an article in Tackle and Guns with Worldpay talking about the threats of credit card fraud. Worth a read. I would also like to remind you of the need to check any unfamiliar RFDs who want to trade with you or your customers. We are aware of the fraudulent use of RFD certificate copies. Please do call the dealer back on a known, established number to check if you have any doubts. In the most recent example, the fraudster had even generated an email address that looked genuine.
The Firearms Security Handbook 2020 is our core reference document for securing firearms and ammunition. You can download it with a simple internet search. It covers everything from certificate holders to Section 5 carriers and is really useful. It forms the basis of the security provisions that you and your FEO have agreed to get your registration as a dealer. The challenge then is to keep on top of the security management. I would suggest the areas to concentrate on are things like alarm setting, access to keys and CCTV maintenance (spiders webs!).
Think about the layers of your security – perimeter, shell and interior. The perimeter should be prepared to provide both deterrent and protection. This may include everything from ram obstacles, CCTV, lighting, situational awareness etc. The shell is the protection provided by the building itself. Windows and doors are secure and the alarm is on, providing an alert before the Interior is accessed. The interior is where the heaviest levels of security of the firearms and ammunition are provided – cabinets, safes, gunrooms etc. Separate storage of items will divide and reduce risk. Section one ammunition should be secured separately from firearms.
Many of us enjoyed the wonderful Game Fair at Ragley last week. There are plenty more shows to come, including the new Welsh Game Fair 9-11 Sep at the Vaynol Estate. At these events, we are operating with rather different security protections. Once set up with the staffing in place, we are well covered, but the opportunist will be watching as we set up and break down and indeed as we travel to and from the shows. The security handbook provides clear advice on how we should travel with firearms – well worth a check.
It's not all doom and gloom thankfully. We have an excellent reputation in security as UK RFDs but we cannot afford to become complacent. The criminal fraternity will always want access to firearms and we have seen how they have adapted their sourcing of weaponry over the decades. As one source becomes more difficult, so they move to another. The humble shotgun still remains an object of desire for criminals and they may go to any lengths to get the tools they want. Read the GTA guide on dealing with a confrontational incident.
Spend a few minutes now just thinking through the layers of your security and the management of keys, alarms, CCTV etc. Make sure new staff are thoroughly aware of their responsibilities.
When you have checked all is in place, you can go home, check the same there and then be able to relax and - I hope - get some rest. The season’s coming soon and I plan on us being busy.