Business security in London

Protecting a small business in the UK capital can be challenging. Find out how to manage your business security needs here

Starting a business in London offers entrepreneurs access to a world-renowned market to operate in, as well as an established point from which to reach customers across the UK.

While the rewards can be plenty, there can be tough times too. One of the most potentially expensive and devastating can be the fall-out from a break-in of, or compromise to, your business premises.

According to end-of-year crime statistics released by the Metropolitan Police in April 2018, burglary of homes and businesses is up by 11.65% in London. These statistics compared the figures from the financial years 2016/17 and 2017/18.

So how can you protect your small business in London?

In this article you will learn:

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Research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in 2016 found that one-third of small businesses thought crime was increasing in their area.

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What are the different types of security?

When it comes to deciding how to protect your small business, you’ve a number of options. Below we outline some of the common ways of securing your premises and detail the choices available to you.

Security guards

Choosing to use security guards from private security companies in London could be particularly beneficial for hospitality businesses. For example, door staff (also known as bouncers) offer frontline protection to your bar or club. Plus, they can help you to stay compliant with the law, by checking IDs of people coming onto your premises.

Another sector which often benefits from security guards is retail – shops can use security guards to monitor customers and help catch shoplifters.

Alternatively, if you run a construction business and worry about a site in the capital being a target for crime overnight or other long stretches of time, security guards can patrol it to ensure its security in London.

Depending on the type of system, you may require security guards to monitor CCTV for your business. See below for more information on security cameras.

Burglar alarms

You may already be familiar with protecting your home with an alarm system, and this type of protection can also be applied to your business. There are a number of factors to think about when opting for business alarms.

Here we outline some questions to consider when choosing a potential product from alarm companies in London.

  • Wired or wireless?
  • Are there any smart features available? For example, an app so you can check on the system remotely
  • Does the alarm connect to a monitoring centre and/or emergency services?
  • Does it suit your business needs for both now and in the future?

Security cameras

Securing your premises with 24/7 camera monitoring ensures activity at your property will always be noted. Depending on the camera type you choose, this type of protection can be particularly beneficial at night or for long periods of time when the property is unattended.

Also, security cameras can act as a visual deterrent for potential criminals and so increase your business’ security in London.

When you think about CCTV, a high-spec system of integrated cameras may spring to mind. While this has been the traditional – and often only – choice for businesses in the past, these days there are a range of standalone security cameras that use an internet connection.

You can read more about the best CCTV systems for your business here.

A key decision is if your business requires an individual camera or a series of connected cameras. This will be determined by a number of factors, including:

  • Your business’ location
  • Premises size
  • What is being protected

In turn, this will influence if you can install the camera yourself or if it requires a professional to fit it.

The Met Police is the police service for the Greater London area, in which 8.6 million people live. One of the ways it highly recommends for protecting your business from burglars is by using digital CCTV cameras 24 hours a day.

Additional security features

In some instances, you may not be starting from scratch. Review what security measures your business has already and how these can be improved. Security services in London go beyond only alarms and cameras – consider how you can prevent damage in other ways too.

Some ideas for additional security features include:

  • Window grilles – fit bars across windows internally
  • Security doors – secure entrances with card or fob access
  • Roller shutters – cover windows with panels externally

If you run a warehouse, these could be especially helpful if you store high-value items so that they’re not on display.

Similarly, businesses in a highly visible location, such as self-storage companies – as well as businesses that don’t experience much passing traffic, such as those on industrial parks – could benefit from the additional privacy and security.

The 2016 research from the FSB discovered that 41% of businesses have installed or upgraded a security system to protect their business. This is an increase of 25% since 2010.

A plan can help you decide which direction to choose for security services in London

How to choose security services in London for your business

According to the same FSB research, 48% of small businesses have been a victim of non-cyber crime. On average, the businesses affected have been a victim three times.

Creating a security system for your business is an important decision. There are so many factors to think about, as well as the long-term safety of your assets to consider too.

Some key areas to think about are outlined below to help you research, plan, and ultimately, acquire the security solutions your company needs.

What’s your budget?

Think about how much you’re willing to spend on security. The initial cost can be offset against the price of any additions, as well as repairs or replacements. As well as this, consider what other outlay you’re likely to experience in the worst case scenario – if a crime is committed against your business.

What type of premises does your business occupy?

A lot of your security decisions will be driven by your property, including the size, shape and layout of the space. Additionally, the level of security required will alter depending on what equipment, products or other valuables you’re protecting.

What style of security do you want?

If you want to maintain a strong brand image, or have a clearly defined design strategy, then opting for security that blends into the background is likely to be best for business. For example, alarms or security cameras that operate wirelessly.

Alternatively, if you want to make it known that you have security protection in place and act as a deterrent, then you’re likely to choose security services that stand out. For example, security guards; window grilles, security doors or roller shutters.

In 2016, London was found to be one of the 17 least safe cities in Europe. Mercer, a global HR consultancy firm, compared 450 cities to create the ranking.

What to look for in an alarm company

When choosing an alarm, you’re not only selecting the device – there are a range of other products and services available too. What these are and how much they cost will depend on what security your business needs.

The National Safety Inspectorate (NSI) and the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) are the two main certifying bodies for organisations providing security and fire protection services in the UK.

Here are some handy questions to ask prospective companies:

  • How long is the response time?
  • What repairs and maintenance services do they offer?
  • What level of approval from the NSI and/or the SSAIB do they have?
  • Do their products offer any exclusive features?
  • Do they have an understanding of the challenges of protecting businesses in London specifically?
  • How much will it cost – including the alarm itself, the installation process and the ongoing servicing?

The FSB also found that the average cost of offline cime per business affected is £5,898.

What to look for in a security company

Security Industry Authority (SIA) license – the UK organisation that regulates the security industry offers the compulsory licensing training to ensure security workers are qualified and maintain the highest standards.

To apply for a license, a person must have completed a formal training programme and received a recognised qualification. There are five stages in the process before a license is awarded to an individual – these include background history and criminal record checks.

  • Awards – has the company received any awards recognising its work?
  • Local knowledge – does it know what security in London particular requires?
  • Membership – is the security company a member of an industry trade association? For example, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has membership criteria to assure quality and professionalism
  • Price – this includes checking if there is a minimum time requirement, as well as what is the cost per hour?
  • Recommendations – what do other businesses have to say about them?

What is the Private Security Industry Act 2001?

This legislation outlines the role and responsibilities of the SIA, including its licensing functions. It details the system for statutory regulation of the private security industry.

Compare products and companies

Let’s recap what you’ve learned so far: the different security solutions available to you, as well as how to find services that match your business’ requirements and what to look for in a company. Now, read on to find out about three of the top products and companies.

LSS Security

What does it do? It offers security guard services for a range of sectors in London and throughout the UK.

Why was it chosen? London Security Services (LSS Security) is one of many security companies in London. This London-based company stands out because:

  • It’s award-winning, having won at the AI Business Excellence Awards in 2016, 2017, and 2018
  • It’s a SIA Approved Contractor for security guarding, door supervision and key holding
  • With a four hour minimum shift and affordable rates, LSS Security is an accessible choice for small businesses

Which businesses is it suitable for? Security guards from LSS Security could be particularly useful for bars, clubs and hospitality businesses. Similarly, retail shops could also benefit too.


What does it do? It provides wireless alarm systems for domestic and commercial properties.

Why was it chosen? Verisure offers compact, portable and sleek alarms that can be added to with additional products, all wirelessly. It’s also notable because:

  • With more than 2.6 million customers, it’s the number one alarm in Europe
  • It offers wireless installation in 24 hours with no structural work required
  • A lifelong warranty is available on its alarm system devices

Which businesses is it suitable for? Choosing Verisure to fit burglar alarms in London is especially suitable for high-end retail businesses or others that are also strongly design-led.

Arlo Pro

What does it do? It’s a wireless security camera that can be used for home or business surveillance.

Why was it chosen? Arlo Pro is a rechargeable device which offers video monitoring that can be self-installed. Other reasons it makes for a good choice are:

  • It’s weatherproof, so it can be used indoors or outdoors
  • It offers free cloud storage – recordings can be accessed and saved using only the internet
  • Smart features are available, including an app and a remotely controlled siren

Which businesses is it suitable for? The Arlo Pro camera is adaptable so it can suit a range of small businesses. It’s an ideal choice for companies that are just beginning to use video surveillance, as it has the opportunity to expand the system as your business’ needs develop.

In a nutshell

This article has provided a considerable amount of information about your options when it comes to choosing business security in London.

We’ve provided insight into some of the most common ways of protecting your property. Plus, we’ve offered advice on how to choose a potential company, including what to check for.

Here are some key points to remember:

  • Security guards must have an SIA license
  • The Private Security Industry Act 2001 legislates the sector
  • Burglar alarms can be wired or wireless
  • When choosing an alarm, check what’s included – is it just the device or is monitoring and other services available too?
  • Security cameras can be an individual camera or a number of connected cameras
  • The type of CCTV your business requires will depend on its size and location, as well as what you are protecting
  • Additional security features, such as grilles, doors and shutters, are a good option to extend your current security provisions
  • Consider what style of security is best for your business – discreet or stand-out?

What are the next steps?

In addition to learning about the types of security available and how to choose which is best for your business, you’ve also learned more about some of the top companies and products.

Now where do you go from here? You can speak to experts – Startups can help with this. Fill in the form at the top of the page to compare quotes now.