When did you join Corps and what does your current role involve?

I Joined Corps Security in January 2019, as Duty Security Shift Manager at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital in Westminster, so I’m still fairly new here. It’s an extremely busy role managing all the varied shift patterns for our team of security officers and dealing with any security related issues that may arise. I also attend back up calls for urgent security assistance around the hospital.

Can you tell us a little about your career background / what was your first job?

Security is all I’ve known since I was 18. I started out as security officer at Lloyds Bank head office. After 26 years of working in corporate security I joined Corps, so coming to work in a hospital was a totally new challenge for me. It’s completely different and you see things that you wouldn’t normally see in your lifetime.

If you weren’t in security, what would you be doing as a career?

I would probably have served in the armed forces – but lucky for me I secured my first security role at 18.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

I like the hospital because every day is different. The fact that it’s non-stop all day and night means a shift goes very quickly. In fact, there is sometimes not enough time to finish everything before the next shift starts. It’s all go, go, go!

What are the main challenges you face in your daily role?

Working in a hospital means you’ve got to think fast. Because each day is different, I need to be agile and ready to deal with any situation during my shift – from being under pressure juggling multiple tasks to problem solving.

What would you say has been your biggest achievement whilst working for Corps?

I’m still quite new to Corps but integrating successfully as part of such a brilliant team here at the hospital and having the opportunity to work with such great people has been a key achievement for me.

What do you like doing outside of work?

I’m a big family man, so I like to spend time with my wife and daughter outside work. We do lots together from shopping, going out to visit different places and trying new restaurants. We have a lot of fun!

What are your aspirations?

I aspire to become a better person and to grow and develop. I think Corps will give me the opportunity to do this to because I can learn from other people at the hospital and the wider Corps team.

Labour shortage. Squeezed margins. Brexit. The security sector is facing the perfect storm when it comes to recruiting the best talent. Parliament have had many votes regarding Brexit deals, but whatever the outcome, the security industry will continue to face challenging times.

The uncertainty around Brexit has created many issues for the security industry which is highly exposed owing to its dependence on immigrant labour. There is a risk that some of our most talented security professionals may not be able to work in the UK after we leave the EU.

At the same time, the UK is suffering a chronic shortage of skilled labour largely because of the pressure on margins and pay which mean security professionals will move on to another employer for a small increase in pay.

Security officers face numerous challenges in their roles. They work long, often anti-social, hours protecting people and the nation’s infrastructure from those who wish us harm. They spend hours watching and waiting in what can sometimes be a monotonous role only for sometimes shocking things to happen meaning they have to react very quickly. As they work alongside our emergency services to keep us safe, they occasionally get caught in the crossfire.

That’s why last month we launched Thank Your Security Officer Day to recognise the essential role our officers play, and why we are talking about security officer’s mental health at our breakfast event with IWFM on 30th October.

Mental health is often in the headlines and it’s fortunately becoming less of a taboo to talk about. But it’s easy to forget that some of our people working on the front-line to keep us safe can be equally affected. Many security officers also come from a military background, sometimes having suffered traumatic events and extreme levels of stress so this must also be recognised and supported.

Come to our breakfast event on the morning of 30th October (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/security-2020-is-your-security-function-fit-for-the-future-tickets-74809373851), hosted in association with the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management, and hear from experts from Combat Stress about how we can support out front-line officers to maintain good mental health, just as they spend their working life keeping us safe.

Helping to create the best working environment for our people is a step in the right direction to ensuring that we can keep the best talent, whatever the outcome with Brexit.

Security 2020: is your security function fit for the future?

We are living in an era of unprecedented challenges in the security sector. From a chronic labour shortage and rising costs to the threat of drone attack and other changing terrorist practices, security ranks high on the list of a facilities manager’s challenges. Come to the IWFM London breakfast event on 30th October at Goldsmith’s Hall, sponsored by Corps Security, and hear from a range of fascinating speakers on this essential topic.

Mike Bluestone from Corps will give an update on the latest on the terrorist threat in London, while Darren Wood at Eclipse will discuss the threat from drones which have hit the capital in force over the past few months. Finishing this breakfast event will be a speaker from Combat Stress discussing how to work with security officers to ensure they maintain good mental health in often stressful situations – a crucial element in recruiting and retaining the best talent in our sector.

This is a great opportunity to meet your peers and network over coffee, croissants and bacon butties while raising money for Combat Stress – there will be a £10 fee which will be donated to the charity to support former members of the British armed forces who suffer from a range of mental health conditions.

Date: 30th October
Time: 8:00-10:30am
Venue: Goldsmiths’ Hall, London

Book your place here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/security-2020-is-your-security-function-fit-for-the-future-tickets-74809373851

Agenda

8.00am – guests arrive
8.30am – introductions from the IWFM London committee and housekeeping
8.35am – An update on security in the City – Mike Bluestone, Corps Security
9.00am – Drones: the latest threat to London’s security – Darren Wood, Eclipse
9.25am – Supporting security officers’ mental health – Speaker TBC, Combat Stress
9.45am – wrap-up from IWFM
9.50am – networking
10.30am – all guests to depart

‘Animal Rebellion’ – changed plans but still a threat….

In our previous issue of Corps Relay we circulated the intention of ‘Animal Rebellion’ to attempt to blockade City of London-based Smithfield Meat Market, during the period 7-21 October 2019.

Further updates on the possible impact on our City of London, and City of Westminster customers’ colleagues and premises

Following a further meeting held by City of London Police (CoLPA) and attended by Corps Security’s Regional Operations Director, we can report on the following update:

  • It was previously thought the newly formed Animal Rebellion group would occupy Smithfield’s market for two weeks from Monday 7 October. However following negotiations between the group, City Police and City of London Corporation the protest in the market will only take place over a 24-hour period starting from the afternoon of Monday 7 October.
  • Organisers anticipate around 2,000 protesters will participate. However the Facebook page suggests numbers will be smaller.
  • The Animal Rebellion protest in Smithfield appears to be one action as part of a two-week action undertaken by Extinction Rebellion, which will mainly target government agencies in the Westminster area.
  • The Extinction Rebellion protesters intend to target 10 locations in Westminster for at least two weeks from Monday 7 October. The protesters are likely to stay static in their sites, however their activity is dependent on the weather.
  • Map of intended routes and affected areas

What tactics will the protesters employ?

Readers should be aware of the likely tactics that protesters will employ:

  • Protesters’ tactics could include:
    • Graffiti, Criminal damage,
    • lock-ons outside premises,
    • swarming,
    • roadblocks,
    • mass sit-downs / die-in’s,
    • impersonating staff to enter building,
    • attending and disrupting events held in buildings
  • It is possible that protesters will approach businesses asking for their support.
  • There is no current intelligence to suggest violent tactics will be used from this group. However, as this is a new group it is difficult to foresee what their exact method of protesting will be

Where are the most likely locations for protests?

Potential locations that may be targeted by protesters within the City of London include the following:

  • It is expected Animal rebellion will protest Smithfield’s market for 24 hours, however it is possible they may re-enter the site during the two-week period. Meanwhile Extinction rebellion protesters will focus their activity in Westminster and government area.
  • Intelligence suggests protesters will set up a base on Grand Avenue in the centre of Smithfield market.
  • Intelligence suggests a charity shop in Plumtree court, Shoe Lane EC4A will be used by protesters as a feeding location.

How will Police respond during the protest?

The policing plan, as advised by City of London Police, will include the following:

  • A 24/7 robust policing plan will be in place from City Police throughout the two-week period in case protesters re-enter site or pop-up demos emerge.
  • Various Police teams have been set up including a Protest removal team (to deal with protesters glued to buildings), Rope tactics team (to deal with protesters climbing buildings) and Police liaising team (to engage with the protesters, businesses and local community).
  • There will be an increased number of officers around locations that have been targeted recently.

Police Advice:

  • Please ensure your own security plans are reviewed ahead of the demonstration.
  • Residents and businesses are encouraged to talk to officers deployed in the area. Please report all hostile reconnaissance activity.
  • Any intelligence, concerns or advice can be emailed to protestenquiries@cityoflondon.pnn.police.uk. Please send your emails from corporate email address.
  • If a situation escalates there will be an enhanced police and security presence in the City, who will be in the area to deal with the matter.
  • All persons (Security and other personnel) working throughout Central London should follow the TFL, and Police announcements on any impact on the Tube, Bus and other transport networks.
  • Only call 999 in the event of an emergency or threat to life.

All site Security Control Rooms should be monitoring Sky/Breaking News around the clock.

It is also vital that measures are in place to alert the police via 999 calls (not 101) or panic alarms in real time.

HMG’s terror alert status for the UK is detailed below:

The threat to the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) from terrorism is SEVERE

The threat to Northern Ireland from Northern Ireland-related terrorism is SEVERE

NOTE: Threat levels are designed to give a broad indication of the likelihood of a terrorist attack

  • LOW means an attack is highly unlikely
  • MODERATE means an attack is possible, but not likely
  • SUBSTANTIAL means an attack is likely
  • SEVERE means an attack is highly likely
  • CRITICAL means an attack is highly likely in the near future

Everyone should always remain alert to the danger of terrorism and violent political activists and report any suspicious activity to the Police on 999 or the anti-terrorist hotline on:
0800 789 321

REPORT IT!

You may end up saving a life or lives… and there is nothing more rewarding than that…

The following telephone numbers may be useful:

Corps Security Central Support: 0141 378 7000
Specific advice on Counter-Terrorism matters: 020 7566 0516

Editor: Mike Bluestone MA CSyP FSyI