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Risk Assessment in Shopping Centres: What It Is and Why It Is Needed

Shopping centres require a security and risk management plan in order to ensure the safety of shoppers, store employees, management staff, and physical assets within their premises. Effective and efficient retail security management plans are those that are tailor-fitted to a shopping centre’s specific security needs.

What Is Risk Assessment?

A risk assessment is a process that aims to identify the possible threats to your establishment and its level of vulnerability to these threats.

Risk is determined by measuring the levels of threat and vulnerability individually. There would be no risk when neither of the two is present. Therefore, one of the main goals of a security management plan is to lessen the level of risk by reducing threats and decreasing the shopping centre’s vulnerabilities.

Threats can be classified into two:

  • Internal Threats – Threats that originate within the shopping centre. These could be at a policy level like security standard violations, safety hazards, staff theft, or a structural problem that endangers the public.
  • External Threats – These are threats that emanate from forces outside the shopping centre such as acts of terrorism and robbery.

Vulnerabilities are factors that make a shopping centre more susceptible to the harmful effects of threats. They can be physical in nature (poor design and construction of buildings) or social (lack of awareness of the security and safety protocols), among others.

Here are some of the aspects that a risk assessment aims to cover:

  • Emergency Response – Do all shop owners and their respective staff know what to do in a crisis situation? Are there informational signages that direct the shopping public on what to do and where to go in case of an emergency?
  • Physical Security – Are all shopping centre equipment (like elevators and escalators) functioning properly? Are the cleaners doing their job in identifying and addressing problem areas such as spills and slippery flooring? Are there structures that help prevent injury and assist seniors and persons with disability?
  • Material Security – Are the delivery areas secure and not left open? Is there a system for checking delivered packages and alerting management if anything suspicious was found?
  • Access control – Are there barriers in place to control the flow of people coming in the shopping centre premises during peak periods? Are there traffic controllers to help direct shoppers on where to park and pacify possible cases of road rage?
  • Management Policies – What is the level of top management support and involvement in the conduct of security planning? Are there plans and policies in place (access control, emergency response, crisis management)? How are these policies enforced and reviewed? Are there systems for reporting security-related incidents?

Why Is Conducting a Risk Assessment Important?

Risk and security management involve dealing with complex and unpredictable factors that some of you may not be aware of. Data gathered from the risk assessment will be used to inform the design of the security management plan and make recommendations on the best security measures to take for specific scenarios. To be able to properly address a looming threat, you and your security service provider should have working knowledge on what these threats are, their likelihood of occurring, their possible consequences to the public, and how the current management system is equipped to handle such incidents.

Conclusion

Ensuring the safety of the public coming to your shopping centre on a daily basis needs meticulous planning and faithful implementation. A risk assessment which allows you to dive deep into the current problem areas your establishment has and anticipate the possible occurrence of threats is crucial in designing an effective and comprehensive security management plan.

We at Prosek Security are your partners in providing the best customer experience to your shoppers. We conduct an exhaustive risk assessment that allows us to provide security services that are tailored to the needs of your customers. Contact us now for a free consultation and see how your shopping centre security can be improved.