Tag Archives: Security Officers

BSIA launches regional security personnel rounds of British Security Awards

The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has launched its 2022 celebration of the industry’s finest, specifically the British Security Awards, and started the ball rolling with the regional rounds of the security personnel-focused categories.

Scheduled to take place on Wednesday 29 June at the Marriott Hotel on London’s Grosvenor Square, the British Security Awards will celebrate the achievements realised by security officers and teams across the UK’s private security industry, as well as acknowledging innovations in technology and business and the career contributions made by long-serving industry stalwarts.

The first phase of the awards will be to identify the regional winners and national finalists of the five security personnel categories: Best Newcomer, Best Team, Security Manager of the Year, Outstanding Act and Service to the Customer.

Regional winners will be announced at the beginning of April and then automatically go forward to the national stage on Wednesday 29 June. They will also be recognised prior to the ceremony at events around the country.

In total, there are 18 categories in 2022, including Innovative Security Project, National Partnership, Environmental Project of the Year, Business of the Year, Apprentice of the Year, Contribution to the Industry and the Bravery Award. Two new categories, namely the Corporate Social Responsibility Award and the BSIA’s Special Recognition Award have also been added to the role of honour.

The entry process for these national categories will open on Tuesday 11 January.

Talent and commitment

Mike Reddington, CEO at the BSIA, commented: “The British Security Awards continues to be the professional security industry’s national event that celebrates the talent and commitment of our industry’s finest. The scale of achievement we see every year from across each sector is remarkable. Our awards enable us to recognise acts of untold bravery, ingenuity in the application of new technology and the successful delivery of projects by forward-thinking self-starters who work so diligently in our sector.”

Reddington continued: “After two incredibly challenging years for the industry, we’re looking forward to recognising and rewarding individuals and teams for the dedication they’ve shown to their chosen profession. We’re confident that, by June, we will be able to welcome members, stakeholders and colleagues from across the industry and celebrate excellence in security.”

After holding the event online for the past two years due to COVID-19, the Trade Association anticipates that the event will go ahead in the physical setting this year.

2022, in fact, marks 25 years of the BSIA’s awards scheme and also five years under its current guise as the British Security Awards.

*To enter one of the categories, visit the British Security Awards website at www.britishsecurityawards.co.uk

**The security personnel categories of the British Security Awards are sponsored by Camberford Underwriting

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Eagle Eye Networks delivers 4G ‘direct-to-cloud’ body cameras

Eagle Eye Networks, the cloud video surveillance solutions developer, has introduced the ‘first-of-its-kind’ 4G ‘direct-to-cloud’ body camera designed specifically for commercial use. This new offering provides commercial customers with affordable access to feature-rich, professional-grade body camera services, which improve staff safety and accountability, trigger immediate response and deliver valuable evidence, all while protecting assets and keeping communities safe.

Body cameras dissuade aggression, improve accountability and reduce false accusations. Employees from private security officers through to retail staff, in-home service providers and delivery workers feel safer and more valued when wearing such cameras. 

Earlier this year, global research organisation Omdia identified body cameras in non-law enforcement applications as being a top trend for 2021, suggesting that the potential addressable market for commercial body-worn cameras dwarfs that of law enforcement.

“The commercial body-worn camera market is ripe for new entrants,” observed Paul Bremner, principal analyst in Omdia’s critical communications group. “Features such as cloud connectivity, 4G, live streaming, GPS and the price-point are important to retailers, delivery services, security officers and others in the commercial sector. New bodycam providers who can break the old law enforcement body camera mold with reasonably priced, feature-rich, professional-grade solutions are positioning themselves to fill a growing need within the commercial market.”

Extension of video cloud services 

Resellers are welcoming the arrival of body cameras that meet their needs. Jaime Abad Valdenebro, CEO at OmniCloud, is “excited” that Eagle Eye Networks has launched commercial body camera support for its Eagle Eye CameraManager platform. “Fixed IP cameras integrated with 4G-enabled body cameras represent the extension of video cloud services in a real mobile environment,” stated Valdenebro, “providing a new disruptive video surveillance solution.” 

He continued: “In a smart city application, Eagle Eye Networks’ new 4G, ‘direct-to-cloud’ body cameras will provide extra protection for security officers and ensure that patrols are completed on time. The 4G connectivity is important. It gives the user live access to body camera video. It will make a high- performance ‘true’ cloud video surveillance system even more powerful.”

With Eagle Eye Networks’ body cameras, end users can:  

*Use 4G or Wi-Fi for live streaming, real-time remote viewing and ‘direct-to-cloud’ recording

*Blend fixed, mobile and body-worn cameras, in turn making it easier for the entire surveillance system to work together

*Stream to a dedicated Monitoring Centre or Security Operations Centre and use geo-tagging for immediate response and support

*Experience a larger viewing area with fisheye capabilities (the latter are ‘de-warped’ in the Eagle Eye Networks Cloud Management Application

*Manage a large number of cameras in the cloud and observe the generated images from a dedicated Control Room

*Use two-way audio to clearly communicate

*Protect individuals at work and in the community 

*Future-proof the investment made with hardened cameras that offer ‘law enforcement-level’ durability and quality at an affordable price

*Gain flexibility for live streaming and video retrieval during docking with rapid recharge capabilities

Demand growing

“The demand for high-quality body cameras that connect to the cloud has been growing for several years now,” commented Dean Drako, founder and CEO of Eagle Eye Networks, “but has accelerated even more due to the pandemic, social unrest and the shift towards providing more remote services. Traditional law enforcement body cameras use a high-price subscription model, which is too steeply priced for commercial customers. Eagle Eye Networks will support the new Eagle Eye body cameras at the same low subscription cost of fixed cameras, making the solution affordable for commercial customers accustomed to paying up-front for advanced cameras with affordable long-term subscriptions.”

Body cameras are initially available on the Eagle Eye Networks CameraManager platform, with availability on the Eagle Eye Cloud Video Management System (VMS) in 2022. The Eagle Eye Networks body cameras can also be protected with Eagle Eye Networks’ rapid replacement service.

*Further information is available on the Eagle Eye Networks website

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Security professionals urged to wear body armour offering spike protection

Body armour manufacturer the PPSS Group is urging private security professionals as well as law enforcement officers to ensure they’re wearing body armour that offers a certified means of spike protection.

According to the company’s CEO Robert Kaiser, spike protection cannot be guaranteed with all types of body armour. “Weapons like ice picks, sharpened screw drivers, spiked clubs and hypodermic needles can penetrate the skin if security personnel are not wearing body armour that offers specific protection from such threats.”

Society has changed in recent years and, many would argue, not for the better. Kaiser continued: “Besides a global rise in knife crime, we also have to accept the fact that sometimes incredibly brutal attacks have become more frequent over the past ten years. We can clearly see a change in the type of edged weapons now being used in organised crime and terrorism. Many blades perform very similarly to a spike. They’ve been specifically engineered to injure people using minimum effort, with little or no resistance.”

Attacks using double-edged blades are becoming more and more frequent these days, at least in part because they’re so easy to purchase here in the UK and, indeed, in many other countries. Double-edged blades are exceptionally difficult to combat. Here, certified spike protection is crucial and there’s physical evidence to suggest that a body armour can withstand such threat.

Kaiser is adamant that certified protection from spiked weapons is essential in today’s security industry. “Body armour without certified spike protection will be useless in the event of an attack involving some of these truly horrific spiked weapons,” he concluded. “Supplying or selling body armour without certified spike protection will without any question result in either serious injury or even death to front line professionals at some point in the future.”

The PPSS Group has recently launched a new generation of stab-resistant body armour made from high performance carbon fibre composite. This offers certified stab, spike and impact protection.

*Further information is available online at https://shop.ppss-group.com/

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IFPO and Ethos Farm launch ‘Being Human’ online training programme for security personnel

The International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO) has teamed up with global learning and development specialist Ethos Farm to create a ground-breaking, avatar-led online training programme for security personnel that’s running under the ‘Being Human’ banner.

Following on from the recent – and hugely successful – IFPO UK ‘Security Minds Matter’ webinar, Mike Hurst CPP MSyI (director of IFPO UK and Ireland) informed Security Matters: “We are hugely excited to launch the ‘Being Human’ training programme. At the very heart of IFPO is a desire to support security personnel by offering leading educational products. To this end, we were very excited to discover Ethos Farm’s unique approaches to immersive learning for a next generation experience.”

Ethos Farm was named the Learning and Performance Institute’s Learning Start-Up of the Year at the 2020 Learning Awards and has gained recognition for the development of engaging training techniques with clients such as Edinburgh Airport and Heathrow Express.

Speaking about the ‘Being Human’ programme, Josie Barton (Ethos Farm’s co-founder of learning and development) explained to Security Matters: “Working with IFPO on this joint initiative has enabled us to take the organisation’s unparalleled security industry expertise and combine it with training topics we’ve developed around human behaviours and empathetic service.”

Barton went on to state: “This has enabled us to collaboratively build a training product that delves deep into the reasons behind unusual behaviours and how to handle such situations as a security first responder. Our goal is to build appreciation of the spectrum of mental and physical conditions such that security personnel have the right tools to hand in order to assess the situation with emotional intelligence.”

Responding to situations

As mentioned, ‘Being Human’ is an avatar-led e-Learning programme available to purchase on a learner-by-learner basis. It’s also available as a virtual classroom session. The training explores the many factors that influence how someone behaves and the challenges that individuals with a mental or physical condition may experience. It also focuses on how to respond empathetically to situations involving unusual behaviour and the importance of ‘Being Human’ in all dealings with other people.”

Chris Middleton Dip ML MSyl, security and client services director at ABM UK and an IFPO UK and Ireland Advisory Board member, commented: “We are acutely conscious that security professionals are expected to be the first responders in sometimes challenging and difficult circumstances, while also acting with calculated precision. Natural human engagement and empathy are often the very best ways to assess and diffuse situations so we’re delighted to be able to offer this enhanced training programme for the industry.”

Sally Alington, CEO of Ethos Farm, observed: “As a business that’s passionate about elevated employee and customer experiences, we know that front line workforces are seen as ambassadors for the brands they represent. Security personnel are often the first or last impression of any brand. We expect security employees to welcome guests and answer customers’ questions, but they’re also expected to handle extreme situations that can be very complex to judge. That being so, it’s imperative we support these individuals when dealing with challenging behaviours. We’re very proud to be working hand-in-hand with IFPO to offer these important learning programmes to security professionals.”

*The ‘Being Human’ e-Learning course is available to purchase online at https://ifpo.uk/product/being-human-e-learning-module/ or by sending an e-mail to hello@ethosfarm.com. Discounted pricing is available for IFPO members.

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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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Mitie appointed to Government agreement for community COVID testing sites

FM solutions specialist Mitie has been named as a supplier on the Crown Commercial Service agreement for COVID community testing sites. The appointment enhances Mitie’s position as a key supporter of testing services which are a critical part of the UK’s strategy to combat the Coronavirus.

The agreement covers new COVID test sites to be opened as needed by local authorities for short periods (of up to 12 weeks). Mitie will potentially offer test site management and support services to local authorities across 11 regions: Yorkshire and Humber, the North West, the North East, the West Midlands, the East Midlands, the South West, the South East and London, with an option to add Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to the mix.

Mitie will be providing security officers, registration assistants, processing operatives and test assistants as well as cleaning services at the sites along with any additional services required by the local authorities involved. With testing central to the UK’s Coronavirus recovery strategy, Mitie will continue to play a key part in supporting its delivery.

Mitie has been supporting the country directly in its COVID-19 response since the beginning of the pandemic through community testing centres, the first of which opened in Inverness on 25 April last year, and via the provision of essential services for hospitals, including the Nightingale Hospital in London’s Docklands and the Ysbyty Calon y Ddraig – the Dragon’s Heart Hospital – in Cardiff. 

More widely, Mitie now operates over 150 testing sites for public and private sector clients, while the company’s staff members have continued to provide key services at critical sites such as ports and airports right across the country.

Simon Venn, chief Government and strategy officer at Mitie, said: “I’m delighted to be extending our vital work at the heart of the UK’s Coronavirus response to support local communities with their testing programmes. I’m proud of the commitment of our Mitie colleagues in delivering these critical services. They truly are front line heroes. We continue to play our part in keeping the country running and also supporting its recovery.”

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London security directors prosecuted at Thames Magistrates’ Court

Three London security company directors have been fined and given a criminal record for failing to disclose information to the Security Industry Authority (SIA). The prosecution is part of an ongoing investigation into the use of fraudulent SIA licences.

On Monday 8 March, two former company directors – namely Damien Burrell and Omar Nelson – were sentenced at Thames Magistrates’ Court. In a previous hearing on 17 July last year, both pleaded guilty to failing to provide information to the SIA. This is an infringement of the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

Burrell, the former director of Pro-Active Event Staffing Ltd, was fined £233 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,323.50, plus a victim surcharge of £32 within 28 days.

Nelson, formerly the director of No.1 Security Ltd, was sentenced in his absence. He was also fined £233 and required to pay prosecution costs of £1,323.50 within 28 days, in addition to a victim surcharge of £32.

The third security director, Shahbaz Ahmed of HAR Services Ltd, also pleaded guilty to the same charge at Thames Magistrates’ Court on 22 October 2020. SIA investigators made repeated requests for information to Ahmed, but he failed to engage with the regulator. Ahmed was fined £80 and also required to pay court costs of £100.

Fraudulent licence

SIA investigators found that these three security companies were sub-contracted to supply a security officer who attempted to use a fraudulent licence. These included Burrell’s company Pro-Active Event Staffing Ltd, Nelson’s company No.1 Security Ltd, and Ahmed’s business HAR Services Ltd.

SIA investigators pursued the directors in the wake of receiving a query from the client of an SIA Approved Contractor. After initially ignoring the SIA’s requests for information, Burrell and Nelson eventually provided information to SIA investigators.

On 23 March 2019, an HAR Services Ltd employee arrived at a student accommodation centre in London to start his shift. He presented an altered SIA Security Guarding licence. During routine induction checks, an employee noticed that the licence had been tampered with. The man fled the premises and this was duly reported to the SIA.

Due diligence

Nathan Salmon, criminal investigations manager at the SIA, said: “Nelson, Burrell and Ahmed did not carry out adequate due diligence of licensed security and, as a result, betrayed the trust of their client to whom they were contracted for the protection of London students. They have been prosecuted for failing to engage with the SIA. They thought that ignoring us would mean they would face no consequences. The reality is that it’s against the law to ignore a legal request for information. These three men now have criminal records and will not be able to work in the industry in the future.”

Salmon concluded: “The use of fraudulent SIA licences is completely unacceptable. I would encourage anyone who has concerns over such matters to report them to the SIA such that we can then investigate.”

The SIA’s investigations into the use of fraudulent licences continues.

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Axis Group wins Front-of-House and security contract at City of London’s 77 Coleman Street

Property consultancy company BNP Paribas Real Estate has selected the Axis Group to deliver bespoke Front-of-House and security services at 77 Coleman Street in the heart of the City of London.

The appointment of Axis Group companies Acuity and Axis Security gives BNP Paribas Real Estate a seamless ‘one team’-style approach comprising highly professional Front-of-House personnel (including a full-time reception manager) and a security manager working with another security officer. Further staff may be added as building tenancy levels increase.

The striking new building, located just a minute’s walk from Moorgate London Underground Station, offers 68,000 sq ft of office space as well as retail and restaurant space. It combines contemporary design with efficient floorplates. Visitors and tenants are welcomed by a four metre-high reception area and communal space for tenants.

BNP Paribas Real Estate took on the management of the property in the summer of 2020. Axis Security was chosen due to its experience of having worked with the property consultancy on several other greenfield sites where the former’s knowledge of mobilisation, implementation of security operations and procedures and management of contractors supported the client in the smooth running of its operations.

Vision for the building

Chiara di Rienzo, director at Acuity, believes that finding the right look and feel for a reception area is always important. “We ’ ve worked together with the management team at BNP Paribas Real Estate to better understand its vision for the building and to create a five-star reception and concierge service proposal that was befitting of the on-site style and aesthetic.”

Further, di Rienzo observed: “We’ve created a bespoke uniform for the reception team and specific training for each team member. We’re focusing on delivering high quality Front-of-House and security services that will eventually enhance the occupier and visitor experience at this prestigious site.”

The tailored training includes e-Learning, leadership training, classroom training and the formation of individual Personal Development Plans. Acuity will also provide Front-of-House cover for holiday and sickness from its Select Team with staff members already trained on site-specific procedures.

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SSAIB named as sponsor for 2021 ACS Pacesetters Security Officer of Distinction Awards

The Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB) has been named as one of the sponsors for this year’s ACS Pacesetters Security Officer of Distinction Awards.

The 2021 ceremony will take place on Wednesday 16 June and marks the seventh occasion that the exceptional actions of on-duty front line security personnel have been celebrated at this annual event.

The SSAIB joins other five sponsors – namely Centralus, the First Response Group, Orka Works, Security & Vetting Solutions and TrackTik – in supporting the event. The organisation will also put its name to two Security Officer of Distinction Awards which will be bestowed upon officers who’ve gone ‘above and beyond’ for both their employer and the client to whom they’re contracted.

SSAIB CEO Alex Carmichael commented: “We’re thrilled to be able to lend our support to the 2021 ACS Pacesetters Security Officer of Distinction Awards. We’re one of the UKAS-accredited certification bodies working with the Security Industry Authority’s Approved Contractor Scheme. That being so, we see first-hand the outstanding work that security services personnel do on a day-to-day basis. It’s great that an awards event such as this exists in order to give them industry recognition and reward them for their exceptional efforts.”

*Nominations for the 2021 ACS Pacesetters Security Officer of Distinction Awards can be made up until the closing date of Friday 26 March. A copy of the nomination form can be downloaded from the ACS Pacesetters’ website

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Award-winning Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust joins IFPO

The International Foundation for Protection Officers in the UK and Ireland (IFPO UK) is pleased to welcome the award-winning Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Barnsley Facilities Services as corporate members of the not-for-profit organisation.

Barnsley Hospital is among the leading NHS Trusts in the country. The 350-plus bed hospital was built back in the 1970s and serves a population of over a quarter of a million people in the Barnsley area. Today, it continues to provide a full range of district hospital services to the local community and surrounding area. These include Emergency Department services, outpatient clinics, in-patient services and maternity and children’s services.

In addition, Barnsley Hospital provides a number of specialist services, including cancer and surgical services. These services are delivered in conjunction with Sheffield Teaching Hospitals.

The Barnsley Hospital security team, which is led by Mike Lees CSyP FSyI (head of business security) and business security specialist Lisa Corbridge MSyI, has won numerous awards in recent years for its innovative security regimes. At present, of course, the team is very much on the front line when it comes to the fight against COVID-19.

Commenting on the news, Mike Lees stated: “Both the NHS Trust and Barnsley Facilities Services consider the development of our front line personnel as being vitally important. Going forward, membership of the IFPO will be key to ensuring that patients and members of staff working at the hospital are protected by professional teams, the members of which have the opportunity to continue progressing their skills and competences.”

IFPO UK director Mike Hurst CPP MSyI responded: “We’re honoured to have Mike, Lisa and the award-winning Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust security and facilities team as members of the IFPO. Individual security practitioners, security companies and end users are all welcome as members of the organisation. They can access our range of member benefits and security education programmes. Indeed, we’re presently developing some new programmes designed to support front line officers, supervisors and managers.”

Professional membership association

IFPO UK is a not-for-profit professional membership association that exists to provide professional learning opportunities for security practitioners. The core focus is very much on imparting the knowledge, skills and competencies required to maximise job performance and enhance career potential.  

The UK and Ireland website, to be found at www.IFPO.UK, was launched in July last year. UK director Mike Hurst is supported by an Advisory Board of experienced security professionals. The members of that Advisory Board include Chris Middleton, Darren Chalmers-Stevens, Yolanda Hamblen, Paul Kellett, Garry Bergin, Jacqueline Walker, Jayne Robertson, Les Allen, Nic Reed, Peter Stiernstedt and Brian Sims Hon FSyI, Editor of Security Matters.

The IFPO was established in Canada by Ron Minion back in 1998. A former member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and owner of a large Canadian contract business, Minion served as the IFPO’s executive director until 1992. He was succeeded by Sandi Davies, who has held the office ever since.

Davies also serves on the UK Advisory Board alongside Charles ‘Chuck’ Andrews, the IFPO’s chief strategic advisor. At present, the IFPO has members in 68 countries, with security professionals operating in 56 countries studying on its educational programmes.

To date, upwards of 14,000 individuals have achieved IFPO certificates.

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