BSIA: Lessons in security partnership to be learnt from student protests

As the clear-up continues at Conservative Party headquarters following last week’s violent student protests against tuition fees, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) is highlighting the important role that the private security industry could play in avoiding future clashes.

Wednesday’s protest, initially expected to attract 20,000 protestors, was in fact attended by an estimated 50,000 students, a small minority of whom resorted to violent attacks and occupation of the Conservative Party Headquarters in Millbank, near Westminster, resulting in a stand-off with Police which ended with 14 injuries and 35 arrests.

Police reported that 225 officers were initially drafted in to cover the protest, however, as the number of protestors continued to exceed expectations, police were left vastly outnumbered, with around one officer for every 220 protestors.

Mick Lee, Chairman of the BSIA’s Police and Public Services Section, which represents private security companies with particular expertise in supporting the public sector, commented: “With budget cuts across the public sector recently announced by the Coalition government, Police forces across the country will be faced with increased pressure to cut costs while maintaining an excellent level of service to local communities.

“The protests in Millbank are just one example of where the private security industry can do much to help police forces overcome this challenge, providing physical support on the ground while freeing up police officers to help limited resources stretch further in protecting local communities. Private security companies can also work alongside the police to help with recovery and clean-up operations, helping communities to get back on their feet after catastrophic events have occurred.”

The BSIA has worked hard in recent years to forge effective working partnerships with the police and government, and continues to reach out to emergency services to help protect communities in the face of continued economic challenges.

For more information on the BSIA’s Police and Public Services Section, visit