Government encouraged by increasing maturity and professionalism of the security industry – Lynne Featherstone

James Kelly, Julie Kenny and Lynne Featherstone MP

“Thanks to the work done by the SIA and the industry through the Security Alliance, the phased transition of the SIA to a new regulatory regime is progressing well. It is encouraging to know that the industry is in such competent and capable hands.”  Lynne Featherstone, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for equalities and criminal information told the audience, at the prestigious BSIA lunch and awards ceremony, on Wednesday this week, writes Infologue’s Bobby Logue.

Lynne Featherstone spoke of how encouraged the Government was by the increasing maturity and professionalism of the industry. She also confirmed the commitment of the Government to ensuring it can work in partnership with the industry to build on the credibility that has been established over the last six years.

Featherstone continued; “Work is continuing on the details of the new regulatory regime, but certain key features have already been agreed:

  • Regulation will be a primary focus through the licensing of businesses that will in turn have to adhere to stringent conditions set by the new regulator.
  • Licensed businesses will be responsible for the registration and management of the individuals who work for them.
  • The new regulator will be able to impose sanctions up to and including the removal of the right to trade from businesses that are not compliant.

The Government is grateful for the joined-up and positive approach taken by the industry in working closely with the SIA to develop these proposals through the Security Alliance, recognising the key role played in this by the BSIA and your Chief Executive James Kelly. “

Background on BSIA and its role In Public Protection

“The BSIA plays a critical role, being employed throughout the private sector to provide frontline security in public spaces such as shopping malls, major public events including the 2012 London Olympics, and workplaces such as hospitals and finance headquarters. They also provide security at national infrastructure sites. For millions of British citizens these security industry staff, working alongside the UK Law Enforcement Agencies, are the reassuring face of British security. The extensive reach of the BSIA puts it in a unique position to assist the Government and the Police in ensuring the protection and safeguarding of the general public.

“The Government helps the private sector and its guard force through Project Argus and NaCTSO (the UK Government’s National Counter Terrorism Security Office).  Under this initiative, NaCTSO provides support and advice to the security industry across a wide range of counter-terrorism issues. They also use terrorist scenarios to help businesses, hospitals and private sector owners of public spaces learn how to handle and recover from a terrorist incident.  This type of specialist support enables the design and delivery of tailored training for the many front-line staff involved in providing guard force services. It is an important example of government-industry cooperation in the security field. David Evans, who is responsible for focussing the work of the BSIA for the 2012 Olympic Games, has also made a valuable contribution to the Home Office’s Office for Security and Counter-Terrorism Olympic Industry Advisory Group.”

The role of CCTV in Public Protection

Featherstone highlighted the role of CCTV and other surveillance camera systems play in public protection and that it was a good example of how technology can be harnessed to fight crime more efficiently and effectively. “ I know the police and other criminal justice agencies place a great value upon the potential of CCTV to prevent, detect and investigate crime and anti social behaviour.  There are survey findings which indicate a high level of public support for the use of CCTV.

“As you will know better than me, the technology that is available for surveillance systems evolves rapidly. Yesterday’s analogue systems are being superseded by today’s mega pixel high definition digital systems. CCTV systems can operate with wireless technology, making their deployment more flexible, and removing the need to install expensive cabling to connect the camera with the control room.  Video analytic systems such as facial recognitions are being developed. And that’s just what’s on the shelf today!

“The Government welcomes every opportunity to harness technology for the benefit of the public. Yet as Project Champion in Birmingham recently showed, public support and confidence in the deployment of CCTV can easily be undermined where they see opaque purposes and disproportionate action.

“Restoring the rights of individuals in the face of what some perceive as a surveillance state is an ambition of the Coalition. Many of you will be aware of our proposals to achieve this through the introduction of a Code of Practice for surveillance camera systems.  I know the BSIA has made written submissions both to the Protection of Freedoms Bill Committee and in response to the recent public consultation over the Code of Practice and we will take your comments on board.

“Thank you for your commitment to working with us to develop a proper regulatory framework.  CCTV is but one example of where maintaining public confidence and support can best be achieved through partnership and collaboration between Government and industry.”

Advances in the fight against CVIT

“We have also seen significant advances in tackling Cash and Valuables in Transit Robbery in recent years. The reduction in offence numbers is considerable. Last year there were 751 offences. This is the first time in five years the number of offences has been less that 1,000. Even more impressive, last month we saw only 29 CVIT offences, the lowest ever recorded number by the industry.” Featherstone commented

“These reductions are a testament to the hard work put in by many and the continued dedication, resilience and professionalism of cash couriers and their companies. We hear of examples of bravery by guards and couriers when they are subject to attack. Standards are high across the industry and I hope they can be raised further to reduce the opportunities for offenders to attack.

“The reduction in offence numbers also embodies the very essence of partnership working, with police and cash couriers working closer than ever before on this agenda to develop and deliver effective approaches to prevention, response and detection. The BSIA are a key organisation in the work being undertaken to tackle CVIT Robbery. The Home Office will continue to work with you, and with partners from across the industry, to ensure that appropriate action is taken to continue to reduce these offence numbers. “

In closing Lynne Featherstone told the audience that the Government would continue to support the development of an effective and credible private security industry which benefits all of those who buy and rely on their services.” With the already impressive framework in place the new regime will support and encourage further development to build an industry with opportunities in which good businesses can prosper. The joined up industry voice reflects the maturing industry and we look forward to continuing to work with the Security Alliance as the new regime takes shape.”

The Home Office Website