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Security Sponsored by Selectamark PLC - Industry Update

With British Summer Time (BST) well and truly over and darker nights and mornings now commonplace in our daily routines, it is extremely important that both homeowners and businesses are implementing effective security measures throughout the winter season. Judith Denny of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) looks at the benefits of combining traditional security measures with the latest in technological innovation.

With ever increasing focus being placed on technology in all areas of our daily lives, it is rather unsurprising that, when it comes to security, the invaluable role that more traditional physical security measures play – such as fencing, shutters, grilles, doors and locks – in protecting our properties and ourselves is often overlooked in a thriving market of new electronic security systems.

However, with the longer hours of darkness that winter brings, physical security measures could not be more pivotal in discouraging opportunist thieves or indeed hindering the efforts of organised criminals - such as those hoping to take advantage of the accumulation of prospective gifts stored in family homes under the cloak of prolonged hours of darkness.

“The reality is that effective physical security can, and does, play a positive role in deterring and slowing down attacks.

Physical and electronic measures really are complementary pieces of a much larger security jigsaw puzzle,” enthuses David Frampton, Chairman of the BSIA’s Property and Asset Protection Section. “Generally, I don’t think that one single security measure – whether physical or electronic – is usually enough on its own. It really has to be a combination of physical, and perhaps, electronic to ensure that buildings are secure.”

When it comes to physical security – often referred to as the backbone of building protection – sometimes going back to basics can make a huge difference. While these measures may seem obvious at first glance, it is important that they are not neglected. For one, a critical aspect is to ensure that good quality five-lever mortise locks are fitted to doors, or better still, high security cylinder locks. Door should also, of course, be strong and in good condition, complying with the essential British Standard PAS 24-1 ‘Doors of Enhanced Security’.

Locks should be fitted to windows, especially those that are on the ground floor of a building or accessible, such as from a flat roof. For windows out of sight of CCTV cameras, a grille or shutter may also be necessary in particularly crime prone areas. Away from the main building, it should be remembered that outbuildings will also need a quality lock in order to protect their contents.

For more information about the BSIA, visit

Winter months and the importance of physical security

“Another important consideration is that of patent protected key systems,” comments David. “As most patents only last for 20 years there are many buildings out there that do not have patented key systems, meaning unauthorised copies might have been taken out of these keys. Important questions to consider here include: who actually has these keys, are keys logged in and out and is there a master key system registered with approved signatories?”

While such physical security measures are crucial on their own, close collaboration with access control partners, as well as CCTV and alarm system providers, means that advances have been made to address the real threats we are faced by. For example, perimeter fences are now integrated on many sites as part of a comprehensive solution, fitted with devices that can detect vibration, or video surveillance measures that can be placed strategically along the perimeter.

Ultimately, no matter what combination of physical and electronic measures is chosen, the most important ‘box to tick’ is that the chosen security products and services are provided by a reputable supplier who meets with the relevant standards. After all, a site is only ever as secure as its weakest link, and skipping corners when it comes to quality can have detrimental effects.

Members of the BSIA all meet rigorous membership criteria and comply with high quality standards, to find out more, visit

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