In his second column, Chris Cully, the Managing Director of risk & security management company, Dilitas puts security manpower for the Olympics under his magnifying glass.
The countdown to the Olympics is 365 days and dropping daily. Only now have London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) announced they need another 20,000 licensed security officers for the Olympics.
The overriding issue now, is how to find the number of security staff required and get them trained to Security Industry Authority (SIA) requirements ready for the start of the Games.
It would be easy to criticise LOCOG, its Chief Executive, Paul Deighton and the other executives in charge. However, that will do nothing to solve the problem.
Whilst, the security company G4S have worked closely with LOCOG as main provider of security manpower, they cannot fill this gap. Nor will they compromise long term contracts with existing clients, to help meet this new requirement.
One suggestion is to place Territorial Army (TA) regiments in “Civvies” and deployed as part of the “infill”. Such a deployment has political repercussions and, the majority of TA soldiers do not hold SIA licences, thereby making such a deployment illegal.
Naturally, should such units be deployed and provided with “rubber stamped” SIA licences, how fair is that on those of us who have spent time and money acquiring them?
Yet again the history of our great nation repeats itself, with our backs to the wall and not enough manpower; in this case, to deliver what is expected to be the greatest Olympiad yet. So, the time has come for the great sills, expertise, professionalism and entrepreneurship that is the UK private security industry to come to the aid of the Country.
An expedient answer is to recruit retired military and police personnel, with more than 5 years unblemished service and consider this suitable enough criterion to hold an SIA licence for only the period of the Games.
Their role would be to act as a middle management or senior NCO/Warrant Officer role to manage and control younger and, potentially, inexperienced security staff and those new to the industry. This would provide a solid stratum of experience that would be invaluable to the security and management of the games.
Whilst such a cadre of “the old & the bold’ will not amount to the 20,000 required, it would be an effective and credible start to managing the problem. The remaining numbers could be drawn from volunteers who would attend large training sessions, where private security industry trainers could train volunteers in a relentless 24 hour churn.
Training courses running for 12 hours consecutively through a 24 hour period, delivered by trainers working continuous day and night shifts may make a dent in the problem. Those completing the course would be licensed by the SIA only for the period of the Games.
The money exists to pay for this level of action. A swift decision by Government and LOCOG could see this happen within weeks. We await to see what comes forth from the hinterland of Westminster to a security industry who stands ready and able to assist.
Chris’ Cully’s career began with the Metropolitan Police in 1978, where he served for 7 years. During this period he served in Uniform, Special Branch and CID. He was then head hunted for the position of Loss Prevention Manager EMEA for the KFC Organisation, where he remained for 4 years. Chris remained in the Corporate world for the next 13 years, latterly working as the London Security Manager for PriceWaterhouseCoopers and then the Security Director for Guilbert Ltd. Chris then joined Greymans Ltd. as a shareholder and Director of Operations and remained with the company until 2010, when he founded his own risk & security management company, Dilitas Ltd. which he now runs from offices in Kingston, Surrey.