Focus on a security team: The South Bank Patrol
In our regular feature putting the spotlight on front-line security officers, Graham Bassett met up with the PACE South Bank Patrol.
When I arrived at the South Bank on a bright spring morning, the team was otherwise engaged with Just Stop Oil protesters – which meant I could spend a bit of time with Umer Khalid, Security Manager for the site; Grant Read, Operations Director; and their client Alex Valenzuela, Director of Place for the South Bank Employers’ Group and find out more about the team which looks after this mammoth security contract. Keeping everyone safe on the South Bank is central to what the South Bank Employers’ Group do, from counter terrorism and crime reduction to community safety. The South Bank Patrol team was established in 2008 and SBEG has been working with PACE since 2018.
The sheer size, complexity and mix of stakeholders to keep safe is staggering.
The team looks after an area that covers Lambeth Bridge to Blackfriars Bridge (four bridges) – plus Waterloo Station.
Pre-Covid, footfall was around 30m a year (now about 75% of that) looking after 35k employees (which was 50k pre-Covid) in various buildings, including: St Thomas’ Hospital, Imax, National Theatre, Southbank Centre, London Eye, Sea Life Centre, London South Bank University, various hotels, colleges, Coin Street, Jubilee Gardens and residential buildings.
By nature of such a varied/sizeable demographic, the team partners with many agencies such as Safer Neighbourhood teams, funded Metropolitan Police officers, Lambeth & Westminster Public Protection, British Transport Police, Lambeth Thames Outreach and Youth Justice Systems, We Are Waterloo BID, The Children’s Railway Charity – plus numerous client buildings with their own security teams.
The team has participated in more than twenty training initiative and courses, including SCAN/ACT, Catastrophic Injuries, County Lines Child Exploitation, Sexual Violence Awareness & Support Skills, CSAS and RNLI training in relation to the Thames.
As one would expect looking after such a sizeable space, there are daily challenges and although dealt with as ‘part of the job’ some no doubt would be worthy award nominations. Recent incidents include:
- Group of males seen conducting robberies by the team: MPS called, assisted with foot chase, two were caught/arrested (carrying machetes).
- A female who had been self-harming rescued from the Thames (suicide attempt). The team, on average, deals with a suicide attempt every one or two weeks.
- Assisted a stab victim until the paramedics arrived.
- An individual who had conducted a robbery at knife point, but evaded capture, was seen and apprehended by the team next day and handed over to the police.
- A male wanted for assaulting a police officer, was (within a few hours) located by the team, which monitored his movements until the police arrived and arrested him.
- A man who had exposed himself was followed by the team into Waterloo Station and identified for BTP who made an arrest.
- Working with the relevant agencies, they helped remove two encampments and assisted those in need to Thames Outreach for shelter.
Talking of awards, the team was a finalist in the Security Excellence Awards ‘Outsourced Security Team/Individual of the Year’ in 2022 and more recently an OSPA 2023 finalist in the Outstanding Team Category.
City Security magazine