In a declaration of a ‘national emergency’ Prime Minister Boris Johnson has shut down all non-essential shops amid a major clampdown on all social interaction as part of the country’s battle against COVID-19.
 
From 23 rd March, people will be allowed to leave their homes for:
 
• shopping for basic necessities, food or medicine and “as little as you can”.
• one form of exercise a day
• any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
• travel to and from work when “absolutely necessary”
 
Other restrictions include:
 
• All shops selling non-essential goods, such as clothing and electronic stores, are ordered to close
• Libraries, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and places of worship are to close
• All gatherings of more than two people in public - excluding people you live with - are banned
• All social events, including weddings and baptisms are banned, but funerals are excluded.
• Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed
Thank you to those of you who are following the Government and the Mayor's instructions not to travel unless your journey is absolutely essential.

To save lives, we must all do more.

This means following the Government's new measures to fight the spread of the coronavirus by staying at home.

Making non-essential journeys risks lives. Please only travel if your journey is absolutely essential.

If you are a key worker and your journey is absolutely essential, please travel later in the day if you can and avoid the early morning. 

If you do travel, follow the expert advice on hand washing and other health measures. We are operating reduced services so that we can keep things running for critical workers.

Stay safe, stay at home.
FIRE SAFETY MESSAGES FOR BUSINESSES

London Fire Brigade advise you to review your Fire Risk assessment and Emergency Plan in light of the impact of CoVid 19 on your staffing levels, operating times, business processes and evacuation arrangements.


Prevention

  • Some companies may take the opportunity to bring forward maintenance operations and building works. These should be appropriately fire risk assessed and supervised to ensure they are not creating increased fire risk.

  • Review the impact of CoVid 19 on maintenance provision on essential fixed installations for fire-fighters and potential ignition sources such as electrical installations, ducting cleaning etc.

  • Consider prohibiting all hot works.

  • For all premises that may be unoccupied, ensure that all electrical appliances are switched off and the plugs are removed from sockets


Protection
 
  • Ensure that all fire doors are securely closed

  • Consider impact of disruptions to waste collections on waste storage and build up causing fire risk.

  • Consider security arrangements to address any increased risk of arson for empty premises and waste build up.

  • Ensure that security staff and any new or inexperienced security staff are familiar with the emergency plan and procedure for contacting the fire brigade.


Specific advice for Healthcare Premises

  • Any staged evacuation arrangements such as progressive horizontal evacuation, which are often in place in hospitals and care homes, need to be supported by appropriate levels of staff. Management should consider the need for appropriate staff resources to allow for this. If these staffing levels are affected by CoVid 19 you will need to review your risk assessment and emergency plan and if you believe that your staffing levels are not sufficient to support your evacuation strategy you should contact the London Fire Brigade. If a fire does occur in your premises you must ensure the fire brigade is called at the earliest opportunity and inform the operator that an evacuation is in progress.


Home Fire Safety (working from home)

  • For employees who will be working from home, please encourage them to take the time to check home fire safety arrangements, and ensure that smoke alarms are fitted, tested and are working correctly.

  • Make sure all members of the family know what to do if you have a fire particularly elderly people and children.

  • Bedtime Checks – Close doors, unplug electrical appliances and chargers, check heaters are off and candles and cigarettes are properly extinguished.


Additional information can be accessed through our website https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/safety/   and any premises specific enquiries can be directed to   fsr-adminsupport@london-fire.gov.uk
POLICE COVID ADVICE TO BUSINESSES

The Metropolitan Police Business Crime Hub was created to improve partnership and communication with the business community to reduce the impact of crime. 

The Coronavirus has had an unprecedented effect on our nation’s health and the way we interact societally. This has had a significant impact on the commercial sector-fiscally and the risk of increased anti-social behaviour in our stores. 

The Metropolitan Police is here to protect people and prevent crime wherever we can – and we will continue to do that. We have a well-rehearsed plan and are a large organisation with the ability to flex and move people and resources to meet the demands we face. Londoners have seen us respond to all kinds of major incidents and we will always be here for them. ”   Commissioner Cressida Dick

Below are some general crime prevention tips that may assist your organisations in this time. The impact on stores will vary and will naturally be defined by its location, size, criminality, customers, produce and its security

Our Business Crime team are available for strategic support and connectivity where needed via the email address at the bottom of this page.

IF YOUR STAFF FALL VICTIM TO AN ASSAULT OR WITNESS VIOLENCE IN YOUR PREMISES:

  • Try to remain calm and think of safety: yours, your customers and colleagues is paramount. If the perpetrator has left the premises, consider recording a description and reporting this to police as soon as possible. 
  • Trust your instincts and maximise distance between yourself, customers, colleagues and any aggressive parties. 
  • Ensure corporate conflict and exit contingency plans are adhered to. 
  • Use hold up/ panic alarms if it is appropriate to do so. If there is a hold-up alarm installed use it, but only when safe to do so. 
  • Consider the use of body worn video technology to capture evidence and positive impact the behaviour of those involved in violence on your premises.

CLOSED PREMISES/VENUES THAT HAVE BEEN TEMPORARILY SHUT:

  • Test your alarm, ensure it is monitored and fully operational 
  • Identify any vulnerable areas. Rectify these. Ensure security gates, bollards and fire exit doors have been secured prior to closure of the premises. 
  • Ensure service doors are closed and locked when not in use. 
  • Make sure you have list of key holders who can be contacted in times of emergency. Ensure your contact details for staff are up to date. 
  • Consider moving high value items into secured stockrooms and out of view. 
  • Ensure keys to the premises or other venues are not left inside and are instead with dedicated key holders. 
  • Consider timer switches or ensure sufficient lighting is left on at the premises/surrounding area. 
  • Ensure there are no combustible materials left in the proximity of the building such as packaging – consider the risk of arson. 
  • Review your CCTV to confirm it is operational, provides good quality images and is positioned to cover as much of the stores public and private areas. You may wish to consider a mobile phone app that allows connectivity and a vocal capacity to engage with any intruder. 
  • Ensure that no cash is retained on the premises overnight (leave a note on the door stating that no cash or valuables are kept overnight) or store then in a security accredited safe bolted to the floor.

PHYSICAL PROTECTIVE MEASURES:

  • Secure by Design products – use security rated products where possible (www.securedbydesign.com
  • External shutters are recommended but some buildings may be subject to planning approval before installation 
  • Ensure all doors leading from public to staff arteries-loading areas etc are kept secure and monitored. 
  • Laminated glass or security film that can be applied to existing glass to make it more resistant to a physical assault. Shutters and grilles ( subject to planning regulations may also be a consideration) 
  • An insurance rated safe should be bolted to the floor. Anti-tamper sensors can be fitted to set off an alarm if attacked. 
  • Anti-ram security tested raider retractable bollards can be mounted externally to protect frontages but may require planning approval. 
  • Consider use of anti-theft alarms on most desirable household items. 
  • Fogging devices (e.g. a Fog cannon) that activate as a result of an intruder activation may also be beneficial-you can’t steal what you can’t see.

LARGE GATHERINGS/QUEUING:

  • Premises should be adequately staffed with prominent management present who can make decisions or be identifiable to emergency services. 
  • Consider an allocation system or queuing to provide items that are provided on a limited basis – or possible keeping these off shop floor for collection. 
  • Meet and Greets on main entrances to provide reassurance, customer care and a subliminal message to any prospective thieves. 
  • Where possible SIA licensed security officers should have a visible presence on the premises in strategic areas 
  • All prominent household item areas should have a member of staff regulating them and depending on risk assessment consider deploying security into these areas. 
  • Establish queueing contingency plans, including any car parking areas, and ensure there is commensurate security, and staff in this area and the main entrances. Reassurance to customers, some of whom may be anxious, is key to reduce anti-social behaviour. 
  • Ensure that all staff are fully briefed each day, on emergency procedures and working practices – All staff should remain vigilant and report any violence or suspicious activity to the police. 
  • Consider minimising the number of entry points to your building in concert with fire egress. 
  • Ensure building perimeters are clear of any debris, dustbins, ladders or loose tools and equipment that could assist entry. 
  • Check that your emergency equipment/grab bags, first aid supplies and radio communication systems are operational. 
  • Check and test your building security and emergency systems.

Should there be an incursion onto your premises that is not disorderly and no offences have occurred, if police are requested to attend it should be stressed that the officers attending will expect a representative of the premises to request those trespassing to leave, whilst in the presence and hearing of the officer. 

If the police are asked to assist in the ejection of trespassers, then they are acting as an agent of the company or premises and have no more powers and privileges than that of an ordinary member of the public. They would look to stand by to prevent a breach of the peace whilst the persons are encouraged to leave and escorted onto public land by shop/security staff. 

If there are criminal offences apparent then officers will deal with these as they would in any normal situation. 
If we can assist further or you require more bespoke advice, please contact us at:  Businesscrime.mailbox@met.police.uk
Also concerns have been expressed Met wide about the potential for increased non-residential burglaries of retail premises / businesses that may be closed. The Police will try to increase patrols in town centres, but if you have business watch type networks it might be worth highlighting this to them.  Please note: This is not borough specific and there is no Hounslow specific intel.
Information from West Area Command Unit:
Superintendent, Claire Clark

Thank you for your continued support over the past week. As you will have read, the main stories over the weekend have been related to social distancing. From a policing perspective, our policing plan remains the same and Met officers are continuing to carry out their daily duties as well as support and assist our colleagues in the health authorities.

UPDATE: Hospitality facilities

The Government confirmed today (Monday, 23 March) that Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers, with police support if appropriate, will work together to issue prohibition notices challenging unsafe behaviours where hospitality businesses do not follow current issued guidance.

Local government will be responsible for enforcing regulations with those businesses asked to close on 20 March 2020 in accordance with the new guidance issued.

As you will be aware, businesses including pubs, cinemas, theatres and casinos were told to close from 21 March, as part of the government drive to reduce the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.

Under the Business Closure regulations introduced on March 21, officers will have powers to prosecute for breach of regulations.

Hate Crime

Please continue to ask your communities, residents and/or stakeholders to keep reporting any hate crimes they have been subjected to or seen.

It is extremely important that we record all offences in order for us to provide the best support available to victims.

Whilst we have seen a number of instances of COVID-19 related hate crimes, there is not a significant number in comparison to other types of hate crime. We are of course monitoring this closely and responding as per normal.

Anyone who believes that they have been the victim of a hate crime is asked to tweet @MetCC or report the crime online: https://www.met.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/

Information can also be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.
Remaining vigilant

We would like to reassure you that we continue to work with businesses and security teams to protect the security of buildings, both residential and non-residential (now that many of these are closed). Local officers will be working in communities to reassure and advise on crime prevention strategies. 

Officers have been called to a number of supermarkets due to overcrowding. Please remember to remain vigilant and our advice is to take care of your possessions in these circumstances. It is a common criminal tactic for pickpockets to operate in busy or crowded areas.

Please also remind your people and communities to be vigilant around cash points when withdrawing their funds. Our officers are also aware of these potential issues and will be visible at relevant places. We are not aware of these specific tactics being used in our BCU, but I thought I would take the time to remind you of appropriate crime prevention advice.

As ever we also ask our partners and the public to be our eyes and ears on the ground and let us know if you have any concerns at all.

Further crime prevention guidance can be found here: https://www.met.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/

Lastly, we ask you, as ever, to work with us to support communities, particularly those who may be vulnerable or who may find staying at home without their usual support systems difficult. 

We thank you for your continued support and wish you well.  
Hounslow Chamber of Commerce is the primary support, networking, and representation organisation in west London for SMEs.

We support the interests, the commercial aspirations and the investment for some 18,000 firms - from Chiswick to Feltham, Heathrow to Osterley and Brentford to Bedfont - the Chamber is the voice for all businesses located in the borough.