Keeping a business on stream during a recession means considering the basics of effective risk management and providing innovative solutions to the challenges of the economic environment.  It’s not about providing more officers or more cameras but about taking a ‘smarter’ approach to the way these are deployed and the effectiveness of the mitigating response,” says Peter Jones, the Chief Operating Officer of Reliance Security Services Limited, writing exclusively for the Leadership series.

Recession asks big questions of any business manager, most of which revolve around expenditure. With income streams under pressure, it’s a natural response but one that needs a good deal of thought and examination. A recent Reliance Security survey of the logistics sector found that more than three quarters of these businesses believe that the current severe downturn will raise the level of crime affecting their operations. Yet security expenditure is perhaps one of the biggest dilemmas an organisation faces. On the one hand it is sometimes one of the hardest costs to quantify and therefore justify, yet as our survey shows hard times always induce a rise in crime and an increased threat to business. Which is why a business’s security in these difficult times requires smart thinking. While it may seem prudent to cut back on security manpower for example, new developments in areas such as technology and response services offer the opportunity to adopt a more innovative, integrated approach to the overall security solution. My advice to all buyers of security services is to take advantage of the expert security consultancy available from your provider. The smart security supplier will develop a deep understanding of its customer, its business and its brand values and work as an extension of their organisation to continually evolve the security solution based on changing and developing requirements.  More importantly, with the rapid advances being made in the mix of security provision, suppliers should be able to offer the best value and most effective solution to fit an organisation’s budget.

Cost-effective mobile solutions, such as Reliance’s Patrol Net service have proved increasingly popular with those organisations with multiple locations and where a frequent but not permanent security presence is required. With the number of vacant premises on the increase due to the economic downturn, the use of mobile response services can not only prevent criminal damage and protection against fire and flood damage, but also help customers comply with insurance and legal requirements.  Great strides have also been made in CCTV and remote monitoring solutions, providing better coverage and round the clock support from well trained monitoring teams – experienced at recognising and responding to potential breaches of security. The protection of lone workers has also taken on an even more important role following last year’s legislation on corporate manslaughter which places greater emphasis on an organisation’s overall security strategy than ever before.   Advances in technology mean that the issue of how to provide support for lone workers can now be addressed through monitored innovative alarm solutions that can make an enormous difference for the reassurance of both personnel and managers working in situations involving potential threats to workers.

Peter Jones is Chief Operating Officer of Reliance Security Services. The company is part of the Reliance Security Group – a market leader in the provision of manned and electronic security solutions, facilities management and business process outsourcing.  With a turnover of £382.6 million in 2007-8 and over 13,000 employees, Reliance works with a large portfolio of high profile customers in both the public and private sectors.