VSG Provides Integrated Approach to Shopping Center Security

Following its appointment as sole provider of security services for the 20 shopping centers around the U.K. owned and operated by The Mall, VSG is working with its client to deliver MallSecure, an innovative approach to shopping center security that sets new standards.

The management team at The Mall formulated the MallSecure concept with a commitment to delivering the best possible security for shoppers and employees, while providing retailers with cost-effective services. It would lead to a uniform approach to security across all 20 Mall locations and offer a platform for continuous improvement.

In order to find the right partner for MallSecure, The Mall facilities management team undertook a rigorous and extensive tender process with seven potential suppliers. After careful analysis involving representative mall operations and general managers, the contract was awarded to VSG earlier this year.

“VSG was already providing security services at seven of our locations, so we knew the company well,” said Alan Wiggan, National Facilities Manager for The Mall. “The main reason for our decision, however, were the enthusiasm, ideas and commitment VSG demonstrated to working in partnership with the Mall to develop and deliver MallSecure. It was clear from the outset that VSG has an in-depth understanding of the specific requirements relating to shopping center security. We were also very impressed by VSG's training proposals, which would provide ongoing development opportunities for everyone involved with MallSecure.”

When VSG started work on MallSecure, the company took on security staff who were, at that time, working directly for The Mall, as well as those employed by other incumbent companies at various Mall locations. All security officers are undergoing training to refresh and update their knowledge, and to ensure the uniformity of approach central to the MallSecure concept.

To help maximize the effectiveness and versatility of the MallSecure team, the ongoing training extends far beyond the basic requirements. It includes detailed treatment of communication, conflict management and physical intervention, comprehensive first aid, customer service, people awareness and counter-terrorism issues. VSG is also working with The Mall to implement government and third party initiatives, such as Project Argus through NaCTSO to protect against terrorist attacks, and the Derwent Initiative for child protection.

At several locations VSG has already obtained recognition for selected MallSecure security officers under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS). This means that the local chief constable grants the officers valuable additional powers, such as the legal right to obtain names and addresses of persons suspected of public order offences.

While VSG's contract with The Mall does not specifically cover electronic security measures, the company does include them in its regular security reviews. This has led to the introduction of out-of-hours remote monitoring at some of The Mall's shopping centers. This is providing significant cost savings, as well as eliminating the lone-worker risks associated with the normal practice of having a single security officer on site in shopping centers at times when they are closed to the public.

“As always with a program like MallSecure, it's the results that matter and in this case, the results are very good indeed,” Wiggan said. “Working with VSG has enabled us to reduce our overall security costs by more than 5 percent, and we anticipate that we will achieve additional savings in the future through the application of cutting edge electronic security measures and overnight remote monitoring.”

“The cost savings are clearly an important benefit for us and for our retailers, but for me the biggest benefit of working with VSG is peace of mind,” Wiggan said. “Because of VSG's professionalism, expertise and commitment, I have total confidence that the security at all of our sites is consistently as good as we can make it, and that our retailers, staff and shoppers are always in safe hands.”
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