Employee Theft Investigations
When your workforce morale is low then there is greater chances that employee thefts will rise. It could be wasting company time, to stealing company assets or worse.
Employee theft is a key concern for any business owner or entrepreneur, employee theft is a leading cause of issues for the UK economy, with employee theft costing businesses multi-millions of pounds every year and outright fraud adding to the woes. This can range from the theft of hardware and assets, to significant fraudulent activity and can have a huge impact on businesses – having a huge cumulative effect for larger companies and potentially crippling for smaller companies.
Employee Theft – What should you look out for?
Put simply, employee theft is on the increase and is wide-reaching in term that describes the stealing, misappropriation, or use of a businesses’ assets without explicit permission. For many businesses this can range from dipping into the till during the day to the outright selling of trade practices to competitors. Depending on the nature of the theft, the action can be heavily punishable within law courts – making it essential to provide as much supporting evidence for your disciplinary or legal action as possible.
Here are some of the most common illegal activities that take place across UK businesses:
- Cash: Arguably the most popular asset stolen from businesses, the theft of money can be carried out over a protracted period and, if hidden properly, can look like little more than accounting errors or missed entirely.
- Time: If an employee claims for time they did not spend working, this is very hard to judge against as first-hand evidence is required to demonstrate what they were doing across the period. This includes being paid for time they claim to have spent off site and is most often done through the falsification of records, which can be difficult to prove the further you move from the date of submission.
- Materials: This can be anything from commonplace office supplies such as pens and printing materials, petrol or diesel for vehicles, up to mission critical items such as hardware. This can take place over a sustained period of time and involve the smuggling of large pieces of kit out – making it less likely to be opportunistic and making them vulnerable to steady surveillance.
- Property: If your business is built around the sale of goods, the theft of that stock is likely to be a danger. Often written off as damage or loss, these are frequently taken to be re-sold or deployed for personal use.
- Information: One of the most serious of all infractions, some employees choose to sell on or release trade secrets to competitors. This can see the individual facing serious fines and even imprisonment if discovered.
How does Employee Theft happen?
Almost all theft is governed by one characteristic – opportunity. If a member of your team has the chance to carry out a theft with minimal risk, they may be tempted to do so. While it is always advisable to carry out a full and complete background check on key team members, eliminating all the occasions that acts of theft can take place are almost impossible.
Some typical avenues of opportunity include-
- Access: If members of your teams have privileged access to storage and information, this can introduce risk, giving them an opportunity to profit without consequence.
- Solution: Review your privileged access and embed oversight at points of vulnerability.
- Capacity: If an individual has means to carry out their theft, it gives them a route to attempt it. This can involve access to a vehicle to carry away stolen items, the ability to access sensitive information on your system, and more.
- Solution: Putting in place specific countermeasures or steps for key individuals, ensuring that they do not use their skillset in a way that can cause harm to the business.
- Luck of the Draw: Simply, the temptation was there. This can be an unlocked work bike, an open box of your businesses’ product, or a mislabelled crate that has not been signed for.
- Solution: Conduct a review of your processing pipeline and observe where issues have occurred in the past and how they could be positively addressed from this point forward.
How to deal with Employee Theft?
While making changes to your working practice may help deal with future issues, it’s important to take steps to fix things in the here and now. That means understanding who the perpetrator is and how they are undertaking their actions.
This makes hiring a private detective an extremely helpful solution.
Choosing a detective from a reliable service ensures the highest possible standards for care and sensitivity. Conducting an internal investigation needs to be carried out with extreme caution, allowing you to find how thefts are happening or gather evidence against a specific individual.
First and foremost, it is important to remember that while stealing from an employer is a serious breach of trust, and completely unacceptable; it is equally important to take a measured approach to your response. Your first instinct may be to call the police, but many companies prefer to conduct an internal investigation first to gather more evidence, preserve the company’s reputation, and protect personal and professional relationships.
If you suspect an employee of stealing from you, it is of paramount importance to carry out an investigation immediately. Remember, if this is the first time that an individual has been caught stealing or you have realised thefts have occurred – it’s is highly statistically likely that it is not a one-off offence.
How to investigate Employee Theft?
At Insight Investigations, our teams are trained to carry out a discreet, confidential investigation into the incident in question. This can act as a bulwark to help stop the crime before it snowballs out of control, affecting both company finances and staff morale.
Depending on the nature of the crime and your personal preferences, we can carry out our investigations covertly, causing the minimum of disruption and fuss to your business. Alternatively, we can carry out an overt approach, where our detectives make their presence obvious. This helps send a strong signal to your staff, preventing the occurrence of future thefts, or encouraging the perpetrator to take further incriminatory action in an attempt to prevent themselves from being caught.
We are always able to tailor our approach to suit each individual employee theft case and only offer services that are relevant to your situation or concerns. If you are unsure about how to proceed, or what legal recourse you may have available – we will always be able to advise you on future courses of action.
All our teams deploy state-of-the-art surveillance technologies and provide options for physical surveillance or the placement of an experienced undercover operative within your company to work discreetly on the shop floor.
At the end of each investigation, we will provide you with a full written report along with any photographic or other relevant evidence. We can also advise you on various security aspects to prevent future thefts – working with you to provide and critique an actionable plan that can remove risks from your business for the years ahead.
Employee Theft – What’s next?
If you want to learn more about avoiding issues around theft and dishonesty, our team at Insight Investigations is here to help. With many years’ experience in a range of sensitive professional fields, our hand-picked team of private investigators are ready to work with you to get to the bottom of your issues.
To find out more, you can contact us on the number below or you can use our contact us page.