According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) cash is now being used for less than half of all retail transactions. However, in our stores, while card transactions are increasing cash is still very much the main method of payment, which makes our stores the prime target for crime.

Recent NFRN Mutual members’ claims and press reports have highlighted that from the time you put the cash in your till to the time you deposit it in your bank, you are a potential victim of crime in all its forms. Violent robbery, burglary, snatch & grab, distraction theft and indeed theft by trusted members of staff – we must never become complacent, we must always remain vigilant.

We should all review our cash-handling procedures on a regular basis as simple changes to operational procedures can dramatically reduce your risk. Try to minimise the amount of cash that’s held in your till, remove it more frequently or use till guards to deter opportunists.

Where possible, aim to keep cash off the premises out of hours and if you do need to store it, investing in a high-quality monitored intruder alarm and CCTV can both deter burglars and speed up response in the event of a break-in. Do not leave cash in your tills overnight and leave the till drawers open to show any intruder that they’re empty. Bank your cash as frequently as you can but when going to the bank or cash & carry vary your routine and the route you take.

Many of us have been victims of staff theft, Linda Sood, our NFRN vice president, and myself included. In both our cases it was a long-standing member of staff, overly keen and helpful and who we trusted totally. Never be too trusting of staff, no matter how friendly and trusted they are, and always look to employ as many cash-handling and security checks as you can. There have been too many cases recently of retailers going into bankruptcy and even losing their homes through staff theft – make sure you are not one of them.

In September the new polymer £5 note was introduced and it’s important that you and your staff familiarise yourselves with the enhanced security features of the new notes to be ready for counterfeits when they inevitably start to appear. There are some useful resources to help with this on the Bank of England’s website at www.thenewfiver.co.uk.

If you have any questions regarding cash handling, security or other ways of managing your risk, or if you would simply like a quote for your shop cover, contact the NFRN Mutual’s member services team today on 0800 0664 988, email info@nfrnmutual.com or see http://www.nfrnmutual.comfor more information. We look forward to hearing from you.

We are all potential victims of crime – let’s be constantly aware and vigilant, and above all let’s be careful out there!