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Dos and don’ts in a crime situation

Crime investigation 2012 Whether it’s shoplifting or assault, a crime in your store is a pharmacist's nightmare. Make sure you are prepared with this advice from the experts and those who’ve been there.

Whether it's shoplifting or assault, a crime in your store is a pharmacist's nightmare. Make sure you are prepared with this advice from the experts and those who've been there.

Do stay calm Pharmacist Avtar Virdi and his staff had to think fast when a man entered his pharmacy in Hounslow and threatened them with violence unless they handed over cash and drugs. "You need to compose yourself," he says. "I stood firm. I didn't let him threaten me, although I was shaking."  

Don't attempt to restrain a member of the public who is acting threateningly "Ask the person to leave the store," says Colette Harris-Jones, a crime reduction specialist at Greater Manchester Police. "If they continue to act in a threatening way and refuse to leave, contact the police."  

Do train your staff for an emergency "Your staff must know where the panic button is," says Mr Virdi.  

Don't start clearing up until the police have arrived Ms Harris-Jones advises pharmacists not to touch the scene "unless any object or item poses a health and safety issue". "Wait until a police officer or CSI arrives to preserve any forensic evidence," she says.  

Do provide police with the correct information This includes the location, the time and date of the incident and your name. You should also mention if you have tried to repair any of the damage before the police arrive. "This is in case fingerprints and DNA need to be taken," Ms Harris-Jones explains.  

Do make a list of stolen goods "A stock take will help to establish what has been stolen," says NPA head of pharmacy Leyla Hannbeck. "You would need to identify the owing bags that were taken in the raid and advise the patients concerned."  

Don't leave money in the till Empty the till regularly throughout the day, and "don't leave any money apart from £20", Mr Virdi advises.

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