Businesses meet to discuss crime

A South Lakeland District Council Business lunch took place today at the Low Wood Bay Hotel. Sixty Five people attended to hear from various crime experts, network and enjoy the food.

SLDC Business Lunch

The event kicked off with registration starting at 11.45 with a buffet lunch and networking from midday. The menu was wonderful with an assorted selection of finger sandwiches, tantoori chicken thighs, vegetable spring rolls with sweet chilli dipping sauce, goat’s cheese and red onion tarts, plum tomato and buffalo mozzarella crostini and baby roast potatoes with fresh rosemary and sea salt.

We were welcomed into the formal session by Cllr Giles Archibald who is the portfolio holder for town centres and small businesses.

Our first speakers were from Cumbria Police. Theier presentation focused on the Shop Watch scheme and how it operates in Windermere and Bowness. They noted that most shoplifting comes from outside the area. They also mentioned their work on counterfeit notes and the advice they give on shop layout.

Following on was Paul Foster from the Federation of Small Business (FSB). With over 3000 members in Cumbria they offer support and advice for businesses as well as having a research and policy arm. The presentation focused on Cyber Crime. It mentions that a recent piece of research found that 49% of businesses have NOT been a victim of cyber crime in the last twelve months and the average loss for those that were was £3926. Paul Foster also talked through the FSB’s top ten tips to protect small businesses from cyber crime which are as follows:

• Implement a combination of security protection solutions (anti-virus, anti-spam, firewall(s))
• Carry out regular security updates on all software and devices
• Implement a resilient password policy (min eight characters, change regularly)
• Secure your wireless network
• Implement clear and concise procedures for email, internet and mobile devices
• Tran staff in good security practices and consider employee background checks
• Implement and test backup plans, information disposal and disaster recovery procedures
• Carry out regular security risk assessments to identify important information and systems
• Carry out regular security testing on the business website
• Check provider credentials and contracts when using cloud services

Derek Armstrong followed. He is a regular at these kinds of events usually because of his role as General Manager of Cumbria Chamber of Trade who have 200 events of their own each year. Derek discussed his part in the South Lakes Business Against Crime Partnership or SLBACP. He talked about their recent successes in various cases and the important role CCTV plays in Kendal.

Our final speaker was Angela Stott from Cumbria Trading Standards. Angela is the Senior Community Support Officer and mainly helps advise customers and businesses about rights and obligations. She talked us through the Trading Standards Buy with Confidence Scheme which is a scheme that does a full load of checks on a business so that consumers know they are good to deal with.

The session finished with an open forum of questions and some thanks from Giles Archibald.

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