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Economy Finance

Consequences Of A Hold Up In The Workplace

In his country he had to use the Police to collect banking. If not them, an armed service.

Photo by Alexandros Chatzidimos on Pexels

I received a quote request from someone a few weeks back and it kind of shook me up. He was from Africa, and when I explained we were a covert company, he had to decline. In his country he had to use the Police to collect banking. If not them, an armed service. And they would be robbed anyway. I had to stop after I spoke to him and take stock. I felt threatened enough, and it’s not something that will affect me. I cannot imagine what their couriers and guards are going through, having to collect banking, hoping to be fine when they finish work that night, and not be hospitalised or dead.

I have been lucky enough to never be involved in a hold up, and never have we had any of our couriers held up either. This is not something I personally have had to deal with. A friend of mine had an uncle involved in a hold up at a bank years ago. It truly traumatised him. There is no doubt in my mind it would do the same to most people.

There are so many consequences to businesses, besides the loss of money, in any hold up situation. People are most certainly going to develop stress related illnesses and have to deal with the fall out of having a gun or other weapon pointed at them. There is time off work that has to be covered by other employees. And then when returning to work, there is the apprehension around returning to a location that is so emotionally connected to a sense of dread.

From AIC: Returning to work after armed robbery in the workplace. Fuller, G & Ng, S. 2017.

More people report high levels of anxiety after a hold up event, again, not surprisingly. But that is just the effect of the robbery. Returning to the place of the trauma must trigger so many things again.

It has been calculated in a recent study how many people will indeed return to work. If given the option, they may not return to the same location, or may try, but not be able to exist in that place every day after what happened to them. We all have lives outside of work, and some people reported being able to return to work, albeit with some trepidation, but breaking down when another external life event occurred.

From AIC: Returning to work after armed robbery in the workplace. Fuller, G & Ng, S. 2017.

In the event you do suffer a hold up, your company has many other consequences. From paying out sick leave after the event, or perhaps having to close premises to clean everything up (such as broken/smashed glass, cracked open tills or safes), to therapy if you are kind enough to provide that to staff members, or refitting the site with security cameras or safety provisions you previously did not have installed.

It is a multi-billion dollar problem. It is not just the $300 you lost in takings, or the merchandise stolen from shelves and racks. Just from personal leave, to unpaid leave, and including worker’s compensation claims, the figures pile up:

The financial stress placed on families in the aftermath is incredible, and must be balanced with mental health concerns at the time. If one is lucky enough to have personal leave saved, and not rely on unpaid leave to avoid the workplace, someone could slowly recover, at their own pace. With therapy, they could attempt to return to a relatively normal life. If you do not have this valuable leave in hand, or are a casual employee with no leave entitlements, the necessity to return to work is far stronger.

Courier deliveries are another example then, apparently in Africa, of being a prime target for theft. There are companies that operate covertly to avoid these targets being placed on their staff. Going back to the quote request I had come in, I compare it to a covert operation and cannot believe how much stress guards in Africa must be under! How do you apply for a job with so much inherent danger? I can only assume the wages are commensurate to the risk! 

Even here in Australia with an armed service, I just see a target of where the money is being transported. Personally, I am not going to ever act on that. But everyone knows those trucks contain the cash. And that those guards are not permitted to draw their firearms. I used to be so uncomfortable around guns when seeing guards from armed services collecting funds. Now that I know they can’t accidentally shoot me thinking I am a threat, and even if I was a threat, that they aren’t allowed to fire at me, I feel a bit safer near the collection sites.

One day there may be studies into the psychological effects of obtaining employment as a security guard in dangerous countries, but even then, I am not sure the procedures could change to accommodate the support the guards require.

In the meantime, I choose not to take everything for granted. I am grateful to that person for inquiring after our services, I did learn a lot about cash in transit systems in other continents. I know if I require support, my Management team would absolutely be there for me. I know a lot of clients we help with cash in transit services also support their staff entirely. But remember, as in everything else in life, there’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes. A hold up is not just a store being robbed of a few hundred dollars. It is people’s lives changing, sometimes forever, and the company’s financial loss in the aftermath.

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Joanne French
Written By

As a Business Development Manager at SecureCash, I help people with their options to bank through us, safer. Follow her on LinkedIn and website.

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