Firms must prepare vulnerable staff for robberies

JOHN ANTHONY
Last updated 05:00 26/07/2014

Relevant offers

Small Business

Rates cut and $200,000 business recovery package for gastro-hit Havelock North Easter Trading still not a level playing field, Wanaka retailer says Kiwi entertainers help run Italian 'fire festival' Seamstress took measures to leave New Plymouth, but decides to stay Nelson teenagers hammer home a desire for DIY by building their own business BlindSquare app will help visually impaired access businesses in Wellington New Plymouth crafter Tashi Sprite is living the fairy tale life Canvas was a trade his father picked up in the war before setting up shop in Taranaki Weta Workshop partners with Peter Jackson's Wingnut Wings I started my business from a Facebook post

Armed robbers are targeting small retailers as larger business beef up their security systems.

Next year, when a new Health and Safety Reform Bill is due to be passed, employers will have even greater responsibility to ensure staff have been provided with adequate training and resources to cope with an armed robbery.

Security and safety training experts say because many large organisations such as banks have taken their robbery prevention training in-house and heightened security, smaller businesses with readily available cash are being targeted.

New Zealand Security Association director of training Stewart O'Reilly said robberies were also being committed by younger, more unpredictable criminals.

Many employers did not provide robbery safety training until after the business had been attacked, he said.

When confronted with an armed robbery staff should co-operate fully, obey instructions, move normally, listen carefully and report observations to police.

Dundas Street employment lawyer Blair Scotland said the Health and Safety in Employment Act required employers to take all practicable steps to provide a safe work environment for employees.

Employers must identify hazards and potential hazards in the workplace and then isolate, eliminate or minimise them, he said.

If armed robbery was identified as a risk then providing training to help employees to deal with that should be provided, he said.

Failure to do so could result in harsh penalties including a fine of up to $500,000 or a term of imprisonment in the event of an armed robbery. Under the new Health and Safety Reform Bill the fine could be up to $3 million, he said.

Robbery prevention and safety skills training company Risq New Zealand offers half-day training seminars for between $200 and $300 per head.

Managing director Bruce Couper, who has worked in the industry since 1991, said many businesses ignored the risk of armed robbery. They either could not afford training, did not see a need for it or would rather take matters into their own hands, he said.

The number of robberies was not necessarily increasing, but the threat was still real, he said. "It's not a problem that's going away."

Risq training seminars cover topics including the ability to remain calm under pressure, what offenders expect during a robbery, what actions reduce the risk of harm and how to make premises an unattractive target.

ROBBERY SURVIVAL

The golden rules are: Remain calm. Co-operate fully. Obey instructions. Move normally. Position yourself for safety. Listen carefully. Observe and report to police.

Ad Feedback

Your safety is the most important thing.

Source: New Zealand Security Association

- BusinessDay.co.nz

Special offers
Opinion poll

Do you feel better off than at this time last year?

Yes

No

In some areas yes, others no

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content