Amanda Hunter, Project Manager at the Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA), and several JAA State Branches representatives recently participated in a meeting organised by SCentre Group to discuss the challenges shopping centres are currently facing in providing security to the stores enclosed within their premises.
Securing places of mass gatherings such as shopping centres can be problematic due to their ease of access by the public and vehicles. Such ease of access can make these spaces targets of attacks. Crime and terrorist attacks are often well organised and can be carried out groups and by lone actors with the intent to kill, injure and disrupt. National protection strategy policies are currently under review due to an increase in crime perpetrated by armed offenders, the discovery of explosive devices, and the use of hostile vehicles used in attacks in Victoria and overseas.
Any changes to the current national protection polices will be made with the intent to reduce the chances of violent crime and prevent terrorist attacks nationwide.
Retailers located in shopping centres are urged to review and update their security systems in light of these new security concerns. Retailers are also encouraged to share useful information and updates amongst retailers as well as peak industry bodies, such as the Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA), the JAA, and the police. The circulation of information in a timely and professional manner is of paramount importance to security initiatives and, according to the Business Advisory Group, peak bodies and industry Associations will play a key role in their implementation.
Retailers should also consider the possibility of ‘insider threats’ to the security pf their business. An ‘insider threat’ is a risk that emerges from within an organisation. This could a current employee, a past employee or contractors. The risks associated with ‘insider threats’ include intentional damage (e.g. data leaks, workplace violence and damage to premises) and unintentional damage (e.g. following instructions to change a supplier’s bank account and unknowingly transferring money to wrong parties).
To avoid this type of situation, it is recommended to stay alert for employees that want to circumvent security procedures, start doing a lot of outside of hours work or have irresponsible social media habits. Data analytics, HR reviews, compliance and incident handling systems as well as having two bank signatories on business accounts are actions that can help protect your business form undesirable situations. The SCCA is currently working to implement an insider threat program to help all businesses in Australia.
Current concerns about security in the wider population note the difficulty in pre-empting a threat due to the unprecedented ages of persons involved (often teenagers and those under the age of 21), the spontaneous nature of attacks, and a lack of social cohesion that can help prevent people at risk from committing crimes and acts of terror.
Current communication between Police, the federal Government and industries impacted by such security threats urge business owners to plan ahead and utilise the tools currently available to them. Useful security advice for businesses and individuals can be found at: