Tag Archives: COVID-19

EU report highlights “urgent need” to ramp up anti-counterfeiting investment

Global trade body the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) has welcomed a new European Union report that paves the way towards “significant” opportunity and growth for anti-counterfeiting and security devices such as holograms.

The IHMA has commented on the Intellectual Property Crime Threat Assessment Report for 2022 by the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and Europol. According to this document, piracy and counterfeiting continue to pose a serious threat to the European economy as well as people’s health and well-being. Imports of fake and illicit goods reached a value of €119 billion in 2019, which represented 5.8% of all goods entering the Eurozone.

More than 66 million counterfeit items were seized by EU authorities in 2022 – “a staggering amount”, according to the IHMA – as pharmaceuticals, food items, cosmetics and toys (among other goods) were targeted by criminals and counterfeiters looking to cash in on unwary consumers during the pandemic.

However, accessories and luxury products remain among the most prevalent categories for counterfeit goods, suggests the report, while spare parts and alcohol are also seen as being at high risk.

The pandemic has been lucrative for the trade in counterfeit and pirated products, says the IHMA, and criminals continue to see opportunities as global supply chains and economies re-adjust in the post lockdown economic and social landscapes.

The trade body is calling for additional pressure to be applied by manufacturers, brand owners, Government authorities and law enforcement to increase investment in anti-counterfeiting technologies to help stem the tidal wave of fake products flooding into the EU.

Security devices

Security devices on packaged goods can ensure quality and check the distribution and smuggling of illicit products, while items not displaying security holograms can be seized and destroyed.

Commenting directly on the EUIPO and Europol report, IHMA chair Dr Paul Dunn has stated that the ongoing ‘war’ on counterfeiting is a hard one to win and that efforts should never slacken.

He noted: “Holography has a key role to play as an effective and highly flexible weapon in the ongoing battle to thwart counterfeiters and fraudsters. All involved in the supply chain will be reassured by the presence of holograms on products and recognise the benefits they provide.”

Dunn continued: “The use of authentication solutions, as advocated by ISO 12931, enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from fake products emanating from counterfeiting ‘hotspots’ in Asia and eastern Europe. Even those that carry a ‘fake’ authentication feature can be distinguished from the genuine item if that item carries a carefully thought-out authentication solution.”

Advice for traders and enterprises

Dunn also points to the fact that the EUIPO’s Anti-Counterfeiting Technology Guide outlines advice to help traders and enterprises understand the main types of anti-counterfeiting technologies such as electronic identification, digital security devices and tracking tools.

“With counterfeiting on the rise,” he concluded, “there’s never been a more pressing need for the enforcement authorities to work together effectively, preferably with IP crime returning to become a priority in the fight against international crime. However, companies both large and small also need to maximise their protection against fakes by taking advantage of the numerous technical solutions out there to protect ownership rights and supply chains.”

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Traka’s new team embraces ‘evolution for growth’

Intelligent asset management systems developer Traka is focusing on significant team investment to ensure that the business is ready for an ‘evolution for growth’ in a post-pandemic commercial environment.

Traka UK’s managing director Steve Bumphrey has orchestrated a number of internal promotions, duly highlighting the importance of the team. These include the promotion of Tom Smith to the role of UK sales manager and Wayne Kynaston taking over as major accounts manager.

In recognition of the key areas that require commitment from Traka, Ben Farrar has been moved to focus on healthcare trusts and partnerships in order to ensure the sector receives a dedicated service from a supplier that can make a significant difference to the empirical work of the NHS.

“Whisper it quietly,” said Bumphrey, “but there are signs that the Coronavirus clouds are starting to lift. While 2021 was the year in which we all adapted to the ‘new normal’, 2022 is when we develop and grow to meet ever-evolving customer experience requirements.”

Bumphrey continued: “We need to set a north star to guide aspirations for customer experience. This is with specific targets set across all of our team members to ensure that we’re well positioned to meet the needs of intelligent management solutions. We must also be best placed to inject innovation and show support for our clients, right from initial design through to project completion as and when required.”

Professional services team 

Traka has also made several changes to its professional services team, including the provision of dedicated roles in project management with a newly-created position of senior project manager supported by the new field service manager to afford additional support for customers.  

Extra technical and sales support posts have also been recruited to provide total support to customers for their ongoing work programmes. Dedicated installation engineers are in place to meet increasing demand.

“This is an exciting time for Traka as we look to embrace the future,” enthused Bumphrey. “Our aim is to add to our resources and provide our customers with a complete intelligent management solution backed up by tailored technical and sales support.”

In conclusion, Bumphrey noted: “Together we are stronger in the market and our customers will benefit from our heavy investment in all areas of the business. We’re focusing on individual market development to present enhanced service offerings and increased support in delivering innovative new security technology products.”

*Further detail is available to view on the Traka website at www.traka.com

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SSGC CEO David Stubbs wins British Ex-Forces in Business Award

The CEO of an award-winning specialist security company has received national recognition for his ever-growing commitment towards supporting members of the ex-Armed Forces community. SSGC CEO David Stubbs picked up the Business Leader of the Year accolade at the glittering Ex-Forces in Business Awards, with the ceremony held in central London on Thursday 2 December.

The Ex-Forces in Business Awards are a celebration of ex-military personnel in second careers and recognise the business achievements of ex-military members. They also celebrate employers who support current and former members of the British Armed Forces.

A former military policeman, Stubbs was recognised for his outstanding leadership and management which have been instrumental in Swindon-based SSGC’s considerable growth over the last seven years.

When he took over management of the business back in 2014, Stubbs set out with a distinct vision which has resulted in the company since achieving a remarkable 1,500% revenue growth year-on-year.

As a proud signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant, SSGC goes above and beyond the Call of Duty and has been a driving force in helping the veteran community right across the country.

Under Stubbs’ leadership, the business supports the military community through several remobilisation projects including deploying veterans to man COVID-19 Testing Centres across the UK in partnership with the Yorkshire Regiment.

At present, SSGC employs more than 500 veterans as part of its highly-skilled team and helps several of them to combat physical and mental difficulties as they settle back into life after their military service.

Going the extra mile

Commenting on the award win, Stubbs explained: “It’s truly a very humbling experience to be recognised on such a prestigious platform like this and I’m very grateful for the award. Although this is an individual award, a leader is no use without his or her team and the SSGC team is simply amazing. The military community is close to many of our hearts and we always go that extra mile to ensure that its constituents are looked after.”

Stubbs added: “There are thousands of servicemen and women who leave the Armed Forces each year and this creates a rich pool of talent for us as employers. Those individuals are underpinned by skills and values that easily transfer into a wide spectrum of roles. I believe that it’s our duty to look after these individuals who have given so much to our country and I’m grateful to have a platform to be able to do so.”

Stubbs also actively works with Mission Motorsport as SSGC’s charity partner, so far donating more than £50,000 to the organisation, which itself engages with veterans through motorsport. Stubbs regularly drives at Mission Motorsport events, offering beneficiaries high-speed passenger laps around several of the celebrated British racing circuits.

*For more information about SSGC visit www.ssgc-net.com

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IOPC confronts ever-evolving demands of digital evidence management

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has been searching for a new Digital Evidence Management System (DEMS) and recently concluded that search with the selection of the NICE Investigate solution following a robust procurement process.

The IOPC exists to oversee the police complaints system in England and Wales. The organisation investigates the most serious matters, including deaths following police contact, and ultimately sets the standards by which the police service should handle complaints. Learning derived from its work is used to influence changes in policing.

The IOPC is an independent body and, as such, makes its decisions entirely independently of the police service and central Government.

An important aspect of the work of the IOPC is to make it as easy as possible for involved parties, specifically police forces, to share information and evidence with case investigators as quickly and efficiently as possible. To this end, the IOPC had been looking for better ways in which to handle the ever-evolving and increasing demands of digital evidence management, with COVID-19 and remote working only serving to accelerate that search.

Keith Tagg, the IOPC’s delivery manager, explained to Security Matters: “When we start an investigation, digital material and evidence needs to be transferred to the IOPC by police forces. In the past, we’ve relied on disks, USBs or delivery by hand. By introducing a DEMS, we knew that we could make it easier and quicker to share information with police forces or other bodies. Not only would the process take less time, but it would also be more secure and, what’s more, of a high evidential standard.”

NICE Investigate

The IOPC spoke to a number of police forces and bodies to inform its decisions and the procurement procedure. NICE Investigate was selected to provide the DEMS in the wake of what’s described as a “robust” procurement process.

One of the factors which led to the IOPC choosing NICE Investigate was the feedback from police forces, in addition to the system’s ability to play back different formats of CCTV footage.

On that point, Keith Tagg explained: “Not being able to watch CCTV footage because it isn’t in a playable format is a problem shared by police forces and the IOPC. It can prolong and impede the progress of our investigations and introduce frustration at the point when a quick decision is needed for a referral or appeal. This issue was exacerbated still further during the pandemic when investigators working from home would need to travel to the office to watch the footage or otherwise request that the footage be uploaded to the network. With DEMS, any CCTV footage is automatically transcoded, so an investigator can instantly play it back with no delay.”

Less physical material

The introduction of DEMS has also meant that the IOPC is now handling less physical material, which woud take significant storage space and is less secure.

“DEMS means that we have consistent control of content,” asserted Tagg. “It’s more secure and we have a detailed audit trail. The assets don’t deteriorate over time and they can be retained and accessed a lot more easily. Most importantly, the assets are preserved to a high evidential standard.”

According to Tagg, the feedback so far suggests that police forces like DEMS. “Moving to more electronic sharing is a shared commitment across the whole criminal justice sector and so far this has been a positive experience.”

The next step is to share material via DEMS with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). “There’s a shared commitment across the criminal justice sector to move towards online management,” concluded Tagg. “Working with the CPS, DEMS means that we can share a link to information residing on our system rather than actual files or physical material. This is more efficient, more secure and also removes a major pain point from the disclosure process. We’re looking forward to making ongoing improvements,”

*Additional information on the work of the IOPC is available online at www.policeconduct.gov.uk

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Licensing SAVI launches for 300 pubs, bars and clubs across West Yorkshire region

West Yorkshire’s high-profile Violence Reduction Unit, which is part of the Mayoral Combined Authority and leads a number of partner organisations across the county to tackle violent crime, has announced the launch of a pioneering licensing initiative designed to improve the safety and security of bars, pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels.

A total of 300 specially selected licensed premises across the Bradford, Calderdale, Wakefield and Kirklees Metropolitan District Council areas are being invited to take part in the scheme, which encourages venues to improve their operational security and management practices year-on-year.

Indeed, West Yorkshire has become the first county in England and Wales to officially launch Licensing Security and Vulnerability Initiative (ie Licensing SAVI), which has been developed at the request of the Home Office by Police Crime Prevention Initiatives, itself a police-owned organisation working alongside the police service around the UK to deter and reduce crime.

Independent from the alcoholic drinks industry, Licensing SAVI is backed by the National Police Chiefs Council and Project Servator, the police-led vigilance scheme orchestrated to deter terrorist attacks at crowded places. Its aim is to provide safer and more secure venues for managers, staff, customers and local communities alike and to reduce the demand on hard-pressed police forces and NHS Ambulance Services as well as Accident and Emergency Departments.

Available to licensees as an online self-assessment, Licensing SAVI covers critical issues like responsible drinking, drugs misuse, violent behaviour and safeguarding vulnerable customers right through to preventing opportunist theft and improving physical security by way of the installation of security lighting and CCTV systems. Most measures included within Licensing SAVI can be introduced quickly and at little or no cost.

Consistent standards, guidance and advice

For the first time, Licensing SAVI provides consistent standards, guidance and advice that the managers of licensed premises in England and Wales need to adhere to in order meet the requirements of the Licensing Act 2003.

It actively promotes the four ‘Licensing Objectives’: the Prevention of Public Nuisance, the Prevention of Crime and Disorder; the Protection of Children from Harm and also Public Safety. Licensing SAVI includes a non-assessed guidance section on counter-terrorism and a COVID-19 risk assessment template for licensees to use if they so wish.

Licensees who complete the self-assessment will receive a Star Rating and can apply for Licensing SAVI accreditation as well as an award for display on the premises to show the efforts undertaken to enhance safety.

Timely launch

Licensing SAVI’s launch is timely because it can become part of a venue’s business recovery planning and as a refresher resource for the return of staff who/ve been furloughed, so too the recruitment and training of new staff to replace those who have left.

YouGov research (commissioned by Police Crime Prevention Initiatives) of 5,050 adults aged between 18 and 45 in England for the period 16 August through to 5 September were asked about safety in licensed premises, with safety defined as ‘where efforts have been made to prevent crime, reduce harm and where staff will support you if you are feeling vulnerable’.

The survey found that adults feel significantly less safe in licensed premises today than they did prior to the first national lockdown in March 2020. The fall in feeling safe was largest in nightclubs, where the numbers are down from 81% pre-pandemic to 48% and in bars and pubs from 93% to 64%.

Asked whether they agreed with the statement that ‘recent publicity around the safety of women and girls has made it more important for licensed premises to improve their safety procedures’, a total of 79% of adults agreed that they want safety improvements in nightclubs, while 76% of respondents want to see improvements in bars and pubs.

Support was greatest among women. In nightclubs, 83% of those females surveyed want improved safety compared to 75% of men. In bars and pubs, the percentage point difference was greater, with 81% of women wanting safety improvements compared to 70% of those males questioned.

Tackling violent crime

The Licensing SAVI initiative is being funded by the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, which seeks to tackle violent crime and the underlying causes of violent crime through early intervention, prevention and education by working closely with representatives of key partner organisations including healthcare bodies, the police and local government, education, youth justice, prisons, the probation service and core community groups.  

The West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit is delivering the initiative in partnership with the West Yorkshire Public Health Reducing Violent Crime Network, which includes public health, police service and council licensing teams. This network is led by Chloe Froggett, knowledge hub manager for the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, and Emm Irving (manager for improving population health at the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership).

Chief superintendent Jackie Marsh, director of the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit, said: “Given the unprecedented experience that the sector has endured over the past year or so, it’s really important that we’re able to support venues across the county in providing a safe environment in which they can operate. By funding this initiative and anticipating any potential issues, we can give premises the knowledge, security and confidence they require that will ultimately work to reduce the incidence of violent crime and associated issues.”

Marsh went on to comment: “Aside the backdrop of preventing violence against women and girls, and also kick-starting the night-time economy, this partnership approach represents another step in the right direction.”

Foremost priority

Sarah Muckle, director of public health for Bradford Council and lead public health director for the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, explained: “We’re proud of the partnership involving the West Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit and, indeed, all of the joint work that’s taking place. Providing a safe and secure environment for local communities is a priority for us all. Giving local businesses good guidance to keep their premises safe and secure is one way in which we can help to achieve this.”

Mark Morgan, business lead for Licensing SAVI and a former police superintendent, added: “I look forward to supporting the West Yorkshire region with the Licensing SAVI initiative, which will contribute to safer licensed premises and reduced alcohol-related violence.”

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Traka drives forward discussions on distribution post-COVID

Traka has launched a downloadable White Paper in order to highlight the significance of the logistics sector during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and through the recovery period.

Presenting the dramatic rise of the sector in the pandemic to meet demands to link goods with people like never before, the White Paper (entitled ‘Moving Forward for Distribution and Logistics’) is now available at https://systems.traka.com/white-paper/distribution

Posing the question: ‘How can the logistics sector maximise its new found prominence and proven ability to keep the UK economy moving in a post-COVID world?’, the White Paper explores the unprecedented growth during extended lockdowns and the challenges faced by the industry as it looks to move forward.

Lee Payne, market development manager for Traka UK and author of the White Paper, informed Security Matters: “At no time in the history of the logistics sector has it faced such a unique set of circumstances than those created during the pandemic. COVID-19 has changed the supply chain’s future course and given it an unexpected prominence as a vital element to economic success.”

Payne continued: “In this White Paper, we explore how COVID-19 heightened the UK’s dependence on the industry. Arguably, without it operating efficiently, scaling up quickly and investing in technology, the lockdown periods would have been even more difficult to navigate. Going forward, demand is likely to continue and logistics is well placed to contribute towards the UK’s sustainable economic recovery.”

Pace of change

The White Paper draws on the pace of change in consumer spending patterns and increasing reliance on online shopping. It cites how the distribution and logistics sector, backed by Logistics UK, was quick to respond and transform the way in which it worked.

With the recovery period in operation, the White Paper continues to suggest that, in maintaining success, there’s a need for greater innovation and technology integration.

Included is the suggestion that distribution and logistics companies that embrace the ideals of efficiency tools such as asset management could instantly optimise performance and control and monitor all physical processes as well as reduce the likelihood of human error. All contribute towards lasting social, economic and environmental benefits as part of the UK’s economic recovery.

Payne went on to comment: “Against all the challenges posed by COVID-19, logistics workers were seen by many as ‘unsung heroes’ and regularly applauded for their ‘key worker’ status. Now, with the cautious return to normality, companies have the chance to help to rebuild the economy with fast-moving goods across the UK.”

He concluded: “In this White Paper, we’ve explored the direct impact of the logistics and distribution sector, aligning it with the consumer demand for online shopping and the associated convenience. We highlight the sheer development of various technologies that can now be embraced to ensure the sector can safely maximise its success and maintain consumer confidence.”

*Further information concerning Traka and its range of solutions is available online at www.traka.com

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Security specialist SSGC supports Mission Motorsport charity event

Specialist security firm SSGC recently took to the track at the historic Goodwood Motor Circuit to give military veterans a high-speed day out to remember. The Swindon-based company joined its nominated charity Mission Motorsport at the West Sussex venue to offer passenger rides to former military personnel in honour of Armed Forces Day 2021.

Among the famous faces supporting the day were Chris Harris from BBC TV’s Top Gear and former British Army officer Johnny Mercer MP.

SSGC’s CEO David Stubbs spent the day giving veterans high-octane passenger rides in his race-tuned Honda Civic Type-R as part of the company’s commitment to Mission Motorsport, which has also seen it pledge around £50,000 to the charity in 2021.

For its part, Mission Motorsport works with wounded, injured or sick service leavers and veterans and helps those affected by military operations by way of engagement through sport.

A former military police officer, Stubbs said: “I’ve been involved in motorsport for the last 15 years as an ex-bike racer and I’m a veteran myself, so the link with Mission Motorsport is perfect for us as a company. SSGC is a signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant, an ongoing commitment to support the Armed Forces community. Taking part in days like this is a big part of that pledge.”

Long-standing link

SSGC has a long-standing link with the Armed Forces community and, last year, deployed more than 4,000 members of staff, many of them military veterans, to marshal COVID-19 Testing Centres across the UK on behalf of the Government.

SSGC’s managing director Demelza Staples informed Security Matters: “Our partnership with Mission Motorsport is really important to us. This event allowed us to give beneficiaries a day out and acknowledge everything they have given to us, not just as a business, but as a country as well.”

Staples continued: “The transferrable skills they bring into our business are just phenomenal. We have COVID-19 Testing Centres which run like clockwork because of our veterans and what they contribute.”

Mission Motorsport CEO and founder James Cameron observed: “Our charity is ultimately about using sport to help people become happy in their careers beyond the military. SSGC is doing wonders in employing ex-military people, while joining events like this is part of Armed Forces Covenant commitment made by the business. As an act of advocacy, it’s just wonderful.”

*For more information about SSGC visit www.ssgc-net.com

**Further detail concerning Mission Motorsport is available online at www.missionmotorsport.org

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TDSi recommences full COVID-safe training at Poole headquarters

Integrated security solutions manufacturer TDSi has announced the reopening of its on-site training programme, backed up by a robust COVID-safe regime of testing and Track and Trace which helps to protect everyone involved.

Additionally, the business has signed up to the Government-run ‘We Offer Testing to our Staff’ scheme. This facilitates all staff taking lateral flow testing in its offices on a twice weekly basis.

John Davies (managing director at TDSi) told Security Matters: “Now that UK COVID restrictions have relaxed a little further, it’s the perfect time to cautiously reintroduce on-site training for our partners and customers. While online training and assistance is invaluable, there are many practical training applications, particularly so those involving hardware installation, that benefit quite considerably from first-hand demonstration.”

Davies continued: “We fully appreciate that some visitors will have anxiety about frequenting other locations, so we have put in place highly robust measures to ensure those who visit and work at our facilities have maximum reassurance that the risks are minimised and that they’re protected.”

While the testing remains voluntary, TDSi is positively encouraging staff and visitors to test themselves to ensure everyone’s peace of mind and safety. Davies asserted: “When trainees attend the Poole facility for training, we will present them with individual bags containing all of the equipment they need as well as an instruction pack. They will be advised to complete the lateral flow test in their cars before entry to the building to ensure that any potential issues are isolated.”

Return to the office

From Monday 17 May, around 70% of the TDSi team returned to the company’s headquarters for daily operations while always maintaining safe social distancing. However, the business will continue to support a mixture of home and office working to ensure there’s flexibility and also that all operations continue to run smoothly and safely.

Davies added: “Our employees are now testing themselves at home on Sunday and Wednesday evenings in line with the official guidelines, with the results reported back to the NHS. If any individual has a positive result, we will ensure they receive a PCR test to confirm that they’re negative before they return to the office such that any potential infection routes are immediately restricted.”

Further, Davies stated: “We owe this level of scrutiny and care to all our visitors and staff and are proud to be extending this level of reassurance to our visiting partners and customers. While there are still considerable potential health threats at large, it’s also important to ensure we safely deliver the right levels of support and training by adjusting to the needs of the ‘new normal’ as quickly as possible.”

*To find out more about TDSi’s Installer Training or to book a place on a COVID-safe course visit www.tdsi.co.uk/training.html

*For more information on TDSi in general visit www.tdsi.co.uk

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Senior leadership promotions announced by guarding business SSGC

SSGC – one of many security guarding companies providing vital services to keep the country running during the COVID-19 pandemic – has now appointed a new CEO and managing director following a year of huge growth. David Stubbs is appointed to the newly-created position of CEO of both SSGC and WLTS (a new offshoot firm which delivers temporary labour and recruitment services to businesses), while the business has promoted Demelza Staples to the role of managing director of SSGC. Staples formerly served as operations director.

SSGC has grown from a £1.5 million annual turnover business in 2014 to reach a current turnover of more than £100 million. Both appointments are part of its plan to continue growing as the country navigates its way out of the pandemic.

Last year, the Armed Forces Covenant signatory deployed more than 4,000 members of staff to marshal COVID-19 Testing Centres across the UK, many of whom were military veterans. It has since expanded to provide lateral flow testing support for schools across the UK and launched the aforementioned WLTS business, which has already secured a £40 million contract to provide personnel to Comensura (the business that speclialises in managing supplies of temporary, permanent and contract labour).

A former military policeman, Stubbs was a key driver in the management buy-out of SSGC in 2014, while Staples is an experienced retail professional specialising in risk, security, loss prevention, operations and Human Resources.

Continuing ambition

In conversation with Security Matters, Stubbs explained: “I’m delighted to have guided the business to its current position. The creation of the new CEO role is another sign of the continuing ambition of the business as we look to build a winning senior team which will deliver positive change within the security sector.”

He continued: “It’s critical to the business’ ongoing success that SSGC mirrors the country by forging ahead into a post-pandemic world, building a solution which is fit for the new way of conducting business. I’m heartened by the sizable contract wins over the last couple of months. Hopefully, they’re a sign that we’re doing things the right way. It’s especially pleasing that our social value activity is being embraced by the larger, more evolved corporates. As a business, we will continue to invest in a better living standard for all of our staff and the wider communities in which we operate.”

Further, Stubbs stated: “There are many brands emerging from the growth of SSGC as we maintain our focus on specialisation and meaningful innovation. I’m excited by the challenges and opportunities that the future holds. I would like to congratulate Demelza, who has made a hugely positive impact on our COVID-19 testing-related security solutions delivery. I’m certain that she will prove to be an exceptional leader for the business.”

Challenging and rewarding

Reflecting on her own new role with the business, Demelza Staples said: “It’s amazing to have been involved at a senior level in this business’ rise to the top. Very few of us experience 1,500% year-on-year growth where we work and, while the last year has been challenging, it has been the most rewarding of my life. I’m pleased that the Board has afforded me the managing director’s post.”

Staples went on to comment: “Probably the most exciting part for me is the fact that SSGC has already continued with its winning ways. There are a number of really positive announcements to be made at the start of my journey in the managing director’s chair.”

In conclusion, Staples informed Security Matters: “Through our commitment to the veteran community and the Continuing Professional Development of all our employees, we’ve managed to build a highly-skilled team to support our growth programme. I’m delighted to be taking on the managing director’s role and thank the owners of the business for offering me this fantastic opportunity.”

*Further information is available online at www.ssgc-net.com

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First Response Group at heart of nation’s fight against COVID-19

First Response Group has been at the heart of the nation’s fight against the Coronavirus having been brought in by the University of Oxford to bolster security at the latter’s COVID-19 research facility.

The company was recommended for the highly important security detail after successfully demonstrating its expertise and reliability to the University of Oxford during the first national lockdown.

Founded in 2007 by directors Jamal Tahlil and Edgar Chibaka, First Response Group provides security, fire and facilities management services to a wide range of clients in the public and private sectors.

The COVID-19 Oxford Vaccine Trial has been run by the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute and the Oxford Vaccine Group clinical teams. It has been conducted in collaboration with multiple study sites across the UK and internationally, including a temporary research installation on the University of Oxford’s grounds.

After a full site risk assessment, First Response Group recommended a 24/7 security guarding detail consisting of three security officers on the premises during the day and two at night to ensure robust protection for the trial patients, research staff and the sensitive clinical data.

First Response Group’s Security Industry Authority-licensed security officers control all entrances and exits through the facility day and night. While safeguarding the safety and integrity of the project, the officers also ensure that distancing measures are followed, challenge anti-social behaviour and monitoring the area for suspicious activity.

Dedicated site supervisor

To ensure fast and consistent communication with the University of Oxford’s management, First Response Group allocated a dedicated site supervisor to provide a senior level presence at the site from Monday to Friday. The site supervisor acts as the main point of contact for the University of Oxford’s management, dealing with any issues as and when they arise in real-time.

Oto Velička, senior buildings and facilities manager at the University of Oxford, informed Security Matters: “I would like to thank the First Response Group for the outstanding quality of service the company provides for our COVID-19 Oxford Vaccine Trial at the University of Oxford. When we approached the company asking for support, the management team immediately engaged with us on a highly professional level and was able to scope, suggest and implement a made-to-measure solution perfectly suiting our needs.”

Velička continued: “The on-site team members are highly competent, professional, co-operative and have a comprehensive understanding of our business needs and the sensitivity of our activity. They’ve proven over and over that we can rely on them for all of our security needs, bringing complete peace of mind to our operation 24 hours per day, seven days a week.”

Simon Alderson, CEO at the First Response Group, added: “Without question, this has to be one of the most high-profile security operations with which we’ve been involved in. Indeed, it’s one of worldwide importance. Being chosen to support the University of Oxford in this clinical trial is a ringing endorsement of the First Response Group. It’s an honour to have played a part in ensuring the security of the vaccine, staff and trial patients in the lead-up to its national roll-out.”

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