Safety regulations for money kept on premises

There are many risks associated with traditional cash handling methods and if your business offers a cash payment service, you need to be aware of these measures to avoid such risks.

Some potential risks
Small to medium sized businesses are often the target of robberies as they usually have less security measures in place, compared to larger businesses.

Furthermore, employees are at risk when criminals know cash is kept on your business premises and especially if the banking function is routinely done at similar times. Service stations, chemists, liquor stores, restaurants and various retail stories are at a higher risk as they often have large amounts of cash on the premises.

How to handle cash safely
For safe cash handling, you can start off by keeping cash usage to a minimum and to clearly advertise this to the public with signs stating that cash is not kept on the premises. Instead, encourage the use of credit or debit cards, and leave tills empty and open overnight.

Using a well-secured safe is very important. A safe with a letterbox drop facility and time locks is a good option. Ensure that you transfer cash to your safe on a regular basis and don’t keep large sums of cash in one place. When you empty tills regularly at irregular times, or if you receive a large cash intake, it is best practice to secure the cash as soon as possible. Keeping the safe locked at all times is advisable as well as changing the safe combination often and to never leaving the keys on the premises overnight. Ensure that your safe meets the category requirements (based on the amount of money it stores) as failure to meet the required category may lead to a short fall in cover.

Before you start cashing up at the end of the day, be sure to inspect the premises for any potential criminals and be aware of your surroundings. Use a strong cash box along with at least two staff members to collect cash from tills (the second staff member should act as a guard). Do not count cash in view of customers and do this as far away from entrances and exits as possible; the main cash handling area should ideally be situated away from customer-friendly areas.

Transporting cash safely
Whether you are walking or driving, keep your levels of awareness high and consider your own safety if a situation of conflict arises - always surrender cash when attacked.

Change your route to the bank as well as your banking routine every day, and choose busy routes as you are a much easier target if you are an identifiable person with an identifiable routine and route. Try to bank smaller amounts of money more regularly as opposed to large amounts of money less frequently. Using unmarked bags or safe security bags will make it less conspicuous and it’s always a good idea to take a trusted or senior employee as a witness.

We have recently dealt with a case where money was collected from a business by a cash handling service who took the money to their depot first for counting and then only to the bank. In this case, the policy clearly stated that the money must always be taken directly to the bank as, in many cases, the security companies do not take responsibility for any cash stolen in their custody. Be sure to check your policies as well as your contracts with cash handling services or security companies.

Training and education are necessary
All employees should be trained to deal with robberies correctly along with how to avoid and prevent robberies. Situational awareness, how to identify suspicious behaviour, conflict resolution, non-violent responses, how to behave during and after a robbery, emergency response procedures and how to operate the security system are all elements that should be covered in a security training session. The South African Police Service and Community Policing Forums can be called upon to assist in facilitating security training sessions.