By Daniel Orme, Mitie Team Leader

It’s my job to keep our shops and the colleagues in them safe. Mitie are Co-op’s chosen partner on everything that’s security related and I’m part of the team that primarily looks after the guards you might see in some of your shops.

As you can imagine, like so many of you, it’s been a tough gig these last couple of months, but our guards have done a fantastic job helping the shops out. Their presence can really help deter certain situations and they’ve even got stuck into managing the queues outside shops.

It’s great to have the support of Mitie behind me too. I’ve worked here for over a year now and I’ve seen us go from strength to strength. That’s just been topped off by us opening a brand-new Security Operations Centre (SOC) in Belfast which you can see pictured above. Even though I speak to them almost every day, I’ve not managed to go and visit yet. I can’t wait to go over and check it out when I can.

I like to call them the eye in the sky. The guys over in Belfast can connect with our iCCTV cameras and watch everything happening in that shop remotely. Being connected to them in a shop can really help colleagues (and my guards) feel a lot safer – they can even talk to the shop and call the police in if things are looking a little tricky!

It’s also great for monitoring and building up a portfolio of evidence against repeat offenders. Unfortunately, in most cases the police will only get involved if they’ve stolen over a certain amount, so this way we can build up a case against these offenders and get them arrested. Only the other week I was in Johnstown in Wales. They’d been suffering with their leakage and had some people come into the shop causing them a nuisance, so working with the SOC we managed to sniff one of them out and get them arrested.

We’re also helping you roll out body cameras and personal safety devices to around 500 shops now too and it’s great to see them go down so well. The personal safety devices also connect with our team in Belfast and we’re even just testing out getting a live feed from the body cams connected to them too. Exciting stuff and I can’t wait to see what’s next!