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Safe Spaces Scheme extended to Private Security Industry

Safe Spaces Scheme extended to Private Security Industry

The Safe Spaces scheme, which was launched by the NBCC last year to make retail outlets a safe space for people in need of help, is being extended to include private security organisations and individuals.

Also known as Operation PORTUM, the Safe Spaces scheme is an overarching scheme that businesses can sign up to and support to create safer spaces in retail outlets for employees, customers and people in the community that feel vulnerable.

A large number of national retailers have already signed up, but the NBCC recognise that private security also operates within this space and play a significant role in keeping customers safe and secure.

Private security companies are being encouraged to sign up to the scheme and commit to raising awareness amongst security officers of Operation Portum and its principles and provide guidance on how private security officers can use the principles to support and assist those who feel vulnerable.

NBCC lead Supt Patrick Holdaway said: “It’s quite likely that if someone needs help, they will approach a private security officer in a store and it’s really important that the employee knows about the scheme and understands what to do next. It might be that the retail outlet they work with is already signed up to Safe Spaces, in which case they should have a process and training in place already. But if not, by following the basic guidance on how to respond, they can be confident they are doing the right things to support the individual in need of help.”

Mike Reddington, Chief Executive of the British Security Industry Association said: “The safety of the public in our town centres and retail parks is paramount, and it is our duty as an industry to adopt best practice to ensure this continues; the British Security Industry Association actively endorses and supports Operation Portum, and we encourage our members to sign up and embed the principles of this scheme into their training programmes.”

Jason Dean, Harm Reduction Manager for the Security Industry Authority added: “The NBCC Safe Spaces scheme provides the security industry the opportunity to further contribute to public protection and community safety. Security companies provide services to the retail sector across the UK’s towns, cities and local communities and are a reassuring presence to retail staff and members of the public as well as those who may be vulnerable or need assistance. We encourage the security industry to be part of the NBCC Safe Spaces Scheme and explore with their clients how they can implement the Safe Spaces scheme to increase the network of support across the UK”

 The scheme already has support from the likes of John Lewis Partnership, Waitrose, Coop, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Next and Boots meaning that there are in excess of 13,000 retail units offering a safe space.

The NBCC has developed specific guidance for private security companies wanting to sign up to the scheme and has a short video on the website which includes ‘do’s and do not’s’.

To find out more information and to sign up to the scheme, click this link: Safe Spaces (

You can also download the Op Portum guidance for Security Staff here: Op Portum - Safe Spaces for Private Security