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Editor's Blog and Industry Comments

Feeling safer on inner city streets.

23 January, 2008
Although street crime has steadily dropped in Britain over several years, many still feel insecure walking the city streets late at night even though they are compelled to do so due to working hours.
Jacqui Smith, the British Home Secretary, was recently reported as saying that she would feel insecure walking London's streets late at night. She was referring not only to the rougher areas of the city, but also to the more well-heeled regions since criminal activity is frequently reported in every region as criminal activities become less parochial.

Ms Smith, however, has a choice and isn't obliged to venture out into Peckam, Plaistow or even Knightsbridge on the wrong side of midnight, unlike many workers who either work late into the evening or operate a shift pattern.

Employers are under no legal obligation to provide protection to their staff outside their working premises and security usually stops at the gates although many do provide some transport arrangements out of normal working hours.

With a 15% annual reduction in street crime in London, the likelihood of being caught out by crime is thankfully rare but this does nothing to reduce the fear and the stress which results from it, something which employers should be worried about since this is bound to affect morale and performance.

Providing additional protection for shift workers is the hallmark of forward thinking, employee oriented employers and a growing number are turning to lone worker protection systems to give their employees peace of mind even outside the office.

Craig Swallow, the Managing Director of Connexion2, which supplies the Identicom lone worker protection system, told me that employers are beginning to take more of an interest in protecting their employees outside the gate whether this is simply walking across a dark car park or for the full bus journey home.

The cost of such systems can easily be justified in terms of improved employee satisfaction alone which results in better performance in the short term and the retention of key staff longer term.

Craig continued: "These devices are small and unobtrusive and can cost as little as £1 per day. They can also be pooled amongst shift workers if required".
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