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    New app to offer private security at fingertip

    Independent retailers in the UK will soon have an on-demand security service app through which they can avail “Uber-like” services in the time of emergency as well as during expected critical times.

    AURA is set to launch AURA Retail Response in the UK, an app that promises to enable rapid provision of vetted SIA security officers to specific locations.

    Talking to Asian Trader, Alex Booth, Managing Director at AURA, explained the nitty-gritty of the app and how it has the potential to be a total game changer for retail industry that is presently reeling under record crime levels.

    “We have established a network of SIA licensed security officers who work for security companies the length and breadth of the UK. A retailer or shop manager can download the AURA Retail Response App and request ad-hoc and rapid security guard attendance at the press of a button in times of need.

    “The App works by automatically alerting the nearest on duty security officer who can quickly attend the location of the alert. We have built a network of almost 2000 professionals at the moment, but it’s growing with hundreds of officers joining every week.”

    The app has been developed keeping in mind the record crime levels in the retail sector, Booth said.

    New app to offer private security at fingertip
    Alex Booth, Managing Director at AURA

    According to the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) Crime Report 2024, there were 5.6 million incidents of shop theft over the last year with an estimated 76,000 incidents of violence in the UK retail sector, and 6,100 robberies. There is a slew of other industry reports which highlight the multiple-fold rise in retail crime levels.

    Booth said, “We started in the world of alarm response. Lately, we saw the struggle of the UK’s retail industry in the light of record levels of crime, and came up with the idea of using this network to support the retail industry, especially the smaller independent shops that cannot afford to have a full-time security guard on site like some of the larger supermarkets.”

    The app is scheduled to be launched earlier next month. Apart from downloading, the app involves a simple subscription and starts from as little as 14p per day. Charges of availing the security professional are separate in the range £40-50 per call-out

    “We believe that this solution can help independent retailers in situations of need. It can make them feel that there is someone who can support them and be at their side quickly,” Booth said, adding that the app is “still not a silver bullet”.

    “We are not trying to replace the police because they obviously have different powers. If a retailer is facing a life-threatening situation, or a serious physical threat, 999 is always the right thing to do.”

    “However, there are some situations where a retail worker might feel vulnerable or threatened like during rush hour. AURA will help mitigate the risk of certain types of incidents, or help diffuse a situation, for example if there’s someone in the shop behaving suspiciously.

    “We are aware that many small independent retailers feel completely isolated, left alone to deal with these crimes. And if they feel like they have this thing in their pocket, which enables them to get a registered security guard, who turns up in a security vehicle with a security vest, it can hugely help in certain situations,” Booth told Asian Trader.

    The app will soon be enabled with the ability to schedule guards that will enable retailers to have someone for a particular number of hours every day.

    Multi-estate independent retailer Rav Garcha, who is also an independent board member of ACS, feels that AURA can be a “game changer” for convenience stores dealing with rise in crime.

    Garcha said, “My own and thousands of independent shops up and down the country are being severely impacted by a variety of criminal behaviour. We want more support from the Police, but this is increasingly hard to rely on when we most need it, so the AURA solution, which provides such easy access to local private security will be a game changer for us. “

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