Tag Archives: Approved Contractor Scheme

Cougar Monitoring and BT Redcare to run joint Roadshow for fire and security installers in Midlands region

Led by Cougar Monitoring, the Roadshow will be hosted on Friday 6 October at one of BT’s key buildings in Birmingham city centre near to Birmingham New Street Station. In addition to presentations from representatives of Cougar and BT Redcare, there will also be representatives from the technical departments of both companies available for advice, guidance and training.

Eric Roberts, CEO of Cougar Monitoring, said: “BT Redcare has been in the alarm signalling market for over 30 years. The company is tried and tested and the majority of its products are third party certified. Having met with the new BT Redcare management team recently, it’s abundantly clear that they have a renewed focus and intention to work closer with both ourselves and installers. We’re delighted to join them to reinforce that message to our installers.”

CougarMonitoringLogo

BT Redcare sits at the heart of home and business security, bridging the gap between customers, installers and Alarm Receiving Centres (ARCs). Backed by BT’s trusted technology and the largest R&D budget in the UK, the business has been leading the way in reliable alarm signalling. Having recently undertaken a refresh of its brand and approach to the market, the company has now pledged to work closer with ARCs and installers to help grow their businesses.

Cougar Monitoring was established in 1996 and holds a number of nationally-recognised accreditations. The business is registered by the Security Industry Authority as an Approved Contractor for key holding, security guarding and Public Space (CCTV) Surveillance and has also received the National Security Inspectorate’s Gold standard EMS and Health and Safety accreditations.

Cougar Monitoring is part of the Prime Interaction Group that also includes Securenett and Kings Security, making it one of the largest independent security groups in the UK. The company invests heavily in cutting-edge technology to provide clients with an “innovative and inclusive” security service. Its high specification alarm receiving and monitoring set-up enables the company to keep response times enviably sharp and to provide reliable and professional assistance.

SecurenettLogo

Going forward, Securenett will be recommending BT Redcare alarm signalling products to its customers.

Commenting on the Cougar initiative, John Ware (general manager of BT Redcare) said: “I met personally with the senior leaders of Cougar Monitoring recently and it’s clear that they, like us, are looking to the future and wish to expand their operation. We’re perfectly placed to help them do this. The combination of our expertise in the market and Cougar’s reach to installers means attendees at the Roadshow will receive the best advice, value and support from both companies.”

*Details of the Roadshow will be issued soon. In the meantime, installers wishing to register an interest in attending can do so online at www.formwize.com/cougarroadshow

 

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Top level security without a performance delivered by Trigion

Trigion Security Services is working with managers at a number of prestigious theatres across London to provide electronic security solutions designed to keep staff, patrons and property alike safe in an unobtrusive manner that doesn’t deflect from the enjoyment of the performance.

With large crowds and high profile buildings to protect, the theatre owners were looking for a security company that could offer top level support. Trigion Security Services fitted the bill.

Neil Ricketts, technical services director at Trigion, informed Risk UK: “Theatres offer a number of rare security and safety challenges with large groups of people arriving and leaving at the same time, numerous staircases and corridors present as well as main auditoriums to protect. There are also a number of bars and concession stands, so we need to be able to keep an eye on the cash being handled.”

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Ricketts continued: “Using a variety of electronic security equipment operated remotely from our Security Operations Centre, we can ensure there’s always a high level of security in place, even when the curtain has come down and everyone’s gone home.”

Trigion operates to the very highest standards in the industry and has gained Security Industry Authority Approved Contractor status in addition to ISO 9001. All Trigion Security officers are vetted and trained to BS 7858 and verified as such by the National Security Inspectorate.

Trigion is the UK security division of the Facilicom Group. Facilicom UK is the UK company of the Dutch facility services organisations Facilicom Services Group. Facilicom employs over 28,000 people and operates in the Netherlands, Belgium, France and the UK.

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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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Security boss jailed for failing to pay £80,000 penalty under Proceeds of Crime Act

On Thursday 2 October 2014 at Bridgend Magistrates’ Court, an ex-security director was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for failing to pay £80,000 under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

In October 2013, 52-year old Dean Campisi was convicted at Cardiff Crown Court after falsely claiming that his company, Secure Serve Facilities Management Services Ltd (Secure Serve), was part of the Security Industry Authority’s (SIA) Approved Contractor Scheme.

Campisi used fake documentation to pass Secure Serve off as an Approved Contractor. He secured and maintained security contacts with the Lidl supermarket chain worth £15,000 per week, but Lidl cancelled the contract with Secure Serve after making enquiries that revealed Secure Serve was not ACS accredited.

The SIA successfully prosecuted Campisi, and then made an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act to recover the ill-gotten funds from him. The SIA identified money received by Campisi from the Lidl contract.

A Proceeds of Crime Act confiscation order was passed ordering Campisi to pay £80,000 within six months. Any failure to pay would lead to a custodial sentence for 18 months.

A security boss has been jailed for failing to pay an £80,000 fine under the Proceeds of Crime Act

A security boss has been jailed for failing to pay an £80,000 fine under the Proceeds of Crime Act

Following last Thursday’s short hearing at Bridgend Magistrates’ Court, it emerged that Campisi failed to pay the £80,000 and he was immediately taken into custody.

The SIA’s head of investigation, Nathan Salmon, commented: “The SIA will protect the integrity of the Approved Contractor Scheme and its members. The ACS offers a ‘hallmark’ of quality to buyers of security, and it’s a mark that’s both respected and trusted. It was important that Mr Campisi was pursued under Proceeds of Crime legislation to recover the benefit he gleaned from his actions. Failure to pay has now landed Campisi in prison.”

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