Security controls in practice [CISMP]

Security in delivery areas

Delivery and loading areas can be targeted by criminals and intruders. High value items are often handled, but security controls can be overlooked.

A forklift loaded with pallet of boxes in aisle in warehouse.

It’s often the case that these areas are hidden from public view, perhaps away from the main entrance to your offices, maybe in the basement at the back of the building, or even physically remote from the main workplace, in a warehouse facility.

In this final Course, you’ll see what goes into securing these locations and the people manning them and explore some of the controls you might want to put in place to reduce the security risk they pose to your organisation.

Personal safety  

There are several common issues here that security personnel need to be aware of in order to fulfil their responsibility to protect staff. Take note of the following:

  • Casual or contract staff might not take security as seriously as full-time employees, and that raises security concerns.
  • Health and safety is also an issue, like when heavy items are handled. Training helps protect everybody.
  • It’s possible for a member of staff to use the internal postal service to bypass security, stealing documents or equipment. Vetting and training of postal staff ensures they’re trustworthy and can be vigilant to any suspicious activity.
  • Loading bays and staff entrances are busy places so hazards should be identified and removed.

Personnel vetting and clearances

What’s to stop a member of the postal team from opening a confidential document, reading and copying it, then resealing it?

Letters on conveyor belt in mail sorting room.

It’s recommended that all staff handling sensitive equipment and information should be vetted, including facilities and post room staff.

Below are some more considerations for ensuring this aspect is managed effectively. 

  • The Home Office’s Disclosure and Barring Service (or DBS) can be used to obtain information on an individual, such as unspent criminal convictions.
  • Management should be trained to spot issues with staff (e.g., lateness, tiredness) – proactive support is better than punishment.
  • Regularly reviewing staff clearance can help to identify risks. Annual management interviews in between re-running DBS checks every couple of years may be a good way to look for problems.

The loading bay

Security is an important consideration when designing a loading area, including lighting, fencing, alarms, and the materials used in doors.

For example, can the doors of the loading bay be locked from the inside with deadbolts? And can the doorways be away from public view?

Loading bays

You’ll want to consider use of a variety of perimeter controls explored earlier in this Learning Path.

So, it’s time for a recap.

Physical security recap

Guards have a key role, as well as remaining vigilant they can:

  • Oversee all deliveries.
  • Be the second person in a two-person policy for shipment processing.
  • Monitor CCTV in the security area.

The term 'casing the joint' is sometimes used in Sam Spade style US detective dramas to describe a criminal observing the behaviours of a target, prior to planning a crime. By looking for vans or cars parked outside your building for prolonged periods of time, or strangers loitering near your fences or gates, the security guard acting as a deterrent, can notify the police should they become suspicious.

Guard dog patrols add a deterrent and a detective control, especially outside of working hours, but they’re expensive and require careful handling.

Consider a ‘call for back up’ panic procedure for security guards which is linked to the police, panic buttons or speed dial numbers that can be pre-programmed in mobile phones.

Lighting is key, as a reminder it should:

  • Support guards and CCTV.
  • Not cause nuisance or hazards.
  • Be cost-effective and compatible with site conditions.

Recommendations for security lighting are discussed thoroughly on the CPNI website.

Fences and walls can keep out casual intruders and provide an added level of privacy.

  • Consider using walls as they provide a better barrier in terms of visibility.
  • Use barbed wire, razor wire, or spiked railings on top of a wall to further enhance its security.

A combination of both fences and walls will improve security by acting as a deterrent and preventative measure.

High quality CCTV systems with motion sensors and sensitive alarm systems provide an important technical control.

  • Cameras should cover all vulnerable external areas, be manned by qualified staff, have night vision capabilities, and be regularly maintained.
  • Don’t forget the forensics! The CCTV system should work with police requirements to provide evidence through timestamps and image quality.

Get everybody on board

Without the necessary buy-in and commitment to the security policies and procedures published at the top of your organisation, it will soon start to feel like a bit of an uphill struggle!

Make sure your policy decisions are implementable and that the procedures are tested.

Ideally, these procedures need to flow down to the staff members that discharge them in the loading bay.

Here are some tips to ensure you get off on the right foot.

  • Conduct drills or do a physical penetration of your loading bay.
  • Help staff understand their responsibilities and when they can act on their own initiative for safety’s sake.
  • Train staff to deal with incidents and look for improvements in processes.
  • Plan for the worst and ensure staff know what to do if they’re threatened with physical violence.

Above all, make individual safety the priority!


This Course demonstrates how all of the controls you have learned about so far can be utilised in the context of a delivery or loading area.

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