How safe are you in your office park?

July 2001 Security Services & Risk Management

The office complex model is marketed as the security solution for small businesses. As a result, tenants can become complacent about security, believing 'the guard at the gate' will protect both staff and assets.

"The onus is, in fact, on the small business owner within the complex," says Pieter du Toit, Operations Director for Sentry Security Guarding. "Most office parks are staffed by reputable security providers. However, tenants need to bear in mind that the guard at the gate is only able to do basic entry and exit security checks. Common sense remains your best defence against crime."

Ways of ensuring your security in an office complex

* Get to know your guards and let them get to know you: by familiarising yourself with your guard you will get to know their routine, and will be able to identify if something is amiss. Additionally, once the guards get to know you and your business, it is easier for them to spot a suspicious visitor or strange activity at your unit.

* Keep important contact numbers handy: keep the contact telephone numbers for the guards at the gate close to your telephone. If an incident occurs there is no time to run to the main gate to get help. Reputable guards all have access to an armed response service - keep this armed response number handy. Ensure that basic emergency telephone numbers (ambulance, fire) are on-hand.

* Strike locks: fit your offices and your factory or office with strike locks.

* Be aware of suspicious people: Keep your eyes open and do not become lax simply because you are in an office park. If you notice anything or anyone suspicious, notify the complex security immediately.

* Know the guards' schedule: ask your landlord to supply you with a copy of the guards' rotation schedule as well as basic duties. This way you will know what shifts the guards should be working and if they are contracted to do perimeter controls, etc.

* Speak up sooner rather than later: If there are any aspects of your complex's security which you are not happy with, speak up sooner rather than later because later may be too late. If the security in your complex is outsourced, contact the landlord. Alternatively, you can contact the security provider directly.

For further details contact Pieter du Toit, Sentry Guarding on tel: (011) 788 5547.

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