David Mundell MD, Axis Security
One of the key developments in the security sector, and specifically the role of a security officer, is how that
role is expanding. Whereas
before, the emphasis was very much on ‘security’ and protecting a client, their buildings and their people from harm, today their role has evolved to embrace a much wider brief. And this is their key strength.
It is reflected in the training now provided. Historically, officers were given on-site familiarisation training along with a range of courses that met the specific needs of the contract – for example, Conflict Management or First Aid. Now it is different. Today our officers receive training on much broader subjects that are focused around care and consideration for other people and their environment.
They are trained, for example, to identify those with mental health issues who might cause harm to themselves or other people; they are trained also in how to deal with similarly sensitive issues such as homelessness. When you consider that one in four of us experience mental health issues every year, and that London alone has more than 9,000 people sleeping rough, it is not difficult to grasp the importance of giving such training.
The strength of today’s security officer is that he/she has the tools to cope with a much wider range of issues. Of course, they are still there to provide protection, but they now deliver a great deal more besides.
Jason Towse Managing Director, Mitie
A healthy workforce plays a vital role in achieving any organisation’s goals.
Forward-thinking security businesses are now prioritising
the health and wellbeing of their staff, in particular their mental health. This is supported by the World Health Organisation, which estimates that one in four people will be affected by mental health illness at some stage in their lives, and the Health and Safety Executive, which estimates that stress costs business £3.8 billion a year.
Key to addressing this within a security business is developing a comprehensive strategy for occupational health and wellbeing, with an emphasis on influencing and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health. There is strong evidence that providing a robust strategy can have a positive impact on the workforce, such as being valued, and improved productivity and retention. Implementing this strategy involves focusing on health and wellbeing at all levels.
Security businesses are embedding robust mental health provision throughout their organisations. This can include schemes such as our engagement in Mitie’s employee assistance programme (EAP), which provides free, confidential and independent advice and guidance on a range of topics including home life, work life and wellbeing for our people. Leading security organisations are being proactive in recognising early signs of mental health issues and providing a visible and readily available resource which includes post- incident counselling. By organisations investing in mental health awareness, staff have the competencies to identify and deal with local incidents along with recognising any potential issues with their colleagues or themselves.
Today, a key strength of the security sector is the growing awareness of wellbeing, the part that mental health plays and the measures that are being taken to address this.
should be looking at their plans and schedule programmes of reviews and exercising to ensure that if the bad things happen, they know they can respond effectively.
Crawford Boyce Director, Wilson James
Without a doubt, there are many challenges facing the security industry as we move
towards the third decade of the century. And yet, one of
the most pressing is almost wholly self- inflicted: our continuing lack of diversity.
While there have been great strides made in some cases, our larger workforce trends still reveal a broad homogeneity in our makeup. And far from an attempt to appear merely politically correct, this represents a very real risk to our industry.
hat do you believe are the key weaknesses in the security sector that should be addressed in 2020?
Mike O'Neill CSyP, FSyI, MD, Optimal Risk Group
I believe one of the current key weaknesses in the security sector is the failure of
organisations to effectively test their physical security
controls, incident response plans and crisis management planning.
They happily spend vast amounts of money on external testers to validate that their network infrastructure is secure. This type of control is important and understandable given the amounts spent on firewalls and other detection systems as well as the damage caused by information loss. However, the damage caused by a malicious intruder or a seemingly innocuous event spiralling out of control can be just as bad, if not worse.
Testing, planning and exercising do not add directly to the bottom line but if or when something goes wrong, they do help to protect the organisation’s reputation, minimise any losses, protect value and speed recovery. Through all of this, effective and truthful internal and external communications with the media, regulators, customers and other stakeholders will undoubtedly result in an enhanced reputation. Bad things do happen to good organisations, but the way they respond can improve their standing and added value.
In 2020 the security sector organisations © CI TY S ECUR I TY MAGAZ INE – WINT E R 2 0 1 9 www. c i t y s e c u r i t yma g a z i n e . c om
Security in 2020 and beyond will only become more complex, the needs of clients and brands more demanding. Our industry no longer can provide simple manned guarding contracts; we must offer 360 degree solutions that mitigate cyber attacks, physical risk and reputational damage, and the softer skills which deliver the quality customer experience.
To meet these challenges, we need to be drawing from a wider pool of talent and ability than ever before. And to do this, we must identify some of the traditional barriers to entry – gender and sexual identity, ability and heritage – and we must dismantle them.
It is not enough to wish them away or assume that this progress will be passively achieved. It is incumbent on those of us who wish to build lasting and forwarding-thinking security operations to take a proactive approach to diversifying our workforce.
This past year Wilson James has staked out proactive positions on specific inclusivity issues, with the aim of driving the change we believe the industry needs to make. This has included partnering with clients and external partners to provide industry experience and career opportunities to individuals with physical and hidden disabilities. We have made mental health awareness and support a permanent component of our health, safety and people agenda. And finally, we are committed to ensuring that we are an inclusive employer, with a focus on building relationships and opportunities for the LGBT community, which we know is under-represented in our industry.
Ultimately, our workforce must represent the organisations, communities and business we secure. Until it does, we will lose out on the perspectives, talents, diverse backgrounds and experience that we need to ensure our industry evolves apace with innovation elsewhere.
Continued on page 10.
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