SSAIB, the UK and Ireland’s leading security, fire and telecare certification body, has confirmed that, following an in-depth audit, major High St retailer Marks and Spencer has achieved the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s Certificate of Compliance.
In a move personally praised by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter, M&S voluntarily sought the certification and is the first retailer in the UK to demonstrate compliance with the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice.
Protecting its customers and staff, by providing a safe and secure shopping and working environment, is crucially important to the company, which realised that adopting the Code would provide transparency and consistency throughout its operations. Added-value benefits have also included cost reductions, for example through value management and rationalisation of CCTV systems against their need and purpose. A reduction in the installation programme has additionally saved costs and minimised retail disruption.
The certification, awarded by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, follows an audit conducted by SSAIB’s Lead Assessor Stephen Grieve, which covered all of Marks & Spencer’s operations, from its head office through to distribution centres and retail stores. In practice, it means that the company has been found compliant with the 12 guiding principles of the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice (in accordance with the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012).
M&S’ Head of Corporate Security, Clint Reid, worked in partnership with Four Security Consultants Ltd to meet the certification standards and comments that he is “optimistic about the potential improvements in protecting our people and working environment that gaining the SCC CCTV certification will bring”.
Brendan McGarrity, Head of Four Security Consultants, adds: “We praise the vision and tenacity of Clint and his team in realising the importance of gaining this certification and the hard work they put in, helping us achieve it with them. This move has significantly raised the profile of CCTV within M&S and is an important source of operational information. The increased awareness of M&S’ surveillance capability, together with the quality of its CCTV equipment, has resulted in managers being more willing to use the data to help them realise operational and commercial benefits.”
Meanwhile, Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter notes that: “For a retailer of Marks and Spencer’s size to achieve full certification against the code is no mean feat at all! They are not required to comply with the code and have done this voluntarily, which makes it all the more impressive. Working with Four Group and SSAIB they have been able to demonstrate they comply with the code across their vast estate. If an organisation of this size can achieve certification there’s no reason why anyone else can’t and shouldn’t.”
Stephen Halpin from Four Security Consultants, who worked with SSAIB’s Stephen Grieve throughout the certification process, declares that a key element in achieving compliance was SSAIB’s flexibility. “SSAIB provided an adaptable and flexible approach, whilst remaining firmly within the scope and spirit of the SCC’s certificatiion standards,” he explains.
“This allowed M&S to demonstrate its compliance with the code in both practical application and process compliance. SSAIB remained impartial, providing advice and guidance whenever needed, and took into consideration the operational challenges of a large retail operation while working with us to deliver the successful accreditation. Included amongst the legacy commercial and operational benefits of certification is a clear understanding of the future requirements to maintain certification over the next five years, thanks in no small part to the adaptable and supportive approach of SSAIB.”