Press Release

29 May 2024

Mitie Security works with the National Portrait Gallery to provide a safer and more secure space for visitors in Central London

  • Mitie Security has worked with the National Portrait Gallery to implement measures that support the Safer Business Network’s Safe Haven Initiative
  • Responding to the issue of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG), the Security team at the Gallery have received specialist training to help vulnerable people, ensuring they receive appropriate support
  • Mitie Security has worked with the National Portrait Gallery to support its classification by the Safer Business Network as a ‘Safe Haven,’ enhancing the safety of all visitors to the Gallery and those who enjoy Central London’s vibrant nighttime economy.

Safe Havens are a part of the collective effort to address the issue of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) from the Safer Business Network, in partnership with the Police, Councils, the Security Industry Authority (SIA), City Security Council (CSC), City Property Association (CPA) and the wider business community.

Each Safe Haven is required to display the Safe Haven logo, use CCTV and have the ability to offer access to water, a telephone and charging point. Whilst the scheme has been designed specifically around the safety of women and girls, Safe Havens can support anyone who may feel vulnerable. The Mitie Security team, working at the National Portrait Gallery, have received specialist Welfare And Vulnerability Engagement (WAVE) training to recognise vulnerable people in and outside the venue who may be in need of support.

At the National Portrait Gallery, as with other venues which it has helped to become Safe Havens, Mitie has played a key role alongside representatives from the Safer Business Network in training employees in a ‘Train the Trainer’ initiative, enabling those who complete the training with Mitie to then pass on these skills to their own teams. Learners are taught about what a Safe Haven is, how to spot signs of vulnerability and how to assist ‘users’ of Safe Havens. Mitie also coordinates feedback and examples of best practice from each Safe Haven to help continuously improve the initiative.

To support this work, Mitie and the National Portrait Gallery have also introduced ‘Ask for Angela’ to protect individuals if they feel at risk of danger, unsafe or vulnerable in the Gallery’s building. By approaching a member of staff and ‘asking for Angela’, individuals can subtly signal their request for support. In line with the City Security Council’s ongoing commitment to improve safety across London, the National Portrait Gallery has also signed up to the Women’s Night Safety Charter.

Jason Towse, Managing Director, Business Services, Mitie, said: 

“Preventing violence against women and girls, or in fact any vulnerable person, is a responsibility we all share. I am proud that through our work with the National Portrait Gallery we are providing the expertise and skills that will allow this cultural landmark to provide a temporary safe space for those who need support. 

“80% of women have been harassed in public and there are 1.5 million cases of stalking on average each year, so it is vital that we have accessible safe havens that promote and prioritise safety,. Other businesses, large and small, can follow the lead of the National Portrait Gallery in becoming a Safe Haven. By opening our doors and equipping colleagues with the right training and skills, we can all help prevent serious crimes or even save a life.”

Curt Gibson, Head of Estates and Operations, National Portrait Gallery, said:

“Like our Collection, our building is for everyone, so opening in the evenings is key to being an accessible attraction for new and existing audiences alike. By becoming part of the Safe Haven initiative and being part of the Women’s Night Safety Charter, we are committed to endeavouring to make visitor to the National Portrait Gallery feel safe and supported, no matter the time of day that they choose to visit us.”

Notes to editors

About Mitie 

Founded in 1987, Mitie's job is to look after places where Britain works, and it is the leading facilities management company in the UK. We offer a range of services to the public sector through our Central Government & Defence and Communities (Healthcare, Education, Campus & Critical and Care & Custody) divisions. Our Technical Services (Engineering Services, Energy, Water and Real Estate Services) and Business Services (Security, Cleaning, Landscapes, Spain and Waste) divisions serve private sector customers in areas such as Financial & Professional Services, Industrials, Retail and Transport, and increasingly the public sector. 

Mitie employs 64,000 people. We take care of our customers' people and buildings, through the 'Science of Service', and we are transforming facilities to be more flexible, safe, sustainable, and attractive to all. Mitie continues to execute its technology-led strategy and in the past twelve months has received multiple awards and validation for its ambitious near and long-term science-based emissions reduction targets from the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Find out more at  

About the National Portrait Gallery
Founded in 1856, the National Portrait Gallery tells the story of Britain through portraits, using art to bring history to life and explore living today. From global icons, to unsung heroes, our Collection is filled with the stories that have shaped, and continue to shape a nation. We celebrate the power of portraiture and offer encounters with some of the world’s greatest and most exciting new artists, promoting engagement with portraiture in all media to a wide- ranging public by conserving, growing and sharing the world’s largest collection of portraits.