Posted April 15, 2024

Safe Spaces Scheme Extended To Private Security Industry

The Safe Spaces initiative, introduced by the National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) last year to enhance the safety of retail environments for individuals in need of assistance, is expanding its scope to include private security organisations and individuals. Referred to as Operation PORTUM, the Safe Spaces program is a comprehensive framework that businesses can enroll in to foster secure environments within retail outlets for employees, customers, and vulnerable community members.

While numerous national retailers have already enlisted, the NBCC recognises the significant role played by private security entities in maintaining customer safety and security within these environments. Consequently, private security firms are encouraged to join the initiative, committing to raising awareness among security personnel about Operation PORTUM and its guiding principles. They are also urged to provide guidance on how security officers can effectively utilize these principles to support and assist individuals in distress.

Supt Patrick Holdaway, leading the NBCC, emphasised the likelihood of individuals seeking help from private security officers in stores, underscoring the importance of ensuring these employees are familiar with the Safe Spaces scheme and know how to respond appropriately. Mike Reddington, Chief Executive of the British Security Industry Association, echoed this sentiment, stressing the industry’s commitment to adopting best practices to safeguard public safety and endorsing Operation PORTUM.

Jason Dean, Harm Reduction Manager for the Security Industry Authority, highlighted the opportunity the Safe Spaces scheme provides for the security industry to further contribute to public protection and community safety. He encouraged security companies to embrace the initiative and collaborate with clients to implement it effectively.

With support already secured from major retailers like John Lewis Partnership, Waitrose, Coop, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Next, and Boots, over 13,000 retail units are now designated safe spaces. The NBCC has developed specific guidance for private security firms interested in joining the scheme, including a concise video on their website outlining dos and don’ts. Operation Portum is open to all businesses, we believe that the principles apply to any sector, but let us know and we can adapt the guidance to reflect different situations.

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