Suzy was just 25 years old when she disappeared whilst working as an estate agent in London in 1986. She’d arranged to meet a viewer at an empty property in Fulham; it had only been on the market for a week. She’d taken her keys and a purse but had left her handbag behind.
Suzy went missing in the days before smartphones – the only clue her company had to her whereabouts was an entry in the diary. Personal safety just wasn’t an issue back then – which is why her parents, Diana and Paul, set up Suzy Lamplugh Trust – to raise awareness of the dangers of violence and aggression and the importance of personal safety whilst working – especially if you work on your own.
1. Implement a buddy system (so colleagues always know each other’s whereabouts and contact details. This should include checking in and out when meeting arriving at and leaving the property, including out of normal office hours)
2. Have a system in place for colleagues to raise the alarm back at the office in case of an emergency while working alone
3. Have a clear procedure to follow if someone does not return or check in when they are expected.
4. Where possible arrange for viewers to visit the office before meeting them at the property so that colleagues have also seen them.
5. Offer all staff a personal safety alarm and have discreet lone worker devices available.
6. Before conducting a viewing, find out who else will be present in the property (current tenant, contractors etc.) when you visit.
7. Finally, make sure all staff are aware of and have access to the personal safety measures available.
Key-Data Gold has an office diary system for making appointments and viewings, which contains all the details of the applicant, including all their contact numbers, address and email. When you register an applicant you can force certain fields to be mandatory, so that the record cannot be completed without this information. There is also a screen to record that their ID has been checked, such as passport, driving licence etc. All this will enable you to ensure that the person attending the viewing at a property has had the necessary background checks carried out.
Estate agents wishing to sign up to Suzy’s Code can find downloadable resources and information at: www.suzylamplugh.org