Enhancing Safety and Security in Hospitality

In the dynamic realm of the UK’s hospitality industry, prioritising safety and security is paramount. Wetherspoon, a prominent player in this sector, understands the importance of creating a secure environment for its customers and employees. They’ve achieved this through a robust partnership with SECOM, a leading expert in security solutions. This collaboration has not only enhanced safety but also yielded impressive results. There was an 81% success rate in resolving incidents like poor customer behaviour, antisocial behaviour, and assaults since January 2022, as highlighted in Wetherspoon News.

Commitment to safety

As one of the UK’s top pub and hotel operators, Wetherspoon is committed to providing an exceptional pub experience for its staff and customers. Regardless of whether it’s a workplace or a socialising space, safety is their top priority. Wetherspoon goes the extra mile by forging close relationships with local police forces and pubwatch groups to ensure safety remains at the forefront of their operations.

To boost their security efforts, Wetherspoon has established a dedicated security group that collaborates directly with SECOM. This partnership provides expert guidance, helping Wetherspoon pubs become safe and secure. It also offers immediate assistance to pub teams when security issues arise. SECOM contributes by providing high-tech CCTV systems, security installations, monitoring equipment, and support for employees who have experienced assaults.

Creating a safe and welcoming environment

Lewis Hinckley-Keens, Wetherspoon’s pub and hotel security coordinator, emphasises their commitment to a safe and welcoming environment, stating, “Poor customer behaviour and antisocial behaviour are
not tolerated at any of our pubs or hotels. The purpose of the security group is to make our pubs and
hotels as safe and welcoming as possible for all of our customers, guests and employees.”

This security group, in conjunction with SECOM’s intelligence team led by Gemma McKinlay, SECOM’s communications and investigations manager, plays a multifaceted role. They manage door security, implement tailored security measures for each pub, coordinate with law enforcement agencies, and even initiate legal actions when necessary. They collaborate closely with local authorities and external organisations, such as local pubwatch schemes and Best Bar None initiatives, making a tangible impact on the communities they serve.

Successful outcomes

One of the most remarkable aspects of this partnership is its ability to resolve various issues across different pubs. These issues span from repeat offenders returning regularly to assaults on staff members and instances of racial assault or abuse. Thanks to the dedication and persistence of the SECOM intelligence team, these issues have been thoroughly investigated and, more often than not, resolved successfully.

The process includes arranging police involvement, scrutinising security measures, sharing intelligence, gathering evidence, and launching investigations. In some instances, it has even led to the arrest and charging of suspects, along with providing support to those affected.

Lewis Hinckley-Keens proudly reports, “Of the 78 incidents reported and escalated (since January 2022), the team has secured an 81-percent success rate, underscoring the remarkable achievements of Gemma and SECOM. Where issues have been resolved, the pubs are now in a much better position, often with closer relationships developed with the local police and better lines of communication now in place.”

A collaborative approach to safety

Gemma emphasises the collaborative nature of their work with Wetherspoon, saying, “Since January 2020, SECOM and I have been given the opportunity to support pubs, employees and the wider communities against anti-social and sometimes violent behaviour. Our main objective is to reduce risk against customers and staff and to encourage a safe environment.”

Beyond physical security, they empower staff when interacting with the police or local authorities, helping them navigate complex processes and legislation. Additionally, they assist with internal and external investigations, ensuring that all lines of inquiry are thoroughly explored.

The partnership between Wetherspoon and SECOM serves as a shining example of how a commitment to safety, security, and accountability can create safer pub and hotel environments. By working together, they have not only enhanced the safety of their establishments but have also made a positive impact on the broader local community. This collaboration underscores the effectiveness of a united approach to safety and security in hospitality, with results that are nothing short of remarkable.

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10 ways to stay safe using ChatGPT

While AI chatbots like ChatGPT can be powerful tools, it’s essential to use them responsibly to ensure a safe and positive experience for everyone. Here are 10 ways to stay safe using ChatGPT or other AI chatbots:

1. Avoid sharing personal or sensitive information

Never share your full name, address, phone number, passwords, or any other personal or sensitive information with ChatGPT or any other AI chatbot. These platforms are not designed to handle sensitive data and could pose a risk if misused.

    2. Be cautious with financial information

    Do not provide any financial information, such as credit card numbers or bank account details, to ChatGPT. Similarly, be wary of any requests from the AI to share such information.

    3. Recognise limitations

    Remember that chatbots like ChatGPT is an AI language model and not a human. It doesn’t have personal experiences or emotions. Avoid forming emotional attachments to AI or divulging overly personal information.

    4. Report inappropriate behaviour

    If you encounter any offensive, harmful, or inappropriate responses from the chatbot or ChatGPT, report the issue to the platform or service provider. Feedback from users is essential to improve AI systems’ safety and performance.

    5. Avoid spreading misinformation

    Be cautious when using AI chatbots like ChatGPT to obtain information. It’s always better to cross-check facts from reliable sources, especially for critical decisions or sensitive topics.

    6. Don’t use AI to promote hate speech or illegal activities

    Avoid using AI chatbots or ChatGPT to generate content that promotes hate, violence, discrimination, or any illegal activities.

    7. Set clear boundaries

    Remember that you have control over the conversation. If ChatGPT or AI chatbots provide responses that make you uncomfortable, discontinue the interaction or change the subject.

    8. Supervise AI usage for young people

    If young people are using ChatGPT or other AI chatbots, ensure they are under adult supervision. Young users might be more susceptible to sharing personal information or engaging in risky behaviours.

    9. Read and follow the platform’s guidelines

    Different AI platforms may have specific usage guidelines or terms of service. Familiarise yourself with these guidelines and adhere to them.

    10. Keep in mind that AI is not a substitute for professional advice

    While ChatGPT and other AI chatbots can provide general information, it is not a replacement for professional advice from qualified experts, especially for medical, legal, or financial matters.

    By following these safety tips, users can have a more secure and positive experience while interacting with AI chatbots like ChatGPT. Responsible usage of AI ensures that these tools continue to be valuable assets without compromising user safety or privacy.