As police forces across the UK struggle to cope with the rise in crime, communities are questioning the lack of police presence on the streets. The police have admitted to stretched resources that have led to poor and slow response times when the police are needed at the scene of a crime.

Over the last two years, there has been a huge increase in businesses and communities looking at alternative ways to protect themselves from crime.

 Shoplifting theft has increased by more than a fifth in the twelve months to April this year, businesses are suffering badly and the cost of this inevitably gets passed on to the consumer. The police, if they attend a shoplifting incident rarely catch or charge anyone for the crime. 

Private security firms have now been employed in some shopping districts to patrol the area to deter thieves and deal with any anti-social behaviour. There are many places, including several shopping areas in the UK, which appear to be public spaces but are owned or managed by private landlords. These landlords are choosing to rely on private security patrol officers to protect the businesses and people on their land.

Private security companies have also seen an uptick in enquiries for residential patrols. Homeowners are either getting together or solely employing security personnel to keep an eye on their properties. The security officers are a visible deterrent to burglars and acts of anti-social behaviour. If a crime should be committed or they are needed they are in the area and respond immediately.  

The need for private security patrols is a direct result of the massive cuts to policing since 2010, leading to public confidence in the police hitting an all-time low. Many crimes are not investigated, in fact, a lot of people are not even reporting some crimes for this very reason. In 2020 75% of people believed the police were doing a good job but in 2022 this dropped to 53%. The national scandals involving several police forces across the country have also added an element of mistrust in the police.

Private Security Officers are perhaps doing the job that was once covered by the local bobby, they are there to help keep the public safe and protect property from criminals just by their presence. They do not have the same powers as a police officer and can do no more than perform a citizen’s arrest on anyone committing a crime. A security officer must hold an SIA licence to take a security position in the UK and will be subject to a full background check to ensure they do not have a criminal record.

An SIA security officer will be trained to a high standard enabling them to act appropriately when required, this training will include:

  • Managing and defusing conflict
  • The correct way to detain an individual
  • The correct use of handcuffs
  • Terror threat awareness
  • Dealing with emergencies
  • Report & statement writing
  • Using communication devices
  • Liaising with police & emergency services
  • Crowd control
  • First aid training
  • Search

A security officer can only search a suspected shoplifter if the individual gives consent. They are permitted to apprehend a thief or someone likely to cause harm to others under the term of a citizen’s arrest. Only reasonable force can be used to detain a suspected criminal or to remove a person from a premises, and there must be just cause to do this.

A reputable professional security company like LSS London has a great working relationship with the police. LSS also have an information sharing agreement with the police and this allows good communication regarding local crime activity. There is at present a necessary place for private security and if this can assist the police in protecting people and property surely that can only be a good thing.

If you would like further information on our range of security services, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We can tailor any of our services to your needs and budget.