Security Officers Post Covid-19

Has the time come to recognise the dynamic role good security officers play? Or do we need to recognise that post Covid-19, when economic realities bite, their role will be back to what it was pre the crisis, at best?

Those are just some of the questions that will be debated by Mike Bluestone from Corps Security and other panellists at an upcoming webinar at 3.30pm on Tuesday 9 June.

>> Register Here

The thought leadership webinar, run by the OSPAs, Perpetuity Research and TECAs, will also explore whether the involvement of security officers in more varied tasks, spell a dilution of the security officers’ roles or an enhancement of their position?

Sign up for your free place here.

For further information on how Corps is working to support our colleagues and customers during this time please take a look at our dedicated Covid-19 page or contact us on covid19@corpssecurity.co.uk and we’ll do our best to help.

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Why Are Security Officers More Likely To Die From Covid-19 Than Other Professions?

Last week, the Office of National Statistics published the sobering news that security officers have one of the highest death dates from Covid-19  – 45.7 deaths per 100,000 people.

As a major employer of security officers, this was extremely worrying news to us as an organisation. We’ve been doing everything we can to protect our people during the pandemic. You can read more about what we’ve done here.

Although we are fortunate that we haven’t lost any of our colleagues to Covid-19, this got us thinking – why are security officers so disproportionately affected? In many ways the answer is obvious.

Sex: Men are far more likely to die from Covid-19 than women. Up to 1 May 2020, there were 33,408 deaths registered in England and Wales involving coronavirus of which 19,130 were men and 14,278 women accoridng to the ONS. Men are therefore 33% more likely to die from the virus than women. Despite an increase in women in the security sector, it remains a male dominated industry. Data from the SIA reveals that just 9% of employees in the security sector are female.

Age: Covid-19 tends to affect older people. Up to 1 May 2020, just 384 people aged up to 44 years old had died from the virus in the UK. But 3,529 people aged 45 to 64 years old – a key age bracket for security officers – died. These numbers increase as people get older.

Ethnicity: The risk of death involving the virus among some ethnic groups is significantly higher than that of those of white ethnicity according to ONS data. Black males are 4.2 times more likely to die from Covid-19 than white males. Similarly, men of Bangladeshi and Pakistani origin were 1.8 times more likely to have a Covid-19-related death than white males. While this is partly a result of socio-economic disadvantage, the remaining difference has not yet been explained. A large percentage of security officers describe themselves as non-white.

Location: The ONS data reveals that London has the highest age-standardised mortality rate from Covid-19 with 85.7 deaths per 100,000 persons. This is statistically significantly higher than any other region and almost double the next highest rate. A large propotion of the UK’s security officers are London-based.

Occupation: overall people in lower-paid manual jobs face a higher risk of dying from the virus. Men in low-skilled jobs are four times more likely to die from Covid-19 than their professional counterparts – with 21.4 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 5.6 among white-collar male workers.

While these statistics go some way to explaining why security officers have one of the highest death dates from Covid-19, they must not serve as a reason to do nothing. Even one security officer death as a result of this pandemic is a tragedy. We must work together and do all we can as an industry to ensure no more of our people die as a result of this terrible virus. As an organisation, we’re commissioning industry research into this area and will share more information shortly.

For further information on how Corps is working to support our colleagues and customers during this time please take a look at our dedicated Covid-19 page or contact us on covid19@corpssecurity.co.uk and we’ll do our best to help.

Getting Sites Ready For Reoccupation - A Security Perspective

With talk of the lockdown easing in the next few weeks, many security and facilities professionals are turning their attention to planning for the reoccupation of sites. Security is often one of the few facilities functions which will have had a presence on site throughout the vacant period and security teams will therefore play a key role in getting facilities ready for the return to work.

Here are our top tips for delivering a safe and secure reoccupation:

  • The security officer on site may be the main point of contact for other contractors, including cleaning staff and maintenance engineers, who are also getting the building ready for reoccupation so make sure they know what’s expected of them and who will be in the building when.
  • Inform your insurance company when the building will become reoccupied.
  • As soon as a date for reoccupation is known, then security levels will need to be readjusted. If a site has moved way from manned guarding to a technology-led approach, now might be the time to start to bring back security officers. Reoccupation will be gradual, but businesses may need an increased security presence to support people in the new ways of working.
  • Plan the customer journey through the front-of-house area and adapt it with social distancing and contactless in mind. Consider:
    • Providing security staff with appropriate PPE such as gloves and masks, particularly if they’ll be handling visitors’ bags when they’re scanned etc.
    • Installing transparent screens in front of security officers at reception/ concierge desks
    • Placing graphics on the floor to show employees and visitors where to go and how to ensure social distancing
    • Changing the check-in/ security procedures to reduce human contact. This could include removing the need for access cards for visitors or ensuring they are disinfected between use; and working with the cleaning team to ensure that turnstiles, gates, reception counters  together with any scanning equipment are regularly cleaned and disinfected
    • Introducing anti-bacterial gel in reception areas
  • Explore what technology you can use to keep people safe.
    • Thermal imaging cameras to check for abnormally high human temperatures – a symptom of Covid-19 – may become widespread. This will allow organisations to protect their people from the virus while also supporting them to reopen their buildings and get back to business. Decide whether to opt for fixed or hand-held cameras.
    • Occupancy counters installed in reception areas are good for ensuring a building doesn’t go over its planned capacity as buidings are reoccupied.
  • Decide how to adapt emergency evacuations with social distancing in mind. In the event of a fire, is social distancing important or is the fire the greater threat?
  • Train security officers in the new ways of working and use of any new technology together with their new role in ensuring people’s safety. Has what’s expected of them changed?
  • Finally, before people move back in, carry out a full security risk assessment to ensure the building is safe and secure.

We’ve set up a dedicated coronavirus support team to answer any questions about the impact of coronavirus on your business. Please contact us on covid19@corpssecurity.co.uk and we’ll do our best to help.

ONS Stats Make For Sober Reading For Security Industry

The news from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) that security officers have one of the highest death dates from Covid-19  – 45.7 deaths per 100,000 people – make for difficult reading for the security profession.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) related deaths >>

Some weeks ago, the Government classified licence-holding security professionals as critical workers which meant that many of our colleagues have been on the front line throughout this pandemic. When the rest of the building occupants have been working from home, security officers have been protecting empty buildings or supporting the skeleton staff remaining.

Within the Corps Security family, we have been relatively lucky. We haven’t lost any of our colleagues to the virus. But we are not complacent and are constantly looking for new ways to look after our people. When the pandemic started, we took immediate action to protect our teams and have been amending those provisions as the situation changes.

  • We furloughed all 64 front-line officers who were classified as extremely vulnerable to the virus and needed shielding
  • We’ve changed the shift patterns and working arrangements of another 94 staff members
  • We made sure our people self-isolated where they or their families had symptoms
  • We’ve supplied PPE to our sites where required, including masks, gloves, goggles, anti-bac gel and anti-bac wipes for equipment use – another 10,000 pairs of gloves and 9,000 masks will arrive across all our offices this week to support the new guidance about wearing masks on public transport
  • We’ve introduced Covid-19 site audits for all our client sites to ensure we’re providing the best possible support in keeping our officers safe
  • We’ve also introduced a short form risk assessment to support the Covid-19 site audits and provide feedback to our officers and clients
  • We’ve launched a mandatory Covid-19 online training module for our security officers to ensure they have all the information they need to keep themselves – and others – safe
  • Our line managers are having regular one-to-one check-ins with our security officers who are furloughed to make sure they’re feeling well, both mentally and physically. We’re long-term supporters of Combat Stress and have a strong understanding of how people can be affected mentally by being on the front line

Overall we’re listening to what our security officers need – they’re on the front line of this outbreak.  But even one security officer death as a result of this pandemic is a tragedy. We must work together and do all we can as an industry to ensure no more of our people die as a result of this terrible virus.

We’ve set up a dedicated coronavirus support team to answer any questions about the impact of coronavirus on your business. Please contact us on covid19@corpssecurity.co.uk and we’ll do our best to help.