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Are you a small business trying to access government-funded robbery prevention?

Burglary, theft and aggravated robbery is becoming a big problem for small retail outlets, and the number of reported incidents of violence against dairy and liquor store owners, staff and customers during robbe

Now the Government is offering subsidises for businesses that are considered high-risk for aggravated robbery. Businesses that meet the criteria can apply for co-funding for items like panic alarms, fog generating devices, time safes, and DNA spray.

Vero’s manager of risk management services, Stephen Henkin, says fog-generating devices are an effective security measure, but the cost has been a barrier for many small businesses.

“Our risk management team visits businesses where the risk of robbery, burglary and theft is ever present and where the threat of violence is real,” said Henkin.

“We help customers evaluate their security and recommendation steps they can take to minimise the risk. This often includes the installation of fog generating devices as part of an overall strategy to create layers of physical and electronic security, but the cost often prevents business owners from taking these steps.”

The Government scheme involves assessing at-risk businesses and subsidise the installation of fog generating devices and other security equipment. It was implemented in late 2017 in response to the security problem facing businesses like dairies and liquor stores. The subsidy amounted to a 50:50 cost split between the business owner and Government.

Due to an initial low take-up of this offer the subsidy for this scheme has been increased so that it now only costs a business $250 for a fog generating device, with the Government paying the rest.

“The police will assess a business and determine whether it’s high risk and qualifies for the subsidy,” says Henkin. “Small retailers can contact their local police station and ask for an officer to evaluate their premises.”

Police officers will review risk factors including location, previous targeting by thieves, graffiti and suspicious activity, to assess if a business qualifies for a subsidy.

Henkin says information on how to access the subsidy has been hard to find.

“These subsidies could keep customers safe and prevent loss, but it isn’t easy to get the information. Insurance brokers can play a role in ensuring small retailers are aware of the subsidy.”

He says qualifying business owners should work closely with the device installers to determine if this solution is right for them. Those businesses that have fog generating devices installed should also liaise with Fire Emergency New Zealand (NZ Fire Service) so that they are aware that this equipment is installed in a premises.

“It’s a great opportunity for brokers talk to their customers and advise them that there might be government assistance available to reduce the risks to their family, staff, customers and livelihood.”


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