Crime in retail has been on the rise. The recent British Retail Consortium's Annual Crime Survey showed some shocking findings from its members. Probably the most eye catching were:
- There are 115 violent incidents against members of staff each and every day
- Customer theft had increased by 33% costing the retail economy £700m
Tackling retail crime can be a complex problem. Manned security can be one part of the solution, but paying for someone to just stand by the door will have little impact in its own right. A deterrent can only go so far.
For manned security to be effective it needs to be proactive and absolutely fit for purpose. There are a number of qualities a security company needs to get this absolutely right.
So how do you select a company which is going to have the best impact?
Do they have deep industry knowledge?
Lots of security companies claim to undertake retail work, but do they? Who are they dealing with and how long is their relationship with retailers in the same space as you? A long and enduring industry knowledge forms the foundation for much of what follows.
Cordant Security have been working alongside some of our retail clients for over 15 years. The knowledge that has been gathered and analysed over the years has lead to dynamic solutions being implemented such as our Assault Prevention Training videos and Practical best practice with Body Worn Cameras to aid crime and violence prevention. These teach our officers how to handle anti social behaviour and neutralise potentially dangerous situations; protecting them, customers and the employees in their stores.
Have they the scale and operational systems to perform nationally in a consistent manner?
What can be found across many security businesses is that most security managers will be responsible for a lot more admin tasks like scheduling shifts, covering absence and generating reports. This stops what managers should be doing; engaging with the workforce and the clients running the risk of dropped shifts and stores not being covered when needed.
At Cordant Security we have the National Communications Centre (NCC). This acts as our national hub. One of its functions is to take the majority of administration tasks off our managers. This means that any shifts that are at risk of being dropped can be handled by the NCC team leading to an exceptional industry standard in shift coverage.
Does the company in question have the ability to self deliver trained guards in all instances?
Many security companies appear to rely on subcontractors, making a significant weak link in the service provision. When a contract is agreed, the client will expect a certain level of service which is controlled by the security provider. Once subcontractors are involved, a security business loses that control.
At Cordant we make it a point to not use subcontractors. This ensures that our service is always delivered to the standards we expect and that we are in full control of our operations.
Once these service fundamentals are answered then more sophisticated areas need to be addressed.
- Officer Training - Are officers training in retail and client specific aspects such that their ability to perform is complementary with the environment they perform within.
- Management Support - Are their suitable numbers of well trained managers with the systems to deliver the support needed producing a well motivated and engaged officer.
- Constant Contract Development - The BRC survey clearly shows the landscape is changing. Can the security company in question demonstrate an ability to change and adapt in response to this.
Only with all this in place will the manned guarding provision address the challenges being faced in retailing