During the COVID-19 pandemic, many workers have found themselves working from home or have been furloughed. Many security employees, however, have continued to work, controlling retail shopping crowds, guarding company assets, and enforcing new rules like wearing a mask, social distancing and limited capacity levels in stores. All of these activities put them at a close proximity to the public and individuals who may be infected. 

Private Officer International, a U.S. private security and law enforcement organisation, has been tracking security officer deaths since early March and has identified 110 security officer deaths as of 16th May. They’ve identified that part of the problem has been a lack of Personal Protective Gear – an issue that is affecting people worldwide (source). 

The Office for National Statistics of England and Wales published their latest figures regarding COVID-19 death by occupation, revealing a high death rate in the security sector. Men working as security guards had one of the highest rates, with 45.7 deaths per 100,000 (63 deaths) (source).

In South Africa, it has been reported that there’s been more than 100 deaths of those working in the security industry. India has also reported that security officers were perishing from the COVID-19 virus at a faster rate than workers in other occupations. Furthermore, other countries have acknowledged that private security officers have both been infected with and died from the COVID-19 virus. They have not yet publicly released any statistical data.

An Increase in Store Violence

In addition to the health risks facing security employees, a range of safety risks are increasing at this time. Central England Co-op has reported a rise in violent offences towards its shop workers, including people threatening to cough and spit on staff. They’ve reported that incidents of verbal abuse have jumped from 11 per week to 24 in the past four weeks. In some cases, this is over four times higher than the same period during 2019 (Source).

Protecting Staff With Innovative Technology

One such solution that will keep your security employees safe is an automated store occupancy system. The best solutions on the market, such as Occupi by Ocucon, interact with your store’s access control system and use Deep Learning technology to recognise people and count the numbers entering and exiting the store. Occupi allows access only when the total number of customers falls below the number set for the store. This system allows for a fully automated, unmanned control over the store occupancy level, therefore removing the health and safety risk to security staff by removing the need for them to act as “door marshals.” It also removes human error from occupancy levels, keeps customers safe, and reduces the ongoing costs associated with manned security. Remote commissioning and service is available and Ocucon will supply a complete solution and all necessary training and briefing to the customer on the installation, setup and running of the system. Contact us today for more information on Occupi.