The tragic deaths of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard in 2021 have been a wakeup call for the public safety issues affecting women and girls.  1 in 4 women experienced domestic abuse in 2020, with 2 in 5 experienced sexual harassment and only one third formally reporting it. That’s a staggering 2.3 million victims with a socioeconomic cost of £66 billion. The private security industry plays a vital role in protecting members of the public – as an SIA licence holder you have a duty of care to identify and report predatory behaviour as well as taking steps to keep members of the public safe.

How to spot people in vulnerable situations

There isn’t specific criteria that all at risk people will fall into, but there are circumstances that may indicate a person is at risk:

  • they may appear confused
  • they look lost or isolated
  • they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • they have become separated from friends
  • they are the recipient of unwanted attention
  • they are being threatened or followed.

What action can you take if a person appears at risk or vulnerable

  • report your concerns to your supervisor or the site/venue management
  • seek the help of street pastors or street marshals
  • take advantage of any local or national schemes aimed at keeping people safe, such as Ask Angela
  • in the case of a young person or vulnerable adult, call a relative of the person to help
  • call for a licensed taxi to take the vulnerable person home
  • use ‘safe havens’ or other local initiatives run by organisations such as St John’s Ambulance
  • call the police.

Why and how to report a colleague for gross misconduct

Reports from police have shown that license holders have, on occasions, provided drunk or otherwise vulnerable people with rides home. Often these acts are well meaning for the safety of those involved, but there have been allegations of sexual abuse and rape.

If you feel a colleague has abused their power of authority and taken advantage of a situation you should report the incident to the SIA via this link.

It can be intimidating reporting a colleague but doing so can help to maintain the reputation of SIA license holders and continue working with the public to ensure their safety. Every SIA License holder has been trained on the standards of behaviour and should work in line with these principles.

Author: Phil Walton, Commercial Director (Security)