Corps Security Appoints Archivist To Digitise Its History

Corps Security has hired an archivist through the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) to examine and catalogue the records of its 161-year history.

Dorota Pomorska-Dawid, archivist at London Metropolitan Archives (pictured above left), is delving through more than 20 metres of records held in the London Metropolitan Archives which includes iconic pieces such as letters from Florence Nightingale, former Prime Minister William Gladstone and royalty. The archive also includes records of each former soldier who joined the Corps, including their personal family information, the regiment they served in and any medals they were awarded.

Corps Security Appoints Archivist To Digitise Its History

Pomorska-Dawid reports to Diz Sollesse at Corps (pictured above right) who acts as the archive custodian. The aim is for the artefacts to be digitised so that they can be viewed by historians and all those interested in Corps’ history. The work will be completed by the autumn. Pomorska-Dawid previously worked on a project with the Guildhall School of Music’s archives and has worked for the LMA for more than 18 years.

At the same time, the history of the Corps of Commissionaires – the organisation’s previous name – will form part of  Dr David Churchill’s, Associate Professor in Criminal Justice, Leeds School of Law, personal history of security project. The project, which could see a co-authored booklet about the organisation’s history, is scheduled to begin in the autumn.

“We are immensely proud of our 161-year history and Dorota and David’s work will enable us to share artefacts with all those interested in military history and Corps’ own past,” said Mike Bullock, CEO of Corps Security.

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.

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.

Corps Security Gives Thanks On The 75th Anniversary Of VE Day

To those who gave so much, we thank you.

Tomorrow Corps Security will be commemorating  the 75th anniversary of VE Day, which saw the end of the Second World War. With many of our security officers being former menbers of the armed services, this is a poignant moment in our history.

Although our planned events have been unable to go ahead, because of the Coronavirus outbreak, our teams throughout the UK will be remembering all those who gave their lives in the Second World War to ensure we all enjoy and share the freedom we have today. Many individuals will also raise a toast at 3pm today to the heroes, using the traditional words of the nation’s toast –to those who gave so much, we thank you.

At the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Corps had 5,186 colleagues, of which 1,355 joined up to serve – the remainder being over the age limit.

The Corps of Commissionaires (now Corps Security) was founded by Captain Sir Edward Walter in 1859 as a means of offering ‘gainful employment’ to ex-servicemen returning from the Crimean War. By 1880, Corps had over 1,000 members operating in London, Belfast, and Liverpool. Only four years later, the company expanded to Australia, where there is still an active veterans’ association today.

A great deal has changed since 1859. Medical professionals have recognised the need to address mental health alongside physical health; the nature of service jobs has altered greatly; the process of a career transition has become significantly more complex. There are a multitude of ways that life has become both simpler and far more complicated for ex-service personnel. Through all of this, Corps has stayed connected to its history and continued to create an environment that welcomes and respects veterans.

“Although we now also recruit from outside the ex-forces’ talent pool, we have never left behind our founding ideals,” said Mike Bullock, CEO of Corps Security. “We currently work with the charity Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health support, which demonstrates our ongoing commitment to our military veterans. Although we are all apart today, we join together in spirit to remember all those who lost their lives during the Second World War.”

Corps Security Launches Thermal Imaging Solution

Corps Security has launched a thermal imaging tool to support organisations as they plan the return to work. The AI body temperature measurement tool, which comes in hand-held, fixed and tripod-mounted options, automatically scans people’s temperatures as they enter buildings allowing organisations to identify anyone with a high temperature – a key Covid-19 symptom.

Installed within 10 minutes, the cameras can simultaneously scan up to 16 faces – up to 3,600 an hour – making them suitable for corporate offices, major performing arts venues, manufacturing facilities, retail outlets and other high footfall locations. The millisecond response means people have no reason to adapt their behaviour as they enter a facility, so business efficiency is unaffected.

To support the implementation of this technology, Corps Security has invested in a bespoke training programme for site-based colleagues who will manage the solution, as well as new standard operating procedures to support rapid deployment. Because the technology is non-contact, there is no risk for either the organisation’s people or security personnel. Security officers are immediately alerted when an abnormal body temperature has been detected, and provided with an image of the person enabling them to sensitively approach the individual.

As organisations start to plan for the reoccupation of their facilities post the lockdown restrictions, thermal imaging cameras will be an essential tool to support business continuity while keeping people safe, said Mike Bullock, CEO of Corps Security.  ‘The Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, has said it is ‘wholly unrealistic’ to expect life would suddenly return to normal so organisations of all sizes need to plan for a different approach to building occupation. This is one of a number of tools that can help them.”

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.

Case Study - A Change In Approach - Manned Guarding To Remote Monitoring

The lockdown has changed the way security is delivered to sites across the UK. Read how one property management firm in south London switched from manned guarding to a remote monitoring option to protect their site.

The Challenge

A property management firm in south London was faced with a number of operational challenges to secure their building and assets as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions from the UK-wide lockdown. Faced with these issues they approached Corps Security, as their incumbent security partner, for our guidance and support. Corps usually provides guards to secure their site.

The offices are home to several independent businesses, some of which were providing essential services although operating with reduced staff.  As the restrictions increased it became clear that the building would need to be locked down and an alternative security model put in place.

Corps Security conducted a risk assessment of the site, in consultation with the property manager, the existing security equipment maintainer and our own security site-based team. We identified several appropriate options that would address their specific demands.

Our Solution

The existing building and fire alarm systems were easily enhanced by adding a simple and inexpensive alarms transmission unit, which communicates all alerts to our state-of-the art NSI Gold Accredited Cat II monitoring centre in Scotland, allowing the critical systems to be remotely monitored.

There was already an existing CCTV system that was used to record locally onto a DVR recorder. Through the existing maintenance firm, we arranged to have this connected to our monitoring centre over a broadband connection on a secure VPN. This, combined with the existing building sensors, enabled us to provide a robust sensor-activated security solution.

In addition to securing the building itself, during the initial assessment of the site the property manager mentioned that his own staff would need occasional access to the building along with cleaning and maintenance staff. An existing swipe card access system was already in place and, in partnership with the maintenance firm, we were able to configure secure remote access to the site controlling the doors remotely through our monitoring centre. An inexpensive Voice Over IP (VoIP) intercom with camera was added to the main entrance and we agreed several protocols to ensure secure access. As an emergency back-up, we installed a remotely-monitored, Bluetooth-enabled key safe on the external wall of the building to cater for any failure of the door access system. The Secured by Design product is  olice and Insurance Association approved.

In order to protect the staff visiting the building, who could be classified as lone workers in the current environment, they were issued with our Corps/Zonith remotely-monitored Personal Protection and Positioning System app. It’s installed on their mobile phones and protection is enhanced with an ID badge holder with an integrated panic button. This links back to our monitoring system and ensures that if they had an accident while on site, or were under threat, they could alert our monitoring centre.

The Business Benefits

By designing an holistic and integrated solution that addressed the specific demands of the site, the building was protected from any potential incident – intruder, fire, flood or serious incident.

The proactive monitoring solution could be efficiently escalated using verified evidence to the emergency services or key holders alongside Corps Security’ own mobile response teams.

Other options

Prior to confirmation that the maintenance firm could attend the site, alternative solutions were considered including Corps Security supplying a 4G GSM transmission unit with in-built Sim card, passive infra-red sensors and smoke/heat detectors. An ideal solution for buildings without existing monitored intruder or fire alarm systems, the device is plugged into a power socket and also houses an internal battery backup with the power availability also monitored remotely.

In parallel, a plug-and-play 4G router option is also available where a maintainer is unable to connect an existing DVR to a monitored broadband line due to the current movement restrictions. This solution securely transmits live sensor-activated CCTV footage to the Corps monitoring centre in the event of a trigger from an existing sensor, intruder or fire alarm system.

All the systems detailed provide a solid foundation for providing secure remotely-monitored electronic security solutions which Corps Security has the in-house expertise to scale to enterprise-level nationally.

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.

Security Technology And The Pandemic - A Two-Stage Process

There are two distinct stages to the role of technology in the security response to the pandemic. The first stage is the impact of new technology during lockdown and the second stage is post-lockdown, when restrictions are eased. That was the message from Mike Bluestone, director of Corps Security, speaking last week at a webinar focusing on how technology is helping or hindering security.

“In the first stage we’ve used a combination of remote monitoring, mobile patrols and the presence of static guarding teams to help to mitigate against the impact of increased levels of organised, or opportunist crime, and anti-social, behaviour” he said. “This is vital given that the police are under pressure, and suffering their own depleted ranks due to contagion.” The use of portable devices by security personnel is another tool to enable real-time reporting of incidents, and ensure appropriate alerts, and where appropriate, police and other blue light responses. He also said there was a need to factor in the risk of cyber-attacks. Therefore in vacated buildings, the integrity of server rooms, anti-flood protection, air-con/cooling durability is of equal importance to the quality of firewalls, virus tracking software, and maintaining strong SOPs and password protection, he said.

But Bluestone’s was equally focused on the second phase, once lockdown restrictions were lifted. “There will be no ‘flick of a switch’ scenario when we go from what is effectively a state of house-arrest to total freedom,” he said. “The security industry will play a key role in supporting businesses to reopen, particularly through the use of thermal imaging cameras to check for abnormal human temperatures and on overseeing effective access control while supporting social distancing.”

The webinar, which was chaired by Martin Gill, also heard from Australia-based Chris Cubbage, director and executive editor, My Security Media Pty,  Mark Folmer, in Canada, vice president of TrackTik; and Monica Verma from Norway, board member, CSA Norway and Chief Information Security Office. If you missed it, simply click on the link below to view the recording.

>> Webinar – “How Are Technologies Helping And Hindering Security?”

 

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.

Supporting Security Staff During The Pandemic

The Government’s decision to classify SIA licence-holding security professionals as critical workers has meant that in many cases security officers are the last people standing in a building. Overall the Coronavirus outbreak has meant significant change for our front-line security officers.

In some instances, their shift patterns have changed where we’re required to provide day cover to maintain a presence in a largely empty building, whereas before it was mainly nights and weekends. Some relief officers are now mobile, serving a number of different sites where it’s safe to do so, whereas before many were based in just one building. Others are supporting critical infrastructure sites and are working longer shifts. Our colleagues at our remote monitoring centre in Glasgow are busier than ever as many clients turn to technology to protect empty premises rather than have an officer on site.  At the same time, our officers are playing a vital role in supporting the Police service, which is already stretched.

Meanwhile, like many others on the front line, some of our officers are unwell, or self-isolating because a member of their family has the virus. Many have caring responsibilities in their household to work around. In our offices, our people are busy managing constantly-changing customer needs with our security officer’s constantly-changing availability. It’s a tricky balancing act for everyone.

The key to making it work – and ensuring that people remain engaged, motivated and healthy – is good communication. Usually that would be through regular site visits, but obviously that’s not an option now. Instead, we’re using our colleague portal, emails, phone and video calls, letters and other channels to share advice so that they feel confident in their role and supported.

Many of our officers are faced with dealing with people who are showing symptoms of Covid19, so we’ve provided step-by-step advice on how to support those customers while also protecting themselves. Giving them the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is obviously a key part of that, as well as instructions on how to use it properly. Public transport has been reduced in some areas, and helping colleagues plan their journeys, which are often at anti-social hours, is key, with our central scheduling department and local management teams supporting them with route planning. Our previous approach to getting people to site in an emergency – known as lift to shift – isn’t appropriate in these circumstances so we’re adopting new ways of working.

Regular one-to-one check-ins with our security officers is also important. Their line manager will know them better than anyone and there’s already a trusted relationship in place. Making sure they’re feeling well, both mentally and physically, and taking the time to recharge is essential. 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 and how mental wellbeing is important.

Overall we’re listening to what our security officers need – they’re on the front line of this outbreak.  The next few weeks and months are challenging times for us all. By listening to our front-line teams, we can ensure they provide the best possible care to our customers while also looking after themselves.

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.