Keeping them from temptation

t is not until a business is in dire financial straits that theft is suspected. According to Kyne, the two most common reasons for theft in the past five years have been gambling and drugs. A trusted employee can turn into a criminal as their addiction to drugs or gambling over-rides their ethics. 

John Stansfield of the Problem Gambling Foundation agrees.

Gambling is the second biggest motive for serious property crime, especially theft as a servant. He says the problem is getting bigger with the pokies tempting people into gambling problems  particularly women.

We know that 5000 New Zealanders who commit a gambling-related crime will be convicted this year and there are many more who will be detected and not prosecuted, and an even larger amount who will not be detected at all.

This is where the Kynes mantra of removing all possible sources of temptation by setting up strong systems and procedures really makes sense.

CCTV is now a base requirement when setting up a small business. As well as a deterrent, it is essential for monitoring compliance with procedures, says Kyne.

Its about policies, procedures and cash management processes that create individual accountability and are robust enough that you will know within 24 hours of a transgression.

Kyne also points out that these must be workable within the business and Employment Relations Act. Often its the breach of procedure that removes a problem person rather than the crime he says.

Staff must understand the policies and procedures and the consequences of breaching them. This is critical because of the difference between employment and criminal law and employers must avoid double jeopardy.

Simply believing a crime has been committed and calling in the police often does not work, as Kyne explains: The Police do not have the resources to respond quickly to business needs, and employers, by law, must conduct their own inquiry.

The employment law is all about fair process and natural justice. You must seek explanations and then make a decision based on them and the balance of probability.

Kyne adds that important parts of their services are guiding clients through the process to avoid subsequent court action and successfully negotiating civil recovery from dishonest staff.

Warwick Halcrow is a Wellington-based writer. Email whalcrow@paradise.net.nz  NZB

 

Warwick Halcrow is a Wellington-based writer. Email whalcrow@paradise.net.nz

Todays manifestations of temptation  debt, drugs and gambling  are catalysts for trouble for employers. Tragically, too many employees are tempted to commit theft by a person in a special relationship as stealing by staff is now called.

Eighty percent of theft is opportunist and you must not put the opportunity in a persons mind, says Mike Kyne of Kyne Management Services. Kyne should know  he has been catching thieves for years.

After 20 years as a detective, Kyne with wife Alison, set up their Christchurch-based trouble-shooting business consultancy in 1994.

Dishonesty offences are New Zealands largest crime category, yet have the lowest resolution rate by police  only 20 percent of those reported. The Kynes, constantly helping business owners deal with staff dishonesty, are seeing some disturbing trends that are increasing the temptation factor.

Gone are the days when you could rely completely on trust and loyalty from employees  the culture today is about looking after ones self, says Mike. Debt is usually to do with people over-extending themselves, so they borrow a little from their employer to get them through and if there are no consequences it is very difficult to stop.

Kyne adds that important parts of their services are guiding clients through the process to avoid subsequent court action and successfully negotiating civil recovery from dishonest staff.

Warwick Halcrow is a Wellington-based writer. Email whalcrow@paradise.net.nz  NZB

 

Warwick Halcrow is a Wellington-based writer. Email whalcrow@paradise.net.nz

 

Publishing Information
Magazine Issue 
NZBusiness June 2006