SIA and Police Scotland Counter Terrorism Event

Security Scotland management and staff were delighted to attend a Security Industry Authority and Police Scotland Counter Terrorism Event in Glasgow City Centre.

The Security Industry Counter Terrorism Awareness Raising Workshop ‘You can ACT’ was attended by over 75 frontline SIA officers and included inputs from Police Scotland and the Security Industry Authority.

The informative evening covered the latest intelligence on how to identify hostile reconnaissance and attack methodology. The hot topic of the evening was Social Networking and the positive and negative impacts it can have during a major incident.

The evening concluded with an immersion exercise that saw officers with a wide variety of experiences from all sectors collaborating to discuss the actions that could be taken in the event of a terrorist incident at their place of work.

A discussion on retail theft on the lead up to Christmas

Recent and shocking facts from the Lodgic Intelligence Centre highlight that this Christmas, retailers are at a greater risk of theft than ever before. Lodgic Intelligence Centre say that the reasons for this are down to: increased activity by organised criminal gangs, reduced security staffing and a decrease in the response to shoplifting by the police.

Moreover, earlier this year, the British Retail Consortium found in their annual Retail Crime Survey that the total direct financial cost of all retail crime has risen to £700m. Out of this amount, shoplifting accounts for £500m per year.

The survey also found that there has been a growth in severe violent incidents causing injury to retail employees.

This is why it’s vital for retailers to protect their businesses from shoplifters and organised crime groups during the lead up to Christmas. Security Scotland have created this discussion on retail theft to help keep businesses secure and staff safe during the festive period.

Be vigilant

It’s easier said than done, especially during the lead up to Christmas when retail stores at are their busiest. However, remaining vigilant can be as simple as becoming more aware of the people who are entering your shop. Take time to notice each customer. Approaching all customers with a smile and willingness to help might spook a potential thief. You can make potential suspects know of your presence simply by asking if they need any help.


Hold a staff Christmas training day

The Christmas period is a time for retailers to employ new staff. Most temporary Christmas jobs in retail tend to go to younger people and it’s often their first job. When it’s a younger persons first job it can be challenging, especially at Christmas time.

Although Christmas is such a busy time for retailers, proper training for new staff – and existing ones – shouldn’t be overlooked. Nowadays, staff need more than just sales and customer service training. With the increase of violent incidents involving retail staff, staff must be fully trained in how to deal with situations where they feel threatened.

Holding a staff training day will prove to be very beneficial. Not only is it a chance for new staff to meet the team and bond, it’s an opportunity for everyone to be brought up to speed with current security procedures too.

Spotting a shoplifter

Not every shoplifter looks like a stereotypical thief. So, sometimes it can be difficult to spot one. These are some of the most common ways to spot a thief:

General suspicious behaviour:  This is the first and most obvious sign of a shoplifter. A customer who has shifty eyes, watches staff, looks nervous and doesn’t particularly look like they know what they are looking for, would be showing suspicious behaviour.

Lingering: Shoplifters may either linger inside the store, waiting for their opportunity to steal. Or, they might linger outside, to watch staff and scope out the store before entering it.

Common customers: When a shoplifter gets away with stealing in a shop, they are likely to keep returning. A customer who enters the store and never makes a purchase could be a potential shoplifter. This is why you should get to know regular customers.

Common shoplifting techniques

Shoplifting techniques are ever changing, but some of the most common techniques include:


The ‘Simple Bagging’ tactic is when a would-be shoplifter conceals the item in a bag that they have brought into the store. This generally done while no one is observing the shoplifter.

Accidental Theft

This tactic generally takes place in a queue with the items that an individual is planning to steal and pays for only one. The thief holds what he intends to steal in full view, avoiding suspicion due to their apparent intention of payment. In the unlikely event of being caught, the thief can simply pass off the attempt at stealing as accidental.

Ticket Switching

This is when a shoplifter switches the price tags of merchandise most likely putting the cheaper tag on the product, they wish to obtain.

Fitting room bagging

Fitting rooms are generally weak points in any retail store. Shoplifters can conceal items while being concealed. They will look for weak and busy members of staff manning fitting rooms to either enter with large amounts of merchandise, or double hanging items of clothing on one hanger.

Partner Method:

This technique is carried out by a team of two. The first person will enter the store dressed as a stereotypical shoplifter to act as a distraction and allow the second person to enter the store and hide and steal items while staff and security and observe the first person.

Common scams to watch out for

Having some knowledge on common shoplifting scams might be what catches a thief one day. Some of the most common scams include:

‘Man-in-the-middle: Unusual requests from so-called suppliers, such as being contacted to make a payment into a new bank account.

Fraud returns: This is one of the most common tactics used by thieves. False returns happen when a thieve returns items that may be stolen to gain cash. The can try and return this by using stolen receipts or using receipt tape.

Don’t forget about counterfeit notes and vouchers

For those who have worked in the retail business for some time, the ability to spot counterfeit notes and vouchers comes as second nature. However, new staff may not be as skilled in spotting fake notes and vouchers.  Most shops nowadays have equipment that can identify counterfeits, such as pens or UV lights, but not all staff remember to use them.  It’s important to remind all staff to always test notes and vouchers, regardless of the amount of money that’s being handed over.

Royal Bank of Scotland’s tips for spotting counterfeit notes and vouchers

  • Watermark: Real watermarks should be barely visible until the note is held to light and the clear portrait with subtle light and shade becomes visible.


  • Paper: Real banknote paper should be crisp and not limp, waxy or shiny. The special printing processes give banknotes a unique feel. It should not feel like normal paper.


  • Serial Numbers: Real notes have unique serial numbers. If two notes show the same serial number, one of them is fake.

Increase visibility

Increasing store visibility can help tackle theft. For example, hideaways and blind spots are easy areas for shoplifters to hide their stolen items. Visibility can be improved by making some small, yet effective changes to the store layout, such as:

  • Keep shorter displays near to tills and taller displays closer to the perimeter.
  • Ensure that aisles and shelves are not cluttered
  • Place point of sale display material away from exits and entrances
  • Consider the location of pay points – is the back of the store really useful?

Investing in a security system

Criminals will be deterred if retails stores have a security system in place, CCTV cameras in particular. CCTV cameras should be installed outside and inside your premises. With technology ever evolving, monitoring your store operations is easier than ever. Monitor from home, pay points, store rooms or the store office. CCTV is especially useful for small businesses that have a few members of staff.

What you should know about Strict Liability of Football Clubs

Strict liability is the process where football clubs are accountable for their fans behaviour. The law currently regulates European and English football clubs; however, it’s recently become a topical and highly debated subject in Scottish football. This is a complete guide to what you should know about strict liability.

UEFA / Europe

Strict Liability in football was first introduced by the Union of European Football Associations’ Executive Committee in 2005 to tackle anti-social behaviour at football matches.

This term means that UEFA member associations and football clubs are held responsible for any anti-social behaviour of club’s fans, regardless of fault. Football clubs can avoid penalties if they can show that they have taken practical actions to deal with unacceptable behaviour from fans.

The rules that the UEFA have set under strict liability are known to be notoriously strict. They regulate:

  • The use of flares
  • The use of inappropriate flags
  • Pitch invaders
  • Throwing objects
  • Bringing in alcohol
  • Disrupting national or competition anthems
  • The use of gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit any message that is not fit for a sports event

Some sanctions include:

  • Fines
  • Closure of section of grounds
  • Playing matches behind closed doors
  • Deduction of league points,
  • Ban from selling tickets to supporters for away matches
  • Exclusion from tournaments

A well known example of a club being sanctioned is the Dutch club Feyenoord, who were excluded from the UEFA Cup in 2007 as a result of riots before and during their away match to AS Nancy, in France.


English Football

During the summer of 2014, The Football Association in England brought strict liability into force. The introduction of the rule aligns English clubs with the same rule for European opponents. The rule was brought into action as a result of pressure from campaigners and MPs and a trail of racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic incidents by fans in English football club stadiums.

A Channel 4’s Dispatches programme aired undercover footage of West Ham supporters chanting anti-Semitic and racist slogans before a game against Tottenham Hotspur. It also showed homophobic chanting by opposition fans during Brighton & Hove Albion games.

The FA’s strict liability rule is similar to the UEFA’s rule, however, it differs slightly. The handbook states:

“Any Affiliated Association, Competition or Club which fails effectively to discharge its said responsibility in any respect whatsoever shall be guilty of misconduct. It shall be a defence in respect of charges against a Club for misconduct by spectators and all persons purporting to be supporters or followers of the Club, if it can show that all events, incidents or occurrences complained of were the result of circumstances over which it had no control, or for reasons of crowd safety, and that its responsible officers or agents had used all due diligence to ensure that its said responsibility was discharged.”

The FA’s system also does not use strict liability for crowd disturbances such as pitch invasions, throwing of missiles etc.

Scottish Football

Strict liability in Scottish football has been a topical and ongoing debate in recent years.

In 2013, clubs in the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) rejected the proposed plan to introduce the strict liability rule.

Clubs in Scotland are subject to strict liability when competing in European competitions, however, not domestically. Scottish clubs including Celtic and Rangers have been hit with hefty fines from the UEFA in the past. In 2006, Rangers was fined £21,000 after fans sang sectarian songs in a match against Villareal from Spain. In 2007, Celtic was fined £25,000 after a supporter invaded the pitch at Celtic Park during a game against AC Milan.

Scottish football is regulated by the Scottish Football Association (SFA), and their handbook outlines different rules and responsibilities in relation to the behaviour of club fans. Article 28 of the SFA’s handbook notes that clubs can be held liable for the behaviour of their fans, however, liability is not strict. This means that a club can show that it took practical action to tackle anti-social behaviour, but no form of disciplinary steps or sanctions will be reviewed.

In a recent interview with the BBC, St Mirren chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick asked: “How can you punish a club?” and argued: “It’s a problem for wider society. We need to look at how young people are being brought up

In 2016, MSP James Dornan reopened a proposal for a Bill to make Scottish professional football clubs strictly liable for their supporters’ behaviour. This was following the 2016 Scottish Cup final between Hibernian FC and Rangers FC, where supporters invaded the pitch and various football players and staff were assaulted.

The Bill for strict liability to rule Scottish professional football clubs is hoped to put an end to behaviour that is largely manifested through sectarianism.

Campaign groups also continue to push for the bill to be passed. Nil by Mouth are one group who campaign to end sectarianism and believe that introducing strict liability to Scottish Football could help.




Security Industry Authority: Triennial Review for 2016 to 2017

The Home Office has released its Triennial Review Security Industry Authority. The review considered the relevance of both the regulatory regime and the regulator. The review evaluates SIA performance against the purpose of the Private Security Industry Act 2001, which sought to offer protection to the public, and professionalise the private security industry.

The SIA’s purpose is to regulate the private security industry, to reduce criminality, to raise standards, and to recognise quality service. It currently has three main functions: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; compliance checks; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor 5 Scheme (ACS), which measures private security suppliers against independently assessed criteria. These functions taken together are intended to fulfil an important role in reducing risk of harm to the public, and damage to, or loss of, property and possessions.

The SIA regulates over 300,000 individuals in the private security industry and issues over 100,000 licences per annum. This is administered by an organisation of around 200 staff at an annual cost of approximately £26m.

The SIA regulates a number of distinct sectors or sub-sectors of the private security industry, including close protection, public space surveillance (CCTV) and cash and valuables in transit. The largest regulated workforce is nightclub door supervisors. The SIA works alongside police forces to tackle organised crime in the industry and also work closely with HMRC to ensure tax compliance.

There are 12 recommendations to lead to both better and less regulation. Ranging from continuous regulation, performance and standard improvement and move towards greater public protection.

Scottish Region Counter Terrorism Protective Security Update News

As the UK prepares to kick off the summer months filled with festivals, concerts, sporting events
and holidays; specialist and local officers will be working together, along with a number of key
partners to undertake a range of activities throughout Scotland, aimed at providing the public
with useful information to help deter terrorism and keep them safe in the event of a terrorist

Launched for the first time last year in response to the terror attacks in both London and
Manchester, ‘Summer Security’ has already delivered advice, best practice and training to thousands of festival workers, staff and security guards across the UK and highlighted advice to holidaymakers both home and abroad, all aimed at Keeping People Safe.

Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) have released a guide to provide advice to stay safe at this summer’s festivals, sporting events and at crowded places whilst also offering advice for holidaymakers view the guide here.

Emergency SMS Service

It lets deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people in the UK send an SMS text message to the UK 999 service where it will be passed to the police, ambulance, fire rescue, or coastguard.

Simply by sending an SMS message to 999 you can call for help and the emergency services will be able to reply to you.

You will need to register your mobile phone before using the emergencySMS service, click on the Registering your phone link above for more information.

Keeping Pubs Safe During Christmas

During the Christmas period, it’s a time for fun and goodwill but with the rise in opportunist crime, with it being extremely busy and the increase in threats to public safety, you should be vigilant while out and about at pubs and bars during the festive holidays.

This year, it’s been a sad and dangerous period for the UK with various terrorist attacks taking place, one being at London Bridge which affected people out on a night out.

Random attacks can happen, and people don’t know when or where they could occur. The threat level of terrorism in the UK is at severe so while we hope and wish for a peaceful and fun time during this period, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and know to react to threats if they occur. By knowing how to react in these circumstances could save you and others around in the immediate vicinity.

The first thing you should do in order to protect yourself, your premises and others, you should seek official guidance on how to respond to situations. By gaining the right knowledge, you can adapt it your business then pass it on to everyone who needs to know.

Pub owners and managers can consult the likes of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office. This body gives landlords advice on their pub security operations in case of an emergency.

Local authorities will have advice on what to do and who to contact if a terrorist attack takes place. It’s important to again seek expert advice so all staff members know their responsibilities and a plan can be implemented if the worst was to happen.

Terrorism does remain a threat, but customers are likely to be targeted by opportunistic perpetrators looking to steal credit cards, cash and other expensive items.

Stay aware. Not all people who are out on pub nights out will be regulars. People will leave work all relaxed and excited and could easily become victims.

Watch when taking money from cash points as thieves are known to loiter around ATM’s and steal pins to access customers’ bank accounts.

Businesses should make it part of staff training; that they are on the lookout for certain behaviours that could lead to crime being committed. Advise customers that when entering their pin for making a payment, they cover the pin pad so other people don’t become aware of the number. These small changes at pubs could make a significant difference.

For busy trading periods during the likes of Christmas and New Year it’s worth hiring door staff to take the pressure off bar and waiting staff. This stops entering unwanted and troublesome guests entering the premises in the first place and lets staff concentrate more on serving customers than watching the door.

We also suggest having one door of entry as thieves like to enter via one door and leave through another.

It’s great if during opening hours that everything goes to plan and passes off without a hitch but what about after hours? How do you protect the pub and your takings during the night? CCTV should be installed throughout the venue to help deter and catch would be criminals.  With increased taking during Christmas, it’s important to have a robust safe that helps keep money and other items safe from fire and flood damage.

At the end of the day, pubs should be a safe place for you, your staff and customers. If you can install these tactics for a safe festive period, you are on the road to having a memorable time.

Keep up to date on the blog and from all of us here at Security Scotland, have a great Christmas!