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New look for high streets

High streets and shopping have looked different since the release of lockdown – and security and loss prevention have had to adapt, a webinar has heard.

In the public realm, streets have been widened to allow for more social distancing, noticeable in Regent Street and Piccadilly, Gareth Griffiths, security and resilience manager for The Crown Estate, told the webinar by the business body Resilience First. He was talking of central London and work – ‘some great work’ – by Westminster City Council with business improvement districts (BIDs) in the borough, and managing agents.

BIDs were a feature of Professional Security last year, as hirers of patrol officers, some with community safety accreditation powers. One example is work by BIDs, thanks to a budget from all properties inside a BID area; whether for security or cleaning or marketing of events.

24-7 patrols

The Crown Estate – which as the name suggests manages what the Crown owns, whether the UK’s foreshore or parts of the West End of London – works through outsourcing, whether work through managing agents or on the security side in London with the Metropolitan Police, and BID security teams. Those teams, Gareth said, were ‘at full capacity’ and have been doing 24-7 patrols of the Estate’s area, such as St James’s. While Gareth did not detail the reasons for patrolling, from his earlier description as of mid-July he told of a West End still far from open. In other words, empty commercial property was in need of checks; many hotels were still closed; and central London occupancy of offices was at 25 per cent.

More in the September 2020 print edition of Professional Security magazine.

Also speaking was David Allison, Centre Director, Manchester Arndale Centre; who echoed much of what Gareth said, for example that footfall in Manchester has not returned to pre-lockdown levels. Whereas the West End of London relies on office workers and international travellers, Manchester city centre draws on the city’s 100,000 students, besides tourist visitors, the webinar heard.

Speaking on software innovation, describing how tech can be used to offer more of a retail ‘experience’ as showcase for shoppers, and allow retail brands to better understand their customers, were Remus Pop, Co-Founder and COO, Neurolabs​; Jaume Portell, CEO and Co-Founder, Beabloo; and Ihsan (Sam) Jan, COO, Sodaclick CEO. The webinar chair was David Dobson, Industry Director Retail Hospitality & Consumer Goods, Intel.

Resilience First runs other online events – having before the pandemic run physical events; visit See also its recent webinar on the cargo supply chain.


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