Business Crime case study

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Business Type: Agricultural/ Farming
Location: Near A428, South Cambridgeshire
Crime: Fuel theft, vehicles and equipment stolen, damage to fencing
Total value of goods stolen: Almost £60,000 in a 12 month period

PX Farms are a large agricultural farming company made up of 17 farms, covering 4,000 acres across South Cambridgeshire.

Prior to security improvements

Criminal incidents
Before PX Farms made the recommended security upgrades they had experienced a range of issues over a period of years. The crimes encountered were mainly theft of fuel from agricultural machinery and vehicles, theft of gas cylinders and vehicles, and criminal damage to fencing.

Financial impact
Typically PX Farms were reporting 1-2 incidents each week and over a 12 month period almost £60,000 of goods were stolen from the various farm sites.
For a number of incidents PX Farms were unable to claim on their insurance due to the relatively low monetary value which was below the excess payable amount. Cumulatively though, this often totalled several thousands of pounds.

Previous security
There had already been some consideration for the security of the business premises with some security measures already installed in and around the farms including:
• CCTV cameras in specific areas
• Staff living permanently on site
• Alarms fitted to the workshop and office areas
• Quality locks on windows and doors to recommended industry standards

Staff impact
The impact was not just financial, staff found the incidents hugely frustrating and demotivating. Their jobs were becoming increasingly difficult to carry out and led to a huge amount of time being wasted on clearing up and making repairs.

For the management it led to a lot of unnecessary time being spent reporting incidents, organising repairs, dealing with insurance claims and replacing equipment. Time which could not be spent focusing on the growth and development of the business.

Security measures implemented
As PX Farms had been repeatedly targeted in terms of crime and thefts and as part of Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s plan to tackle business related crime, a security survey was carried out by the local Crime Reduction Officer.
An assessment of the premises was carried out both internally and externally with additional security measures suggested and advice provided to help improve the security of the premises and reduce the incidence of crime.

Implementing security improvements
Following the security survey PX Farms invested in security improvements for the main farm areas and also in perimeter security for the properties.

Security improvements made:
• Increased and improved CCTV coverage
• Installed additional security gates with swipe card access, including a log of who has
accessed where.
• Improved external perimeter fencing connected to a telephone and audio system
• Fuel tank enclosed with a secure building.

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Since PX Farms implemented the recommendations and improved their security the number and severity of crimes has significantly reduced to mainly just low level criminal damage.

This shows how reviewing your businesses’ security and identifying vulnerable points including access points, monitoring equipment (such as lights, CCTV and alarms), physical barriers (such as locks, security gates) and staff training can deter criminals from targeting your business.

You can access the business security survey here, and for further business security advice and the full PX Farms case study visit the Cambridgeshire Constabulary website http://www.cambs.police.uk/GetCloser/BusinessCrime/.

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