Corps Security goes back to its roots with Remembrance Day March Past

Specialist security services provider, Corps Security, will take part in the National Service of Remembrance March Past held at the Cenotaph this Sunday 10th November to remember and honour those who have fought for our country.

This mark of respect firmly connects Corps Security to its 160-year-old military roots. The company, formerly the Corps of Commissionaires, was founded in 1859 by Captain Sir Edward Walter to address the employment difficulties faced by ex-servicemen on return from the Crimean War.

Corps Security still employs a large number of ex-military personnel and Remembrance Day marks a historic link of unity for the team. Eight Corps Security personnel, five from the UK and three members of the Australian Corps, all of whom are veterans, will take part in the March Past from London’s Trafalgar Square to lay wreaths at the Cenotaph.

The Corps Security march will be followed by a Remembrance luncheon, observing traditional formalities including a toast to HM The Queen, Chief Life Governor, at The Army & Navy Club in London’s Pall Mall jointly hosted by Corps Security’s CEO, Mike Bullock and Chairman, Malcolm Groat.

Bullock said: “We are so honoured to have some of our Corps team taking part in this year’s March Past, in respect of everyone that has served for our country. Corps’ founding military values of loyalty, integrity and service still prevail today and we are incredibly proud of our rich heritage and the former service men and women we employ at Corps.”

Nigel Horne, Operations Director, National Accounts & MOD joined Corps Security in 2008 following nine years of service in The British Army. Responsible for coordinating Corps’ participation in the Remembrance Day March Past, he said: “We are thrilled to be taking part in this year’s Remembrance Day March Past. This is one of the things that binds us to our company history. I come from a military background and the sense of being a part of something in the forces is so important. Events like this link us all to our roots and to something bigger than ourselves.”

Corps Security employees are selling poppies for the British Legion during the lead up to Remembrance Sunday.

Corps Security - March Past

Corps Security, said to be the oldest security firm in the world, is returning to its roots this Remembrance Sunday.

The Corps of Commissionaires – as it was until 2008 – 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.

Corps Security will be recognising Remembrance Sunday, which falls on the 10th of November, by participating in the March Past and holding a Remembrance lunch at the Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall. The event will be jointly hosted by the company’s Chairman, Malcolm Groat, and CEO, Mike Bullock. The march past will include eight Corps members, five British and three Australian, all of whom are veterans. It will begin at Horse Guards Parade and march towards Whitehall and the Cenotaph where members will pay respect and observe the traditional two minutes silence at 11 am.

The hope is that the Remembrance lunch which follows will be an annual event at which ex-service personnel and trustees of the company can reconnect with their roots and show respect. The lunch will observe a number of traditional formalities, including Grace, followed by toasts from individual marchers to HM The Queen, Chief Life Governor of Corps, its Founder, Captain Sir Edward Walter, and fallen comrades. Ending with a reading of ‘The Soldier’ by Rupert Brooke.

On Friday 8th, Corps Security is also hosting a visit for members of the Corps of Commissionaires Association of Australia to its burial plot at Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey and Founder’s resting place at the Walter ancestral home at Bearwood, Berkshire. Corps volunteers from around the country have also been out selling poppies for the Royal British Legion over the two weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday.

Nigel Horne, Major Accounts Director at Corps Security, has been a champion of this initiative. He described why the event means so much to him personally and the organisation as a whole: “This is one of the things that binds us to our company history. I come from a military background and the sense of being a part of something in the forces is so important. Events like this link us all to our roots and to something bigger than ourselves.”

Horne served in the army for nine years. Though the Corps Security senior management team is not made up exclusively by veterans, those from all backgrounds are keen to support Horne and champion the cause.

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 the company now also recruits from outside the ex-forces’ talent pool, it has never left behind its founding ideals and currently works with the charity Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health support.

Whilst Remembrance Day provides moments of quiet reflection and sombre contemplation, the march and meal are both opportunities to give thanks for all those who have served and continue to serve our nation and to share, in Brooke’s words ‘laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness, in hearts at peace’.

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

Following a competitive tender process Corps Security has been awarded a three-year contract to provide security services to Registers of Scotland at Meadowbank House, in Edinburgh.

A team of 10 officers will provide guarding services with a focus on front-of-house, customer service, CCTV monitoring and patrols.

Registers of Scotland is the public body responsible for compiling and maintaining registers relating to property and other legal documents in Scotland.

Mike Bullock, Chief Executive of Corps Security, said: “We are delighted to be working with such a like-minded organisation. Corps Security is a trust which was set up to provide employment for ex-servicemen returning from the Crimea. We share values with Registers of Scotland and look forward to working closely together.”

About Corps Security

As part of Security Officer Appreciation Week, Corps Security is hosting an inaugural ‘Thank Your Security Officer Day’ on Thursday 19th September to thank their dedicated security guards.

Working in partnership with a range of clients, the management team at Corps Security will thank their security officers in person as well as sharing stories across several social media platforms to acknowledge those who go above and beyond delivering an unprecedented level of service.

Security Officer Appreciation Week, a US initiative, takes place from 15-22nd September. It’s an international week of recognition and provides the opportunity to acknowledge and thank the important security officers that keep people, and the workplaces and buildings they occupy, safe and secure.

“Our security officers work hard in often difficult conditions and at unsocial hours to keep people safe and our clients’ buildings secure. This is an opportunity for us to recognise their dedication to their work and thank them for their service,” said Mike Bullock, CEO of Corps Security. “In future years, we plan to build on the success of today by increasing the range of activities.”

Here’s what some of Corps’ clients have said about their security guards:

I would like to put on record my thanks and personal appreciation for the work you are doing and especially for the support you have given me over the past five months. It is clear that you have taken a very personal interest in all operational aspects of the scheme and this is to the benefit of the company, the tenants, the owners and to me.” Head of a West End theatre

Your security officer has proven himself to be an extremely conscientious and professional individual who has the best interests of all around him at the forefront of his thoughts. His work is pivotal to the security of the garrison site and his dedicated contribution and the level of support he provides cannot be underestimated.” Logistics Unit, HM Armed Forces

You have some really impressive staff and their friendly support and enthusiasm to assist is a credit to Corps Security. I would not have achieved the many tasks I had in hand, were it not for the assistance of your security officers!” Exhibition organiser

The expertise and advice of your security officers has been instrumental in securing the loan of the world-class and very high-value medal collection that is now on display. Thank you too for providing such a professional and smartly turned-out team to provide security for the opening ceremony – their contribution in calmly managing security, control of entry and car parking gave both my team and the local police great confidence.” Museum manager

What is your role at Corps and what does it entail?
I’m the Training & Development Advisor and my role involves working with colleagues across the business, to arrange and facilitate training requirements, such as first aid, SIA license training, and mental health awareness training. I also develop modules to add to our ‘Securing Excellence’ online training portal.

My role involves travel across our regional offices in the UK, delivering customer service workshops called ‘Welcome Host’. We host monthly workshops at HQ and also deliver workshops at our client’s premises, if required.

When did you join Corps?
I’ve worked at Corps now for nine years. Before becoming the Training & Development Advisor, I was a Compliance Administrator for six months and then the HR & Training Officer until 2017.

When did you start your career in security?
I started my security career with Mitie in 2008 as a Relief Security Officer, and progressed, gaining experience in a variety of roles, including Site Supervisor, Controller, and Licensing & Compliance Officer.

If you weren’t in security, what would you be doing as a career?
I actually graduated with a Business and Finance degree back in the late 90s and begun working in high street banks within the customer service department. Many banks started to really struggle after the credit crunch in 2007/8, so I had to change my route in life. I’ve been in security ever since! I think I’d still be working in the retail banking sector, maybe as a Bank Manager by now, if I hadn’t found my path in security.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?
My favourite thing, I would say, is the people. I love travelling around meeting our colleagues based at our client sites and regional offices. In some big corporations’ staff are just a payroll number, here there’s a real friendly, family feel. Everyone’s door is always open, and you can talk to anyone.

Corps Security - Environment

The role of the security officer has evolved dramatically as a result of cultural shifts and the global impact of terrorism.  Traumas of 7/7 and the devastating attacks on London Bridge and Borough Market have changed the way security is implemented across the world, especially within high risk capital cities. It’s now more critical than ever that security services are agile and remain ahead of the curve.

The pace of technological advancement has also had a considerable impact on enhancing security solutions for the varying requirements of today’s organisations. Electronic security and monitoring solutions monitored by centres like Corps Monitoring safely deliver 24/7 security surveillance, removing the risks for manned guards.

Electronic smart task devices elevate accountability as they log and guide patrols in real time, prompting officers to make important security checks. Officers book in and out at each location and must follow the safety checks before they can move on to the next area. This ensures all points are vigilantly monitored which reduces the risk of error.

Officers now also have access to real time workforce apps that provide a platform to raise concerns, communicate with management, and access HR information at the click of a button. This facilitates knowledge sharing, connects the workforce and streamlines processes.

Gone are the days when a security officer was a silent figure that watched from the doors of a building. The role of the security officer is much broader than a decade ago and is now a unique blend of security and front of house services. As well as a need for optimum vigilance and awareness due to the hostile threats the world faces today, tech, language and interpersonal skills are in demand.

Not only does Corps offer comprehensive security and premises training, each officer also completes client induction training so they can successfully present themselves as brand ambassadors by embodying client values. The presence of social media delivers a wealth of management information that clients can use to measure their facilities management services. One bad Google review from a disgruntled visitor can damage a client’s reputation and raise concerns about the service provider in question, so this heightens the demand for a high standard of customer service from security personnel.

Corps Security operates in a large portfolio of London’s flagship tourist destinations, so staff are also briefed on all the local attractions. Corps also goes one step further to up the ante on customer service and includes multi-lingual tourist information and maps in security officers’ pocket site guides.

The evolution of the role of the security officer has been significant in recent years and this will continue. Technology will continue to influence the role and the industry will undoubtedly move into more of a technical solutions environment supported by manpower. As clients become more pressured with budgets and demands to operate at more efficient levels, collaboration with monitoring centres will be key.

Whatever the future holds, security personnel must be agile with a hunger to learn and develop as the industry evolves.

Enhancing your security service through innovation

Date: 11 September

Time: 10.00- 15.00 (registration from 09.30)

Location:

Pera Business Park
Nottingham Road
Melton Mowbray
Leicestershire
LW13 0PB

 

Join us for presentations and Q&A sessions on the latest and future technology in partnership with:

 


Unique and innovative products designed to combat Cyber Security threats.

 


Software integration solutions to enhance the access, safety and security of your buildings.

 


Artificial Intelligence, machine-based learning and video analytics.

 


The UK’s leading independent specialist security solutions provider.

 


Drone technology, detection and mitigation.