Groups of people in town centres late at night, after leaving clubs and keen to get home, can easily spark unsociable behaviour that needs to be defused quickly to prevent violence and public disorder.
That’s why an increasing number of councils are appointing Taxi Marshals who are proving to be highly effective in towns and cities – reducing illegal ‘pick ups’, controlling taxi queues, improving the safety of vulnerable persons, and dealing with confrontational situations.
One national security firm running Taxi Marshal initiatives is Leisure Sec plc. Their Marshals have radios and jacket mounted CCTV cameras, and are able to communicate any problems that they witness to the CCTV control room. They work closely with the Licensing Authority, Police and other agencies and can play a vital role in the reduction of crime in public areas.
Body worn surveillance technology acts as a valuable tool to deter crime and can be essential for evidence gathering whilst also demonstrating the professional and thorough job the Marshals are undertaking.
Nuneaton’s pilot scheme was in place between 11.30pm until 4am every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night during December.
“It is extremely important that people feel that Nuneaton town centre is a safe and welcoming location where people can come and enjoy a night out,” said Cllr Dennis Harvey, leader of Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council.
Another authority using Leisure Sec plc’s Taxi Marshals is Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, which made its appointment after typically rigorous checks, insisting on only appointing Security Industry Authority (SIA) accredited Marshals who were also trained in conflict management.
The Taxi Marshals work with key stakeholders in the town centre nightlife including police, CCTV control room, street pastors, door staff, Pub Watch, resident groups and local businesses, and contribute to the overall safer environment.
“Our Marshals act as a concierge and customer service representatives in busy town centres after hours,” explained Leisure Sec plc’s managing director Cusack Gordon, who has more than 25 years’ experience in the security industry and is a past Chair of UKASP (United Kingdom Association of Security Providers).
“All our security operatives undertake training when employed, then additional modular training every twelve months, including conflict management, duty of care, social responsibility and customer care, physical intervention, FPOS (first person on scene), operational deployment, immediate action drills and queue control, incident report and witness statement construction, drug awareness, radio communication, searching, law, equal opportunities and managing diversity.”
Leisure Sec’s National Training Manager Jagtinder Sidhu has more than 30 years’ experience with organisations such as the National Exhibition Centre, the National Indoor Arena and The International Convention Centre, as well as the Royal Symphony Hall where he provided physical intervention training to their security personnel with a view to their staff performing their own response squad duties: “We consistently receive positive feedback from our clients,” said Mr Sidhu, “for example, after more than a decade’s service to Rank Leisure’s Grosvenor Casino and Mecca Bingo sites around the UK, we beat 1800 other companies to be awarded Supplier of the Year due to our consistently high service levels.”
“Our own unique Security App has been developed to incorporate the duties of a Taxi Marshal,” added Cusack Gordon, “and allows our security operatives to instantly record incidents on their ‘phones. The App also enables our clients to view activities in real time. The main benefit noticed by customers is one of time saving; rather than compiling a number of faxed incident reports, our software allows the designated members of Council staff to see all incidents for each site immediately and this information can be incorporated into monthly reports to assist management meetings and training schedules.”
Leisure Sec’s Taxi Marshal Division is part of the plc’s accredited and award-winning services, providing safety and security assurances to both the public and major clients nationally.
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