Daily Archives: 08/05/2014

HABC Level 2 Award hailed as “landmark achievement” in UK event security

Showsec’s ongoing commitment towards raising standards and professionalism throughout the security sector has received a major boost with the development of an internationally-recognised qualification for Front of Stage pit barrier operations.

A Level 2 Award has been created in partnership with the Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance (HABC) which is specifically designed for stewarding and security professionals wishing to operate at the Front of Stage area for live events.

While a commitment to developing and delivering specialist training courses has underpinned Showsec’s success, the move has also been driven by a strong desire to be at the forefront of progression in the sector.

That objective has been achieved with the launch of this new qualification in conjunction with HABC, a market leader in the field of security-specific training courses across the United Kingdom and a number of other countries.

Prototype testing in Holland

A prototype of the pit barrier security course was tested by Showsec’s training and development manager Roy Wise on a visit to the company’s sister organisation TSC in Holland. Following further development, it has now received HABC’s seal of approval.

The first course was recently held in Nottingham when nine members of staff successfully completed the training to gain the Level 2 Award.

“This is a landmark achievement for the industry,” commented Mark Harding, Showsec’s managing director. “Not only does this news serve the best interests of public safety and staff development, just as significantly, but it also provides further assurance to our clients that they’re the recipients of the highest standards in the industry.”

Mark Harding: managing director of Showsec

Mark Harding: managing director of Showsec

Harding continued: “This Level 2 Award adds to a portfolio of qualifications which are being generated to lift industry standards. As a company, we feel it’s important to play an influential role in helping the industry to achieve that objective.”

In conclusion, Harding stated: “This formal qualification is further recognition for the expertise of our highly-trained workforce and sets the benchmark for those who wish to work in this line of security. We’re continually looking to push the bar to new levels. This course has been developed so that it will be recognised internationally.”

Details of the award have been circulated to security professionals and will shortly be available on the HABC website.

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The Shield Group unveils new regional headquarters in Manchester

The Shield Group has unveiled new regional headquarters in the heart of Manchester which is expected to create hundreds of jobs in the region.

The state-of-the-art facility, located close to Media City, will aim to further enhance the group’s operations as well as serve its growing client base in the important hubs across the North of England, supporting the company’s branch offices in Glasgow, Leeds and Birmingham.

All other corporate functions will continue to be conducted from The Shield Group’s central headquarters at Austin Friars in London.

The Shield Group – which recently launched four strategic verticals combining traditional manpower and innovative technology to deliver intelligent, risk-based Total Security Solutions (TSS) to its customers – has decided to add to its portfolio of business premises in London and Preston with a new Manchester office.

The flagship building will showcase The Shield Group’s rapidly expanding client base across the north of England and Scotland, as well as its diverse range of business security services.

The move is testament to the success story Shield has enjoyed in the Manchester region, where the company has seen strong growth in recent years and has recently added major clients such as the city’s renowned Imperial War Museum North.

The new office is also set to bolster employment in the region with more than 300 new staff, who are to play an integral role in advancing the corporate ideals and vision of The Shield Group. The location of the Manchester regional headquarters will place the company at the centre of the fastest-growing economy in the UK outside of London.

Smart investment generating local employment

Speaking about the launch of the new regional headquarters, John Roddy (The Shield Group’s CEO) commented: “The decision to open a regional headquarters in Manchester was an easy one. From the first day we set up office in the city, where Shield has operated for a number of years, we have experienced – and continue to experience – phenomenal growth. The new centre is a smart investment that will bring new employment opportunities to the area as well as provide a welcome boost to the fastest-growing economy outside of London.”

John Roddy: CEO at The Shield Group

John Roddy: CEO at The Shield Group

Roddy went on to state: “We are delighted with the feedback from our customers in the region and this decision also further extends our reach across the UK. The growing demand for our innovative Total Security Solutions model is testament to our growth and unparalleled expertise in the security sector.”

Heading up the new Manchester operation is corporate account manager Bradley Cohen, who brings with him an extensive portfolio of business development experience working for a range of leading UK-based companies.

Prior to joining The Shield Group, Cohen founded the leading Manchester-based marketing company Mojito Marketing where, through managing major sales and marketing campaigns, he generated more than £27 million in revenue for large companies such as Compass, Chubb, HP and the RES Group.

Cohen has also helped lead on business development operations at several other companies including Romeike, Bunzel plc and Equifax plc, where he worked across a wide range of sectors including finance, manufacturing and leisure.

Speaking about his new role, Cohen said: “I’m thrilled to be heading this amazing new project, which marks a pivotal point in The Shield Group’s continued journey of growth, innovation and success. I’m confident that the decision to strengthen our presence in the North of England will prove to be a successful venture, and I look forward to working with our team in Manchester to grow the business and achieve our overall corporate goal.”

The Shield Group’s expanding footprint

The Shield Group’s business has expanded rapidly over the last few years, with the opening of several new offices around the UK. Shield has geared up its presence throughout the UK by widening its footprint to Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Belfast.

The number of staff working at the company has increased to over 2,500 and customers to more than 400. Recently, The Shield Group activated the Shield Monitoring System in Preston which has full Category II status, is compliant with British Standards regulations (BS5979) and will further enhance the range of services that the company can provide to its clients.

In order to grow the business volume, Shield has also hired seven managing and regional directors and invested £1 million into an NSI Gold certified Alarm Monitoring Centre in Preston. All of these changes have helped increase revenues just over the last year from £61 million (2013) to £81 million (projected for 2014).

This latest development follows The Shield Group’s acquisition by India’s leading and largest security conglomerate, Topsgrup, back in 2012, whereby the two market leaders set out to strategically collaborate and scale up the company’s services.

With a growth in EBIDTA of 67% from the last financial year, the combined turnover for Topsgrup and Shield this financial year is expected to be around £170 million.

The Shield Group's executive chairman Dr Richie Nanda and John Roddy (CEO)

The Shield Group’s executive chairman Dr Richie Nanda and John Roddy (CEO)

Dr Richie Nanda, executive chairman of The Shield Group, added: “We’re delighted with this announcement and the opportunity it provides for our customers, who now feel that we are closer at hand to continue to provide a world class security service.”

Nanda continued: “The Group has seen significant growth in the service we provide in the region and will use the new regional headquarters to meet these growing demands. Manchester is the ideal location to strategically enable The Shield Group to take advantage of the growing opportunities in the city and expand our services to the neighbouring regions.”

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Partnership approach ensures “dramatic” reduction in false alarms

Police are now more likely than ever to respond to genuine alarm activations thanks to a partnership approach developed between themselves and the private security industry which has resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number of false alarm activations.

In the past two decades, the number of false alarm activations generated by security alarm systems has reduced dramatically (from an average of 1.36 per system per year in 1995 to 0.10 per system per year in 2013).

Today, the police service is more likely than ever to respond to a genuine alarm, and more likely to catch criminals in the act when doing so.

Martin Harvey, chairman of the Security Systems Section of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), explained: “The development of new technology, methodology and standards within the private security sector has contributed significantly to improving the reliability of alarm systems. The introduction of Unique Reference Numbers (URNs) has revolutionised the way in which the police service responds to alarm activations.”

Martin Harvey: chairman of the BSIA's Security Systems Section

Martin Harvey: chairman of the BSIA’s Security Systems Section

Harvey continued: “URN-registered systems are operated to such a high standard that they’re the only systems guaranteeing a police response. The introduction of URNs has succeeded in improving the reliability of systems to such an extent that many insurers are now backing this approach and offering discounts on policies to organisations who have URNs in place.”

Development of industry standards

Historically, the level of false activations from alarm systems was high for a number of reasons, from accidental activation through to incorrect installation or poor maintenance.

With the police wasting more and more time attending false alarms, the security sector and the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) jointly developed industry standards and practices that would actively reduce the number of false activations.

ACPO’s response was to publish a policy on alarm response, first issued in 1990, while the BSIA – representing the UK’s alarm manufacturers and installers – developed several Codes of Practice relating to the installation and maintenance of alarm systems. These went on to become British, European and now international standards.

ACPO’s Policy requires system designers to be knowledgeable, and requires systems themselves to be designed to a certain standard. When it comes to getting the system up-and-running, installation companies carrying out the work must be inspected by a UKAS-accredited inspectorate to ensure they can competently design, install and maintain each system.

Adrian Mealing, chairman of the BSIA’s Security Equipment Manufacturers Section, stated: “Under ACPO’s Policy, the products themselves must also meet certain requirements and the relevant British and European Standards. Many of the components used in systems underwent significant design changes. In the past, it’s possible that many false alarms were generated by poorly designed equipment, which in some cases only met the lowest requirements.”

Inspector Kenneth Meanwell, ACPO’s security industry liaison, commented: “The police service has been very happy to work with the private security industry, and sees the development and adoption of ACPO’s Policy as being a huge step forward in reducing false alarms from security systems to the extent that ACPO now endorses compliant and registered companies for security systems.”

With so much invested by the police and the private security industry to improve the quality and reliability of alarm systems, it’s important that those procuring such a system are equally committed to quality. Investing in a solid infrastructure can improve the longevity and resilience of a system from start to finish.

To learn more about security systems, or to locate a supplier near you, visit: http://www.bsia.co.uk/security-installers or: http://www.bsia.co.uk/security-equipment-manufacturers

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Home security awareness campaign proves positive for MLA and NHWN

The Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) and the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network (NHWN) have forged a positive home security awareness partnership after a recent window sticker campaign reached over 500,000 homes in the UK.

Sponsored by the MLA, the co-branded sticker campaign was put into action to support the membership of the Neighbourhood and Home Watch movement and to drive consumers towards highly skilled, vetted and inspected MLA locksmiths.

The co-branded stickers were successful in raising the profile of the MLA and the services which its members provide. The reverse of the stickers featured MLA branding and information on how to find your local MLA approved locksmith.

The MLA-NHWN Partnership has proven to be a great success

The MLA-NHWN Partnership has proven to be a great success

In addition to this NHWN groups have been encouraged to get boxes of the MLA’s Handbook, published together with the Sold Secure Approved Products Catalogue and containing lots of useful security information as well as lists of MLA Approved Locksmiths, which they can distribute to their members.

The latest edition is now available and NHWN groups are encouraged to contact the MLA’s head office to submit their order.

Benefits of the partnership approach

Kate Daisley, operations director at NHWN, said: “The MLA’s standing as a leading trade body for the locksmithing industry ties in perfectly with what the NHWN represents. A survey following this campaign has also revealed that 89% of people said they would be more inclined to use the MLA’s service knowing that they were working in partnership with the NHWN.”

The stickers used in the campaign

The stickers used in the campaign

Dr Steffan George, development director at the MLA, added: “As the leading approval body for the UK locksmithing industry, the MLA is proud to feature alongside such a historic and prestigious organisation as the NHWN. This campaign has been a great opportunity for MLA members, as it has reached communities and members of the public who may not have previously known about the MLA or if there was an MLA approved locksmith in their area.”

He went on to state: “However, most importantly this partnership has been of great benefit to the British public as it has helped not only provide essential security information to NHWN members, but also drive business towards good, honest trades people who are dedicated towards providing the best possible service.”

For further information on home security or to find an approved MLA company in your area visit: http://www.locksmiths.co.uk

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Oxford security director abuses SIA Approved Contractor Scheme status

An Oxford-based security director abused his company’s Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) status by allowing it to be used by another company in order to secure security contracts in Scotland.

Hidayat Khan, 38, is the director of Oxon Securities Home Countries UK Ltd (Oxon), which held the Approved Contractor Scheme status (an accreditation needed to secure government contracts in Scotland).

During interviews with Security Industry Authority (SIA) investigators, Khan claimed Oxon had a Scotland office where information on security contracts in the Glasgow region were held. When asked for information on these contracts, Khan failed to provide a full response.

Later, Khan admitted providing false information to the SIA.

Once the offences occurred, Khan claimed that he had no control over the operations in Scotland as Oxon’s name was being used by a third party business. Wider enquires are ongoing in relation to this.

Khan stated that his company was used as a front as it was reputable and held the ACS accreditation. However, he provided no defence as to why he didn’t inform the SIA or the police of this approach even though he had several opportunities to do so.

Four counts of making false statements

Last week [30 April] at Oxford Magistrates’ Court, Khan pleaded guilty to four counts of making false statements to the SIA contrary to Section 22 of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

He was subsequently fined a total of £3,600 and ordered to pay costs of £12,000 as well as a victim surcharge of £120.

The SIA is currently reviewing Oxon’s ACS status.

SIA head of investigation Nathan Salmon said: “The SIA expects ACS companies to provide information about approaches by other companies attempting to circumvent procurement obligations in order to protect the integrity of the scheme.”

Salmon continued: “Organisations seek to target businesses with the ACS accreditation as this standard is a hallmark of quality for security buyers, and opens wider contractual opportunities, especially in Scotland. Mr Khan did not inform the SIA that his company was being used in this manner, and he was allowing his company name to be used as a front for an organisation that would have otherwise been unable to procure security contracts where approved contractor status is a requirement.”

In conclusion, Salmon explained: “This prosecution highlights the fact that abusing the ACS will not be tolerated within the private security industry, and has been fully supported through the courts. This case should act as a warning to other companies to engage with the SIA or the police rather than to enter into relationship with dubious parties.”

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