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June 16, 2020

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A Barbour guide to business continuity

Private security helping to protect York City Centre during COVID-19 pandemic

Since the Government’s coronavirus lockdown in March, uniformed employees of a private security company operating with police powers have been specifically asked by businesses in York City Centre to check on their premises whilst they remain empty.

Almost 200 companies have signed up to be part of a daily patrol checklist carried out by Street Rangers, a service run by Eboracum, a company based in the City, on behalf of the York Business Improvement District (BID).

The Street Rangers are checking every business on the list every day, sometimes more than once.

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In the latest addition to this service, the Street Rangers have adapted their long-established joint patrols with police by joining officers on bicycles during the night to deter burglars from targeting businesses during the coronavirus lockdown.

Eboracum Managing Director, Carl Nickson, explained that the ‘coronavirus service’ was introduced by the BID as part of its commitment to help businesses through these unprecedented times.

“We’re making sure there’s no damage, that there’s no health and safety problems and that doors and windows aren’t broken. If any issues are found, we will contact the owner or manager of the business. We haven’t had many incidents, but I think that’s because of the deterrent that we help provide,” said Carl.

Some of the issues dealt with during lockdown by the Street Rangers have included a broken window to a building and a water leak inside a premises, alongside many other minor incidents, which could have led to crimes being committed or damage to properties if they hadn’t been resolved quickly.

Another specific request during the lockdown has come from York Museums Trust, for the Street Rangers to lock and unlock the gates to the Museum Gardens at pre-arranged times and patrol the Yorkshire Museum and York Observatory.

Since the Street Rangers launched in 2016, they have helped to detect and deter thousands of crimes, as well as support city businesses, provided support and reassurance to local residents and acted as city ambassadors to the huge number of tourists every year. More than ever before, the Street Rangers are being regarded as the ‘eyes and ears’ in the cobbled and historic streets of this Cathedral city, believes Eboracum.

Eboracum’s employees have been accredited with certain police powers by the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS), a voluntary scheme, contained in Section 40 of the Police Reform Act 2002.

The role of assessing private sector companies seeking approval to run a CSAS scheme is carried out on behalf of the National Police Chiefs’ Council by Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (PCPI), a police-owned organisation that works on behalf of the Police Service throughout the UK to deliver a wide range of crime prevention initiatives.

PCPI carries out checks to establish whether companies are ‘fit and proper’ to exercise CSAS powers and then makes recommendations to Chief Constables in the area the scheme will operate.

It is Chief Constables in England and Wales who decide whether to accredit employed people already working in roles that contribute to maintaining and improving community safety with limited but targeted powers.

PCPI has assessed more than 120 private sector companies seeking to run a CSAS. The scheme significantly increases the number of businesses able to deliver services that reduce low level crime and disorder whilst assisting police by easing demands on their time and resources.

Guy Ferguson, Chief Executive Officer, PCPI, said: “We are delighted that this scheme is being taken up and used in this imaginative way. The use of properly trained and accredited staff to enhance the efforts of policing is great news for York and its businesses.”

PCPI compliance Manger, Ken Meanwell, who leads on CSAS, said: “This scheme is a perfect example of how the police and private security industry can work together in order to prevent crime.”

Superintendent Mark Khan, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Working with partner organisations is an important part of policing. Schemes such as this one, which use staff who are officially accredited by North Yorkshire Police, allow us to share information, skills and knowledge to keep North Yorkshire’s residents, businesses and visitors safe.”

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