What is it about Saltaire which attracts family businesses? First the Salts, then the Silvers, and now the Morrises. Jeff, aged 62, Stephen 40, Christopher 28 and Nikky 26 are three generations of the Morris family who own and run Jayfort Security Services. This is the firm which has taken care of security at the Mill since it was bought by Jonathan Silver in 1987. Grandfather Geoff was originally in business with his cousin Phil, trading as Fortress Securities. Jeff decided to set up a separate business in 1976 – hence the J in JFort!
The family interest in security started even before this date, when they used to train guard dogs. At the time, there was a spate of thefts from garden centres and guard dogs were used to great effect. The family was obviously proud of their dogs and had a display team which performed at various public functions.
Jeff first had contact with Jonathan Silver in 1982, when Jonathan and partners acquired C & J Hirst at Longwood, Huddersfield. Jayfort were already employed by the receivers before Jonathan took over – being a Huddersfield security firm. Jonathan kept them on, obviously liked the way they operated, and later entered into a new contract to cover Dean Clough at Halifax. When Jonathan came to Salts Mill in 1987 Jayfort came with him; and they've been here ever since.
They have a difficult and varied task at the Mill. There is the car parking to supervise, the deliveries, the retail areas to patrol, the valuable Hockney paintings and Burmantofts vases on public display, Pace and ANovo manufacturing – all on a 24 hour basis. In an increasingly high-tech security industry, they have to be up to date in their methods. This summer, they will at last have a newly fitted out base, joined with the police station next door, which is also being extensively altered and updated. There has always been a lot of co-operation between Jayfort staff and the West Yorkshire Police and Transport Police, and this is set to continue in the future. Of course, we shouldn't forget that this is only one of the sites which Jayfort supervise. They cover anywhere in the North of England. They currently have over thirty staff and ten major sites.
These days, Jeff increasingly deals with matters at Head Office in Huddersfield, leaving shift and rota organisation to Stephen. But it remains a family business, with a commitment to efficiency and providing a service. As Nikky points out, they have to strike a balance, both serving the general public in a pleasant manner and maintaining security. With that sort of company philosophy from the youngest member of the team, the future looks secure for Jayfort – and Salts.
For more information: www.jayfort.co.uk