Tag Archives: Government

Pharmas urged to review anti-counterfeiting plans ahead of no-deal Brexit

Pharmaceutical manufacturers are being urged to review their anti-counterfeiting plans ahead of the possible failure by the UK Government to agree on a Brexit deal with the EU.

Global trade body the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) has warned that the UK could see a flood of counterfeit medicines after the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) ceases to apply at the end of the Brexit transition period on 1 January 2021.

In place since early 2019, the FMD uses mandatory safety features and an EU-wide database to help stem the distribution tide of fake or counterfeit medicines which could endanger lives.

The FMD will cease to apply if there’s no deal, leaving the UK with no access to the EU database except in Northern Ireland, where the FMD will continue to apply.

Interpol, Europol and national medicines agencies seize many falsified medicines and close hundreds of illegal websites selling them every year. Indeed, a report published by Europol’s Intellectual Property Office in 2019 estimates that counterfeit medicines cost the EU pharmaceutical sector more than ten billion Euros annually in lost revenue.

Fuelling the problem

The IHMA has stated that the COVID-19 crisis is also fuelling the counterfeit problem. Criminals are taking advantage of the pandemic to market and distribute fake pharmaceuticals, spurred on by increased demand and a shortage of basic drugs and medicines.

Illicit goods, or those with a vague provenance, can threaten people’s lives as well as damage corporate reputations and investment in companies and their products.

The IHMA has echoed calls by the National Pharmacy Association that, in the interests of patient safety, there should be ‘…the continuation of an anti-counterfeit system. However, not [one] necessarily governed by the rules of the FMD’.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society has also voiced its concern over the issue, pressing Government to put “robust plans” in place in a bid to ensure that counterfeit medicines don’t enter the supply chain.

Infiltrating supply chains

Dr Paul Dunn, chair of the IHMA, said: “Failure to secure a Brexit deal could leave the door wide open to crafty criminals who are infiltrating global supply channels, deploying scams and counterfeiting measures to trick consumers and damage manufacturers. Furthermore, items such as falsified medicines and drugs bought online pose a terrible threat and can endanger lives.”

Dunn continued: “Whether or not the Government introduces new measures, the latest track-and-trace holographic systems remain a fast and effective front line security device in the battle to protect against any post-Brexit threats and keep medicines, and people, as safe as possible.”

He added: “Holograms can be effective in the front line fight against counterfeiters and fraudsters, protecting brands and profits alike. Those involved in the supply chain are reassured by holograms’ presence on products, recognising the security and financial benefits that are provided.”

The use of well-designed and properly deployed authentication solutions, as advocated by ISO 1293, enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from fake products coming from counterfeiting ‘hot spots’ 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.

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Intersec moves to 2022 at Dubai World Trade Centre

Intersec, the ever-popular security, safety and fire protection-focused exhibition, has been rescheduled to take place in January 2022. The move has been confirmed by event organiser Messe Frankfurt Middle East.

The 23rd Edition of the three-day event was originally set to run from 24-26 January next year at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The move to 2022 follows on from extensive consultation with key industry stakeholders.

“We’ve spoken to many of our exhibitors, industry Trade Associations, supporters and partners over the last couple of weeks and have heard first-hand the many challenges they’re facing which, inevitably, is putting pressure on their ability to participate at Intersec in January 2021,” explained Alexandria Robinson, Intersec’s show director.  

Robinson added: “Moving Intersec to its customary January dates in 2022 at the Dubai World Trade Centre will allow time for business recovery.”

Further, Robinson stated that Intersec will be very active throughout 2021 via its ongoing webinar series, while the team is now working towards creating a virtual event early next year to engage industry leaders, regulators, Government agencies and opinion formers alike. 

“We might be restricted physically, but we know there is a definitive need for critical conversations and discussions to address the challenges the industry has faced,” asserted Robinson. “By hosting these talks via a digital forum, it enables us to remain connected with the industry and nurture our existing relationships, while at the same time sharing solutions and common goals. We’ll outline further details and plans about the digital event in the coming weeks.”

Trends and opportunities

Intersec’s popular free-to-attend webinar series (there have been 11 broadcasts so far in the last four months) has kept thousands of attendees abreast of the latest industry trends and opportunities.

“We know we have a vital role to play in connecting and supporting the industry and the Intersec webinars fulfil the remit of stimulating meaningful conversations, collaborations and success stories,” added Robinson. “We will continue to run these webinars and support our stakeholders in every way possible until we meet again in person, and safely, at Intersec 2022.”

In conclusion, Robinson informed Security Matters: “One thing is absolutely certain, and that is that our community is resilient and will bounce back. It has been involved in many front line situations throughout the course of this year and it will continue to play a critical role in the months ahead. Throughout 2021 and come January 2022, we’ll have much information to share and Best Practice to learn from each other.”

Intersec in 2020 featured 1,100 exhibitors from 56 countries, duly attracting 33,872 visitors from 135 countries.

The global industry event is supported by the Dubai Civil Defence, the Dubai Police, the Security Industry Regulatory Agency (SIRA), the Dubai Police Academy, and the Dubai Municipality.

*Further information is available online at www.intersecexpo.com

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Radiation detection company Symetrica lands £4 million investment to accelerate international growth

Symetrica, the manufacturer of radiation detection products for military and homeland security applications, has closed a £4 million funding round. The round was led by Parkwalk, the investor in start-ups spun out of UK universities, with participation from other existing investors and the management team. It includes a provision for a further £2 million commitment from a specialist defence and security investor.

Symetrica was founded back in 2002 by the former head of Physics and Astrophysics at Southampton University. The company now manufactures, supplies and supports a wide range of devices, from hand-held and backpack-mounted sensors through to vehicle-based detectors and drive-through scanners. Its solutions are used by customs, border protection, law enforcement, the Emergency Services, military personnel and first responders, enabling them to identify threats and respond accordingly.

According to the business, its proprietary Discovery Technology – a combination of patented algorithms and hardware – enables Symetrica detectors to be two-to-three times more accurate than equivalent conventional detectors.

Every day, the technology removes radiation alarms not of regulatory interest and provides police and customs officers alike with high confidence nuclear material identification in hand-held isotope identifiers with smart phone-like connectivity to technical authorities for operational assurance.

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Accelerate global growth

Symetrica operates from offices and manufacturing sites in both the UK and the US and employs 75 members of staff. The new funding will be used to accelerate global growth by enhancing the company’s international sales programme.

Symetrica already supplies its products to Government departments in the UK, the EU and the United States, as well as to partners worldwide. Its technology is employed by the US military.

Commenting on the impact of the funding for the business, Heddwyn Davies (CEO at Symetrica) explained: “In these extraordinary times, this investment gives us the capacity to increase our sales and business development resources and sell more into international markets where we’ve already won prestigious contracts. It also enables us to capitalise on multi-year procurement opportunities. We’re pleased to have our existing investors follow on in this round, and also very excited to see what we can achieve with their continued support.”

Neil Cameron, investment director at Parkwalk, said: “Symetrica’s Discovery Technology is a huge leap forward for radiation detection and testimony to the high-class science and engineering capabilities of the team, as well as to the importance of patient capital for R&D-rich companies. We’re pleased to be leading a round that will enable the team to capitalise on some significant customer wins and accelerate international growth.”

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Security guarding specialist SSGC appoints Haines Watts to manage “rapid growth trajectory”

One of Britain’s fastest-growing specialist security businesses has appointed a leading national accountancy firm as part of its planned expansion strategy that has so far seen a substantial turnover increase to over £60 million per annum.

Robust systems and bespoke technology has enabled SSGC, a niche provider of fully-vetted security officers, to deploy hundreds of individuals to secure and marshal the COVID-19 testing programme at centres right across the UK, building on the significant growth already achieved by the company throughout 2019.

Further, the business has now appointed Haines Watts, the accountancy firm with more than 50 offices nationwide, to manage its financial affairs as it draws up its long-term expansion plan after securing contracts which have underpinned the aforementioned robust and rapid growth in turnover.

Swindon-based SSGC has demonstrated its ability to rapidly provide hundreds of guarding personnel within very tight time windows, many of them former military personnel returning to front line duties as part of the national Coronavirus effort.

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Mike Lloyd, a partner at Haines Watts (left), with Guy Dungworth (a shareholder in SSGC) and David Stubbs (managing director at SSGC)

Reinforcing the front line

“Reinforcing our front line in the fight against COVID-19 has meant making some sound decisions as we rise through the ranks of security firms to be part of the top flight of specialist businesses,” said David Stubbs, managing director of SSGC, in conversation with Security Matters. “Appointing an equally top flight accountancy firm was always part of our long-term planning.”

Stubbs continued: “Growth has always been a major part of our strategy, but our ability to demonstrate a robust response to the Government’s needs during the COVID-19 lockdown suddenly accelerated those plans. We had already established a good relationship with Haines Watts, so a complete move to take advantage of a strategic finance partner that complements our own direction of travel will definitely help us when it comes to shaping our future direction.”

Mike Lloyd, partner with Haines Watts, responded: “We provide services to thousands of businesses, many of which, like SSGC, are going through a phase of significant growth in a short time. Expansion presents new and exciting challenges and secures a spot for SSGC as a major corporate player. This is a target the business was already heading towards before current events arose.”

Lloyd continued: “Accountancy services fall broadly into two distinct areas, namely compliance and planning. From the compliance side, we can make sure that SSGC meets all of the necessary legal and tax requirements. With planning, we can help optimise areas such as tax management, financial modelling and scenario forecasting in order to maximise the financial fluidity of the company under growth. We are already working with the directors on both fronts at this key time in the company’s evolution.”

Armed Forces Covenant signatory

A signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant, SSGC is an ethical business committed to supporting the military community through remobilisation projects and is also being supported by other key partners in Skipton Business Finance and Squire Patton Boggs Solicitors in delivering on the Government’s call to action.

SSGC is a Security Industry Authority Approved Contractor Scheme registered business that was formed by MBO back in 2014

David Stubbs, himself a former military policeman, concluded: “This is a very exciting time for the business as we transition into the next phase of our development. Working with Haines Watts provides seamless access to the financial services and expertise we will be leaning on this year as we execute the next phase of our growth.”

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IDIS sets sights on developing video surveillance projects in Middle East and North Africa

Surveillance solutions specialist IDIS is now targeting video-based projects in resilient Middle East market sectors and encompassing the banking, grocery retail and education sectors as the business seeks looks to build on recent successes when it comes to delivering compliance-driven solutions.

Despite continuing disruption and uncertainty in the global economy, the company feels the outlook is positive in the Middle East region as it supports its systems integration partners to focus on both resilient sectors and markets showing continued growth.

The video technology developer, which is known for its end-to-end solutions, highlights opportunities for video tech projects in the education sector where it already has successful deployments in in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Kuwait.

“The sector continues to expand due to investment from private equity firms and Government infrastructure funding, as well as international higher education institutes expanding their presence in the region,” explained Jamil Al Asfar, senior sales manager for IDIS in the Middle East and Africa.

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In the banking sector, major investments in more robust surveillance infrastructure over the last three years have been driven by compliance pressure as banks look to meet more stringent Government standards.

IDIS-developed video technology has already been deployed to protect more than 3,000 bank branches and ATMs for the National Commercial Bank in Saudi Arabia and was also chosen to secure the Central Bank of Jordan. Both projects demonstrated the benefits of robust, cyber-secure technology and proved how compliance can be delivered at pace, even on a challenging scale and in tough environments.

Upgrade projects

IDIS solutions are fully compliant with requirements in the financial sector, including the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority regulations. As a result, upgrade projects are driving strong activity for the company and its integration partners in the KSA, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Pakistan.

In the grocery and retail sector, Carrefour’s recently reported expansion across the Middle East, and its choice of IDIS video tech, has paved the way for further opportunities, among them projects in hypermarkets.

“Working alongside its integration partners, IDIS boasts in-depth experience of retail applications globally and we’re focusing on continuing demand for not just affordable video, but also scalable solutions that offer advanced analytics and deep learning tools,” continued Jamil Al Asfar. “These will help stores compete in the current tough trading conditions as well as into the future.”

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Jamil Al Asfar

Further, he stated: “Security Industry Regulatory Agency certification for the latest range of our cameras and NVRs also means that we’re gaining momentum in commercial, residential and Government sectors across the UAE. In Dubai, we’ve seen construction and re-development rapidly bounce back. The new facilities involved need compliant, cyber-secure and resilient video tech to ensure public safety and security.”

Ahmad Shanawani, managing director of Ametrad Technology Services, concluded: “Despite the undoubted economic challenges in some sectors, we’re still seeing strong demand for video solutions that combine low total cost of ownership, high performance and robust cyber security standards and that meet compliance needs. We’re now seeing how much IDIS’ end-to-end solutions and the company’s collaborative approach are suited to the growth projects with which we’re involved.”

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CHAS makes three key appointments designed to strengthen operations

Supply chain risk management expert CHAS (the Contractors Health and Safety Assessment Scheme) has appointed Alex Minett as head of products and markets and Elaine Bailey and Peter Hepworth, both of whom become non-executive directors at the trusted Health and Safety compliance advisor.

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Alex Minett brings in-depth knowledge of the SHEQ sector in the UK and internationally from a contracting and consulting perspective having established SHEQ strategies for multiple businesses (including blue chip companies) across diverse sectors.

He also has extensive knowledge of construction Best Practice and compliance having worked for 20 years in the construction sector, including on iconic projects such as the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Battersea Power Station where he advised on safety measures for the demolition and re-erection of the four iconic chimneys.

In addition, Minett was responsible for establishing the initial SHEQ strategy for Transport for Wales and supported the procurement team within the wider provision of the multi-billion pound franchise with pre-qualification of the bids.

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Alex Minett

Further afield, Minett worked closely with the World Bank and other funders on one of the world’s largest solar farms in Benban and initiated a zero harm approach to safety at the Facebook Data Centre in Lulea. He was also responsible for embedding safe working practices for the construction and delivery of the Saudi Aramco Petroleum Polytechnic in Saudi Arabia.

Now, Minett has overall responsibility for all of the CHAS products both current and new and is closely involved in the strategic position of CHAS within the marketplace and identifying opportunities for growth.

CHAS managing director Ian McKinnon stated: “Alex is an excellent addition to the CHAS team and we’re delighted to have him on board. His insight and experience will be invaluable as we continue to expand our service offer.”

Minett himself commented: “I’m excited to be joining CHAS at a time of marked growth for the organisation. As the founder of contractor prequalification, CHAS enjoys a first class reputation and I’m looking forward to helping build on this as the business evolves and grows.”

Extensive experience

Elaine Bailey became a non-executive director at CHAS with effect from Wednesday 1 July. Bailey has worked extensively across the construction, criminal justice, Government services and housing sectors in the private, public and not for profit sectors and brings 15 years of executive Board experience to the role.

From 2014 to 2019, Bailey served as CEO of London-based Housing Association The Hyde Group where, as well as significantly improving financial and operating performance, she drove a major change programme designed to simplify, automate and improve service delivery.

Bailey also sits on the Industry Safety Steering Group chaired by Dame Judith Hackitt which is charged with scrutinising proposals and progress towards culture change within the construction industry following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire.

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Elaine Bailey

Previously, Bailey held senior positions at FTSE 250 outsourcer Serco and is a trustee of Catch 22 and the Greenslade Family Foundation, as well as a Board member of the Andium Housing Association.

Speaking about Bailey’s appointment, Ian McKinnon stated: “Elaine’s successes at The Hyde Group, along with her knowledge and experience of good governance, make her an excellent addition to the CHAS Board. We also welcome Elaine’s commitment to driving cultural change within the construction industry following the Grenfell Tower tragedy through her work as part of Dame Judith Hackitt’s Steering Group.”

Bailey responded: “I’m delighted to be joining an organisation which plays a key role in improving occupational Health and Safety performance in UK workplaces. I’m looking forward to working with CHAS to continue to raise Health and Safety standards right across the UK.”

Digital transformation

Peter Hepworth formerly oversaw a portfolio of businesses while serving as executive officer of the Professional Services division at Capita plc, where his achievements included rationalising 14 separate learning businesses into one organisation and executing the digital transformations of Constructionline and Parking Eye.

He simultaneously served as CEO of AXELOS.com, a joint venture between Capita and the Cabinet Office and the publisher of global Best Practice guidance for IT, project and risk management. In fact, Hepworth was responsible for founding the operation in 2013. He grew the business internationally, expanding the product range and launching a cyber resilience portfolio while regularly liaising at ministerial level. Hepworth also transitioned AXELOS to become a Content-as-a-Service subscription model.

Previously, Hepworth served as managing director of Activision Blizzard UK where he was responsible for transitioning the business to meet the digital future. He has also held senior positions at L’Oréal, Sara Lee and BDO Stoy Hayward. His additional board experience includes having served as a non-executive director of The Fire Service College, Fera Science and eve Sleep. Hepworth is a Chartered Accountant by background.

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Peter Hepworth

“We’re very happy to welcome Peter to the CHAS Board,” enthused Ian McKinnon. “He brings a wealth of experience in digital transformation which will prove invaluable as we continue to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the digital age.”

Hepworth informed Security Matters: “I’m excited to be joining the Board of CHAS as it continues its strong growth trajectory. The company has an excellent reputation with an impressive portfolio of digital products and services that can help businesses transform their risk management processes. I’m delighted to have this opportunity to support the further success of both CHAS and its extensive customer base.”

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CHAS makes it easy to locate COVID-19 secure contractors

CHAS, the supply chain risk management expert, has added a Statement of Best Practice (COVID-19) to its member-focused packages designed to assist anyone who engages contractors in immediately identifying whether or not they are COVID-19 secure.

Organisations have had to rapidly adapt their working practices to operate safely during the Coronavirus outbreak and CHAS’ Statement of Best Practice (COVID-19) helps to verify that these adjustments have been made in line with latest Government and sector-issued guidelines.

COVID19

In order for a contractor to qualify as COVID-19 secure they must confirm (and, where appropriate, evidence) that they have taken three key actions which include:

  • Producing and putting into place COVID-19 specific risk assessments, method statements and controls 
  • Sharing the risk assessment with staff (and online for organisations with over 50 employees)
  • Displaying a notice to confirm they have complied with Government guidance

Construction-related businesses must also indicate that they are following COVID-19 Secure Site Operating Procedures as detailed by the Construction Leadership Council.

For contractors to comply, they simply need to login to the contractor portal and upload and submit evidence to show they meet the requirements. Meanwhile, CHAS clients log on to the CHAS Client Portal and they can instantly see whether a contractor has completed the Statement of Best Practice (COVID-19).

For those organisations who are not already CHAS clients, it is quick, easy and completely free to register and includes a range of business benefits, from the ability to easily source compliant contractors by trade and region from a database of over 50 0000 through to the availability of dedicated business services.

CHAS managing director Ian McKinnon informed Security Matters: “We recognise that organisations are looking for reassurance that everyone within their supply chain is operating to the required COVID-19 secure standards, but we also know that it’s extremely difficult for organisations to perform these checks independently, and particularly so while running on skeleton staff. The Statement of Best Practice (COVID-19) makes it easy for CHAS contractors to qualify for work while affording CHAS clients immediate visibility of a contractor’s COVID-19 secure status.”

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Security challenges in telecoms sector met head-on by access control systems

As Catherine Laug explains, the telecoms industry has grown at such a remarkable rate that it’s now a key part of our everyday lives. At present, the COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented requirement for almost all industries to operate a ‘working from home’ policy and to provide the general public with an increased access to online services, in turn making the telecoms industry even more vital.

A major impact of this fundamental change is the presence of a growing number of telecoms facilities, which are proving to be the cornerstone of service delivery. Equipment is often located in isolated areas, so strict access control systems are needed to keep any vulnerability to an absolute minimum.

Telecoms companies cover vast expanses of land to keep the service up-and-running for their customers. This involves several tens of thousands of plants and facilities, from mobile phone towers through to street cabinets for the wired network. This underlines the value of a standardised access control strategy to simplify access to all sites.

Now, maintenance technicians no longer need to worry about accessing the numerous facilities during their daily inspection rounds. Once configured, single electronic key solutions guarantee access to the right place at the right time, allowing technicians to focus their attention on the task at hand.

Specific access processes

For their part, operators are assured that their field teams, often comprised of sub-contractors, can carry out all maintenance work during specified times in line with their specific access processes.

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Most of the facilities requiring protection are outdoor sites particularly exposed to wind, sun, snow and sea spray. That being so, access control systems must be able to withstand corrosion caused by bad weather. End users can now specify a certified and conceptual solution to this challenge with cylinders that meet the requirements of the EN 1670 corrosion resistance standard with a, IP66-67-68-69 rating designed to guarantee maximum protection.

In point of fact, the latest generation electronic keys also use inductive technology for contactless information exchange between the key and cylinder. With this technology, the electronic key can transmit access rights to the cylinder even if the humidity at the site has corroded the surface of the lock. In other words, bad connections no longer prevent information from being transmitted between the key and lock.

At some telecommunications towers, access is restricted to those authorised to work at height. Software is now available that liaises with the operator’s information system, collecting select information from the various user profiles to limit access to authorised individuals. This allows operators to use the software to assign access rights for specific areas based on the technician’s profile and authorisation.

To improve on-site control activities, electronic keys work with specific apps and new technology (ie RFID and beacons, etc) to send technicians verification messages about their access rights or required safety instructions (such as wearing a helmet and abiding by the buddy system, etc).

Similarly, users can interact with the central system and submit on-site attendance reports and flag up anomalies errors, etc. These bespoke features are designed to meet ever-stricter security requirements in companies and, importantly, accommodate the latest Government guidelines.

Sub-contracting and shared access sites

Sub-contractors are an increasingly common fixture in both maintenance activities and emergency call-outs. Several officers may well require daily access to a number of scattered, remote facilities.

The access control system is further complicated by the fact that sites may be shared by different businesses. Water towers, for instance, are often used to support radio masts.

It’s now possible to deliver an effective response to multi-activity sites with just one electronic key being needed for countless locks. Officers no longer need to carry large bunches of keys between sites. Instead, they can access the right place at the right time with maximum security.

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Communication infrastructures may be the prime target for large-scale attacks wherein those parties involved are looking to compromise the country’s economic potential. They may also attract various types of vandal, tempted by the challenge of scaling facilities or the apparent vulnerability of street cabinets.

Today’s access control solutions are invaluable when it comes to protecting facilities from harm. Electronic cylinders and padlocks have CEN 1303 certification with the highest level of resistance to drilling and, therefore, vandalism.

What’s more, a lost or stolen electronic key can be disabled on a swift footing to prevent any unwanted intrusions. In certain solutions, the built-in reporting feature in the system software aims to report any attempts to gain access outside specified time ranges or in out-of-bounds areas, thereby detecting any anomalies.

Catherine Laug is Group Head of Marketing at LOCKEN

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SSAIB praises registered firm PLP Fire Protection for playing vital role at NHS Nightingale Hospital

The Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) has been full of praise for one of its registered firms, namely PLP Fire Protection, which has been providing invaluable assistance in the building of the Government’s first emergency field hospital at the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in London’s Docklands.

The temporary NHS Nightingale Hospital has been established to treat up to 4,000 Coronavirus patients, with Dorset-based PLP Fire Protection helping to transform ExCeL (which was due to host IFSEC International and FIREX International next month before the COVID-19 pandemic forced a reschedule) into a working hospital in just nine days.

BAFE SP203-registered PLP Fire Protection has worked diligently with 160-plus other contractors – as well as 200 British Army engineers – to complete the astonishing transformation.

Company director Rob Beeching has revealed just how hard the work has been for him and the various members of his team, whom he has nothing but praise for in what had been a tough week for them all. Replying to an email from Fire Industry Association CEO Ian Moore, Beeching stated: “Quite honestly, this week has been hell. We were literally brought back to site on Monday morning and had the most unrealistic time to make sure the initial 500-bed section was installed and signed off. The effort from my team and the sub-contractors has been incredible. I’m so proud of them all.”

Beeching added: “We have even had tears from some of our guys, but proud tears. Working conditions have been very tough, both physically and mentally. I have been arriving back home at midnight most days this week. Then I just feel like breaking down. It has been an emotional rollercoaster for sure.”

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Intensive care scenario

With the initial 500 beds in place, the NHS Nightingale Hospital will care for patients with the virus in intensive care who have been transferred from other London hospitals. The building work continues in order to make sure the space is sorted for the other 3,500 beds planned, but Beeching insisted that he would not force his committed team to continue to work if they were worried about being in close proximity to the virus.

On that note, Beeching observed: “We were told by a representative from the World Health Organisation that, once patients start arriving, although they will be sectioned off by a wall, we would still be working in adjacent halls. They said we would be completely safe. I wasn’t going to force any of my guys to carry on working if they didn’t feel comfortable with the arrangements but, when I asked for a show of hands in terms of who wanted to continue, 80% raised their hands. They’re all in this until the end and feel they cannot leave the site until the job is completed.”

In conclusion, Beeching said: “Even our suppliers have been personally delivering the equipment that we need to site. We are so grateful. The help being offered from so many people has been amazing.”

SSAIB CEO Alex Carmichael informed Fire Safety Matters and Security Matters: “It’s great to see SSAIB-registered firm PLP Fire Protection assisting with the construction of the NHS Nightingale Hospital and I have to commend the company for its dedicated effort during this difficult time.”

Carmichael continued: “On behalf of everyone here at the SSAIB, I want to thank Rob and the rest of his team for their heroic commitment to helping the NHS in this way and as they continue to assist with the creation of more beds at the facility. I hope they all remain safe while completing this vital work.”

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Home Office grants £14 million funding for security at Jewish institutions

The Home Office has granted the Community Security Trust (CST) funding to the tune of £14 million for security measures designed to help keep members of the Jewish community safe in their daily lives. The grant will cover protective security for the next financial year at Jewish institutions such as schools and synagogues.

A charity that monitors and helps to protect against anti-semitism, CST recorded 1,805 anti-semitic incidents in the UK in 2019. This figure represents a 7% increase on the previous year.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “Anti-semitic incidents are not just an attack on the Jewish community, but on everyone who believes in a free and open society. This funding will help Jewish people practise their religion and way of life without fear of attack or persecution.”

Baroness Williams, the Minister for Countering Extremism, added: “No-one should feel afraid for practising their religion. We are committed to ensuring our places of worship remain safe spaces for worship, contemplation and reflection. Only by working together can we ensure that hateful behaviour like anti-semitism are eliminated from our society.”

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The grant was introduced in 2015 following a series of terror attacks against Jewish targets across Europe. It has been renewed yearly following security assessments by the Home Office.

The CST’s CEO David Delew explained: “The British Jewish community is deeply grateful for the renewal of Home Office funding for the provision of security officers at Jewish schools and other communal premises facing the continuing threat of terrorism. The CST will continue managing this grant, which alleviates a serious financial security burden from Jewish communities across the country.”

Most of the funding will go towards protective measures for Jewish schools. While the funding period commences on Wednesday 1 April, all synagogues remain closed while schools only remain open for the children of those conducting essential work as part of Government efforts to tackle COVID-19.

In addition to the protective security grant, the Home Office also runs the Places of Worship Scheme, which provides funding to improve physical security for non-Jewish places of worship.

Importantly, the Home Office has recently launched a consultation to see what more can be done by the Government to improve security for faith groups.

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