It seems that we are hearing about armed robberies and break in's in ever increasing frequency. A quick Google search of armed robberies in New Zealand will bring up article after article detailing armed robberies that have targeted bars, TABS and liquor outlets. It is heart breaking to see that for some they consider it the norm.
Clubs need to be vigilant and ensure their security policies and procedures are adequate and being enforced. Anyone that is planning to rob your club will be looking for weaknesses and complacency in your security procedures i.e. staff members counting money in plain site while only one or two people are on site.
It is not acceptable that staff are left on their own in unlocked clubs, sometimes with open doors, to count money or be required to move large amounts of cash between their club and local bank. This leaves staff members extremely vulnerable to attack and is a serious health and safety issue. There should be no circumstances where this ever happens.
Clubs should have a security policy that the Executive, Management and Staff are fully conversant with. Things to consider include the following:
- Security Policy – This needs to have clear guidelines around cash handling and banking procedures. If possible, at least two staff members should be on duty at all times. All office doors must be locked and secured whenever money is being counted and staff should try and be out of sight whenever they are handling cash. Where possible, a security company such as Armourguard, rather than staff members, should be employed to carry out all banking. The days of staff walking down the town's main street with bag loads of coins should be in the past.
- Health and Safety – Staff and Member security is paramount. The Club Executive is ultimately responsible for health and safety.
- ATM versus Eftpos – There are a number of good reasons for a club having an ATM machine on site. Eftpos cash withdrawals is one of the main reasons for holding large amounts of cash on the premises and is also a reason why many clubs have to bank on a daily basis. An ATM machine that is regularly serviced by a security company will markedly reduce the amount of change required and hence reduce staff cash handling, exposure to armed robberies and internal fraud. Other areas where an ATM can work for your club is that it allows bar staff to get on with the business of selling product, provides a financial return to the club and can provide a source of advertising to club members.
- Safes, Keys, Locks, Combinations and Passwords – As a minimum, a club should have one safe and more than one if possible, which will allow say gaming money to be separated from trading money. The security policy should include rules around the accessibility and distribution of keys and confidentiality around passwords and combinations. Keys should be treated as if they are cash and locks, combinations and passwords may need to be changed whenever there is a change of management, staff or after break-ins etc.
- Armed Robbery Training – All staff should be required to undertake regular armed robbery training. It has been proven in a number of club break-ins that this training assists staff to react in a calm, measured way should they ever be in the unfortunate situation of being held up by an armed robber(s). Clubs New Zealand has teamed up with RISQ to provide member clubs with access to great Armed Robbery Training, you can find out more about the RISQ packs and how to order here.
- Insurance – Clubs should ensure that their insurance policies are up to date and check them out to see if they are covered for this type of event. However insurance is the last resort and shouldn't be used as an excuse to not put in place all the necessary measures to try and eliminate the chance of staff being exposed to such an event.
Now is the time to make sure your security policies and procedures are up to date, if you have any questions regarding the above please contact National Office on 0800 4 CLUBS.