Tag Archives: Antisocial Behaviour Crime and Policing Bill

SecuriGroup Forum focuses on the future for regulation

On Wednesday 24 July, SecuriGroup – the Glasgow-based security solutions provider – held a Forum at which Baroness Ruth Henig CBE gave a timely speech on the future landscape for regulation.

As a company, SecuriGroup has always been at the forefront of the regulatory agenda and, in 2009, won the ACS Champion of the Year category at the Security Excellence Awards.

Only recently, chairman John Malcolm QPM and managing director Russel Kerr asked Baroness Ruth Henig CBE – former chairman of the Security Industry Authority (SIA) – to join the Board, and it was in her capacity as a Board director that the Baroness addressed a gathering of company representatives and key customers at SecuriGroup’s Bath Street headquarters in Glasgow.

Baroness Ruth Henig CBE: now working with SecuriGroup

Baroness Ruth Henig CBE: now working with SecuriGroup

The Baroness began her address on the future roadmap for private sector security regulation by stating that SecuriGroup “embraces all of the values” the Regulator wants to see in security companies. The Baroness also expressed delight that SecuriGroup is progressing extremely well with its business not just north of the border but also in the South East of England.

Of course, licensing via the SIA was first introduced in Scotland back in 2007, and the remit then was really all about licensing the individual. “To be really effective, though,” stated the Baroness, “licensing needs to be focused on businesses.” This, of course, is why the next phase of regulation – the ‘new regulatory regime’ that has still to emerge – will do just that.

SecuriGroup's chairman John Malcolm QPM

SecuriGroup’s chairman John Malcolm QPM

With over 800 responses received to the recent consultation on the future for regulation, the Government has promised further legislation with a slated appearance of this coming October. When that legislation does appear, Baroness Henig is adamant that we’ll need to “see sanctions and penalties for those companies who don’t co-operate” [with the new rules].

Reflecting on proposed regulatory change in the security sector, the Baroness continued: “Companies like SecuriGroup will have everything to gain and nothing to lose as a result of the forthcoming changes. It will now be much easier to crackdown on non-conformant companies.”

In terms of how top end security companies like SecuriGroup might be able to differentiate themselves under the new regime, there has of course been talk of a Hallmark-style scheme being introduced. “This is going to be an important area for development over the next few months,” commented the Baroness.

Russel Kerr: managing director at SecuriGroup

Russel Kerr: managing director at SecuriGroup

Experience of policing and security

Baroness Henig CBE is particularly well qualified to advise SecuriGroup and its customer base on the future regulation roadmap. Chairman of the Lancashire Police Authority from 1995-2005, the Baroness also served as chairman of the Association of Police Authorities between 1997-2005, eventually becoming president.

The Baroness was a member of the National Criminal Justice Board from 2003-2005, receiving her CBE from Her Majesty The Queen in 2000 for services to policing.

Made a Life Peer in 2004 by (then) Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Baroness was appointed chairman of the Security Industry Authority in 2006, and served in that role for six years.

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Security officers: why respect for their role really matters

Brian Sims reviews Channel 4’s ‘Undercover Boss’, in which Securitas’ UK and Ireland leader Geoff Zeidler found out exactly what life on the front line is like for the company’s security officers.

Monday 8 July 2013 was something of a Red Letter Day for security guarding in the UK, but you’ll not be overly cognisant of the fact unless you happened to be watching Channel 4 at 9.00 pm.

Series 5 Episode 2 of the broadcaster’s ‘Undercover Boss’ strand featured Geoff Zeidler – country president and UK/Ireland managing director at Securitas – going ‘back to the shop floor’ following the 2011 acquisitions of Reliance and Chubb, and learning what life is really like for his frontline staff during one of the worst spells of economic recession ever to hit the UK.

What followed was not only a seriously engaging hour-long documentary but also a thought-provoking exercise bringing key topics to the fore.

Securitas' UK and Ireland md Geoff Zeidler: The Undercover Boss

Securitas’ UK and Ireland md Geoff Zeidler: The Undercover Boss

An engineering graduate of the University of Cambridge, Geoff took it upon himself to vacate the Boardroom for five days and – under the persona of Dale James, an unemployed engineer looking for a career change – interface with Securitas’ frontline officers. Those officers wouldn’t recognise him, he hoped, once he’d grown a beard and shaved his head.

First port of call was a waterside development of bars in Manchester. Geoff met with Mo and Mario (former employees of Reliance). Over two decades they’ve been threatened by people brandishing firearms, slashed with knives and ‘glassed’ by thugs toting broken bottles.

Geoff swapped his suit for a metal-plated vest and, alongside the duo, attempted to control aggressive drunks and impromptu street brawls. Not his usual habitat and one that, by his own admission, was “very frightening”.

Attempted theft and Anti-Social Behaviour

Next stop was The Priory Shopping Centre in Dartford. Here, instances of attempted theft and Anti-Social Behaviour crop up. Geoff was put to the test by security manager Julie who asked him to confront a six-foot giant banned from the site – the chap concerned was acting out the role – before informing Securitas’ UK leader that she regularly works 14-hour days (many beginning before 5.00 am), finds it difficult to cover all shifts due to lack of bodies and that her own life outside of work is suffering as a result. Not a great picture.

Then it was off to Cirencester, where Geoff pitched up in front of Charles and Carl looking for mobile patrol work. Alas, the eagle-eyed duo rumbled Geoff’s disguise thanks to a photo of ‘The Real Mr Zeidler’ immediately behind him on their office wall, but agreed to keep quiet.

Geoff ventured out on night patrol with James, one of four officers who check up on 500-plus properties. James had to buy his own torch because the one with which he’d been supplied didn’t cut it. He’d also negotiated a new £25,000 contract for Securitas to monitor three warehouses but there was no commission in place for him.

To round off the whole experience, Geoff dropped in on Dewsbury Bus Station (a long-term contract for Securitas). The station resides in a racially diverse town where one third of residents come from an ethnic background.

Dave – one of the officers on duty – is quizzed by Zeidler, who learns of security staff having to cope with (among other things) drunks who threaten them, attempted headbuttings and instances of racial abuse.

Geoff Zeidler on patrol in Manchester with Securitas officers Mo and Mario

Geoff Zeidler on patrol in Manchester with Securitas officers Mo and Mario

At the end of the programme, Geoff – by now “angry” with what he has seen – admits who he is and acts fast. Mo and Mario are granted extra CCTV, Julie additional officers. James is paid his commission (and issued with a new torch). Dave receives £500 to donate to local charities while consideration is afforded to alterations for Basic Job Training on the site that will improve aspects of communication.

How frontline security officers are viewed and treated – by their employers, their employers’ customers and society at large – matters, and massively so. As this programme amply demonstrates, those officers do a fantastic job day in, day out, often under immensely trying circumstances. They absolutely deserve to be wholly respected by the society they protect.

Channel 4, Securitas and Geoff Zeidler merit much praise for producing this programme. We desperately need more prime time documentaries centred on security’s frontline. Maybe then we can banish forever the tired, clichéd and erroneous views of security guarding that have no place in today’s world.

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“Life should mean life for anyone who murders a police officer”

Speaking at the Police Federation’s Annual Conference, Theresa May MP – the Home Secretary – stated that “life [imprisonment] should mean life [imprisonment]” for anyone who murders a police officer.

May wants to see whole life tariffs imposed on those found guilty by a Court of Law of murdering an officer.

“The murder of a police officer is a particularly appalling crime,” said the Home Secretary. “To attack and kill a police officer is to attack the fundamental basis of our society. We ask those officers to keep us safe by confronting and stopping violent criminals. We ask them to take the risks so that we don’t have to. And sometimes they’re targeted by criminals because of what they represent.”

The Home Secretary continued: “This is why I can announce that, subject to consultation with the Sentencing Council, the Government will change the law so that the starting point for anybody who kills a police officer should be a life sentence without parole.”

The Home Secretary told delegates at the event in Bournemouth that Government reforms are helping to improve policing and praised officers for their hard work in helping to cut crime by more than 10% since the coalition Government came to power.

In addition, May pledged to carry on reforming policing by making it easier for officers to cut crime and catch criminals – including slashing yet more bureaucracy and red tape and improving the police service’s use of modern technology.

Expansion in the number of offences to be prosecuted

Home Secretary Theresa May

Home Secretary Theresa May

The Home Secretary stressed her complete trust in the ability of officers to do their job without interference and announced an expansion in the number of offences the police can prosecute in court without calling in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

“I know that dealing with the CPS on minor offences wastes a great deal of your time, and I know how frustrating that can be,” commented the Home Secretary.

“I will increase the scope of police-led prosecutions to include shoplifting of goods worth £200 or less. That means up to another 50,000 prosecutions being led by the police – cases that will be dealt with faster and more effectively.”

May added: “Last week, we introduced legislation in Parliament that will make this happen. It will reduce the amount of time you have to spend waiting for CPS lawyers, end the duplication of paperwork and put you back in charge of these cases.”

Federation representatives also heard how the Home Secretary is determined to end the situation where police officers are effectively acting as ambulance drivers or social workers when called upon to deal with those suffering from mental health problems.

May said work is being carried out in conjunction with the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to improve the medical response to mental health. This initiative could save up to 25% of police officers’ time and vastly improve the treatment of those who need it.

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Queen’s Speech: crime-fighting measures announced by UK Government

An Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill has been announced by the Queen in her annual speech to Parliament.

The Home Office will introduce an Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill to create new and simpler powers for the police service such that officers can deal with antisocial behaviour, cut crime and continue police reform.

The Bill would tackle the use of illegal firearms by gangs and organised crime groups and provide better protection for victims of forced marriage.

It would also encourage responsible dog ownership by strengthening the law for tackling dogs that are dangerously out of control.

Additionally, it would continue the coalition Government’s programme of police reform by extending the powers of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Communications Data Bill: what next?

The Queen’s Speech had been due to include the Communications Data Bill. Dubbed the ‘Snooper’s Charter’ in some quarters by opponents, this would have allowed the monitoring of UK citizens’ online and mobile communications.

However, the plans published by Home Secretary Theresa May were recently blocked by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg on civil liberties grounds despite warnings such legislation is desperately needed to help detect terrorism plots.

BBC News states: “The Government is now considering forcing Internet service providers and mobile phone companies to store more data about the devices from which e-mails, Skype calls and other messages are sent to help police identify the sender, if necessary. The Home Office had previously rejected this option (which may not need new legislation in order for these plans to be implemented) on technical and cost grounds.”

The BBC continues: “Fresh proposals to investigate crime in cyberspace are being promised…” to “…help protect the public and the investigation of crime in cyberspace.”

The major strand of this plan is to find a way to more closely match Internet Protocol (IP) addresses to individuals in order to identify who has sent an e-mail or made a call.

The BBC states: “Despite Nick Clegg’s objections to the Communications Data Bill, the Home Office has said action is needed to reflect the fact criminals are increasingly using Internet phone calls or social media websites to communicate.”

Helping to keep the public safe

The BBC report continues: “In the Briefing Notes on the Queen’s Speech, the Government makes clear it remains ‘committed to ensuring that law enforcement and intelligence agencies have the powers they need to protect the public and ensure national security'”.

“These agencies use communications data – the who, when, where and how of a communication, but not its content – to investigate and prosecute serious crime,” say the Briefing Notes.

“Communications data helps to keep the public safe – it is used by the police to investigate crimes, bring offenders to justice and to save lives.”

“This is not about indiscriminately accessing the Internet data of innocent members of the public.”

“The proposals to be brought forward would address the fact the police – who can already tell when, where and who made a mobile phone call or sent a text message – cannot always trace the origin of an e-mail, a message sent via instant messaging or a phone call made over the Internet.”

“The Government says one problems is that IP addresses are shared between a number of people, or devices.”

“In order to know who has actually sent an e-mail or made a Skype call the police need to know who has used a certain IP address at a given point in time,” says the Government.

“The Government says it is ‘looking at ways of addressing this issue… it may involve legislation'”.

“There have been questions raised about how, or whether, it might be possible to achieve the goal of matching IP addresses more closely to devices or individuals.”

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