Royal Mail Group – Provision of Personal Attack Alarms (140db) To Postal Workers Plus Other Personal Security Issues Update – New PDAs and ‘Hollie Guard’ Personal Safety App, ‘Walksafe’ and New Entrants Guide:
CWU/HQ has continued to receive a heavy number of enquiries regarding the provision of ‘Personal Attack Alarms’ by Royal Mail Group over recent months and this is a progress report and update on the wider issue of personal safety discussions being undertaken.
The CWU HQ Health, Safety & Environment Department has been actively pursuing this matter for some time in fact but more so over the last year and a half during which time we have examined the statistics and nature of incidents of attacks on our members both on foot and in vehicles whilst on delivery and collection work.
The matter has been raised with Simon Thompson Royal Mail Group CEO and subsequent meetings have taken place with the Directors and Heads of RMG Security, RMG Assets, RMG IT, RMG Compliance and Sustainability and RMG Safety Programmes etc. The most recent meeting took place yesterday during which confirmation of the business decision was set out.
There have been around 450 reported attacks of various nature on CWU Postal members in the last three years and around 60 van thefts and robberies in the last two years. There have also been four recent, serious attacks on employees.
As a result, we have been looking at a number of options to improve safety and security and the provision of personal attack alarms has been one of them.
Personal Attack Alarms
I’m extremely pleased to report that agreement has been reached with Royal Mail to provide personal attack alarms. The type, design and specification has been concluded and the first order placed. Royal Mail has awarded a contract for the supply of personal attack alarms to ‘Dimensions’ the existing work-wear, uniform and PPE clothing equipment suppliers.
The personal attack alarms are black in colour with the Royal Mail red cruciform logo brand on them. Royal Mail has agreed that they will become a standard Uniform/PPE equipment provision channel item.
We have looked at the various types of personal attack alarms and the model provided will be of the type approved by the Police and Suzy Lamplugh Trust personal safety charity.
The first initial order for 5,000 alarms has been placed with manufacturers and is due to arrive within 5 weeks. Further orders will be placed once demand has been measured.
Dimensions will confirm the final details as soon as they are available on the Royal Mail Group online ordering portal. Dimensions has stressed that we need to bear in mind that the current situation with international shipments is very volatile and so a further communication will be issued once the actual date is confirmed. We are informed that at the moment, everything remains on track but we will be given confirmation as soon as the stock is delivered to Dimensions at their warehouse.
See attached the visual of the agreed personal attack alarm model and art work.
A further update LTB will be issued in due course.
Personal Attack Alarms Guidance
In the past when looking at this issue I discussed the matter with the ‘Suzy Lamplugh Trust’ and their guidance. The ‘Suzy Lamplugh Trust’ is a charity created in December 1986 by the parents of the 25-year-old estate agent Suzy Lamplugh. Suzy disappeared in July 1986. The Charity Trust offers personal safety training and advice to others, to help people be and feel safe. They stress that a personal attack alarm is only part of the solution. We have suggested that RMG consider working with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and adopting the Charity’s guidance.
LTB170/07 reported on the introduction of the RM/CWU first nationally agreed Royal Mail Assaults (Policy) in 2007 named ‘Walksafe’ – ‘Walk Threat Risk Assessment For Delivery Routes’ on managing the risk of assaults on delivery. It includes ‘Streetwise’, a presentation, the ‘Walksafe’ guide to managing the risks of assault on delivery staff, the ‘Walksafe’ Talkabout WTLL document and a ‘Walksafe’ Pocket Card as part of the ‘Walksafe’ Pack. We have requested a review, refresh and re-launch of the ‘Walksafe’ policy.
New Entrants Induction Guide
In line with the above, we have suggested the need to update the relevant sections of the RM/FWW new entrants guide.
RMG have agreed that the personal attack alarms which are PPE safety equipment will become part of the uniform provision, like the delivery torch that is issued to outdoor delivery/ collection staff. In that way, it will become a permanently available item that the workforce can order both initially and as a replacement/renewal item together with new batteries etc., as and when required.
The alarms can be clipped on to the stormproof jacket ring which we have ensured is retained on the new uniform or it can be carried in a pocket. Clipping the alarm to the ring will make it easy to activate. The ring can also be used for the ‘clip-on’ torch that is an agreed part of the provision.
Hollie Guard App
We have additionally asked Royal Mail to investigate and consider the installation of the ‘Hollie Guard App’ on the new PDAs. ‘Hollie Guard’ is a new smartphone app that provides enhanced levels of personal protection for those working and travelling alone. It can be set in ‘Deterrent Mode’ or ‘Stealth Mode’. The idea of ‘Deterrent Mode’ is to make it clear to anyone in the surrounding area that an alert has been raised and to reduce the risk of an attack. The phone will display an obvious red alert screen capturing the GPS location of the individual, as well as audio/video footage that may be used to assess danger and collate evidence. With a second shake of the phone it will generate a high-pitched alarm and a flashing light to attract help. Alternately, ‘Stealth Mode’ allows the holder to raise an alert silently. The Royal Mail IT Team are currently looking at the technical aspects of this App in respect of the new PDA.
Police forces are supporting the App and are encouraging people to download this free personal safety App to their smartphones to help them feel safe.
Hollie Guard is an App that can track a person’s location as they work or make their way home, as they’re out jogging or cycling, or simply going about their day today work or tasks.
If they feel unsafe, all they need to do is shake their phone to send an alert to specified contacts to warn them that they may be in danger. Once the phone has been shaken, it will then start recording both audio and visual footage of what’s happening around them.
This will be saved and sent to their contacts so they can see what is happening, and they can call the police or ambulance service if they are required.
If the phone is shaken again, a flashing light and high-pitched beeping will start coming from the phone to alert people nearby that that person may be in danger.
Key features of the ‘Hollie Guard’ App Include:
- Journey – Allows a person to safely and confidently travel, by providing their emergency contacts with real-time updates of their movements as they move between two places.
- Meeting – This function allows the person to identify when they are going to a potentially dangerous meeting or working alone. An alert will automatically be created if the timer expires or they do not cancel the meeting.
- Man Down – Man Down will send an alert to a dedicated contact to make them aware if a person hasn’t moved in a while. The App will flag sudden non-movement and impact, for example if someone has been assaulted or fallen down.
- Duress Pin – If a person is being forced to cancel an alert they can enter the Duress Pin of 9999. The alert will appear to have been cancelled, but will remain active on Hollie Guard’s secure server, so they will know the person has been forced to cancel an alert.
With thousands of users already, Police forces are supporting this App to help people in the country to feel safe as they are out in their communities.
The free App was set up in memory of 20-year-old murder victim Hollie Gazzard, who was stabbed to death in 2014 at the salon she worked at in Gloucestershire by a jealous ex-boyfriend who couldn’t accept that she had ended their relationship. The App was set up by Hollie’s father.
RMG IT are currently investigating this proposal and further updates will be provided.
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer