Workplace theft 'costs millions'

29-09-2004

Theft at the workplace has cost public sector employees an estimated �96m during the last three years, according to research from an insurance group.

Zurich Financial Services has said that one in 20 had been the victim of theft.

Nurses were the most likely to have had something stolen, with 9% having been victims, followed by teachers at 7%.

The average value of stolen items was �244, and the most common items to have gone missing were purses and wallets, followed by mobile phones and handbags.

The financial group said that nurses, teachers and firemen were easy targets for thieves because of their type of work.

Almost half of the 818 public workers who were questioned during April and May this year, said they did not take valuables into work so as to reduce the risk of becoming victims of theft.

Nearly a quarter removed jewellery before shift work and 19% left their credit and debit cards at home.

Zurich says the problem has led to almost two thirds of employers installing coded doors and just over half issuing security passes and putting in place security cameras.

But despite these measures less than one in seven thieves have been caught.

Vanessa Brindley, from Zurich, said: "Prevention is always better than cure, so being vigilant and not taking valuable items into work or leaving them lying around is vital.

"Workers should have somewhere secure to store personal items and, last but not least, they should make sure their insurance covers their personal possessions at work."

BBC News

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