Jason Towse reviews the security industry for the first quarter of the year in his role as Managing Director for Mitie’s security business. Jason writes: “It’s been a busy first quarter of 2016, with discussion in the security industry still dominated by international terrorism, the tragic events in Brussels and its impact across Europe. We have also continued to see notable increases in the publicity around cyber-crime, as well as the introduction of the National Living Wage and what it means for the future of British business. These three key areas will certainly give us a lot to think about over the rest of the year.
“I’ve been talking with colleagues from the Security Industry Authority and British Security Industry Association in relation to the Police and Security Group, and I am encouraged to see some traction from its overarching plan. It is fair to say that we are really seeing its importance in the heightened threat climate. I’m so glad that we have such a proactive initiative to bring the police, business and security providers together. When I reflect on the Brussels attacks, the impact it has had across the UK has been clearly evident, and it’s essential that the private security sector works hand-in-hand with the police in any way necessary for the security of our nation and the safety of our people. I’ve been reassured to see the scenario-based exercises that have taken place this month in key shopping centres simulating previous real terror attacks. I’d really like to see the private security industry being involved in these in the future in support of the police. I will most certainly be supporting this in the future; however, will we ever see widespread collaboration including the sharing of data and intelligence?
“With huge focus still on affordability, our sector remains challenging for service providers that do not have their offering aligned with how the market is buying, or what it is demanding due to the rapidly evolving threat landscape, entwined with enterprise risk. Having seen continued consolidation in the market, and from continual dialogue with business and key influencers in our industry, providers have to offer a more converged approach. Last year, in addition to the investment into the SMART convergence software tool, we announced our partnering agreement with Fujitsu, allowing us to operate in the physical and cyber convergence space. Some recent high-profile attacks have been generated by a user clicking on a link in a phishing email. This highlights that, whilst robust systems and firewalls play an important part in tightening security, further emphasis needs to be placed on user awareness and correct procedure to resist threats.
“In April we saw the introduction of the new National Living Wage; in a sector that is so heavily people-based, this was a significant change. However, I did find the engagement and response from our business refreshingly positive; indicating to me that by working together we make the security sector an attractive one to create value and to build a career in. The real challenge, however, will be the next two to four years. With employment costs predicted to rise by up to 30% through the National Living Wage and other elements such as the introduction of the apprentice levy from 2017, it has never been more apparent that solution design is key. This can only be achieved through a multi-layered, multi-service line approach, and true collaboration is needed.
“Finally, I was thrilled to speak and present at our security business’s inaugural Apprentice of the Year event. Out of 2,000 apprentices, we celebrated our top ten from this year’s intake, recognising personal development and outstanding achievement. I am so passionate about recognising our true values and giving our people the opportunity to develop, and inspiring them to achieve their personal goals. It was a memorable event for all.
“Looking forward to the second quarter of this year offers huge excitement for me. I am delighted to be taking part in a panel discussion at IFSEC on 21 June and I’m very much looking forward to celebrating the achievements of our industry people at this year’s BSIA awards.”