Tag Archives: Security Guarding

Jodie Stevens joins Venture Security in compliance manager’s role

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

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

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

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

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

Jodie Stevens

Upholding standards

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

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

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

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Company boss found guilty of supplying unlicensed security staff to school

In a prosecution brought by the Security Industry Authority (SIA), a Lancashire security company director who provided unlicensed security staff to a school has had his case referred to a higher court for sentencing.

Martin Coe, the former director of Evolution Security Services NW, was found guilty following a two-day trial held at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court on Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 October.

SIA investigators discovered that unlicensed security officers had worked for Coe on numerous occasions at Baines School in Poulton, the Wyre Light pub in Fleetwood and at the Poulton Industrial Estate.

The District Judge presiding over the trial found Coe guilty of the supply of the two unlicensed security operatives. During the trial, the SIA had called three witnesses, whom the District Judge referenced as being “professional and credible”. By contrast, the District Judge noted in her summing up that Coe’s evidence was “not credible”.

The matter was adjourned to Preston Crown Court for sentencing and to start the process of recovering assets from Coe under the Proceeds of Crime Act. Coe had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing to failing to provide information to the SIA despite being legally required to do so.

Serious matter

Nathan Salmon of the SIA’s criminal investigations team said: “Martin Coe refused to co-operate with an SIA investigation and has wasted court time by denying the charges against him. Providing unlicensed security staff to a school is a very serious matter. This is reflected in the fact that the District Judge in this trial has referred Coe’s case to a Crown Court for sentencing.”

Salmon continued: “The public rightly expects the very highest standards from those who protect them. There is reassurance that Coe will now be banned from working in the security sector. In addition, we will be pursuing the recovery of any profit he has made from his crimes.”

Neil Reddington and Gavin Macaskill had originally been found working at the Wyre Light in May 2019 by a licensing officer from Lancashire Constabulary who was following up on reports of unlicensed operatives being deployed at the venue. Both men were employed by Evolution Security.

Reddington was sentenced at Blackpool Magistrates’ Court back in February. The sentencing of Coe was due to take place at Preston Crown Court on Wednesday 4 November.

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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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Magenta Security celebrates 25 years of service to dedicated client base

Security company Magenta Security is celebrating 25 years of business. The firm’s commitment to providing security services and its constant advocation for positive changes to be made across the industry has helped the business to prominence.

Magenta Security has grown from a small security team in Hounslow to become a nationwide, award-winning company. Over the years, Magenta Security has expanded its offer to provide a range of services from security guarding and access control through to international private security. The business very much hopes to continue its expansion in the years to come.

The security company has demonstrated its dedication to green initiatives by becoming a zero-carbon business and being the first security company in Europe to achieve ISO 14001, which sets out the criteria for Environmental Management Systems.

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Abbey Petkar

Magenta Security’s offices run on renewable energy sources, including solar panels, and the business is focusing on phasing out low efficiency vehicles such that they can be replaced with hybrid or electric models, while at the same time educating all staff on the principles of reduce, re-use and recycle. By making these conscious efforts, Magenta Security has become increasingly successful and something of a greener alternative to other security companies.

Abbey Petkar, managing director of Magenta Security, stated: “I am extremely proud to be celebrating our 25th Anniversary after the hard work and dedication we have put into the company for so many years. We believe our success is due to our commitment to improve the security industry and providing top quality customer service, while still managing to be very eco-conscious. My priority from the day I started this business was to never say no and find a solution for any client request. Continuing that philosophy has meant that we have substantially expanded our offer and are able to cater for all of a given client’s needs. I am really happy to see how far we’ve come as a business and I look forward to seeing us progress and succeed for another 25 years.”

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Axis Security and The Axis Academy nominated for 2020 OSPAs

Integrated security, Front of House and cleaning services business the Axis Group starts 2020 as a finalist in the UK Outstanding Security Performance Awards (OSPAs) with nominations in two categories: Outstanding Contract Security Company (Guarding) for Axis Security and Outstanding Security Training Initiative for The Axis Academy, Axis Group’s learning and development division.

The OSPAs recognise and reward companies and individuals across the security sector. Axis Security has been recognised as an outstanding security business which is making a positive difference, successfully motivating and up-skilling staff, making the most of technologies and forging new approaches and thinking around security guarding.

This nomination comes off the back of Axis Security’s most successful year of organic growth, turning over £24 million in new business alone, which represents a 140% increase on last year’s business results.

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The Axis Academy, the training division for Axis Group, has been nominated for the Outstanding Security Training Initiative for its Mental Health First Aid course, which was launched in the summer of 2019 and has already trained 220 people across three levels including mental health awareness, mental health First Aid and supervising mental health.

The course supports Axis’ aim to raise awareness of mental health in the workplace, with specific training to equip people with the required knowledge and skills to act as workplace mental health First Aiders. It has been designed to help participants understand why people develop mental health conditions, and how a First Aider for mental health can provide advice and practical support for an individual presenting with a suspected mental health condition.

David Mundell, managing director of Axis Security, believes that the company’s dedication to customer service continues to underpin its success. “We see ourselves as one of the outstanding performers in the security sector, doing our utmost to support our talented people and deliver top quality customer service to our clients.”

Mundell added: “Giving the right kind of support to employees remains key to everybody’s success so we’re especially pleased to see the response to our new training initiatives, notably so around the area of mental health. The course also helps people to recognise and manage their own stress, and how to implement a positive mental health culture in the workplace, so it’s a really beneficial addition to our learning offer.”

The 2020 OSPAs Ceremony takes place at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in central London on 26 February.

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NSI supports World Accreditation Day 2019

The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) offered its full support to World Accreditation Day 2019 (#WAD2019). A global initiative celebrating accreditation, the event (which took place on Sunday 9 June) focused on accredited bodies like the NSI adding value in supply chains. 

From a security and fire safety sector perspective, installers and service providers of security and fire safety systems and security guarding solution are a vital ‘link in the chain’ with their expertise at the point of delivery, keeping people safe, ensuring security solutions harness suitable technology and that they’re fit for purpose.

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Whether it be in the design, installation and commissioning of intruder alarms, access control systems, fire detection or suppression systems and CCTV or the monitoring of myriad guarding services, Best Practice in service provision by NSI-approved companies ensures that quality solutions are delivered to customers.

World Accreditation Day marked the work underway to launch ‘IAF CertSearch’, a website designed to provide buyers with the ability to verify management systems certificates such as ISO 9001 (itself a key component of NSI’s Gold approvals). This facility will help to distinguish certificates issued by accredited conformity assessment bodies (CABs), such as the NSI, from certificates issued by non-accredited CABs and to check the authenticity of a certificate.

Richard Jenkins, CEO at the NSI, commented: “World Accreditation Day plays an important role in promoting the value of accreditation and accredited conformity assessment. As an accredited certification body, the NSI conforms to ISO 17021-1 and ISO 17065 in the delivery of Certificates of Approval to over 1,800 approved companies operating in the UK and Eire. The worldwide system of accreditation spans economies accounting for 96% of global GDP*. The NSI is proud to play its small part in this ecosystem underpinning Best Practice, competency and consistent quality within our sector, as recognised by, among others, the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the Security Industry Authority, the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, BAFE and industry and insurer stakeholders.”

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Richard Jenkins

NSI Gold Approval combines Quality Management Systems approval ISO 9001 with specific product standards pertinent to services provided, in addition to NSI Quality Schedules and approval criteria specifically designed for the security and fire systems and guarding services sectors. The NSI adopts a ‘treat recommendations as mandatory’ stance with regard to all standards and Codes of Practice, affording buyers confidence that NSI-approved companies adhere to the latest Best Practice at all times.

For full details of the range of NSI approvals to international and British Standards and industry Codes of Practice visit www.nsi.org.uk

*Source: World Economic Forum

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Ward Security adds poppy stickers to patrol vehicles in marking 100th Anniversary of First World War

A fleet of Ward Security vans are displaying poppy stickers in support of the Royal British Legion’s annual Remembrance Sunday Appeal and to show respect for the 100th Anniversary of the First World War. 

The national security provider is proudly displaying the poppy logos on its fleet of vehicles, while also making a financial donation to the Royal British Legion’s local Chatham branch.

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David Ward, CEO at Ward Security, said “The Royal British Legion does an incredible job of supporting Armed Forces personnel past and present and their families. Like many people, we had relatives who fought in the First and Second World Wars and we continue to have close connections to the military and those currently serving. Many of our employees are also former military personnel. We believe that it’s both right and important to continue to support the appeal and, by putting the poppy on our fleet of vehicles, we help to keep the campaign visible and in the public eye.”

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Ward Security was founded in 2000 by brothers David and Kevin Ward. Today, the business employs over 900 people and provides security solutions to companies nationwide. Originally based on the Medway Trading Estate, the company’s new headquarters was officially opened earlier this month in the Fitted Rigging House at the Historic Chatham Dockyard in Kent.

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Fly-tipping costing UK’s security industry “thousands of pounds” in clean-up and insurance claims

According to the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the illegal dumping of waste by criminal gangs is costing the UK’s security industry thousands of pounds in clean-up costs and insurance claims.

The costs, which might be borne by the landlords of fly-tipping ‘hotspots’ if they’re not covered by insurance, can routinely reach hundreds of thousands of pounds. Indeed, claims have been known to regularly exceed this figure.

Companies who fail to adequately protect their assets, or have been victims of fly-tipping in the past, could find their insurance cost rising. Some of these costs are met by taxpayers. According to the Local Government Association, the cost to taxpayers of clearing up fly-tipping rose to £57 million in the past year. That’s up 13% on the previous 12 months.

Restrictions on the tipping of waste and the inevitable dumping to avoid paying for waste processing are key factors underpinning this unlawful behaviour. In recent times, a far larger and more costly crime is occurring on an almost daily basis. This involves the unlawful occupation of land followed by large-scale collection and disposal of waste. There have also been many cases of industrial units rented on short leases which have then been filled with illegal waste and left for the landlord to clear up.

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The recent surge in fly-tipping is put down to an influx of organised gangs offering cheap disposal services to businesses and then simply fly-tipping the waste to avoid the payment of landfill tax which is currently set at £88.95 per tonne*. More sophisticated fly-tippers have also been setting up dummy companies advertising cheap skip rentals. They take out short term leases on warehouses then fill them from floor to ceiling with waste before moving on ahead of the landlord realising that rent hasn’t been paid.

Focus on serious crime and terrorism

Tony Cockcroft, chair of the Security Guarding Section at the BSIA, said: “This activity is being conducted on an enormous scale and involves the tipping of hundreds of tonnes of waste. The waste is collected from building sites and garden and house clearances. It’s a criminal activity netting large amounts of money for those involved in the process.”

Cockroft continued: “In most cases of land tipping, the perpetrators are evicted from the site only to move on to another close by and repeat the same activity again and again. The police and other agencies seldom make arrests, prosecute individuals or confiscate vehicles largely due to their already overstretched resources having to be focused on serious crime and terrorist threats.”

Gideon Reichental, chair of the Vacant Property Protection Section at the BSIA, told Risk Xtra: “Fly-tipping isn’t just an unnecessarily expensive eyesore. It can also be dangerous. Tipped rubbish has been known to include specialist and clinical waste which may be hazardous. Mixed waste can spontaneously combust. This harms the environment through airborne pollution and contaminated fire-water run-off, which is why it has never been more important to tackle the problem head on.”

Reichental added: “The BSIA’s Vacant Property Protection Section has had a keen interest in this problem as it affects many of our clients in the public and private sectors on a day-to-day basis. They’re working closely with the Association’s lobbying team to see what additional Government support or legislation might be provided in order to help address this issue.”

Protecting large areas of land

Protecting large areas of land can prove difficult, but there are a number of fairly simple and inexpensive measures that should be considered as it’s far better, and ultimately cheaper, to deter a person from entering land rather than having to subsequently evict them and restore the site.

As a minimum, the BSIA recommends the installation of strong metal gates with toughened steel padlocks and anti-lift hinges. If the site is vacant, block all vulnerable access points with concrete barriers. Secure the perimeter with strong fencing, posts, earth mounds or trenches and frequently check the site and the perimeter.

The BSIA also advises landlords of industrial units to put in place robust procedures to identify if the persons looking to rent a property are fit and proper to do so.

It’s also worth contacting the police on 101 if there’s a suspicion that land is being illegally occupied, though police officers harbour only restricted powers to deal with people who breach civil law by trespassing. In certain circumstances, a direction to leave may be made and, in the event of non-compliance, arrests may follow.

However, the powers to remove trespassers are discretionary and will not be used by the police unless considered absolutely necessary. If trespassers don’t leave a site when requested to do so then landowners should go through the normal channels of civil recovery as quickly as possible to mitigate the potential damage and resulting costs.

*All figures quoted in this release have been provided by Dougie Barnett, head of mid-market and customer risk management at AXA Insurance

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

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

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

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

7084 Security & Fire Excellence Awards logo 2018

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

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

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

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National Security Inspectorate appoints new auditor in Northern Ireland

The National Security Inspectorate (NSI), the UK’s independent certification body specialising in the security, guarding and fire sectors, has appointed Clare McIntyre as security and fire systems auditor and lead auditor for ISO 9001 in Northern Ireland.

Having spent over 20 years in the sector within quality and operations management and system design, McIntyre brings a wealth of experience to the NSI’s expert auditing team. She previously worked for NSI approved companies, transitioning from one of the few female-nominated fire alarm designers to become a fully-integrated security and fire design engineer.

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Clare McIntyre

Having realised her passion for developing and improving standards within the industry, becoming an auditor for NSI was a natural progression in McIntyre’s career.

Richard Jenkins, the NSI’s CEO, commented: “We’re committed to recruiting auditors with practical experience, knowledge and understanding of our sector. Currently, the UK has the lowest percentage of females on the engineering register in the EU at only 7%. Therefore, Clare’s appointment may also serve to embed some change in what has, traditionally, been a male-dominated sector in the UK. ”

NSI to sponsor ‘Outstanding Security Installer/Integrator’ category at 2019 OSPAs

The NSI is proud to sponsor the ‘Outstanding Security Installer/Integrator’ category at next year’s Outstanding Security Performance Awards (OSPAs), which take place in London on 28 February.

The UK OSPAs is part of a global awards scheme currently running in eight countries and designed to recognise outstanding contributions and achievements within their respective security sectors. Following extensive research in 2014 by Perpetuity Research and Consultancy International on what constitutes outstanding performance, the OSPA categories and criteria were then standardised, providing an opportunity for countries to run their own evidence-based OSPAs, while also maintaining the ability to compete on an international level.

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Professor Martin Gill CSyP FSyI, founder of the OSPAs and director of Perpetuity Research, commented: “I’m delighted that the NSI is continuing its Installer/Integrator category sponsorship of the UK OSPAs. Since its formation nearly five decades ago, the NSI’s focus has been to raise standards in the UK security sector and those companies securing its approval, across all disciplines of security, are instrumental in helping to achieve this goal. The OSPAs provides a global stage for security excellence so it’s fitting that the NSI is a key player in these awards.”

Richard Jenkins added: “We’re committed to supporting initiatives that celebrate excellence and innovation in the UK’s security sector. The OSPAs are highly respected among the security and buyer communities for their core values and ethics. Gaining recognition with an OSPA is a significant achievement and we’re delighted to be associated with this prestigious event.”

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