Tag Archives: Security Officers

Security Management via the Cloud: ‘Organisations must embrace the risks as well as the opportunities’

Organisations embracing cloud-based security management systems will see major benefits from doing so but must adapt quickly to ensure they don’t open themselves up to evolving risks. This was the clear message emanating from the Association of Security Consultants’ (ASC) winter Business Group meeting held on 18 November at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Inderpall Sall, technical director at NG Bailey IT Services, highlighted the rapid progress towards the next phase of cloud evolution when everything will be connected to the Internet. This would maximise the intelligence available, facilitate the convergence of building, ICT and business systems within organisations and routinely mean that powerful analytics were available.

Examples given included access control data triggering whether lights were switched on or off at a particular workstation, an entry card being disabled and desk and parking space released when someone is on holiday and an American company using data from cameras to analyse behaviour on train stations with a view to preventing suicides.

Clients are now demanding cloud-based mobile technology – “You have to put a network in otherwise someone else will do it”. There’s now a move away from organisations requiring every system to have its own separate infrastructure and applications. Indeed, Sall cited the examples of a client that had opted to have just one cabling infrastructure to manage and monitor everything and of a requirement to provide a very simple, single application with security, fire and building management sections available from one screen.

Inderpall Sall: technical director at NG Bailey IT Services

Inderpall Sall: technical director at NG Bailey IT Services

Consideration of risk alongside opportunity

However, there’s a need to consider the risks alongside the opportunities. If all information is on the network, the implications of being hacked would be much more serious. Effectively, it would be possible for someone to gain control of a whole building.

To offset these risks, i’s important to have substantial physical and IT security in place, give very careful consideration to enterprise security architecture and ensure that all functions involved with security provision are co-ordinating their activities effectively.

The intelligent buildings theme was continued with a presentation on security reporting from Brian and Steve Larkins of Verifi FMS. Despite all the technology developments of recent years, security officers have remained largely dependent on paper records. This could make organising and retrieving information (particularly where this is related to events that had occurred some time ago) challenging to say the least. This session demonstrated VeriFi EIDOS, a new cloud-based alternative which requires only a standard browser.

The ASC event also included a presentation by Broadgate Estates’ security and business continuity manager Jonathan Schulten on the scale and nature of dealing with such a large property portfolio, the dynamics of the relationships between landlord, occupiers and property managers and some typical challenges such as public realm management (for example during World Cup coverage in Exchange Square).

The next ASC Business Group meetings will take place on 3 March and 14 May 2015

The next ASC Business Group meetings will take place on 3 March and 14 May 2015

Speaking after the event, ASC chairman Allan Hildage commented: “We’ve seen today how cloud technology can help to provide a consistent and quality service and ensure different parts of an organisation work together more effectively to meet overall business objectives. However, we’re also constantly reminded that the speed of technological development is challenging everyone. The impact on systems’ integrity and the ability of the regulatory framework to keep pace are just two of the issues raised in questions from the floor.”

Hildage concluded: “From a security and resilience perspective, it’s vital that we grasp the full implications and act on them if we are to maximise the benefits while minimising the risks.”

*The next ASC Business Group meetings will take place on 3 March and 14 May 2015

**For further information about the ASC visit: http://www.securityconsultants.org.uk

Leave a comment

Filed under Risk UK News

Pilgrims Group’s online eGuarding education package realises benefits for end users

A programme of training for security officers known as eGuarding™ has been developed by security and risk management specialist Pilgrims Group to tackle some of the biggest challenges faced in the sector, and is already delivering significant benefits for the organisation’s customer base.

The new interactive online training package was developed in-house. In recent tests, staff who undertook the training showed a 40% increase in their knowledge and ability to apply the learning to real life situations in their day-to-day roles.

Pilgrims Group’s Chief Operating Officer David Freear explained: “We developed the training last year in response to a number of challenges which can be found within the security guarding sector. These include lack of continuous training and officers not always being up-to-speed with standard operating procedures together with the general routine and monotony of the role, all of which can ultimately mean security officers may not be as alert and ready to deal with emergencies as they could be.”

The eGuarding education programme developed by Pilgrims Group is reaping benefits for both staff and customers alike

The eGuarding education programme developed by Pilgrims Group is reaping benefits for both staff and customers alike

The training system was developed to be simple, strongly visual, engaging and interactive, covering all the key skills and competencies required. The officers can complete the course around their day-to-day roles.

“What we have created is unique and innovative. There is nothing like it out there,” added Freear. “We sought to create something which challenges officers to think, to understand how their roles fit into the wider picture and provide regular assessments and practice. We wanted the officers to feel more motivated and further engaged with our clients’ businesses and therefore not just happier at work but also more responsive.”

The Pilgrims Competency Licence

The training package is now part of a major programme of training, tracking, examinations and competencies which are continually monitored and eventually lead to a Pilgrims Competency Licence.

To maintain their currency and continue to hold their licences, each officer must now complete and pass an online assessment and examination on a regular basis.

David Humm, security manager for one of Pilgrims pharmaceutical client’s sites, was one of the first to complete the training. Humm commented: “When I was informed that Pilgrims was developing an e-Learning package I hoped it would be interactive, progressive and, most importantly, offer me something job-specific and relevant to my role. My team and I were fortunate to have had the opportunity to trial the system before it was rolled out through the company. I was really impressed with the work which had been put into the whole concept. I found the platform easy to navigate and operate and, thankfully, it’s not remotely boring as it really captures the user’s imagination.”

David Freear: Chief Operating Officer at Pilgrims Group

David Freear: Chief Operating Officer at Pilgrims Group

David Freear added: “One of the major benefits to clients is that the training can be tailored to their company’s requirements, which means they can have an interactive training package that’s bespoke and covers the specific threats and issues the business may face.”

The training system is being continually developed with further enhancements to be incorporated across 2014-2015.

Leave a comment

Filed under Risk UK News

BSIA Security Personnel of the Year Awards: The 2014 National Winners

The hard work and achievements of 15 outstanding security professionals have been recognised in the national round of this year’s British Security Industry Association (BSIA) Security Personnel Awards, which were presented at the Association’s exclusive Annual Luncheon held at the London Hilton, Park Lane on Wednesday 16 July.

Her Rt Hon Baroness Smith of Basildon – Shadow Home Affairs Minister for Private Security – presented the prestigious awards which provide an exclusive platform to showcase the excellence and outstanding performances displayed by employees of BSIA member companies.

Currently in their 16th year, the BSIA’s Security Personnel Awards are presented in five key categories: Service to the Customer, Outstanding Act, Best Newcomer, Best Use of Technology and Best Team.

In 2014, the Judging Panel was chaired by Professor Martin Gill (director of PRCI) and included Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI (Editor of Risk UK) and Bobby Logue, managing director at Interconnective.

“The BSIA is always keen to ensure that the efforts and talents of personnel who make invaluable contributions towards maintaining high standards in our industry are not overlooked,” commented James Kelly, CEO of the BSIA. “The awards give us the opportunity to recognise and reward individuals and teams that continue to exceed our expectations year upon year.”

James Kelly: CEO at the BSIA

James Kelly: CEO at the BSIA

Kelly continued: “This year in particular we received a large amount of exceptional nominations, making the appointment of this year’s winners even more difficult than usual. Our 15 winners encompass the value of the security industry, demonstrating intelligent and innovative uses of technology and teamwork, unrivalled customer service and commendable acts of bravery. We’re extremely proud to have them working within our industry.”

The awards would not be possible without the support of Camberford Law plc, specialist insurance brokers to the BSIA and the private security industry, who have sponsored them since their inception.

David Ottewill, the managing director at Camberford Law plc, explained the value of the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards. “So often, good work goes unnoticed by the public and industry at large. We want to recognise the hard work and achievements of these high calibre professionals. We are very proud to be associated with the BSIA’s Awards and the talent displayed by the winners.”

BSIA Security Personnel of the Year Awards: The 2014 National Winners

Service to the Customer

Roger Vanhinsbergh: City Security Services
Roger is employed by security company City Security Services, and has worked on a contract for one of the company’s clients – Horsefair Shopping Centre – for over seven years. He was nominated for the award by his managers for being the ‘lynchpin’ of security operations at the shopping centre.

Since starting on the contract at Horsefair, Roger has consistently continued to exceed the high standards that are required of him. Through his hard work, commitment and willingness to ‘go the extra mile’, Roger has gained the respect and gratitude of the Horsefair Shopping Centre’s customers and its management team.

Leonard Brownsword: Corps Security
Leonard has worked in the security sector for over 12 years and has been a senior site supervisor with Corps Security for over a year. He has been nominated for the award by his managers for being an extremely hard working individual who has very good rapport with the staff, regular visitors and contractors on site.

Leonard works for Corps Security’s client Joint Service Adventure Sail Training Centre and has been looking after its site for a number of years. As site security supervisor, Leonard regularly provides a service ‘above and beyond’ his remit that ensures the security of all staff, visitors and assets. He’s always helpful, courteous and enthusiastic and described as someone who delivers results.

Kim McCarron: UniTrust Protection Services (UK)
Kim currently works for security company UniTrust Protection Services (UK) after having worked with BNP Paribas Securities Services for nearly seven years. Kim was nominated for the award by her managers in recognition of her professional attitude and commitment to her role.

Demonstrating a proactive approach to the job, Kim effectively deals with a wide range of staff and visitors on a daily basis. She caters for all their individual needs and understands the requirement for balancing effective security policies and procedures with bespoke customer care and service. This has been supported on a number of occasions by positive customer feedback.

Outstanding Act

Gary Douglas and Ajaz Ahmed: Securitas Security Services
Gary and Ajaz work for Securitas Security Services. For several years, they’ve operated in tandem on a contract with WYCA (the West Yorkshire Combined Authority).

They were nominated for the award by their managers for their quick thinking and immediate reaction to a sexual assault at a bus station where they were on duty.

Gary Douglas and Ajaz Ahmed from Securitas Security Services

Gary Douglas and Ajaz Ahmed from Securitas Security Services

Gary and Ajaz showcased their excellent vigilance when witnessing a male following a female into the women’s toilets. Responding immediately, they followed the gentleman into the toilets where, on their arrival, the male fled the scene. It was apparent that the female in question had been sexually assaulted by the male.

Both Gary and Ajaz escorted the woman to the Security Office where they proceeded to contact the police.

A week later, Ajaz was on duty when he recognised the male in question had returned to the bus station. He discreetly monitored the male while contacting the police, who subsequently arrived and arrested the man.

Robert Smith: VSG
Robert works for security company VSG and has been a key member of the security team at The Mall in Maidstone for just over a decade. He was nominated for the award by his managers following an incident in which a 15-month old girl was taken seriously ill at the site.

A mother and her infant daughter were shopping at The Mall when her daughter had a fit and stopped breathing. Without any hesitation, Robert acted fast to clear her airways and help lower her temperature before handing her over to the ambulance services.

Robert’s quick thinking led to the saving of the baby’s life.

Best Newcomer

Dean Baverstock: The Westgrove Group
A security supervisor for The Westgrove Group, Dean Baverstock has been working on a selection of the Group’s Midlands portfolio contracts for over a year. He was nominated for the award by his managers because of unrivalled passion for his work and a “hunger to succeed”.

Dean began his career with The Westgrove Group as a relief cleaner but quickly progressed to security officer level and then to security supervisor in little over a year. He liaises confidently with clients at all levels and is mentoring and passing on knowledge to other new recruits.

Dean has achieved a great deal of success in a short space of time and is currently working his through the Westgrove Group’s staff development programme.

Karl Smith: VSG
An employee of VSG, Karl has been working on a contract for one of the company’s clients – The Kingdom Shopping Centre – for just under a year. He was nominated for the award by his managers because of his commitment to the role and the fact that Karl is a “valuable asset” to his team.

Having just begun his career in security with very little knowledge of the industry, Karl has shown that he’s prepared to learn his role quickly and shows commitment to The Kingdom Shopping Centre Team by providing support to the site when additional manpower is required.

Emilija Zemaitaityte: VSG
Emilija has been working with VSG’s London-based client Credit Suisse for just over 18 months and was nominated for the award by her managers because she has not only established herself in a core security position, but has also risen quickly through the ranks to become acting Control Centre operator.

VSG's Emilija Zemaitaityte accepts her Best Newcomer Award from the Baroness

VSG’s Emilija Zemaitaityte accepts her Best Newcomer Award from the Baroness

Having just started her career in the security industry, there is evidence to show that Emilija will dedicate her career to security for the long term. She is always keen to develop her security knowledge, and her enthusiasm and dedication to the company shows in her commitment to her role.

Best Use of Technology

Garry MacLean: Securitas Security Services
Garry has worked with Securitas client Scottish Power for over five years now, and was nominated for the award by his managers for the initiative he shows and his dedication to his role.

Securitas' Garry MacLean receives his national award in the Best Use of Technology category

Securitas’ Garry MacLean receives his national award in the Best Use of Technology category

As a controller in the Scottish Power Security Control Room, Garry is responsible for monitoring the images from over 700 CCTV cameras and seven alarm systems covering 42 sites.

Throughout his time in the Control Room, Garry has been instrumental in pushing forward the quality of service delivery provided to Scottish Power. He is seen as the key trainer within the Control Room and will dedicate his own time to training up members of staff and ensure they have all the prerequisite skills to carry out the demanding roles they’re required to undertake.

Joe Palmer: VSG
Joe Palmer won the award for Best Use of Technology in the Midlands heat of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) Regional Security Personnel Awards.

In 2013, Joe was appointed to lead a Crime Line and Data Analysis Team tasked with establishing a solution capable of gathering data reported by telephone and e-mail (and with the ultimate goal of using this to pro-actively tackle organised crime).

Joe Palmer of VSG receives his award from Baroness Smith of Basildon

Joe Palmer of VSG receives his award from Baroness Smith of Basildon

Joe has displayed “an unwavering desire” to always be one step ahead of the complex fraudster within a constantly challenging retail security environment.

Best Team

Commando Training Centre Team: Corps Security
Members of the Commando Training Centre Team work for Corps security and are currently contracted to provide security services for client The Commando Training Centre Royal Marines. This is a 27-strong team of individuals who continue to deliver an exceptional service to the client.

The Training Centre is a complex and extremely busy site that has a diverse range of tenants, workers and visitors, all of whom produce their own particular security challenges.

A representative from the Commando Training Centre Team at Corps Security proudly receives the Best Team trophy

A representative from the Commando Training Centre Team at Corps Security proudly receives the Best Team trophy

The team from Corps Security is able to multi-task and deal with all of these challenges in a professional manner, as well as securing the area during high profile events.

IKEA Milton Keynes Team: VSG
The IKEA Milton Keynes Team is a group of seven strong and determined security officers described as “an outstanding group of individuals” who “excel at every part of their role”.

The team has an excellent relationship with the client which is supported by the plethora of compliments they receive on a weekly basis.

A representative from the IKEA Milton Keynes Team at VSG pictured with Baroness Smith

A representative from the IKEA Milton Keynes Team at VSG pictured with Baroness Smith

The team uses its collective retail security knowledge and experience to educate and support other IKEA Risk UK teams and IKEA co-workers. This naturally raised awareness within the IKEA Milton Keynes store and also brought a real sense of ownership and understanding to the store. Recently, the Milton Keynes site has been identified as a store of excellence in the UK, and the VSG team has played an important role in the store achieving this title

National Distribution Centre Team at Magna Park: VSG
Members of the team have been excelling on this contract for the Midlands-based client across a number of years.

The eight-strong team represents a committed group of individuals who continue to exceed the standards required of them.

The team has been through a number of changes since beginning to operate on site but the individual members continue to support each other in various different ways, whether that be in relation to shift cover or dealing with difficult issues and/or situations.

Leave a comment

Filed under Risk UK News

SIA checks reveal high compliance levels across London and Birmingham

Security Industry Authority investigators launched a simultaneous operation across Birmingham and London on Thursday 26 June. The operation was conducted to check the security licences of door supervisors and security officers working across 29 venues in the two cities.

In Birmingham, 56 security officers were checked at venues including building sites, retail shops, a railway station, the airport and a museum.

Of those checked, one individual was found working without an SIA licence. Enquiries are ongoing.

In central London, 57 door supervisors were checked in pubs, bars and clubs. All the door supervisors were working legally as they held valid SIA licences.

Four warnings were issued to individuals for failing to notify the SIA of a change of their address. This is a breach of SIA licensing conditions.

Regional investigations manager Paul Cartlidge said: “Random operations like this are undertaken throughout the year to ensure that those working in the private security industry are properly licensed. The scale of this operation and the positive results show that the majority of people working in the industry are aware of their legal obligations.”

Cartlidge concluded: “We will continue to work closely with the industry and enforcement partners to ensure that these high levels of compliance are maintained.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Risk UK News

Security officers: why respect for their role really matters

Brian Sims reviews Channel 4’s ‘Undercover Boss’, in which Securitas’ UK and Ireland leader Geoff Zeidler found out exactly what life on the front line is like for the company’s security officers.

Monday 8 July 2013 was something of a Red Letter Day for security guarding in the UK, but you’ll not be overly cognisant of the fact unless you happened to be watching Channel 4 at 9.00 pm.

Series 5 Episode 2 of the broadcaster’s ‘Undercover Boss’ strand featured Geoff Zeidler – country president and UK/Ireland managing director at Securitas – going ‘back to the shop floor’ following the 2011 acquisitions of Reliance and Chubb, and learning what life is really like for his frontline staff during one of the worst spells of economic recession ever to hit the UK.

What followed was not only a seriously engaging hour-long documentary but also a thought-provoking exercise bringing key topics to the fore.

Securitas' UK and Ireland md Geoff Zeidler: The Undercover Boss

Securitas’ UK and Ireland md Geoff Zeidler: The Undercover Boss

An engineering graduate of the University of Cambridge, Geoff took it upon himself to vacate the Boardroom for five days and – under the persona of Dale James, an unemployed engineer looking for a career change – interface with Securitas’ frontline officers. Those officers wouldn’t recognise him, he hoped, once he’d grown a beard and shaved his head.

First port of call was a waterside development of bars in Manchester. Geoff met with Mo and Mario (former employees of Reliance). Over two decades they’ve been threatened by people brandishing firearms, slashed with knives and ‘glassed’ by thugs toting broken bottles.

Geoff swapped his suit for a metal-plated vest and, alongside the duo, attempted to control aggressive drunks and impromptu street brawls. Not his usual habitat and one that, by his own admission, was “very frightening”.

Attempted theft and Anti-Social Behaviour

Next stop was The Priory Shopping Centre in Dartford. Here, instances of attempted theft and Anti-Social Behaviour crop up. Geoff was put to the test by security manager Julie who asked him to confront a six-foot giant banned from the site – the chap concerned was acting out the role – before informing Securitas’ UK leader that she regularly works 14-hour days (many beginning before 5.00 am), finds it difficult to cover all shifts due to lack of bodies and that her own life outside of work is suffering as a result. Not a great picture.

Then it was off to Cirencester, where Geoff pitched up in front of Charles and Carl looking for mobile patrol work. Alas, the eagle-eyed duo rumbled Geoff’s disguise thanks to a photo of ‘The Real Mr Zeidler’ immediately behind him on their office wall, but agreed to keep quiet.

Geoff ventured out on night patrol with James, one of four officers who check up on 500-plus properties. James had to buy his own torch because the one with which he’d been supplied didn’t cut it. He’d also negotiated a new £25,000 contract for Securitas to monitor three warehouses but there was no commission in place for him.

To round off the whole experience, Geoff dropped in on Dewsbury Bus Station (a long-term contract for Securitas). The station resides in a racially diverse town where one third of residents come from an ethnic background.

Dave – one of the officers on duty – is quizzed by Zeidler, who learns of security staff having to cope with (among other things) drunks who threaten them, attempted headbuttings and instances of racial abuse.

Geoff Zeidler on patrol in Manchester with Securitas officers Mo and Mario

Geoff Zeidler on patrol in Manchester with Securitas officers Mo and Mario

At the end of the programme, Geoff – by now “angry” with what he has seen – admits who he is and acts fast. Mo and Mario are granted extra CCTV, Julie additional officers. James is paid his commission (and issued with a new torch). Dave receives £500 to donate to local charities while consideration is afforded to alterations for Basic Job Training on the site that will improve aspects of communication.

How frontline security officers are viewed and treated – by their employers, their employers’ customers and society at large – matters, and massively so. As this programme amply demonstrates, those officers do a fantastic job day in, day out, often under immensely trying circumstances. They absolutely deserve to be wholly respected by the society they protect.

Channel 4, Securitas and Geoff Zeidler merit much praise for producing this programme. We desperately need more prime time documentaries centred on security’s frontline. Maybe then we can banish forever the tired, clichéd and erroneous views of security guarding that have no place in today’s world.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blogroll