Inna Sotnikova, Vardui Batrakova and Maryna Baranova on the scope of responsibility of the shopping malls security service

The Malls Club held an important online conference "Current issues of shopping malls security in 2022". Experts from Arricano were Inna Sotnikova, Director of Prospekt shopping mall and RayON shopping mall in Kyiv, Vardui Batrakova, Director of City Mall in Zaporizhzhia, and Maryna Baranova, Director of Sun Gallery shopping mall in Kryvyi Rih.

It is clear that COVID-realities, and in addition political instability with social anxiety, make it difficult to work in public places, to which the requirements for ensuring a high level of responsibility and protection have increased. This significantly changed the functionality of the departments for the operation of shopping malls. About innovative solutions and legal conflicts from the practice of shopping mall management – direct speech from Inna Sotnikova, Vardui Batrakova and Maryna Baranova in a joint op-ed for the Malls Club publication.

Ad impossibilia lex non cogit, or the catch phrase "no rights, only duties"
Inna Sotnikova manages the Kyiv objects of Prospekt and RayON shopping malls. In her report, she noted that now the requirement to guarantee security is threefold: sanitary, physical and psychological: "The shopping mall constantly faces a legal conflict in various situations. For example, when checking Covid certificates - according to the law, government officials are the only ones who have the right to check certificates. These are law enforcement and special authorized bodies, while the shopping mall still remains for visitors a guarantor of social security."
Another unpredictable new challenge is the command to the action "All on the way out" or "Evacuation in 7 minutes", which occurs due to the signal of possible mining of the object.
Guests of the shopping mall are convinced that in the event of such alarm, it is the shopping mall that assumes the responsibility to act according to a clear algorithm, according to the protocol developed by the relevant state authorities.  It turns out to be a dual situation in which it remains to balance the fine line between the legal field, social responsibility and unpredictable reality. Therefore, the security service in 2019 and in 2022 are two radically different structures in terms of quality and professional characteristics. Now, in addition to the classic professional requirements, a high level of soft skills is also added - communication skills, stress tolerance, maximum customer orientation.
"We have already overcome the frustration when the shopping mall was treated with caution. We have already learned how to intensively disinfect and ventilate the gallery space of the shopping mall, not to panic and quickly respond to innovations," Inna Sotnikova added.

Emergency protocols
Vardui Batrakova, Director of the City Mall, drew attention to the fact that today representatives of the authorities have published a number of protocols and instructions on how to act in emergency situations, in cases of mining of an object, etc. Now the Ministry's Order No. 691 of August 19, 2019 is being actively discussed, and the police have started working on a new algorithm in case of a mining signal. It is being studied to what extent the management of the shopping mall now has the right to make decisions about the evacuation of people in emergency situations. Or only special police units are authorized to do this.
"Unfortunately, all our internal security and protection services in the event of force majeure do not have any powers and rights, either to detain the violator or to use force. Under such conditions, we, as the heads of the shopping malls, are primarily obliged to call the police. And act according to the appropriate algorithm, which is prescribed in the order of the Ministry. But our guests of the shopping mall, not knowing these rules, still believe that everything is in the hands of security," sums up Vardui Batrakova.

About education and training of the internal security service
Maryna Baranova, Director of the Sun Gallery shopping mall, emphasized that despite the actions of the police and law enforcement agencies, the management of the shopping mall pays a lot of attention to education and training its own security, which has now more demanding requirements. Consequently, the security service has become more experienced and attentive to the behavior of guests of the shopping mall.
"I would like to note how significantly the security functionality of the shopping mall has changed now. This is no longer just a shopping mall's division that is responsible for physical security.  This is a team that takes part in the preparation and implementation of sanitary and social safety tasks. Therefore, sociability, responsiveness, a high level of attention to detail and quick response have become the key to professionalism," Maryna Baranova shares her experience.

During the discussion, issues such as responding to drifters, civil security and interaction with city authorities, shelter and evacuation were also raised. Responsibility under such conditions falls not on the shopping mall, but on the authorities, who must provide memos and clear instructions in case of a state of emergency.