Daily Archives: 12/08/2013

Sir Francis Richards KCMG CVO to retire as chairman of the NSI

The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) has announced that Sir Francis Richards KCMG CVO will be retiring in November following six years as chairman of the Board.

Sir Francis Richards joined the NSI in May 2007 after a distinguished senior level public service career which included appointments at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, as Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Gibraltar and as director of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) at Cheltenham.

Sir Francis Richards KCMG CVO

Sir Francis Richards KCMG CVO

Jeff Little OBE, the NSI’s CEO, commented: “It has been a real honour to work for Sir Francis. He has steered the NSI ship with a very firm hand on the tiller. We have moved forward significantly under his direction over the past six years and, as a result, we now have a clear route ahead and a solid platform upon which to grow thanks to his guidance and wisdom.”

Jeff Little OBE: CEO at the NSI

Jeff Little OBE: CEO at the NSI

On his forthcoming retirement, Sir Francis stated: “It has been an immense privilege to be with the NSI at a time of huge change in the security and fire sectors. The accelerating pace of technological development has driven a real revolution in security affairs over the past six years, and is transforming the whole shape of the industry. Third party certification is more essential than ever and Standards are becoming ever more numerous, complex and diverse. The NSI has had to become nimbler and more agile without compromising its traditional professional excellence.”

Sir Francis continued: “I have seen the NSI become a more modern and customer-focused organisation, and I’m confident that it will continue to add value and reduce risk for those who make it their partner along the approval route.”

Sir Francis believes that “the industry is in impressive shape” and that “the results speak for themselves”, with crime figures down in most areas and the incidence of fire falling across the country. He added: “New challenges – not least in the cyber area – will keep the industry on its toes.”

In conclusion, Sir Francis commented: “I wish my successor, as well as Jeff and his outstanding team every success in maintaining the NSI’s position as the certification body of choice for the foreseeable future.”

Sir Francis will chair the October Board Meeting of the NSI and formally hand over the reins in early November this year.

An announcement regarding his successor will be forthcoming.

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Terri Jones announced as new director general at Skills for Security

Skills for Security, the sector skills body for the UK’s private security industry, has announced the appointment of Terri Jones as its new director general.

Jones joins the team at a pivotal time for the organisation, and will provide strategic direction for the company, focusing on new business generation while assuming responsibility for the successful financial and commercial performance of the company.

She joins the organisation today (Monday 12 August) and will spend some time with interim CEO Mike Britnell before his departure from the business.

Terri Jones: new role as director general at Skills for Security

Terri Jones: new role as director general at Skills for Security

Having previously held senior positions within relevant organisations including sector skills council ProSkills and the Learning and Skills Improvement Service, Jones’ expertise and successful track record will be particularly beneficial to Skills for Security as it enters a period of stability and growth.

Extensive background in skills and education services

Commenting on the appointment, Mike Britnell explained: “I’m pleased to announce that we have recruited Terri Jones to the position of director general at Skills for Security. Terri has an extensive background in skills and education services, and the Board of Directors believes that she is ideally placed to lead Skills for Security in the next stage of its development.”

Britnell added: “Terri will be taking over the reins on Monday 12 August, working closely with me and the Skills for Security team to develop her knowledge of the sector, getting to know our customers and understanding their skills and qualification needs.”

The interim CEO went on to state: “I wanted to take this brief opportunity to say how impressed I have been with the character, energy, knowledge and professionalism of the team at Skills for Security, and how much I have enjoyed working with them in the challenging circumstances of the past year. I will leave with many happy memories of working with such a close-knit team, and wish Terri good fortune in her new role. She has a wonderful team of people to work with, and I’m sure they will make her very welcome.”

With such a wide-ranging role and a broad scope of responsibility, Terri Jones is eager to commence her new role.

“I’m pleased to join the team at Skills for Security at what is an exciting period in the organisation’s development,” enthused Jones, “and I’m looking forward to cementing the company’s position as the leading training body for the whole security sector.”

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UK private security sector: a “key strategic partner” in the “Total War on Crime”

Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM’s vision of a ‘Total War on Crime’ is a fight that the Met is winning, and one in which the private security sector is – according to Commander Steve Rodhouse – a “key strategic partner”.

Speaking at the British Security Industry Association’s (BSIA) Annual Luncheon, Commander Rodhouse – who focuses on gangs and organised crime on behalf of the Met – stated: “Sir Bernard’s vision of policing is for a ‘Total War on Crime’, and you [the private security sector] are key strategic partners in that fight. Without being complacent, it’s a fight that we’re winning.”

Commander Rodhouse elaborated on this last point, stressing that ten years ago the total number of criminal offences topped one million. The statistics have come down every year since then, and by 29% overall.

“Business robberies in particular have seen some dramatic reductions,” explained Commander Rodhouse, “and show no sign of levelling out. Indeed, at the end of June this year the annual reduction stood at 12.7%.” This equates to 344 fewer offences when compared with the previous 12-month period.
Commander Rodhouse was keen to point out that, behind all of the national media headlines, there “has been a great deal of hard work and relationship building between the police service and the security sector”.

Commander Steve Rodhouse

Commander Steve Rodhouse: focus on gangs and organised crime

Private sector business is at the very heart of London’s local communities, of course, in turn providing vital local goods and services. The sector is an essential contributor to economic growth and the regeneration of areas affected by crime and disorder. “Many of the businesses that make London great are highly mobile,” asserted Commander Rodhouse, “and we cannot afford to drive them away by failing to ensure that our city is safe.”

It’s because of the “complexity and the risks” faced by the Met that it necessarily relies quite heavily upon the support of colleagues in both the public and private sectors. Commander Rodhouse continued: “Without your help, expertise and dedication to duty, the successes we enjoy – both in terms of crime reduction and investigations procedures – would not be possible. We have forged strong alliances with your industry around crime prevention, and also when it comes to sharing and developing our intelligence as well as focusing enforcement activity.”

Unprecedented period of austerity

Commander Rodhouse then referred to what is “an unprecedented period of austerity” for the police service. “The Metropolitan Police Service has to save something in the region of £500 million,” he said, “and that is likely to increase. I know that we’re not alone in this as the current economic landscape will affect both the public and private sectors.”

The Met has spent time looking at its options here, and is confident that it can become leaner and more efficient without any form of compromise when it comes to front line policing. “We will deliver more for less,” assured Commander Rodhouse.

Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM

Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM

At the same time savings are being realised, though, there’s still an ongoing need for investment. There is a need, for example, to invest in the police service’s members of staff by way of training and professional development. That’s true for everyone from officers through to senior management. There’s also a requirement to invest in technology that will assist in the fight against crime in the 21st Century. That technology encompasses Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR), facial recognition solutions, forensics and the tracking/tracing of individuals and assets.

“The growth and diversification of technology, communications and social media is an issue for us all in the crime-fighting arena,” outlined Commander Rodhouse. “We need to invest in technology that’s flexible and interoperates with other agencies, stakeholders such as yourselves and overseas partners. This will ensure we can maintain control over the movements, communications and finances of the world’s criminals.”

For Commander Rodhouse, the whole process is focused on “getting ahead” of the criminals. “They use technology to commit crime,” he urged. “We must use technology to fight them, not only to prevent crime but also to find and convict those who are responsible. We must not just react to changes in offending patterns. We must be forward-thinking and proactive in our approach.”

According to Commander Rodhouse, cyberspace is a “new and definite target”. He explained: “We know that a growing number of adversaries are looking to use cyberspace to steal, compromise or destroy critical data. We must find ways to confront and overcome these threats. Our economic well-being, infrastructure and homes can all be directly affected.”

In closing what was an excellent speech, Commander Rodhouse offered a core message as he returned to his opening and central theme. “There’s an inextricable and vital alliance between policing and the security sector. That alliance will remain. However, we must never become complacent. Criminals learn and move forward. So must we.”

Response from the BSIA’s chairman

In his response to Commander Rodhouse, the BSIA’s chairman Geoff Zeidler said: “It’s very reassuring to hear that the private security industry is recognised by the police service as an important partner, particularly at a time when budgets remain under pressure.”

Zeidler continued: “Unheralded by the mainstream national media, the past year has seen BSIA members working together with the police on contracts to secure, for example, the 8,000-mile route of the Olympic Torch Relay and events like the G8 Summit.”

BSIA chairman Geoff Zeidler

BSIA chairman Geoff Zeidler

In addition to those higher profile examples, many of the Trade Association’s members enjoy long-standing relationships with their local police forces, in turn helping to tackle ongoing public safety and security threats in local communities with a wide variety of solutions and services.

How, though, might the private security world help the police service in delivering ‘more for less’?

“Senior police officers acknowledge that they police by consent,” asserted Zeidler, “and both public trust and reputation are critical factors for anyone who works with them. This has become even more true with the advent of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs). Some are opposed to the private sector in principle, often with limited understanding of the industry’s capability.”

Importantly, the BSIA has been tackling this issue head on through a series of Parliamentary Round Table Forums involving PCCs, MPs and local Government representatives. The Forums are all designed to dispel the myth of a ‘privatised police force’.

Zeidler concluded: “Trust and accountability remain the focus of discussion. The BSIA’s efforts – promoting the abilities of its members through Case Studies demonstrating success – are gaining ground. I look forward to the support of all Trade Association members in helping to make certain that this momentum is maintained. Ensuring that this ongoing partnership can flourish is important for us all.”

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