‘Project Vigilant’ and The Role of the Security Industry
On 3rd March Sarah Everard went missing whilst walking home near Clapham Common. Following a very public appeal, by the 12th remains found in Kent were confirmed to match Sarah’s DNA. In a shocking turn of events, a Metropolitan Police Officer was charged for kidnap and murder. The case sparked a national reaction, addressing the reality of being a woman in public spaces, and the harassment and sometimes violence that accompanies this. Police response to vigils and protests has been heavily criticized.
In the wake of concern raised, The Government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce has proposed ‘Project Vigilant’, a controversial pilot scheme to place undercover police officers in clubs and bars “to actively identify predatory and suspicious offenders in the night time economy.” While focus on the issue comes as a welcome relief to many women, the details of the case that sparked it, mean this response isn’t an entirely reassuring one.
The proposed added focus on training around sexual violence in the Met, is an incredibly important and much-needed development. But it leads to questions of why these measures couldn’t be carried out by private security personnel, already working in and understanding nightlife venues and their clientele. Would it not be more effective to develop training for Door Supervisors who are actively positioned on the ground already?
It’s clear that more needs to be done. Harassment has come to be something not just feared, but expected by women on a night out. With added resources and focus on this specific issue, there is no reason why the security industry could not take on the mantle of pushing further with making nightlife safer for women.
As an industry we are in a position to offer the support ‘project vigilance’ is proposing. With better training to identify and relay intelligence about predatory or suspicious behaviours, security personnel could help build cases on repeat offenders and become more attuned to the subtleties of harassment in these spaces. Added training in handling reports from victims in a sensitive manner, is also essential to help breed an environment where women feel empowered to report harassment and assault. It’s key an environment is created where women feel believed and supported in order to encourage reporting of acts so many have come to view as ‘normal.’
It seems our industry is being forgotten in the recent debates, and perhaps this means the change needs to come within the industry itself to prove we are up for the job.
At FFA Security Group, we believe very strongly in leading the way to combat violence against women. All of our team have received specific training in unconscious bias, gender sensitivity, and sexual harassment. If you are looking for security solutions to make your venue safer for the public, or would like advice on any of the issues discussed in this article feel free to get in touch with us. You can ring us on 0208 050 7671 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org . We look forward to hearing from you.