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Does the proposed undercover police pilot scheme undermine the role private security firms play? https://quickclicksecurity.com/news/Does+the+proposed+undercover+police+pilot+scheme+undermine+the+role+private+security+firms+play?/MTAwX25ld3M https://quickclicksecurity.com/news-images/1200/1615975558-49320.jpg Last week, we heard the devastating news that a young, 33 year old woman, Sarah Everard who was walking home from a friend’s house had gone missing and her body was later found in a woodland area, following which the arrest of PC Wayne Couzens

Does the proposed undercover police pilot scheme undermine the role private security firms play?

March 17, 2021

Last week, we heard the devastating news that a young, 33 year old woman, Sarah Everard who was walking home from a friend’s house had gone missing and her body was later found in a woodland area, following which the arrest of PC Wayne Couzens was made.

This triggered a nationwide conversation around security and safety on the streets, especially for women.

The incident shocked the country, not only because of the crime but because the accused- Wayne Couzens, is a Metropolitan Police Officer who has now been charged and a trial set for the Autumn. Ms Everard was walking on a busy road on 3 March near Clapham Common shortly before her disappearance around 9pm, the fact that no witnesses or CCTV recorded her last steps has led to protests and petitions to enforce more security on the streets.

The Government response

The murder of Sarah Everard has sparked a public outcry with many women publicly coming forward about their own experiences of feeling unsafe and having to constantly fend off unwanted sexual advances.

Number 10 this week have announced that they will take ‘immediate steps’ to enhance safety measures on the streets and it has been mentioned that a budget of £25million will help with improving street lighting and more CCTV within public space.

There has also been talks of a pilot scheme which involves police going undercover in pubs and bars to target suspicious and predatory behaviour.

We have to ask – is this a knee jerk reaction, perhaps to appease the public and take some heat off the police who are now being independently investigated by the IPCC, or is it a necessary and welcome service?

Isn’t it what private security firms are paid to do?

What about the Private Security teams?

Frontline security, Door Supervisors to be exact, are paid to deal with drunk, rowdy, aggressive behaviour on a regular basis. They are a uniformed deterrent as well as the eyes and ears of the venue, their job is to protect the public from harm and danger.

Is the suggestion that private security firms are not up to the job any more? On the basis of what?

An undercover police officer may be able to monitor a venue undetected but will this make any difference to patrons behaviour over and above a visible security team who make regular patrols as well as take up static positions surveying venues?

Frontline security have the advantage of being themselves and building rapport, especially with regulars at these venues. They watch the influx of customers enter and leave a venue and well-trained security officers are well able to monitor, detect and if necessary remove problem customers very efficiently, Door Supervisors have been protecting women for years.

Perhaps the threat of undercover police officers will be enough to deter behaviour – perhaps it will put people off going to venues altogether – an industry which has already been massively financially impacted by the pandemic.

Yes- police officers have more training and more powers to detain and arrest, however, in the circumstances and in light of the fact the pilot scheme would be utilising public money, are we missing a very obvious trick here? Should we actually be investing more resources into our security teams to help and enable them to better carry out the roles they already perform?

We would argue that private security has been completely overlooked here.

Ultimately, we are all striving for the same thing, which is to allow women to feel safe. Perhaps rather than spending hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money on a pilot scheme a consultation should be had on how the public and private security bodies can work more closely together.

The upcoming months are set to see night venues reopening and the party scene will no doubt be in full swing. Now is the time to have these conversations so that we can be as prepared as possible as we move into the next phase of life post lock down.
 

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