Whilst CPA services clients from across the spectrum of industry, our roots lie in retail security. In 1993, our very first client was Milady’s, a women’s clothing retailer and part of the Mr. Price group. After 16 years, we are still proud to count both Milady’s and Mr. Price credit office amongst our clients.
Another clothing retailer, which we serviced for many years, was the Retail Apparel Group (RAG), particularly their Smart Centre chain. We serviced many of their stores from Durban to Richardsbay. Unfortunately, the contract ceased when the RAG group ran into financial difficulties.
For approximately ten years, we managed the security function for the Isipingo Shopping Centre, anchored by Shoprite and Pep stores. The centre was managed by Broll Property Management and was later purchased by Apexhi, at which time their national service provider took control. As Broll remained one of our largest clients, we permitted many of our experienced guards to remain on site with the new company as a gesture of good faith.
As a result of exemplary service in the Isipingo Shopping Centre, the anchor tenant Shoprite requested us to supply a security team for their store. Within 3 years, our Shoprite portfolio had grown to 7 stores between Margate and Durban as well as all 3 Hyperama stores (Gateway, Pavilion and Prospecton). In 2003, an opposition security company made an inviting offer to purchase our Shoprite portfolio. After seeking the permission of the client, the deal was concluded and the portfolio sold.
We currently run the security functions at John Ross House Commercial and Essex Gardens Business Park for Broll Property Management. In addition, our security teams service Essex Terrace in Westville, Milenium Park Retail Centre in Umhlanga Ridge and Cleremont Shopping Centre.
Our management team is experienced in dealing with tenants in both the retail and commercial sectors. One of our largest and most prestigious clients is Broll Property Management. We look after numerous up market sites for them including Clifton Place in Musgrave, The Square in Umhlanga Ridge and John Ross House in Durban Central.
Our General Manager, David Coombe, specializes in retail security and, in particular, shopping centres. He has directly managed the security functions of seventeen major shopping centers in the Durban area. These centres included, Umlazi Mega City, Pinecrest, Value Centre (Sanlam Centre), Home Centre, The Crescent, Windermere Centre and Hillcrest Corner.
He has the necessary skills to enable our company to continue to specialize in retail security and establish this security sector as our core competence. His clients at the 2007 South African Council of Shopping Centers (SACSC) Star Awards nominated the security on his sites, for the annual KZN regional award.
We intend to continue to foster good relations with SACSC and remain abreast of all the latest developments within the retail sector. We have a good relationship with the KwaZulu Natal Business against Crime (BAC) regional co-coordinator, Jody Nair. David has assisted and made recommendations to BAC with the formulation of a white paper document specifically dealing with shopping centre security for submission to parliament.
As a security service provider, increased violent organized crime at shopping centres is a major concern to us as well as the landlord. In an effort to improve security standards and reduce the risk of violent organised crime at shopping and retail centres, a meeting was called by the Shopping Centre Security Initiative (SCSI), which was hosted by Business against Crime South Africa.
At this meeting, an agreement was reached on improved security standards and the measures required for implementation across shopping centres nationally. In particular, cash management practices, and more effective crime prevention and detection measures, were addressed. In terms of the agreement reached with government, information should be shared amongst security stake holders, and a working partnership between private security companies and the police was mandated.
By being physically based in the Arbour Town Office Park, within the community that we intend to serve, we will be able to align ourselves with the local policing forums and be relevant directly in the community. In this way, we can truly realize this partnership agreement envisaged by SCSI. We realize that the strategic partnerships that we will form with the police and security partner companies will reduce opportunities for violent crime at both Arbour Crossing and The Galleria.
This has successfully been done by ourselves in the past through tenant education and policy formulation with centre management that specifically limits reckless behavior by cash in transit service providers. By remaining in constant contact with Business against Crime, we are able to monitor the successes and failures of other shopping centres, and develop strategies to limit the risk of violent crime on the sites we manage. David has built personnel relationships with many of the management teams of the major shopping centres in the Durban area. These relationships allow for the constant exchange of information and assist us to encourage proactive policing within the local police community.
People using shopping centres are often involved in activities other than buying and selling. It is important that the different customer groups are identified by security. We have developed a specific training program to enable our staff to distinguish between people who have a specific purpose, and people who have a possible criminal or nuisance intent. We require our staff to distinguish between the different customer profiles so that they may deal with the customer in an appropriate manner.