IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT – RECENT RIOTS
During the unfortunate incidents in London and other major cities in the UK over the last few days many homes and businesses have been devastated by fire, theft or general malicious damage. If you have concerns that your property or business may be at risk over the coming days the following advice should help you minimise the risk of damage from riots or subsequent looting:-
- Liaison with your local Police Authority to gather the most up-to-date intelligence.
- You should carry out an audit of your security to ensure that premises are adequately protected. Particular attention should be paid to the ground floor and basement level, but not forgetting windows, emergency escape doors and roof-lights accessible from external fire escape staircases, scaffolding and roofs of adjoining buildings.
- A lot of damage has been done by arson; to help prevent this you should make sure that all exteriors of buildings are cleared of combustibles and waste materials to which the public may have access.
- The safety of your employees and customers must be your priority. Make sure that you have suitable emergency plans and that these cover periods when riots and civil disorder are possible so that you can avoid such persons being on the premises or travelling to or from them during periods of danger. Have a robust emergency contact procedure including home and mobile phone numbers for staff. Make sure that you have this information available at all times – it is no good just keeping it at the premises! Keep this information secure and remember your Data Protection Obligations.
- If you do decide to temporarily close for business, try to give affected employees as much notice as possible so that they do not make unnecessary journeys putting themselves at risk. If you are sending staff home during a period of disorder, discuss with them what arrangements can be made to try to get them home safely.
If you are unlucky enough to have been affected by these events here are some guidelines:-
- Please contact our office immediately to discuss the claim and the next course of action. Report any damage to the Police at once as there is a 14* day limit for notification under the Riot Act 1886, obtain a crime reference number and inform them that you intend to make a claim against them for the cost of any loss or damage under the Act.
- The Act places a responsibility on the Police Authority for any damage caused by riot. The act defines Riot as “when 12 or more people have gathered to use or threaten violence for a common purpose”. It may be that Police Authorities will not accept that the damage you report is as a result of “riot”, however, it is important you make the intention to claim under this Act clear at the time you notify the Police of any damage, from thereon we will take on any recovery action on your behalf.
David Cameron has today promised that the government will pay out for any legitimate claims from the rioting. Speaking in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister said: “On repairing the damages, I can confirm that any individual, homeowner or business that has suffered damage to or loss of their buildings or property as a result of rioting, can seek compensation under the Riot Damages Act, even if uninsured.”
* David Cameron also extended the deadline for claims to be received from 14 to 42 days