Helping to protect what matters most to you
Lee Hammond, Head of Co-op Secure Response (CSR), chats about the business’s approach to security that places people, customer service and ethics at the heart of everything it does.
Tell us about your security background and heading up Co-op Secure Response.
I’ve been at the East of England Co-op for the last ten years; before that I was in security and retail with other businesses. Over the last ten years, we’ve built up our security business here at the East of England Co-op from our internal function. We’ve developed new ways of doing security that have been adopted throughout the country with other retailers. We’ve worked very closely with Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex police and now with all police forces across the country. We’re out in the rural community... in holiday homes... in business parks... people’s homes as well as other retailers.
What experience do your team have?
We have a variety of experience in the team to cover all aspects of what the client might need. As well as great security experts, we have people who are great at customer service, systems, audit, compliance, as well as retail. There’s over 300 years of experience in this team.
As Head of Co-op Secure Response, what’s your main objective for you clients?
To give them a great level of service – we want to be second to none in the security industry. We want to offer a focused, customer service-driven experience through security. We don’t just want to put someone on a site and leave them to it. It’s about the experience a client gets and the value they get from our service.
What makes Co-op Secure Response different?
Because we are part of the Co-operative, we’re ethical. We base everything on doing it right the first time. We don’t oversell, we don’t overprice. We make sure the client service is there at all times. This isn’t just a ‘put it in and walk away’ solution. Everything has to be bespoke and right for the client. We make sure the ARC (alarm receiving centre) is full of people who are customer care officers as well as security professionals, so that the experience is always driven by the customer, service, our ethics and morals.
Talk us through the process of helping a client who is experiencing security issues.
We’d first visit the client to understand what the need was and the vulnerabilities of their site. Then we’d look to install our technologies and monitoring solution to allow us to look after that site, respond to any issues and help restore the site afterwards.
One example is the solar industry, where metal theft has had a huge impact... We have over 15,000 cameras nationwide, so we were able to pick up intruders onto a solar farm in the middle of the night and within four minutes we had a response there. Police managed to detain one individual as part of that group, who will probably be responsible for quite a number of incidents nationwide.
What’s the most important thing a business can do in terms of security issues?
The best thing to do is get the experts in because they might see something that you haven’t. Every client site is very different and needs a bespoke solution to stop things happening in the first place. We highly recommend monitoring through our alarm receiving centre, so we can pick up incidents as they occur, not after the fact.
Many businesses might not think they have a security issue – what would your advice be?
I think we’ve all been guilty in the past of being quite complacent with workspaces, with our own home. It’s not until after an incident happens that sometimes people realise there’s a need for security measures. What we would say is, we offer a free consultation and we’re happy to come down to have a chat and take a look at what might be an issue going forward. If everything’s good, we’ll tell you that... but if there’s an issue, we can help you to understand and mitigate any loss of business or cost.
What sort of technology do you use?
The ARC has all the latest technology... from what we put on site and what we have at the back end, we make sure we’re always using the most recent technologies, and also what’s most cost-effective for the client.
ARC is also a remote video recording centre, so we monitor CCTV and alarms. We’ll be looking after over 800 sites nationally, and we’re able to receive and respond to anything at any time. We’re looking at instances as they occur and we also do a lot of call handling for other retailers, so if anything needs repairing or there has been a crime or suspicious activity, we gather that evidence and instantly disseminate it to anyone who needs it on the ground. It’s a huge raft of services that come out of quite a small, dedicated, very efficient room. It allows us to cover nationwide at the moment, but we could cover worldwide very easily.
How would you define Co-op Secure Response in three words?
People, Customer-first, Ethics.