Tag Archives: ACS

Rhondda security company fined for false claim of Approved Contractor status

Rhondda-based security company Dragon Event Security Ltd and its two directors have pleaded guilty at Cardiff Magistrates’ Court to illegally branding their business as a Security Industry Authority (SIA) Approved Contractor.

Dragon Event Security Ltd and its two directors, namely Darrel Baldwin and Anthony Stone, were sentenced on the same day. Dragon Event Security Ltd was fined £390 and required to pay a victim surcharge of £39. Darrel Baldwin was fined £390 and required to pay £480 court costs and a victim surcharge of £39. Fellow director Anthony Stone was also fined £390 and required to pay costs of £480 and a victim surcharge of £39.

The former directors claimed to be dissolving Dragon Event Security Ltd, which was founded on 20 January last year.

The prosecution started with an SIA investigation into Darrel Baldwin’s former business, namely Stay Safe Events Support Ltd, for the alleged supply of illegal security. By the time the investigation gathered momentum, the business had become Dragon Event Security Ltd.

SIA investigators discovered that Dragon Event Security Ltd was illegally displaying SIA Approved Contractor Scheme status on company vans and on social media. Dragon Event Security Ltd has never been an SIA Approved Contractor.

On several occasions, the SIA’s investigators asked Dragon Event Security Ltd to remove the Approved Contractor Scheme accreditation mark from its company vehicles and its Facebook profile. The directors refused to engage with the SIA and continued to display their false status. This left the SIA no other option but to prosecute.

Nathan Salmon, one of the SIA’s criminal investigations managers, said: “The business falsely advertised that it had been awarded Approved Contractor Scheme accreditation. Dragon Event Security Ltd attempted to win lucrative business by purporting to be vetted and having gone through the rigorous process to be an Approved Contractor. Its persistent behaviour has landed the company in court and resulted in fines and criminal records for its directors.”

Salmon concluded: “This is a lesson for anyone who seeks to illegally display our Approved Contractor Scheme accreditation. We will not hesitate to prosecute any business continuing to purport to be something it isn’t.”

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SSAIB named as sponsor for 2021 ACS Pacesetters Security Officer of Distinction Awards

The Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) has been named as one of the sponsors for this year’s ACS Pacesetters Security Officer of Distinction Awards.

The 2021 ceremony will take place on Wednesday 16 June and marks the seventh occasion that the exceptional actions of on-duty front line security personnel have been celebrated at this annual event.

The SSAIB joins other five sponsors – namely Centralus, the First Response Group, Orka Works, Security & Vetting Solutions and TrackTik – in supporting the event. The organisation will also put its name to two Security Officer of Distinction Awards which will be bestowed upon officers who’ve gone ‘above and beyond’ for both their employer and the client to whom they’re contracted.

SSAIB CEO Alex Carmichael commented: “We’re thrilled to be able to lend our support to the 2021 ACS Pacesetters Security Officer of Distinction Awards. We’re one of the UKAS-accredited certification bodies working with the Security Industry Authority’s Approved Contractor Scheme. That being so, we see first-hand the outstanding work that security services personnel do on a day-to-day basis. It’s great that an awards event such as this exists in order to give them industry recognition and reward them for their exceptional efforts.”

*Nominations for the 2021 ACS Pacesetters Security Officer of Distinction Awards can be made up until the closing date of Friday 26 March. A copy of the nomination form can be downloaded from the ACS Pacesetters’ website

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Incentive FM moves into Top 3% of Approved Contractor Scheme-registered security companies

Incentive FM, the specialist facilities management company, has recently completed the latest Security Industry Authority Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) audit process and has achieved an excellent score.

Following the rigorous audit procedure, Incentive FM achieved a score of 129 points out of a possible 145 which now moves the business into the Top 3% of around 650 companies who hold ACS registration with the regulator.

Andrew Robbins, associate director of security and risk at Incentive FM, told Security Matters: “This achievement has been gained through the delivery of our clear strategy over the past three years, as well as the sheer hard work and dedication of our senior management and site-based teams who’ve demonstrated a clear commitment to delivering a premium security service to our clients through focus and continuous improvement.”

Robbins added: “We’re extremely proud of all our staff members who’ve helped the business to achieve ACS status for the fourteenth year in succession. The last 12 months has realised many challenges due to the new scoring mechanism adopted by the SIA’s auditors and, of course, the global pandemic, but we’ve persevered and passed with flying colours.”

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Jodie Stevens joins Venture Security in compliance manager’s role

Hampshire-based security solutions provider Venture Security has bolstered its senior team with the appointment of Jodie Stevens as compliance manager. In her new role, Stevens will be responsible for overseeing all regulatory, privacy and compliance matters within the organisation and ensuring that the necessary British Standards are applied.

That process and procedure includes managing Venture Security’s many accreditations, such as its National Security Inspectorate Gold status, CHAS and ACS Pacesetters memberships and the business’ continued registration on the Security Industry Authority’s (SIA) Approved Contractor Scheme.

Prior to joining Venture Security, Stevens spent 11 years working at Heathrow Airport within airfield operations, safety and transformation. As such, she was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the airfield, maintaining safety processes and dealing with any accidents and incidents as required, more recently being focused on improving the efficiency of ground operations. This followed on from an 18-month spell in a similar role at Southampton Airport.

Commenting on her new appointment, Stevens said: “I’ve known the team at Venture Security for many years now. I actually hold an SIA licence myself and, in my spare time, have supported the team with guarding operations at Stonehenge, Salisbury Racecourse and for other regional events so I already have a lot of knowledge about the company and how it operates.”

Stevens continued: “Being furloughed due to COVID-19 and a recent restructure led me to reflect on my role at Heathrow Airport and it just seemed the perfect time to make the move to join Venture Security. It’s a great fit for my skills and experience and I look forward to the opportunity of making a tangible difference at what is an ambitious and growing company.”

Jodie Stevens

Upholding standards

Paul Howe, managing director at Venture Security, responded: “Jodie is exceptional at what she does and will be a valuable member of the team. As a company, we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality of service possible and that comes down to employing the best people, organising the best training and investing in industry-leading systems and processes. We’re currently undergoing significant growth as a business and upholding standards throughout will be central to our success.”

Based in Andover, Venture Security is ranked within the top 1% of security providers in the UK. The award-winning company was founded in 2006 and works with both corporate and residential clients, providing services including security guarding, mobile patrols, locking and unlocking for premises, key holding and alarm response.

As well as working with businesses, the team manages security for a number of high-profile regional venues and events, also working with councils and BIDs to tackle anti-social behaviour in public spaces.

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SSAIB appoints Dougie Callander as new manned services scheme manager

The Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) has named Dougie Callander as the organisation’s new scheme manager for manned services after predecessor David Taylor made the decision to step down from the role over the summer.

With over 19 years of experience in the security industrym having entered the security world straight from school, 37-year-old Callander has spent the last decade working as a regional investigator for the Security Industry Authority (SIA), where he also completed a seven-month stint acting as regional investigations manager for the Regulator’s compliance and investigation department during 2012-2013.

While working for the SIA, the new Scotland-based scheme manager also played an integral part in a multi-agency team co-ordinating the regulation and quality assurance at high-profile events such as the London 2012 Olympic Games, the G8 Summits in Northern Ireland (2013) and Cardiff (2014), the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the 2014 Ryder Cup tournament.

DougieCallenderSSAIB

Dougie Callander: new role at the SSAIB

After building up a wealth of experience in his previous employment at the SIA, Callander is now looking to use what he has learnt so far to “bring a new dynamic to the SSAIB.” He told Risk Xtra: “While working for the SIA and within the security industry over the last ten years, I’ve been aware of the excellent reputation that the SSAIB enjoys within the industry and the work the organisation has done to help raise the performance standards within the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS). Most importantly, I also know of the part the SSAIB has played in safeguarding the integrity of the ACS by ensuring that all assessments are fair, proportionate and transparent. For me, it’s essential that the SSAIB continues to perform to the high standards already set.”

Callander added: “I like to think I’m a champion of change. I always promote Best Practice. Therefore, I believe that my unique and diverse background, as well as my knowledge of the SIA and the ACS, will bring a new dynamic to the SSAIB. I’ll be able to offer fresh ideas on ensuring that we continue performing to a consistently high standard.”

Departing manned services scheme manager Taylor – who joined the SSAIB back in June 2014 – will continue as a part-time manned services assessor for the time being. The organisation would like to thank him for all of his hard work during his time as manned services scheme manager.

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Axis Security picks up record five nominations for 2018 Security and Fire Excellence Awards

Axis Security, a leading provider of bespoke security services, has been shortlisted in five categories at the 2018 Security and Fire Excellence Awards, including the prestigious Security Guarding Company of the Year, an award that the business has been nominated for across seven consecutive years and has won on three occasions.

Five nominations in the Security and Fire Excellence Awards, which are organised and hosted by UBM, marks a record achievement for the company, with the remaining nominations being for Contribution to Standards in the Security Sector, Security Training Initiative of the Year (with ‘Security Masterclass’), the Inspiration in HR Award and the ACS Champion of the Year (an award the company won last year).

Jonathan Levine, Axis Group’s CEO, stated: “The company’s employees are its most important asset, while its key focus is in customer service. By prioritising training and employee welfare initiatives, our officers in turn prioritise excellent service for our customers’ customers. These nominations are testament to this focus.”

7084 Security & Fire Excellence Awards logo 2018

Axis Security’s nomination for the Contribution to Standards in the Security Sector Award recognises the company’s proactive use of training and site audits, internal employee awards and its development of a contract management and performance measurement software platform. Specifically this year, the nomination is a result of Axis’ critical role in one of its customers achieving the ISO 22301 business continuity standard for its flagship building. The award was achieved one month ahead of schedule and is the client’s first property to achieve the accreditation.

The Inspiration in HR Award acknowledges those companies demonstrating that HR is a fundamental part of their business and invest in their people. It’s bestowed by SSR Personnel and adjudicated by a prestigious panel of industry experts.

AxisSecurityIiHRFinalist2018

“To have picked up this number of nominations is evidence of the hard work of all employees from HR, training and operational personnel through to our security officers,” explained Levine. “I’m extremely proud and grateful for all the hard work that has been integral to our successes this year.”

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London Stock Exchange Group lists Lodge Service among 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2015

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has listed security consultancy Lodge Service among the 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2015.

The list is described by the London Stock Exchange as a celebration of some of the fastest-growing and most dynamic small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK.

Founded in 1919, Lodge Service currently boasts a £22 million turnover and nearly 800 staff, with local offices or franchise operations in nine countries. It’s now probably the largest of the few remaining family businesses in the security sector, and the only one to reside in the Top 5% of the Security Industry Authority’s Approved Contractor Scheme listings.

Simon Chapman: managing director at Lodge Service

Simon Chapman: managing director at Lodge Service

“The report recognises the role of Lodge Service and the security industry generally in helping to drive forward business and the UK economy,” stated Simon Chapman, managing director at Lodge Service.

“As a sector, we’re a major provider of skilled jobs and technology innovation and have strengthened our business case by focusing on the return on investment from security.”

The detailed LSEG report comments: “The success of these 1,000 companies, variously identified as ‘gazelles’, ‘The Magic 6%’ or ‘scale-ups’, has a remarkably disproportionate effect on our national economic output. The ‘Scale-Up Report’, published last year by Sherry Coutu, found that boosting this ‘sector’ by just 1% would create as many as 230,000 new jobs and add £38 billion to the UK’s GDP.”

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‘On Parade’: Security Management Best Practice for Special Events

Managing security at an iconic central London venue allows absolutely no room for error. Recently, Integrated Security Consultants provided support for a lavish private event held at Horse Guards Parade. Brian Sims outlines the service delivery and what lessons were learned.

Destination and corporate event management specialist Spectra DMC approached ISC back in March regarding its plans for a gala dinner to be held at the London meeting of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL). This was to be a highly prestigious and unique event on something of a grand scale, with a giant marquee erected at Horse Guards Parade and plans for no less than 1,000 covers.

Guests were to be welcomed by a choir while the troopers and horses from The Household Cavalry would form a Guard of Honour.

Crucially, although the event was private in nature, it would be taking place in a highly sensitive area, out in the open and right next to a major central London public road. The right security regime was vital in order to keep the site safe during the build-up to and during the event, but also to enhance the guest experience and ensure everything would run smoothly.

Horse Guards Parade in London

Horse Guards Parade in London

The event itself took place on 13 September, but chosen security provider Integrated Security Consultants (ISC) was on-site 24 hours a day controlling access to the site from four days prior for the build until the site was clear and returned to its ‘blank canvas’ state two days later.

“We had to work closely with the many different parties involved, all of whom had their own needs and expectations,” stated ISC’s business development manager Paul Griffiths. “These parties included not just our client, Spectra DMC, but also the Royal Parks, the Metropolitan Police Service, the various event contractors and, of course, members of the public.”

As well as managing the security of the site itself, ISC provided corporate security staff to welcome guests, manage local public interest and handle both traffic ingress and egress.

Planning and familiarisation process

“This event was 18 months in the planning,” added Griffiths, “and, naturally, both Spectra DMC and the ACTL had high expectations for the day. Every aspect of the event had to be perfect, from the catering and entertainment through to the security team. We spent six months planning and familiarising ourselves with the expectations of our client and ensuring full risk assessments were carried out. We also attended planning meetings with the Royal Parks so that we understood how the site operated and what to expect, in turn advising on security requirements.”

Griffiths continued: “The Metropolitan Police Service and Royal Parks wanted to ensure that all Health and Safety requirements were in place and that the site was secure at all times. We liaised with them and brought security cover forward by 24 hours to ensure that the very earliest stages of the build were covered.”

On the evening of the event, all access points were secured and a large crowd of onlookers had to be kept back so that all guests could be admitted during a short 30-minute window, transferring from coaches within seconds. Everything went smoothly, but there were some challenges to overcome.

Security for the event was provided by Integrated Security Consultants

Security for the event was provided by Integrated Security Consultants

“These were mostly logistical,” continued Griffiths, “such as some contractor vehicles turning up without pre-registration. Another challenge was that the site is usually easily accessible to pedestrians from Horse Guards Road. Rather than just station officers along the 160-metre perimeter, we were permitted the use of crowd barriers to provide an extra layer of defence.”

Griffiths went on to comment: “Unsurprisingly, holding such a glamorous event in a public place attracted a great deal of attention from passers-by, in particular when the Band of the Coldstream Guards arrived and played several numbers. The event also coincided with the nearby Proms in the Park, which resulted in large numbers milling around in the vicinity, but this didn’t pose any problems for our team.”

Recruitment of security personnel

ISC’s recruitment process is designed with an ultimate objective in mind: the provision of a high quality security service. The company’s clients can be satisfied that each member of the security team they receive on site has been through a comprehensive interview process which tests for competency, communication and customer service capability. The staff understand the high expectations of both their employer and its customers and have the experience of working at a wide variety of public and private events.

To complete the security package for a site on the scale of Horse Guards Parade, ISC provided a manager to fully instruct and guide the security team. The company is always mindful of the fact that security is in place to support the smooth running of an event and that event managers are, in general, exceptionally busy with other aspects of production. For this reason, ISC provided Spectra DMC with a manager to direct the security team on their behalf. Rather than worrying about positioning staff, this enabled the client to focus on its primary goal of ensuring this spectacular event exceeded all expectations within a safe and secure environment.

1,000 covers for guests were provided inside a temporary venue on the site of Horse Guards Parade

1,000 covers for guests were provided inside a temporary venue on the site of Horse Guards Parade

ISC’s success in securing this event is the result of a long history of working on other high profile events, often in spectacular venues, and a culture of listening carefully to clients’ requirements in order to build a bespoke security service.

Mark Wareing, account director at Spectra DMC, concluded: “Everyone on the ISC team was really helpful and great to work with. The security manager was totally flexible and we could just leave the team to their own devices.”

That’s what everyone involved in running and securing special events – be those occasions big or small in nature – wants to be able to say.

What to consider when hiring an event security solutions provider for your corporate events and buildings

What are the main services these companies provide?

There are a wide variety of security roles to be covered and security companies may specialise in different areas along the spectrum. Corporate and private events are very different from large-scale public events or nightclubs and require a more discreet, bespoke service that blends robust venue security with customer service.

Security staff are usually the first point of contact that guests will have with your event and their conduct will set the tone for the evening.

How do you go about sourcing a reputable company that’s right for you?

The security industry has evolved considerably over the past decade, with licensing of individuals working in a security capacity through the Security Industry Authority (SIA) having been a legal requirement for the past decade.

However, just because an individual has passed a training course and holds a licence does not necessarily mean that person is right for your event.

They might be great at patrolling empty buildings, but how will the officers interact with your guests?

Not all security companies are alike. What accreditations do they hold? The two most important to look out for are the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) ‘seal’ and the SIA’s Approved Contractor Scheme mark. Both are a sign that the company has high quality standards and are subjected to external audits.

The NSI’s ‘Guarding Gold’ also demonstrates conformance with the internationally-recognised ISO 9001 quality standard along with several British Standards for security services.

There are numerous key questions that end users must ask of potential security providers for special events

There are numerous key questions that end users must ask of potential security providers for special events

What are the top three questions to ask of your potential service provider at the outset?

Naturally, you will want to know what price you are paying for the security services offered. Expect to pay an hourly rate per officer for a minimum number of hours per shift.

Prices will, of course, vary from one company to the next, but as is the case with any product or service the age-old saying “you get what you pay for” is very apt here.

A high quality security company offering a high quality service will pay their staff a decent wage and, while they will not charge the earth, naturally they will not be the cheapest option for the purchasing end user.

You should establish a budget for security services early on in the planning process, allowing a little breathing room in case you require more staff or for longer periods than originally anticipated.

How early on in a project should you make sure the security service is on board?

Security staff are often viewed as a ‘need to have’ rather than ‘want to have’ item on an event checklist. However, by viewing them as an integral part of the event experience and by bringing yoursecurity partner on board early in the planning stages, they will have the right amount of time to prepare and give you the best staff they have.

Rather than trying to guess how many security staff you’ll need, talk to your service partner and allow them to conduct a site visit to scope the requirement themselves and to perform a risk assessment. Site geography, threat levels and the event profile will dictate minimum staffing numbers, but the maximum depends upon your budget and key objectives.

The role of the security specialist is to make the service end user’s planning process as stress-free as possible.

How can you evaluate the service you’re receiving?

As the client, your security partner should be asking you lots of questions leading up to the event. Each event and venue is unique and you should be receiving a bespoke service tailored to your exact specifications.

As the event planner, you will almost certainly be present on the day of your event. As with other services, it will be very apparent if you’re not receiving the standards of service you desire.

Consider paying for a security supervisor to manage the team rather than managing each security officer yourself. This will allow you to focus solely on running the event.

What should you do if you’re not happy with the security service provided?

If you’re not happy, talk to your security partner’s representative to make them aware of your dissatisfaction. They should take steps to rectify the situation either immediately or for your next event.

If they don’t do so, it may be time to seek a new partner who can better understand your operational requirements.

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Ninth consecutive year of ACS audit improvement recorded by Showsec

Event and venue security solutions specialist Showsec has achieved year-on-year improvement in the Security Industry Authority’s Approved Contractor Scheme ratings for the ninth time in succession. An extensive assessment of all aspects of the company’s operation resulted in the award of a hugely impressive audit score of 132.

Assessing body the National Security Inspectorate (NSI) commended Showsec for its performance across all elements of the business and singled out several examples of good practice. Significantly, the company was successful in undergoing assessment for CCTV and close protection in readiness for the introduction of business licensing in 2015.

Showsec aimed for Improvement Scope in the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS) assessment process with the prime objective of gaining British Standard accreditation across all aspects of the company’s work.

“This excellent result highlights once again the progress made by the company year-on-year and places us in a strong position should business licensing be implemented,” enthused Showsec’s managing director Mark Harding. “One of the prime objectives of this proposed business regulation for the security industry is to ensure that everyone complies with the British Standards in whatever line of security work they undertake. We now have approval for both CCTV and close protection duties in addition to door supervision and security guarding.”

Harding continued: “The ACS provides a clear benchmark of the standards we achieve in the delivery of our product. We’re constantly striving to raise the bar even higher in terms of the services we offer to our clients and members of the public, and also in relation to being at the forefront of industry-wide progression. Everyone within the company can be extremely proud of this latest achievement. I know this result will provide further encouragement for our staff to work even harder in the pursuit of excellence and continued improvement.”

Showsec provided security management and stewarding solutions for the recent Kasabian gig at Victoria Park in Leicester

Showsec provided security management and stewarding solutions for the recent Kasabian gig at Victoria Park in Leicester

Event stewarding and crowd management

The NSI assessment was conducted by Joanne Fox who visited two venues – in Manchester and Leeds – at which Showsec operate before spending two days at Head Office in Leicester. In her report, Fox asserted: “I cannot believe the number of things the company has done in the last 12 months. It’s a great achievement.”

Among the five examples of good practice highlighted in the report are the introduction of a specific training module for SIA staff to ensure all supervisors have a clear understanding of the necessary requirements when supervising employees and casual workers, as well as the formation of Facebook accounts managed by members of the team at Head Office which enable employees and casual staff to communicate on specific events and activities.

On top of that, the NSI report also draws attention to the fact that Showsec has worked diligently alongside the UK Crowd Management Association to develop a specific qualification for event stewarding and crowd management.

Other examples of good practice include the company conducting a number of Human Resources Forums as a means towards even better communication and the identification of any pressing issues.

Showsec has also introduced e-Briefings for a number of events to provide employees and casual workers with detailed and specialist information ahead of them reporting for duty.

“These are just some of the ways in which we’ve endeavoured to improve our product over the past year,” concluded Harding, “but just as significant is the fact that there were no improvement needs identified in the report. That’s an extremely rare occurrence in this process and reflects the extent to which we’ve gone to make improvements across the board.”

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Axis Security appoints Chris Wisely to new managing director’s role

Chris Wisely has been promoted from head of operations to the newly-created role of managing director at Axis Security (part of the Axis Group of security, reception management and cleaning and support services companies). Wisely will report to Group CEO Jonathan Levine.

Wisely has worked in the security industry for more than 20 years and joined Axis Security in 2009 as finance director before progressing to the head of operations role in 2012.

In the five years he has been with the business, Wisely has worked with the senior management team in further strengthening the company’s operations, including the launch of its bespoke online portal – Axis e-Connect – giving customers easy access to live reports, documentation and information about their portfolio.

Wisely has also overseen a significant investment in employee training and played a key role in creating specialist teams to manage recruitment, training, compliance, contract mobilisation and Health and Safety.

Chris Wisely: the new managing director at Axis Security

Chris Wisely: the new managing director at Axis Security

Jonathan Levine believes the appointment comes at an exciting time for the business, and reflects how far the company has come in such a comparatively short space of time.

“Axis Security has an enviable reputation in the industry,” said Levine. “With a record Approved Contractor Scheme audit, our track record is one that’s built firmly on quality. We will continue to focus on delivering the finest services to our customers while supporting our employees to be the best they can be in their respective roles.”

As managing director, a key focus for Wisely will be redefining the company’s vision and the business strategy required to deliver that vision. “We want to be viewed as the leading provider of security services in key sectors and geographies, so it’s important that we are known more widely,” urged Wisely.

“We also want to be known as the best employer in the industry and have made great strides in developing a comprehensive training programme for our officers and management staff, in turn allowing us to develop and retain the best people at all levels.”

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