Cheshire East Council

Cheshire East Council, situated in the North West of England, is one of the largest unitary authorities in the region, overseeing a diverse range of responsibilities with a workforce of approximately 3,500 employees.

Roles at Risk

Among its essential roles are Civil Enforcement Officers, tasked with enforcing parking regulations and issuing penalty charge notices alone. The nature of their work often exposes these employees to risks, including verbal abuse and aggressive behaviour from the public.

To mitigate these risks and support employee wellbeing, Cheshire East Council has equipped its officers with Peoplesafe technology since 2008. This service provides them with a reliable means of summoning assistance at the touch of a button, reducing the vulnerability they face when working alone.

Supervisor for the Northern Sector, Ian Lockett, commented,

“In service, the devices have proved their value time and time again, not least by providing the officers with constant reassurance that, if necessary, they can summon help quickly. That has made their lives much more comfortable and made it a lot easier for them to do their jobs.”

Real-Life Incident

A real-life incident in Wilmslow underscores the tangible benefits of Peoplesafe technology. In this instance, an enforcement officer encountered an illegally parked car in a disabled parking spot. While issuing a parking ticket, the officer faced verbal abuse and threats from the vehicle’s driver, escalating the situation.

What made this incident rather less than routine, however, was that the officer had noticed a crowbar on the car’s passenger seat. He therefore used his Peoplesafe device to raise the alarm and the situation was closely monitored. Fortunately, the driver eventually complied, accepted the ticket, and departed. Nevertheless, the knowledge that Peoplesafe was listening and recording the proceedings was enormously reassuring for the officer involved.

“Fortunately, in the years we’ve been working with Peoplesafe, we have never had an incident where it has been necessary for the police to be called, but we have total confidence that if it ever does prove necessary, Peoplesafe will ensure that the response is fast and commensurate with the situation. Our officers regard their Peoplesafe devices very highly for the reassurance and security they provide. In fact, they have come to see them as essential tools for their work.”
Ian Lockett, Supervisor for the Northern Sector

Compliance with Legislation

Following a thorough evaluation of personal safety services, Cheshire East started using the Peoplesafe service to provide the best possible protection for its employees. In addition to mitigating risks and bolstering officer safety, Cheshire East Council’s adoption of Peoplesafe technology aligns with its commitment to compliance with legislation, including obligations under the Corporate Manslaughter Act.

Incident Documentation

Of particular interest to Cheshire East Council was the audio monitoring function offered by Peoplesafe. This means that, once an SOS alarm is triggered, it continuously transmits audio to the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), where it is monitored in real-time by an ARC Controller and simultaneously recorded.

The Council were quick to see that this would be very useful to provide a record of verbal exchanges between its officers and members of the public, producing evidence of an incident, which could, if necessary, be used in court. In addition, since the Controller at the ARC would be listening to the live audio feed from the incident, they would have a very clear picture of how the situation was developing and whether it would be necessary to call for police assistance.

Operational Efficiency and Compliance

As Peoplesafe’s ARC is certified to the highest industry standards; BS 8484:2022 and BS EN 50518:2019, Controllers can call the local police control room quoting dedicated Unique Reference Numbers, thus bypassing the 999 system and saving valuable time in dispatching a police response. The Council has experienced excellent results from the outset using Peoplesafe’s personal safety devices which include single-button alarm activation, two-way audio, GPS positioning, fall detection, and enhanced performance in poor signal areas all in a discreet, compact design. Ian Lockett concluded:

“After taking all factors into consideration, we concluded that the Peoplesafe service offered excellent value for money in relation to the level of extra protection it would provide for our officers.”

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