At the end of March, Linda Sharpe retired “completely” as she put it,from the Security Industry Authority board, writes former BSIA Chief Executive, David Dickinson. In so doing, Linda ended at least her formal connection with our industry which she has served quietly but very effectively for some twenty plus years. Quiet she may have been but her insights and opinions had major impacts whenever and wherever they were sought.
Already an established HR professional, Linda joined Group 4 in 1990 and went on to found and manage the international senior and middle management development programmes – programmes which contributed in no small way to the enormous success of the company across a great part of the world. Following the merger of Group 4 and Falck she sought pastures new and came to the attention of the then Chief Executive of the SIA, John Saunders,and was soon engaged to offer advice and practical industry experience in the setting of standards of competence and training which were pivotal to the ultimate acceptance and success of the regulatory process.
When Skills for Security was established she unhesitatingly took on the role of interim Chief Executive and saw the new body through its’ inception and speedily onward to a level of maturity and success.
Subsequently, Linda returned to the SIA as a non-executive director, appointed by (arguably the best Minister we ever had) Vernon Coaker MP. Re-appointed after three years’ service, she continued to serve both the Authority and –indirectly – our industry with her unique blend of security and HR knowledge and a truly genuine wish to serve the best interests of both at all times.
Baroness Ruth Henig, the Chairman of the SIA until recently, is clear about Linda’s contribution. She says ”Linda’s extensive contacts across the industry and her wealth of HR knowledge and expertise, combined with her strong intelligence and pragmatism, were all huge assets which she brought to the SIA board. As an ambassador for the SIS she was one of our most valuable links with the industry and she also worked to support staff at all levels in the organisation. She will be greatly missed.”
It is only right to end this appreciation with a word from the lady herself “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the private security industry and with the Regulator- What made it so special were the people, both organisations and individuals, with whom I have worked. I am sad to go, but am leaving an industry that is more skilled, better trained and more professional and that’s very satisfying.”