The BCSC was right to express concerns last week at proposals for the future of shopping centre security being mooted by the Government.
The BCSC was right to express concerns at proposals for the future of shopping centre security being mooted by the Government.
Of course, security is of paramount concern to all of us, and as the BCSC makes sure to point out, the government is absolutely correct to be building a strategy to ensure shopping centres of the future are safe places.
But when it comes to business, there is always a delicate balance. In terms of security, there comes a point when putting up the walls too high simply serves to put shoppers off and nobody wins.
Which is why the BCSC is quite rightly pointing out that not only would placing too much emphasis on physical security — such as barriers to prevent suicide car-bombers — be unwise because it overlooks other more effective strategies, it would also be damaging to developers and, as a result, retailers.
It’s too easy for the government to make developers pick up the bill for added security measures, when in fact it is down to all parties involved, including retailers, to ensure that effective procedures are in place and staff are properly trained.
As a feature appearing in this Friday’s Retail Week magazine shows, retail is already in jeopardy from the dramatic grinding to a halt that has taken place in the shopping centre pipeline. Store expansion plans are in disarray and the right type of space is going to be severely late coming into being.
It’s important that the government takes a sensible line on security that doesn’t do more harm than good for an industry already facing a precarious future.