Peter Webster – It’s time to take a top down approach to security provision

Peter Webster - Chief Executive of Corps Security
Peter Webster - Chief Executive of Corps Security

Peter Webster, chief executive of Corps Security, a regular blogger, discusses a top down approach to security. He writes: “It is a constant source of amazement to me just how many UK organisations adopt a silo mentality when it comes to their security provision. They source their intruder alarm, CCTV, access control, fire detection and alarm monitoring services from different providers and when key holding, manned guarding and alarm response services are also considered it can mean that there are several different contracts in place, with every provider operating completely independently of each other.

This is a hugely inefficient, both from procurement and administrative perspectives, as well as being enormously cost ineffective. It’s why using managed services from a specialist security solution provider makes more sense on every level. The fact that so many companies fail to recognise the benefits of an integrated approach is particularly surprising given the way it can streamline an entire security infrastructure, make it more operationally efficient and less expensive.

Like many of you I’m sure, the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit Robbery both shocked and amazed me. The fact that such an audacious robbery was carried out so successfully in an age where surveillance, access control and alarm technology has never been more sophisticated, was simply incredible. The thieves even managed to come and go on two separate occasions. They first entered the building after 9.00pm on 2nd April and left shortly after 8:00am on 3rd April, and then returned to the scene soon after 10:00pm on 4th April and were recorded on CCTV leaving the premises at around 6:40am on 5th April.

It also appears that the police decided not to respond to an intruder alarm alert issued by the alarm receiving centre. We are yet to discover why but in a statement Scotland Yard said, ‘It is too early to say if the handling of the call would have had an impact on the outcome of the incident.’ Given what we now know, I think that it would have been prudent to have at least attended the scene.

While more details will emerge over the forthcoming days and weeks, it is clear that there was a disconnect at some point in the process, and follow up actions were not carried out properly. A more joined up approach to the building’s security provision would have created a more effective operational system where others would have been asked to investigate in such an event and more sophisticated technology implemented. For example, we’ve all seen the image of the hole that was drilled to get to the safety deposit boxes, so was a seismic detection system in place and was the intruder alarm correctly specified?

If a single management process is desirable, which organisation should manage the overall contract? As the user of the technology, it is my view that the remote monitoring service provider should lead the way to providing management of the whole security infrastructure. It has to monitor and react to any incidents and should be managing the specification of equipment in order to provide the best level of security at the most efficient cost.

Leading remote monitoring service providers can undertake an in-depth analysis of an organisation’s activities, premises and facilities, and it is only after completing a comprehensive risk and threat assessment that the most appropriate security solution is configured. Preferably the monitoring provider will not install equipment itself as, by remaining independent, it will be able to work with best-in-class integrators, therefore ensuring that the most appropriate security technology infrastructure will be put in place – one that can be monitored to best effect.

A fully integrated solution also reduces spend and enhances protection by cost effectively combining the use of manned guarding, surveillance technology and remote monitoring. This holistic approach avoids sub-dividing various service offerings into separate departments, providing a complete solution that combines the most appropriate elements of each discipline. The savings can be significant and as a pioneer of this approach, Corps Security has demonstrated that we can reduce a customer’s overall spend by up to 30 per cent without detriment to its security regime, simply by replacing costly manned guarding with less costly, but equally effective, remote monitoring services.

One of the reasons for the status quo is the misapprehension that remote monitoring companies only do monitoring and there is no alternative but to use different suppliers for various disciplines. This is simply not the case and, as I suspect the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit robbery will demonstrate, there are inherent dangers associated with a fragmented approach to security provision.

Corps Security Website

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