In a recent press conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the planned introduction of Covid-19 Wardens, who will be employed by councils to help enforce coronavirus rules within towns and city centre locations.
With the public already raising concerns over the potential powers and training such wardens will have, and local authorities in need of a fast and cost-effective solution, one Hampshire security expert believes he may have an answer.
According to Paul Howe, MD of Venture Security, town and city centre security officers offer a ready-made solution to ensuring Covid-19 rules are being adhered to, while having the added value of being able to help combat some of the major challenges towns and cities are facing.
Officers from Venture Security currently conduct daily patrols in Andover, Salisbury, Basingstoke, Winchester and Fareham. While tackling antisocial behaviour is their core focus, their support in enforcing social distancing rules is increasingly being utilised.
Paul Howe explains: “Since 2017, the Venture Security team has been working closely with local authorities and BIDs to help tackle antisocial behaviour in town and city centre locations. Our fully trained and SIA licensed security officers carry out daily patrols, liaising closely with the police and other partners, to help improve the environment and experience of retailers, residents and visitors alike.”
He continued: “As part of their duties, our officers have already been helping to enforce social distancing rules, such as on market days. Increasing their responsibilities to fulfil a Covid-19 warden role, while offering the added benefit of being trained in conflict and able to reduce antisocial behaviour, is something we believe could offer local authorities a readymade solution to many of the challenges they are facing.”
Andover recently joined Salisbury, Basingstoke, Winchester and Fareham as the latest area to have called on Venture’s services, with daily patrols commencing in the town from 1 September. Feedback about the patrols from police, residents and local businesses continues to be very positive, with two of Venture’s officers receiving an award in recognition of their efforts detaining an armed man in Salisbury.
As the first organisation of its kind to be accredited under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) for city centre security, in both Hampshire and Wiltshire, Venture’s accredited officers also have certain low-level police powers, giving them even greater scope to deal with antisocial behaviour.
Paul added: “With the government stressing the urgency of taking action and the role of covid-19 wardens already generating a lot of public interest, we know local authorities need a quick and reliable solution. The problem with any public-facing role is ensuring you have the skills, experience and training needed to deal with anything you might encounter. We believe security officers meet that need, while providing added value in their capabilities to help tackle other issues, such as antisocial behaviour.”
Venture Security is working with Twyford and Shawford parish councils to help tackle antisocial behaviour at a popular Hampshire beauty spot.
Venture Security has become one of the first companies in Hampshire to be accredited under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) for city centre security. This means accredited officers will now have greater powers to deal with any issues they come across.
Like many towns and cities, Salisbury city centre has a long-standing issue with anti-social behaviour, including individuals drinking in public, making excessive noise and being intimidating, aggressive or abusive to residents and visitors. Following a competitive tender, Venture security officers now conduct daily patrols of the city centre.