February 23, 2022

Helping you stay safe

By Jayne Crowe, Investigations and Security Manager

I’ve worked at our Co-op for 25 years, mainly in roles considering the safety and security of colleagues. We all spend lots of time working in locations like funeral homes, food stores, depots and around our offices. But, no matter where you work, colleague safety is the most important thing to us. And, with a number of colleagues starting to return to the office, I wanted to share some useful safety advice.

When travelling to and from work

With restrictions easing and returning to ‘normal’, life has picked back up and we’re all moving around, often using multiple forms of transport.

If you’re a keen cyclist, make sure you can be easily seen by drivers. Wearing reflective clothing can really help with this. Your lights should be well maintained and in full working order, whilst using a bell can help to make sure you’re heard avoiding any potential collisions.

Drivers should always try to park somewhere secure with good lighting and CCTV if possible. And for those using public transport, always use the most suitable entry and exit stops.

Personal panic alarms are available through Bunzl for our colleagues in Retail, Logistics and Funeralcare. Corporate sites can order through emailing crimeandsecurity@coop.co.uk.

In the workplace

If you’re a nominated key holder, let your line manager know when you arrive outside of normal business hours. It’s important you also leave them your contact number so they can easily get in touch with you.

Take a few minutes to check external lighting is properly illuminating everywhere it needs to.

CCTV systems should be checked to ensure they’re fully operational. If you find any issues, please contact the Helpdesk as soon as possible on 0330 606 9490. The sooner things are reported, the sooner they can be repaired.

For travel and accommodation requirements, you must use the Clarity booking system which also offers an out of hours service in case you need any extra support.

And remember, if you or your colleagues are involved in any safety or security incidents at work, they need reporting on MySafety, even the near misses. Data collected from this system helps us spot trends and identify issues to rectify, ultimately making our Co-op safer.

When out socialising

When you’re out and about socially, have an awareness of what’s happening around you.

Keep your phone out of sight – don’t walk with it in your hand and try not to keep it in your back pocket. When phones are stolen in the UK, the network provision can be stopped but they can be sent overseas and used on another network.

Don’t walk with headphones in, or only wear one earpiece if you need to use them. Try to keep to well lit, main streets and if possible, walk in pairs or larger groups.

Keep your bag securely fastened and if you’ve been gift shopping, try to carry purchases in non-branded bags. Consider what you’re wearing – patch pockets on coats offer ease to pick pockets to remove items but it will simply feel like they’ve just brushed passed you.

For extra reassurance when out drinking, buy covers to place over the top of bottles and glasses. Let people know where you’re going, who you’re intending to meet and a rough idea of when to expect you home. Prebook taxis and always make sure the driver is fully licensed for the vehicle.

If at any point your safety feels compromised, find a safe place to go. There’s plenty of information and advice on these sites:

  • Ask for Angela – this is about asking for support if you’re in a compromising situation. Maybe you’re on a first date and something doesn’t feel right, bar staff are trained in helping to keep you safe and can call the Police if needed. Check locally before you venture out and find out what schemes are available locally to you
  • what3words /// The simplest way to talk about location – this is a downloadable app that’s an easy way to identify precise locations. If you’re going somewhere new, simply type in the name and it’ll give you the three words specific to that location. You just need to remember them and can then share with friends or the emergency services
  • If you’re walking home late at night, too late to call a friend or family member, call Strutsafe on 0333 335 0026 who’ll stay on the phone until you’re home safely

But remember in an emergency, always contact the Police on 999.

Please take some time to watch this video which offers great advice on how to keep safe.