Mike Bullock – Why are security professionals more likely to die from Covid19 than other occupations?

Mike_bullock_corps_securityCorps Security CEO, Mike Bullock, discusses why the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has security officers so high up on the list of death rates from Covid-19 and the importance of protecting security staff from these risks. 

Recent research released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that security officers are more likely than other occupations to die from Covid19. Our sector has one of the highest death rates at 45.7 deaths per 100,000 people. Other risky jobs mentioned by the ONS included taxi drivers, bus and coach drivers, chefs and sales assistants. But they are all at considerably lower risk than security officers.

Like other security organisations, we’ve been doing everything we can to support and protect our security officers but, as essential workers on the front-line of this pandemic, our officers face undoubted risks that other occupations avoid when they can work from home.

We consider ourselves fortunate that, at Corps, we haven’t lost anyone to this virus. But we are interested to know why security officers are so affected – and what we can do to mitigate that effect. We have therefore commissioned research into the subject, which we’ll publish next month. But in the meantime, a brief analysis of the data from the ONS reveals an interesting story.

Gender: Men are far more likely than women to die from the virus. The ONS data reveals that up to 15 May 2020, there were 41,220 deaths registered in England and Wales which cited the pandemic of which 23,108  were men and 18,112 were women. Men are therefore 27% more likely to die from the virus than women. Although more women are entering the security profession, it remains male dominated – figures from the Security Industry Authority reveal that just 9 per cent of security employees are women.

Age: We know that Covid19 affects older people more than younger ones. Up to 15 May 2020, just over 450 people aged up to 44 years old have died from the virus in England and Wales. But 4,121 people aged 45 to 64 years old – a key age for many security officers – have died. These numbers increase as people get older.

Ethnic group: The ONS figures show that the risk of death involving Covid19 among some ethnic groups is higher than that of those of white ethnicity. Black men are 4.2 times more likely to die from the virus than white men. At the same time, men of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin are 1.8 times more likely to die from Covid19 than white men. A large percentage of our security officers describe themselves as non-white.

Location: London has the highest mortality rate from the virus with 85.7 deaths per 100,000 people according to the ONS. This is significantly higher than other regions and almost double the next highest rate. Of course, the virus started earlier in the capital and those figures may change as the weeks go by. A large proportion of the UK’s security professionals are based in the capital.

The ONS data does go some way to explaining why security officers have one of the highest death dates from Covid-19. Security officers seem to be in the perfect storm of gender, age, ethnic group and location and are therefore obviously likely to be more affected. But just because we can explain why our industry is more affected than others does not mean we can just shrug our shoulders and do nothing.  We must work together as an industry to do all we can to ensure no more security officers die as a result of Covid19. We will continue with the work we’re doing to protect our people and will share the results of our more in-depth research when it’s published.