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Upskilling critical for keeping watch over State’s largest retailers

A huge demand for security services across the retail sector is one of the unexpected results of COVID-19 in the past 12 months. It is now nearly a year since customers started rushing to supermarkets and panic bought food and other basics – a behaviour partly repeated during the recent lockdown in Perth this month. More than ever before, the consumer response to COVID-19 has highlighted how important it is to make sure there are robust security strategies in place at retail outlets supported by highly trained security guards.

Custom training for retail sector

To ensure our security staff are equipped with the skills and procedures needed to deal with both unique events and daily activity, NPB Security has designed a new course specifically for our personnel at shopping centres and other retailers.

Rolled out from the start of 2021 and available to all NPB’s security guards, the custom learning delivers both theory and practical training. Our personnel learn and experience potential incidents that they may face on shift which are specific and unique to the retail sector. The course examines a number of issues that may result in security incidents, such as mental health, homelessness, drug and alcohol, as well as legalities and regulations in the retail industry. Other topics covered include the effective use of CCTV and procedures to minimise theft.

NPB Security protects a number of shopping centres in Perth and some of the country’s most recognised retail brands including Woolworths, BWS, Dan Murphy’s and Rebel Sport. As COVID-19 has demonstrated, security needs are always evolving so upskilling is always a priority to ensure a better customer experience for people who are simply wanting to do their shopping in peace and safety.

How security protects retailers

A focus for our security guards is to protect the staff of shopping centres and individual retailers, along with their customers. NPB Security is able to provide expert assistance on a variety of issues shopping centres and retailers face on a daily basis.

One major challenge is shoplifting and theft. Not only does result in lost revenue for businesses, but it poses a real safety threat to retail workers who face the risk of confrontation and aggression if they intervene. Security guards are trained to step forward and take the necessary action to resolve difficult or dangerous situations where people attempting theft will reach unpredictably. A security presence can also act as a deterrence making one retailer less likely to experience theft than another store without guards.  Guards are also trained to alert and work closely with police.

Security personnel are able to respond immediately during a crisis or emergency situation. For example, all our security guards have first aid training which could save someone’s life. If there is a medical or other emergency, for example a fire, that occurs at a supermarket, retail security is able to safely control the consequences of the aftermath, monitor emergencies and provide instructions and guidance to assist and calm staff and customers.

Retail is a unique security environment that demands specialist skills, so security guards that have undertaken a course specifically for retail patrols delivers a huge operational and financial benefit. Security guards with this training are equipped with extra skills and knowledge to ensure the safety of the staff, customers and protection of assets in any situation, from COVID-19 to day-to-day events.

The importance of agile and flexible Security Services

The security landscape is constantly evolving and changing, particularly with the updated regulations for businesses and individuals to comply with COVID-19 health standards. The security industry has seen a huge increase in demand from a variety of sectors including retail, hospitality and construction. We see three key crucial elements when it comes to meeting new demands:

  1. Highly flexible workforce

At NPB Security, our staff are always willing to help out the overall team and are extremely flexible with shifts and the type of work they conduct. During the period of COVID-19 restrictions our management staff worked around the clock to ensure the workforce was redirected to areas as needed. For example, hospitality staff were placed in retail and construction sectors as they required additional guards during this busy time.

The speed with which restrictions are announced and implemented means that the reaction of our dedicated team has been essential to ensuring clients have had the highest level of protection when the demand for security surges. For instance, during the first lockdown in Perth in 2020, NPB Security mobilised more than 200 retail sites at short notice following increased pressure from panic buying. While the recent lockdown in 2021, around 50 retail sites needed extra security staff at short notice.

Overall, NPB Security has increased our number of staff at premises we manage by around 25% compared to pre-Coronavirus levels. Meeting rapid changes in customer demand is only possible with a workforce that is willing to adjust daily and perform to a high level.

  1. Ongoing training

Providing ongoing and up to date, high level training is vital to make sure security guards deliver the best services possible, particularly in a changing environment. Delivering a mixture of training courses on new regulations, along with mandatory customer service training, are some of the ways NPB Security ensures all staff are a step above the rest.

Comprehensive COVID-19 training sessions have been provided to staff, including specialised lessons on methods to remind the public of the importance of wearing a mask, use of hand sanitisers, maintaining social distancing, as well as enforcing the SAFEWA app.

Our customer service course is designed specifically for qualified security guards in conjunction with the Australian Hotels Association and focuses on providing staff with additional tools to ensure a superior customer experience.

  1. Increased communication

At a time when the security industry as a whole is experiencing an increase in demand, making sure you have clear and timely communication with clients and staff is vital.

From new standards in hygiene practices to the rollout of State government guidelines, NPB Security is at the forefront of using technology and communication tools to make sure our workforce is always aware of the updates and attends any site prepared and ready to support our clients in meeting COVID-19 regulations and guidelines.

Comprehensive and fast communication with our guards is supported by the ability to give feedback, this ensures the opportunity to share commonly asked questions and concerns with other employees and clarify any follow up actions that have been taken.

NPB Security to keep watch at some of Perth’s highly anticipated events

NPB Security were at the frontline of holiday-period festivities and is looking forward to a number of upcoming sporting matches and events, including Fringe World Festival.

“Perth Scorchers have been playing well this season at Optus Stadium, and we are happy to make sure all fans have a safe and enjoyable experience,” said NPB Security Director, Scott Parry.

“Our professional guards will also be across a variety of venues when Fringe World Festival ignites later this month.”

The busy events period comes off the back of a highly demanding festive season, which saw people flocking to venues for Christmas parties and end of work drinks. Mr Parry said many venue owners experienced exceptionally high patronage, as well as the added pressure of mandatory contact tracing. The NPB Security team were ready to support venues and staff during this time.

“Not only were there more people out and about this festive season because international and some national borders are closed, business owners were also subject to new laws that require them to trace every person who enters the venue,” Mr Parry said.

“We are proud to be helping local businesses ensure they are doing their part in the fight against COVID-19, which also gives patrons piece of mind.”

Mr Parry added that it is a privilege being one of the only places in the world that has the freedom to gather at pubs, nightclubs, sporting arenas and even music festivals. NPB Security will continue to work hard to keep all patrons safe as we enter 2021.