The new face of manned guarding

The uncertainty around the recent election, the rising cost of labour, civil unrest and protests, and an uncertain situation in Iran after the US assassination of Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani have compounded to place pressure on the security industry. The industry is of vital importance; crime costs UK businesses about £9 billion a year. Despite this risk, the demand on the industry to provide services with ever tighter margins is high. However, this is a sector which, by it’s very nature, is highly agile. It is rising to meet these challenges and a new model for manned guarding is emerging in those leading the sector into the coming decade.

The UK is suffering a chronic shortage of skilled labour, a growing concern for the security profession. In addition, the National Minimum Wage is set to rise 6.5% from April, adding to financial pressures. An increased Living Wage also squeezes the bottom line and will continue to do so with an unprecedented rise of 6.2% announced for April. This increase of more than four times the inflation rate will also leave employers less to invest in other aspects of their business or require that they take on fewer members of staff. These statutory changes present significant knock on effects for the businesses as staff costs increase considerably. 14% of the UK labour force in the FM sector as a whole is from the European Economic Area (EEA).  Already, we are seeing significant drops in migrant worker numbers and with Brexit upon us, it is not a far stretch of the imagination to see these numbers falling further still. Not only is finding talent a real challenge, retaining it can also be difficult; because of the pressure on margins and pay, security professionals will move on to another employer for a small increase in pay. With long-term familiarity with sites being such a valuable asset in a security officer, retention demands attention.

The industry is starting to tackle these issues with the help of technological advances. Manned guarding is far from losing its place in the security matrix but, when applied alongside technology, it can now be carried out far more efficiently. A combination of the latest security technology with experienced security officers can provide considerable savings for organisations.  Having an officer onsite 27/4 can cost an average of £120,000 per year. By transferring some manned guarding responsibilities to the latest technologies, organisations can make savings and enhance the reliability and resilience of their security. They can reinvest these savings back into their security function by improving security officers’ salaries, benefits and working conditions to increase their motivation and engagement, reducing churn.

Few security specialists offer both manned guarding and a technology solution. In doing so, they miss the opportunity to create this powerful combination of people and technological security, designed to work optimally together, all at a single point of contact. This simplifies invoicing and administration, in turn reducing costs further.

Manned guarding is – and will be for the foreseeable future – an important means of providing security in a world of evolving threats. It provides a visual deterrent to crime, and an immediate on-site response to any issues. However, with clients unwilling or unable to pay rising costs, the industry must use innovative means of tackling the novel threats that worry all those running an organisation, including theft, terrorism, and cyber security. The use of technology alongside manned guarding is a model for the security sector in an era of seemingly indiscriminate terrorist threats, political turmoil, and cyber security issues. It is an approach to technology that places clients at the heart and ensures every penny of their money is invested into having the greatest possible benefit on their organisation.

Coronavirus Update

On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. On 12 January 2020 it was announced that a new coronavirus had been identified in samples obtained from cases, and that initial analysis of virus genetic sequences suggested that this was the cause of the outbreak.

As of 22 January 2020, 440 cases and 9 fatalities have been officially reported by the Chinese National Health Commission from mainland China. Most but not all cases had been or are in Wuhan city. To date, 15 health care workers are reported to have been infected.

In addition, as of 22 January 2020, a small number of cases have been diagnosed in travelers from Wuhan in Thailand (2 cases), Japan (1 case), the Republic of Korea (1 case), Taiwan (1 case) and the United States of America (1 case).

This is an evolving situation and information will be updated regularly.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses with some causing less-severe disease, such as the common cold, and others causing more severe disease such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronaviruses.

Public Health England (PHE) is currently using the name Wuhan novel coronavirus (WN-CoV), in the absence of internationally accepted names for the virus and the disease/syndrome it causes. Other sources may use alternative temporary names for the virus, such as 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). PHE will keep the terms used under review and may update guidance later, to reflect any announcement of an internationally agreed name.

Transmission

The source of the outbreak has yet to be determined. Preliminary investigations identified environmental samples positive for WN-CoV in Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan City, however some laboratory-confirmed patients did not report visiting this market, and investigations are ongoing.

Although evidence is still emerging, information to date indicates human-to-human transmission is occurring. Hence, precautions to prevent human-to-human transmission are appropriate for both suspected and confirmed cases. WN-CoV infections have been reported in health care workers in China.

We do not know the routes of transmission of WN-CoV; however, other coronaviruses are mainly transmitted by large respiratory droplets and direct or indirect contact with infected secretions (via sneezing, coughing, etc). In addition to respiratory secretions, other coronaviruses have been detected in blood, faeces and urine – and so it is essential that individuals maintain good personal hygiene routines!

If someone coughs or sneezes and they do not cover it, those droplets can spread about one metre (3ft). If you are very close to the person you might breathe them in.

Or, if someone coughs or sneezes into their hand, those droplets and the virus within them are easily transferred to surfaces that the person touches, such as door handles, hand rails, telephones and keyboards. If you touch these surfaces and touch your face, the virus could enter your system, and you can become infected.

Please display the attached posters in workplaces as appropriate as general information for good hygiene routines!

Corps Security has a well-developed pandemic strategy as part of our overall Business Continuity Planning – and should individuals receive and enquiries about this from our colleagues or customers – please do not hesitate to refer them to myself.

Nick Gilroy
Quality & Compliance Manager

Specialist security services provider, Corps Security, has achieved ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 22301 and OHSAS 18001 renewal accreditations, reaffirming its commitment to the highest standards of management, sustainability, business continuity and occupational health and safety.

ISO 9001, the internationally recognised Quality Management System (QMS) standard, demonstrates the continuous improvement and streamlining of operations within Corps to reduce costs whilst raising standards.

The international standard for environmental management systems, ISO 14001, facilitates management of business at the highest environmental standard, going beyond compliance obligations to enhance environmental performance.

ISO 22301 for Business Continuity Management offers tools for an organisation to best understand, prioritise, and manage any possible threats which may interrupt business continuity.

Corps’ existing BS OHSAS 18001 accreditation has also successfully been migrated over to the new ISO 45001 international standard for occupational health and safety. This accreditation ensures the security services provider’s increased organisational resilience through proactive risk prevention, innovation, and continual improvement of standards within the organisation.

To achieve recertification in ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 22301 and OHSAS 18001 (now ISO 45001) Corps Security underwent an extensive company-wide audit that included a series of systems developments, audits, assessments and reviews.

Mike Bullock, CEO at Corps Security said: “We are delighted to have these accreditations renewed once again. They highlight the fantastic work our staff carry out in the day-to-day management of the organisation, and the continual improvement and innovation we seek in our safety, sustainability and management standards at Corps Security.”

Grant Fulton Corps Security

Grant Fulton Corps SecurityWhen did you join Corps and what does your current role involve?
I joined Corps Security as a CCTV operator in November 2003. Since then I’ve worked my way up the ranks and at the moment fulfill the position of Corps Monitoring Center (CMC) Operations Manager. My role is to ensure the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) runs smoothly, with all client and company requirements being met. As well as making sure the staff are trained, organised and looked after.

Can you tell us a little about your career background / what was your first job?
My first job as a young lad was working in a glass furnace business, which I left to join the Royal Air Force as a Fire Fighter. I spent many years with the British Forces travelling the globe and only left to start a family. This is when I started with Corps Security and have enjoyed my time here since.

If you weren’t in security, what would you be doing as a career?
If I was not in the security industry, I’d probably still be within the fire service trade or similar, possibly fire safety/prevention as my knowledge base is strong in that area also.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?
The best thing about this role is that almost every day is different. Often, I’m presented with unexpected challenges and I enjoy the satisfaction of finding solutions.

What are the main challenges you face in your daily role?
As the CCTV, building alarm, and personal protection industry is moving and evolving at such a fast pace, you need to ensure you are keeping up to date with the latest developments in technology. It’s my role to balance that progress safely and robustly for both Corps and our clients.

What would you say has been your biggest achievement whilst working for Corps?
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit Buckingham Palace with my family on behalf of Corps and I spent the day with the Royal Family at the Queens tea party. It was an experience of a lifetime and something I’ll never forget.

What do you like doing outside of work?
I’ve a very family orientated person, so most of my time outside of work is spent making sure my daughter and family are happy. We enjoy travelling and I’m a bit of a foodie, for my sins. I recently started studying a programming language called Swift and I’m enjoying the challenges of writing and developing apps for Apple products.

What are your aspirations?
Ultimately, I believe we only improve as individuals and as a team if we continually challenge and stretch ourselves to do/be better. I really enjoy working for Corps Security and the mindset and ethos of the company makes it an enjoyable place to work. I have never limited myself to a goal, other than improving personally. Normally if you improve to be the best you can within your role, then a byproduct can be promotion which allows for more growth and challenges.

Qasem Soleimani killed in a drone strike on Baghdad International Airport

Commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, killed in a drone strike on Baghdad International Airport earlier today – the potential implications…

Iran’s most powerful military commander, General Qasem Soleimani, has been killed by a US air strike in Iraq. Gen Soleimani spearheaded Iranian military operations in the Middle East as head of Iran’s elite Quds Force.

He was killed at Baghdad airport, alongside local Iran-backed militias, early on Friday in a strike ordered by US President Donald Trump.

Gen Soleimani’s killing will inevitably lead to a major escalation in tensions between Washington and Tehran, and potentially with Israel which, alongside the USA, is deemed to be Iran’s greatest enemy.

Under his leadership, Iran had bolstered Hezbollah in Lebanon and other pro-Iranian militant groups, expanded Iran’s military presence in Iraq and Syria and orchestrated Syria’s offensive against rebel groups in the country’s long civil war.

The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has stated clearly that severe revenge awaits those behind the killing.

Gen Soleimani was widely seen as the second most powerful figure in Iran behind the Ayatollah Khamenei. His Quds Force, an elite unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, reported directly to the Ayatollah and he was hailed as a heroic national figure.

But the US has called the commander and the Quds Force terrorists and holds them responsible for the deaths of hundreds of US personnel.

What fall out/repercussions can we expect from this event?

An event of this kind will inevitably have major repercussions. For the Iranian regime, Gen Soleimani’s killing is equivalent to the USA having its CIA chief being killed. We cannot underestimate the potential repercussions. These could include the following:

  • Major increase in tensions across the Middle East, and the Gulf
  • Military activities by Iranian proxies in Southern Lebanon, Iraq and Syria
  • ‘Revenge’ attacks against the US Military, US global assets, Israel, American corporate/civilian organisations, as well as Jewish institutions
  • Economic fallout with increased oil prices, and potential fuel shortages
  • Increased threats and possibly physical attacks against US, British and other Western shipping in the Gulf
  • It is already being reported that Israel has placed its forces in Northern Israel on alert for possible incursions by Hezbollah from Southern Lebanon

So, what steps can we take now in our respective businesses and organisations?

Firstly, organisations and businesses which may be US or Israeli owned, or which have Jewish owners or investors will be at higher risk. That is because the Iranian regime perceives the USA and Israel as being inextricably linked both militarily, and politically.

The Iranian regime is also the main sponsor of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah being the fiercest enemy of Israel, and an organisation which has been accused in the past of being responsible for terror attacks against Jewish (not just Israeli) targets.

It is no exaggeration to say that anything can happen now in terms of revenge attacks or other fall-out. The repercussions may be immediate or mid to long term, but it is hard to envisage that revenge actions will not occur at all.

We must repeat therefore the messages from previous Corps Relay Briefings as follows:

  • Are you satisfied with your existing access control physical measures?
  • Have you assessed whether Hostile Vehicle Mitigation measures are required?
  • Is entry to your premises or estates adequately controlled?
  • Can you deploy security personnel to perimeter areas which enable them to safely look out for vehicles being driven at excessive speed?
  • Are reporting mechanism fast enough to enable prompt activation of lockdowns in the event of a suspect IED being found, or a speeding vehicle being detected?
  • Who has operational control of Security?
  • Are your personnel trained to understand and identify hostile reconnaissance?
  • What contingency plans exist to address situations where someone or something worrying or suspicious is discovered?
  • Do you have updated evacuation and ‘invacuation’ contingency plans?
  • Have you appropriate full and partial lockdown procedures in place?
  • Have you made all colleagues aware of the ‘Run, Hide and Tell guidance?
  • Are reporting procedures adequate in terms of escalation of concerns, and police support?

‘Top Tips’:

  • Restrict both pedestrian and vehicular access to authorised persons and vehicles only
  • Maintain a good flow of intelligence and information, including close liaison with local Police and Counter-Terrorism advisors
  • Have the right calibre of trained people in place, including well trained Security teams
  • Carry out regular tests (including Penetration Tests) and drills of all security and safety systems
  • Implement both internal and external security audits
  • Ensure that Contingency and Emergency plans are in place and are easily accessible for all relevant personnel
  • Always ensure that Security teams are alert to suspicious behaviour and activity in or around your subject premises or environment!

REMEMBER! It is vital that Access Control and anti-tailgating measures are as robust as possible, and that unauthorised persons are not allowed to gain access to your premises!

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 has been lowered from SEVERE to SUBSTANTIAL
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