Are You Exposed to Theft?

10th Aug 2022

Whether its data protection, high value products, or high risk products such as pharmaceuticals, security of loads in transit these days in becoming a more of a risk, why else would you have vehicles with trackers, cameras, CCTV all around your warehouse, yet you still leave these things in full view of any passers-by. For staff, whether they be long serving or temp, times are harder than we have seen for many years. The difficulty to achieve something as basic as keeping the food on the table is becoming greater.

Theft in the UK

The National Fraud Agency in the UK estimates that the cost of pilferage to the UK economy could be as high as £73bn per year, with internal pilferage rising between 2013-2015 by over 40%. The NHS Counter Fraud Authority estimate that Theft and Fraud cost the NHS 1.21BN per annum. CIFAS have highlighted that one of the main reasons for this increase is because it in made so easy, with companies not removing the temptation for the opportunists.

What does it cost YOU and YOUR business? Don’t worry you’re not the only person that can’t answer this...

There is a huge amount of options available to you and your Company to help reduce unseen costs that erode base line profits, and the best news is that they don’t have to be expensive, some are even free, others are simply common sense, but unless you know and understand the costs and the risks where would you start….?

Identify the cost

Identifying your costs will help you assess your potential losses to theft. There are a few key things to think about when identifying costs:


what was your stock adjustment figure this year?

Stock is the easiest thing to disappear. How easy is it to nab a quick tin of beans off the shelf? If someone is prepared to lose their job for a tin of beans what else would they steal?

You certainly need to be concerned about the higher value items, if someone is prepared to steal a tin of beans, are they prepared to steal a pack, and if they are prepared to steal a pack of beans are they prepared to steal a fillet steak, as that would be easier than the slab of beans. When someone realises how easy it is, the habit will escalate…

Asset Disposal

Asset Disposal is one of the most common areas of theft. Staff are often under the impression that the business has finished with an asset, and consider “no harm done” when they steal it. Well, we all know that isn’t the case, every asset stills holds a value, even if its just scrap value, and the value should be retained by the Company.

Time Theft

Its a common fib to say that the person worked till 5:30pm, but actually left at 5.15pm. And on the flipside, how many times have you or your staff arrived at the office 15 minutes early, or stuck around an extra 15 minutes just to help finish off a job?

You can see that this is one of the easiest ways for staff and businesses to steal from one another, and when that 1/4 hour is every day, extrapolated over the entire year, it soon adds up, but that’s why we have clocking in machines.

Cash Theft

Cash Theft is the one that we worry about the most, however in truth it is one of the least common thefts. Stock theft is estimated to be 3 times that of cash theft, and even time theft being twice that of cash theft, but cameras covering the cash handling areas can prevent this.

Could a standard hasp and staple with padlock be your answer? Perhaps you need to look at additional layers of security such as PIN entry Systems? Even a swipe card system that requires authorised personnel to use their own key card?

Reducing the Risk of Theft

The true cost of theft is not only the damage to the bottom line, but also the long term damage to the business reputation. The long term financial damage to the business is likely to be far higher than the value of the stolen property.

Therefore, it is worth understanding the risks in your business, from the view point of short term financial loss and long term damage to reputation and business prospects.

Here is an example risk assessment for identifying risks of theft

Company Theft Risk Assessment

Identifying Solutions

Its also important to identify actions that can be taken to reduce risks. Here are a few examples of risks highlighted in the risk assessment.

RiskSuggested mitigation actions
CashUse cameras to cover cash handling areas
OvertakingsUse cameras to cover cash handling areas
TimeUse clocking systems and encourage staff engagement.
Stock ShrinkageUse security cage to store valuable items.
Goods InwardsCarriers deposit packages to a locked cage with a letterbox. The cage is then wheeled to a secure area for processing.
Despatch AreasPackages ready for despatch are locked in security cages and wheeled to the carriers vehicle.
Office Consumables

Tea, Coffee, Toilet Rolls

Store in locked cupboards. Only issues to authorised staff.
StationeryStore in locked cupboards. Only issues to authorised staff.
Tools/EquipmentStore tools in locked mobile tool cupboards. Easily moved to place of work.
Mobile Phones, Ipads, Notebook ComputersStore in locked security cages, and then wheel to a secure area for further protection.
Electronic DataInvest in cyber security measures and train all staff accordingly.

Don’t forget the theft of old IT equipment containing valuable and personal data is a far easier crime.

Data for DestructionStore printed reports and removable media in secure storage before destruction.
ExpensesImplement a robust system to check and sign off expenses by superiors.
FuelImplement fuel cards and vehicle tracking, check mileages on expense claims.
Drugs/PharmaceuticalsStore all drugs, pharmaceuticals, chemicals in security cages.
Violence/RobberyFit secure locks and panic alarms.

Stopping Theft with Security Cages

As a rule, we generally find that the obvious security risks are well considered, cameras where cash is handled, fuel cards or accounts for fuel, clocking in machines for time.

However, very rarely do Company’s look after their stock, tools and assets as well as the cash, and lets face it the stock is not only your cash, but is also your future profits. Stock should have as much care taken if not more care than your cash, as you may have spent £1000 on your stock, but you will sell it for £1500...

Here at Handle-iT, we provide a myriad of transport and storage solutions, not only to reduce staff pilferage but also to provide safe handling solutions.

Look at things you move and store, and then consider their value to the eyes of a potential thief. Things like food, electronics, clothes, pharmaceuticals, building materials and even your customer data, can hold HUGE black market value. It is your responsibility not only to keep the assets safe, but also your teams moving these items.

Are you really doing enough?

If you need a solution to help prevent theft in your workplace, contact the team today on 01803 875 222 or email