Business owners have been urged not to fight back in the face of a violent robbery.
The warning, from Midlands crime prevention expert Fay Goodman, follows a number of high profile shop attacks where lives have been lost and staff seriously injured.
Fay’s comments have been endorsed by Parminder Singh, vice president of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents and chairman of their public affairs committee.
Business Voice WM is to distribute free copies of Ms Goodman’s updated guide, Beating Crime In Your Business Is Your Business, to all 1,300 newsagents in the region.
In addition to support from Business Voice WM, the book has been sponsored by Westfield, AWM, West Bromwich Building Society, Coventry Trading Standards and Buzz Electrics to ensure as many small businesses as possible receive the advice.
Ms Goodman said: “Businesses that handle cash or valuables should ensure that their employees are trained so that they know how to best react in the event of a robbery.
“They should be instructed to avoid any ‘heroics’ – the best way to steer clear of personal injury is to co-operate fully with the robber.
“Do not make any sudden moves. Keep your hands in full view of the offender.”
And she advises: “Be alert and try to remember as much detail as possible. Consider using safety screens, personal panic buttons and CCTV. Conceal duplicate keys in appropriate areas so that staff can escape if raiders have locked them in the building.”
Mr Singh highlighted Home Office statistics that show shop attacks on the rise in the wake of the recession, drug use and changes in society.
He said: “Sometimes people believe they can fight back and succeed. But sometimes you can fight back and lose your life. But I would say that it is not worth fighting back. Rather than risk losing your life it is better to lose money.”
Ms Goodman warned that the effects of crime on small businesses could be far reaching.
She cautioned: “For a small business with a turnover of £20,000 or £30,000 a year operating within very tight profit margins it could spell bankruptcy.”
Credit card fraud could result in a business suffering permanent damage to its credit status; identity fraud was the fastest growing white-collar crime, increasing at nearly 500 per cent a year; cybercrime was rocketing, with 300 online crimes committed every hour.
And she also highlighted how arson could have devastating consequences for both human lives and property. There were many reasons for it – people deliberately setting fire to a factory just for ‘fun’; burglars trying to destroy evidence of their presence; a rival trying to destroy ‘the competition’; or a resentful ex-employee acting out revenge.