GO! Southampton’s security team is continuing to work in close collaboration with Hampshire Constabulary and Southampton City Council’s Welfare Wardens to provide extra security and protection to levy payers in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
During lockdown, the BID’s security team – Martin, Lewis and Sam – has been working revised hours of 12pm-8pm, five days a week, adapted to better suit the current situation. As well as helping to protect empty premises by deterring anti-social behaviour and crime they are also providing extra support to those essential businesses which are still open in the BID area, such as banks, supermarkets, health shops and pharmacies.
GO! Southampton has recently acquired a security van to enable them to add multiple vehicle patrols to their daily duties so they can cover the BID area more easily and effectively.
Martin explains how a day during lockdown may look for him and the team:
“Starting our day at noon, we visit the businesses within the BID area who are still trading and liaise with the staff regarding any thefts, anti-social behaviour, or other problems they may have faced. If any recent events have occurred, we will investigate and agree an action plan.
Whilst on foot patrol, if we see any known faces, or a person of interest, we’ll report any findings to local authorities and where necessary members of the BID team. We are also able to do multiple daily mobile patrols in the van, getting from one end of the BID area to the other quickly and safely.
When a business calls to report a theft, we review CCTV and try to locate the culprit. We try to recover the stock where possible and report to the police via the Southampton Business Crime Partnership crime portal.
As for dealing with the general public, we are here to help, we will answer any questions, from security to local information. Both Sam and I have a long history in the security sector and will help anyone who asks for it.”
Within the joined-up approach with partner agencies there is an emphasis on preventing commercial burglaries from premises, especially those that are temporarily closed and therefore more vulnerable at present.
In addition, Southampton City Council’s Welfare Wardens and Street Homeless Outreach teams have been actively supporting rough sleepers throughout the city, providing accommodation to those in need.
A weekly phone call between all parties takes place to share intelligence, coordinate patrolling services and offer support. This partnership working is key not only to ensuring maximum protection for city centre businesses and employees through lockdown, but also to ensure plans for the reopening of the city offer maximum protection and reassurance.
Hampshire Police have taken a zero-tolerance approach to any violent behaviour or crime against key workers within the city, resulting in several arrests and charges for offenders in Southampton.
GO! Southampton’s Operations Director, Rebecca Handley, has also been liaising with the relevant local and national groups to share information/best practice and to ensure concerns in the BID area are highlighted and addressed. The BID are members of the National Business Crime Solution (NBCS) which allows them to benefit from shared intelligence on business crime and to liaise directly with head office retail contacts to ensure they’re aware of specific issues in Southampton and how we’re working to tackle them.
Rebecca said: “GO! Southampton welcomes the opportunity to work more closely than ever with Hampshire Constabulary and Southampton City Council during these challenging times to ensure the commercial centre remains safe and our member businesses operating in the city are supported during this time.”