JUNE 2010 – ENERGISING THE SECURITY INDUSTRY

It is clear that in an age of austerity more will be required from the private security industry to support law enforcement agencies in their role as protectors of the public. Business is looking to the security frontline to become first responders requiring First on Scene skills in the area of First Aid and Fire, as well as becoming their eyes and ears in the growing terrorism threat. Yes, we have heard it all before, the wider police family etc., however, this time with the Olympics looming and a tight hand on the public purse, the opportunity for the security industry to display its true credentials has never been greater.

“The opportunity for the security industry to display its true credentials has never been greater”

Key to driving our industry forward is positive leadership from our trade bodies such as the BSIA and acceptance by the new government of our true capabilities. The strength and strategic importance of our industry is not emphasised enough, through unity and focus, we, as an industry could achieve this. A little known but important fact is the largest employer on the LSE is a security company. We however cannot demand respect, we have to earn it.

“We cannot demand respect, we have to earn it”

By its defensive nature the security industry tends to focus on the negative. The position is further aggravated by negative mutterings by the likes of Top Gear presenter, Jeremy Clarkson and the unsavoury antics of wheel clampers, who have inexplicably been lumped into our industry by the previous government. This view is entirely contrary to reality, which is that several hundred thousand men and woman protect the public and property daily. Annually, it is my privilege to be one of the judges of the BSIA Security Officer of the Year awards. It is during this process that you begin to realise the level of performance, dedication, levels of customer service, life saving actions and bravery that our frontline personnel deliver selflessly on a regular basis. This is a far cry from some of the poor perceptions of our industry that are regularly espoused by the ill informed. It is clear that our industry requires positive vision and leadership which should emanate from security industry trade bodies.

“Our industry requires positive vision and leadership which should emanate from security industry trade bodies”

It is my belief that one of the flaws in the industry is our wish to create today tomorrow, in other words we are always one step behind. It is my opinion that the current approach of our industry is to examine challenges on a piecemeal basis instead of adopting a holistic approach. Examples include skills development, the Working Time Directive and company differentiation. My belief is that a holistic approach is adopted where security industry best process, practice and output is identified. This will give all stakeholders of the security industry a vision of excellence instead of focussing on minimum requirements. From this vision, standards, skill levels and other “items” on the industry’s shopping list could flow.

“From this vision, standards, skill levels and other “items” on the industry’s shopping list could flow”

Part of this approach would require the regulator, the Security Industry Authority to give more weight to their relationships with the security industry trade bodies on industry matters. The trade organisations would in turn have to ensure its positions are fully mandated by its membership. This appears to be the case with the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) when the new Chief Executive James Kelly, committed to offering BSIA members the opportunity to sign off on key new policies.

Bobby Logue is the Editor of Infologue.com