Paul Lotter, Managing Director for Corps Security discusses the importance of recognising the contributions of security in the wake of the pandemic and why Thank Your Security Officer Day is important.
This Thursday marks Thank Your Security Officer Day, the second annual day of recognition for security officers run by Corps Security. It falls during a wider international week of recognition: Security Officer Appreciation Week and it couldn’t come at a more apposite time.
This year has been like no other for all of us, but particularly our front-line security teams. While many of us worked safely at home during lockdown – and since – our security officers have been, and continue to be, on the front line of this pandemic. And in many cases they paid a high price for that service and dedication. Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released during the period showed that security officers are more likely than other occupations to die from Covid19. Our research, which we conducted with Perpetuity Research and Consultancy International following the ONS news, shows that the age, ethnicity, sex and the pay of the average security officer together with the very nature and location of their role all comes together to create a perfect storm of Covid susceptibility.
The Government’s decision to classify SIA licence-holding security professionals as keyworkers has meant that in many cases they were the last people standing in many buildings – closing down facilities, supporting skeleton staff elsewhere and getting premises ready for reopening. They also continued to play a vital role in supporting the Police service, which is already stretched thanks to its increased responsibilities. With social distancing rules changing on a regular basis, this support is only likely to increase.
The security sector has been fundamentally changed by the pandemic – and in many cases this has been in a positive way. The gradual shift from a more transactional to a customer service led role has been accelerated by Covid. Our officers are increasingly recognised for the great work they do. They’re now supporting people and organisations a lot more as they navigate the new workplace normal. Security teams are often the first people that building occupants see when they come back into a building. They’re reinforcing social distancing advice, carefully explaining how the new security and access control systems work, talking people through new technology such as thermal imaging cameras, and reassuring them that the building is safe. Security officers are the building’s friendly and welcoming face – a source of continuity in troubled times.
As we begin to return to some kind of normality – research from Metrikus, the smart buildings platform, reveals that London buildings are at 33 percent of their pre-lockdown capacity – now is the time to thank your security officer for their dedication and service over the past year, and particularly the last six challenging months. That could be just taking the time to smile and say thank you when you pass them in the morning or evening. Or, depending on your organisation, it could be something more formal such as a card and presentation or a mention on your company’s internal comms or social media feeds. The impact of your organisation’s leader publicly thanking the security team for their support is very powerful.
While much about the pandemic has been negative, the recognition for front-line workers – from NHS and care home staff to supermarket workers, cleaning teams and security officers – has been one positive aspect. Everyone from the Royal Family and senior Government figures, to celebrities and business leaders were keen to demonstrate their support. Let’s harness that passion to recognise our security teams for their work this Thank Your Security Officer Day.
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