In the Part Two of the 2009 – Security Guarding Industry in Review the British Security Industry Association Chairman Stuart Lowden, The Security Institute Chairman Mike Bluestone, and Skills for Security Commercial Director Bob Doyle describe the 2009 achievements and highlights of their respective organisations.


The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) is no longer a big boys club, writes Stuart Lowden, the Chairman of the BSIA in an exclusive end of year review for Our strength lies in our diversity as we represent not only multi-national companies, but a significant number of the industry’s Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). In fact, 79% of BSIA’s Security Guarding Section are SMEs. 2009 has been a year where the security guarding sector has made significant steps forward in its development with the British Security Industry Association  and its members at the heart of these changes.

We have seen the development of a new security guarding standard resulting from collaboration between BSIA, NSI and Skills for Security. The standard will progress further in 2010 and should make a real difference for companies wishing to demonstrate a significant and verifiable difference in the guarding services they provide. The Bridging the Gap initiative has also been launched this year, providing a formal qualification for Further Education students from across the UK, leading to a guaranteed job interview with a BSIA member and, for some Bridging the Gap graduates, the opportunity to assist in the security arrangements for London 2012.

BSIA members in Northern Ireland have been working hard to prepare for the introduction of regulation. This is the final step in the rollout of a single regulatory scheme for the whole of the UK. The BSIA lobbied for regulation for years before it was introduced and we remain firm supporters of the principles behind a regulated security guarding sector. Finally, our members have committed to supporting CONTEST – the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy. This is a significant step forward with the private sector being recognised as a key contributor to national security and the BSIA will be working closely with Government to ensure the strategy becomes a reality.

These are just a few achievements for an Association whose work is woven into the very fibre of the industry and the successes are testament not only to the commitment and expertise of BSIA staff, but also that of our membership. With such strength and capability within the BSIA I look forward to 2010 reaping more successes and rewards for the industry with the Association leading the way.


2009 was a year of celebration and also change for the Security Institute. The Institute celebrated its ten-year anniversary since its foundation in 1999 by a small but dedicated group of security practitioners, including former Institute Chairmen, Geoff Whitfield FSyI and Bill Wyllie FSyI.  This year was also a year of change for the Institute with a new Board of Directors elected in March led by newly elected Chairman, Mike Bluestone FSyI.

Achievements during 2009 include the full development of the Institute Mentoring programme, the implementation of the student membership scheme, the start of production of a new series of Good Practice Guides, the revision of the Institute’s Certificate course, and significantly enhanced engagement with the SIA, and other industry bodies and associations. In addition, the scoring matrix for new members was substantially revised to take into account the Institute’s support for members achieving academic and other professional qualifications. A new CPD scheme has also been completed, and will be launched in January 2010. A number of highly successful events around the UK were held in 2009, including the September Annual Conference and the Remembrance Lecture in November, which was delivered by Brigadier Ed Butler.

Significantly, 2009 saw the Institute commit itself to the pursuit of Chartered Status, and a Chartered Status Steering Group was established to drive this process forward. The continuing growth in membership also saw the recruitment of two further full-time staff to enhance the small professional team led by the Institute’s General Manager, Di Thomas. 


The Christmas Carol tells us that “’Tis the Season to be Jolly” and, despite the general doom and gloom, the fact is that 2009 has not been all bad, and there are good reasons to remain positive about our industry.

Although sometimes viewed as a low-skill, low-tech, un-dynamic sector of the economy, the security industry can in fact boast a workforce in which the majority of people who have not only been trained, but are also qualified to do their job. Far from being low-tech, security staff are working daily with some very sophisticated electronic wizardry, and the charge of a lack of dynamism is easily rebutted – just look at the way the sector has grown, adapted its services and responded to new challenges and opportunities in recent years.

2009 has seen the creation of a new quality standard for individual Guarding contracts – the Contract Quality Marque – and the commencement of work on a new quality standard for Guarding companies that will complement the ACS; the establishment of a new apprentice training centre to help deliver tomorrow’s security and fire engineers; launch of a new university degree programme that can take security managers on a journey from Foundation to Masters degrees; enrolment of the first students onto the Bridging the Gap programme to  address the issue of staffing for the 2012 and 2014 Games; Project Griffin has continued to develop and is the model for similar international programmes; SIA licensing finally became nationwide with its extension to Northern Ireland……………and these are only the good news stories that came immediately to mind.

Of course there are still difficult times ahead, and not everything that happened in 2009 was positive, but on balance there are reasons to be optimistic that the security sector is holding its own, is still making progress, is still innovating and thinking ahead at a time when many sectors of UK industry are struggling just to stand still.