chris kenny

chris kennyWhen did you join Corps and what does your current role involve?
I have been employed by Corps twice, once as a commissionaire in central London many years ago and for the last 14 years as part of the security team at the Royal Opera House, although not all that time was with Corps Security. Initially I was part of the general security team, I then progressed and became supervisor, a position I held for six years. Last year I stepped back from that role and my new title is that of “resilience officer.” I am part of the security front-of-house team and work closely with the Royal Opera House front-of-house management team, the ushers and the other Royal Opera House staff. Over time we’ve built great working relationships together. My role is wide-ranging, and I’m involved with everything from internal patrolling of the public areas, reporting on any damage or items that need replacing, to aiding infirm patrons and answering all sorts of questions from the general public. It’s a really challenging but enjoyable role and every day is different.

Can you tell us a little about your career background / what was your first job?
I followed my father’s footsteps by joining the Royal Artillery. I started as a Gunner and was promoted to a non-commissioned officer (NCO) role. I then went on to become a signals instructor and command post NCO. I instructed and invigilated many basic signals courses and managed a small team of about ten soldiers. Working for the Artillery Range Safety as a signals NCO was very exciting. During times of live fire our armoured vehicle would occasionally rock with the blast waves. The noise was something else! I got to travel quite a bit during this time, including Germany, Denmark, Cyprus and six months in Canada which was my favourite posting. I also carried out Public Duties as my Regiment covered guarding at Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London and St James’s Palace. I also served two tours in Northern Ireland.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?
The people at the Royal Opera House are my favourite part of the job. Whether they’re performers, behind the scenes staff or front-of-house they all show such dedication and professionalism. I love the buzz and the palpable enthusiasm I can feel from everyone working at the Royal Opera House – it’s almost better than coffee!

If you weren’t in security, what would you be doing as a career?
Helping people is something I get great satisfaction from so I would probably have gone into the voluntary sector or become a teaching assistant. I don’t have teaching qualifications though so I would have enrolled in an on-the-job training programme.

What are the main challenges you face in your daily role?
As you would expect, the clientele here at the Royal Opera House cover a wide spectrum of society, from royalty and politicians, to celebrities as well as the general public attending our performances and events. Although it’s rare, I’ve had to escort somebody out of the building on a couple of occasions and that can be challenging. I usually try to engage with that person and use a combination of verbal persuasion and body language to encourage the person to leave the building. Sometimes they try to re-enter using another door, so you have to be vigilant and manage it appropriately without disrupting any performances.

What would you say has been your biggest achievement whilst working for Corps?
Doing my job to the best of my ability each and every day. By taking this approach I hope to elevate the reputation of Corps Security in the eyes of my client, the Royal Opera House, and the general public.

What do you like doing outside of work?
I have regular reunions with my Regimental and Battery comrades in various locations across the UK. It’s great to be with my old comrades again and when a group of 60 somethings start behaving like they are 20-year olds again, well, I will leave that to your imagination! I’m also a big fan of music, mostly from the 60s and 70s but I also love jazz, light classical, modern country and rock. Sometimes I take friends and family to an opera or ballet performance and give them an insight into my role.  It does sound like a busman’s holiday but I’m just really proud of where I work. I also like going travelling whether it’s in the UK or abroad.

What are your aspirations?
I’d really like to be able to continue working in such a fabulous building with great people and continue to make the client and customers’ lives as pleasant as possible.

2020 represents the start of a new year and a new decade. But how will the next decade be different to the last? Change can be scary, but it can also be positive. Corps Security embraces change because it pushes to improve as a business and develop in line with our customer’s evolving needs. Last year saw huge trends emerge in technology-led services, civil unrest and other threats, and security officer requirements.

Here are the changes that Corps believes will shape the security industry over the next decade.

A hybrid model

If security companies invest wisely in both technology and their people, they can create a hybrid business model that helps customers to maintain the highest standards while lowering their costs.

New state-of-the-art technology will make customers safer and more efficient. The savings made from these efficiencies can then be reinvested back into the business to upskill colleagues and attract and retain the best talent.

There are challenges. Brexit is likely to impact the labour pool availability and the 6.2% National Minimum Wage increase has stretched the financial budget within organisations, thus affecting the security industry’s margins. However, endorsing this pay increase shows organisations are actively trying to support lower income households, as well as help to attract, retain and train the best talent to create a workforce that is happier, more engaged, and more effective. At Corps, we are always looking for new ways to work smarter. We aim to pay staff well in a positive, tech-savvy and supportive working environment.

Formatting a hybrid solution offers the best of both worlds between technology and traditional security. Moving to a blended model can make the most of the budget and help everyone work smarter to achieve great results.

Research into facial recognition surged in 2019. It’s a great example of how technology and security are merging to make people safer – though ‘grey areas’ around ethics, privacy and usage still need to be addressed in order for there to be clearer terms, facial recognition can be used to protect locations and people involved. Whatever changes service providers make to their business will have an undeniable effect on clients and it’s important to have them front of mind during any process of change.

The evolving role of a security officer

Front-of-house will play an important part in manned guarding provisions with security officers now doubling up as brand ambassadors. Security officers may act as a first point of contact for the public, for example manning a reception desk or giving directions at the entrance to an office building. The use of technology in terrorism has also meant officers need to be upskilled so that they can react to such situations to keep people safe. The recent assassination of Iran’s Qasem Soleimani by drone highlights both the evolving nature of security threats and the danger if this type of technology were to one day fall into the wrong hands.

Civil unrest

2020 predictions can be hard to pinpoint, so much can happen in a small space of time. However, 2019 suggests security providers should pre-empt and plan for civil unrest to grow in an ever more complex and evolving society. This is no more apparent than in political and environmental public opinion, with several Brexit and Extinction Rebellion protests having taken place in recent months. These demonstrations show a growing public voice and whilst it isn’t something to criticise, things can easily get out of hand. For Corps, that means being cautious and communicating with our city-based customers to ensure they too are mindful of the impact of civil unrest.

There will be curveballs thrown in 2020, as we’ve seen with the recent coronavirus outbreak, but with developed business models, continuous and efficient communication and a greater understanding of technology, the security industry can prepare for these challenges, ensuring clients, staff and the public are safe.

Coronavirus Update 2

There has been a 9th confirmed case of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the UK after a member of staff has tested positive for the virus at a Health Centre in Brighton.

This is in addition to five British nationals who tested positive for the virus whilst at a ski resort in France – they are all believed to have contracted the virus from a single person who visited them whilst returning from Singapore – and who was then taken ill in Brighton after returning to the UK. It is highly likely that the new case at the Health Centre in Brighton is linked to this.

There have been more than 40,000 cases of the virus reported globally, with the total number of deaths reported in China reaching 908.

The Government has issued new powers in England to stop people who are in isolation leaving quarantine and potentially spreading the virus. The Government has now described the coronavirus as a “serious and imminent threat” to public health – although the overall risk in the UK remains ‘moderate’.

The coronavirus causes acute respiratory infection and symptoms usually start with a fever, followed by a dry cough.

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.

If anyone believes they may have come into contact with someone with the coronavirus and they develop any of the symptoms, they should stay indoors and call NHS111

In Scotland, individuals can phone their GP or NHS 24 on 111 out of hours.

In Northern Ireland, individuals can call 0300 200 7885

Nick Gilroy
Quality & Compliance Manager