Cycle Security

Following the increased numbers of people cycling to work post-pandemic, we’re talking about keeping bikes safe.

From a security perspective there are several barriers to people cycling to work but also several tools we can use to increase the number of cyclists.

In central London where space is at a premium, giving over increased space to bike storage is going to be a major ask but bike security must be carefully considered. Different organisations will take different approaches, whether that be reducing parking bays, installing new sheds or even using meeting rooms. During the lockdown and in preparation for the return to work, we’ve seen clients encourage the use of cycling to help people avoid public transport and car sharing. A large financial services company is loaning bikes to staff to encourage them to cycle to work, for example, which is a really great initiative.

The key is to ensure that whatever space is used to store bikes is secure. Although responsibility for the bike always rests with the employee when it’s stored on an organisation’s premises, if it is stolen it can create bad feeling within the business. We have clients who have suffered bike thefts in the past and it always causes major issues and of course upset for the individuals concerned. As a response, we use three different approaches to keep bikes safe:

Facial analytics: in many sites we provide a tool which matches a person with a bike. The technology ‘sees’ the person arrive with that unique bike and prevents another person leaving with the same bike – unless it’s been warned to expect that, for example if someone is borrowing a colleague’s bike.

Asset tracking: we use asset tracking technology with tags attached to bikes linked to an app. The bike owner can check the location of the bike at all times and can be matched with the bike when they return to collect it at the end of the day.

SmartWater: we make sure that bikes stored on clients’ premises are all invisibly marked with SmartWater, a solution which contains a unique forensic code which is exclusively assigned to that bike. It’s been likened to the concept of DNA profiling. If the bike is stolen and later recovered by the Police it can be matched easily with its owner.

Another challenge, which if often overlooked, is bicycles being stored in the racks for several years, without being used and just taking up space which other bike owners could use. We use MyTAG technology to manage that. Bicycles have a tag attached, which contains details of the owner and their contact details, allowing them to be easily contacted if their bicycle needs to be moved.

We’ve seen a great response to our own Cycle to Work scheme. It’s great for mental and physical wellbeing and also for the environment.

Enjoy the exercise and cycle safe!

James Morgan

James Morgan, Security Manager, Channel 4

 

When did you join Corps and what does your current role involve?

I joined Corps Security in 2017 and TUPEed over from the previous incumbent at 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin). At that point I was a shift supervisor. A few months later I moved across to Channel 4 and took on the role of security manager.

At Channel 4 I look after the physical security presence and the control rooms across all five UK offices in London, Bristol, Manchester, Leeds and Glasgow. I’ve set up access control at each site and we manage it centrally from the London hub. My role includes policy writing, training for Corps and Channel 4 staff and reviewing each site to ensure security compliance and compliance with Channel 4’s policies.

How has your role changed as a result of Covid-19? 

Like lots of people, I’ve had to get used to managing my team remotely. My role is very people focused and I’m used to seeing multiple people on a day-to-day basis, so it’s been quite a change. I’ve had to deliver training remotely too, so it has been strange not having everyone together.

Most of the buildings I work with have been locked down with just a small number of staff occupying them in critical roles. We’ve had to be on hand and flexible to support people in those roles and their associated schedules. We’ve had a skeleton security crew in place at each site so we can deliver our security solutions with minimal human presence. The less people we have in a building, the less risk there is of virus transmission. I’ve also had to juggle schedules and rotas to support my team’s home life.

From the moment the doors to our buildings were closed, we’ve been planning how they can effectively be reopened again and making sure we’re Covid secure. This has taken a huge amount of planning and trouble shooting and will continue to do so. We’ll be constantly amending and updating processes and we’re now looking at long term plans for onboarding more people back into the building.

It’s been a great collaborative effort between CBRE, Channel 4 and other service lines. We worked closely anyway but it’s been much closer knit in recent months. We’ve had daily update calls and it’s nice to see everyone working together and being part of a wider team.

All of our guidance documents and communication has had to be completely bullet proof and clear so people feel safe in our buildings and completely understand the rules in place.

What are the main challenges you face in your daily role now compare to before?

Remote working has definitely been a challenge for me. I’m used to seeing and working with many people on a daily basis so it’s hard not being physically present on the ground. That’s definitely been an adjustment for me. It’s worked well though that so many physical teams can now work together remotely.

What’s it been like working on the front-line during the crisis, particularly in buildings which are at reduced occupancy? What have you had to adapt to and do differently?

It’s definitely been a big change for all of us. Channel 4 has been great at supporting their teams though and that includes us.

We’ve been doing so much work behind the scenes to ensure we have the correct policies and procedures in place to be able to open our buildings with one day’s notice. Our teams have been involved in marking out social distancing, traffic flow around a building, entry and exit points and hand sanitising stations as well as temperature control.

The wellbeing of my team has also of course been very important. I have regular contact with all my team members and there’s always the opportunity for people to talk openly to me and feel supported.

Do you think people’s perception of the role a security officer plays will change as a result of the crisis? 

The culture at Channel 4 is already great and just recently there’s been even more of a change in people noticing what we do and their appreciation. The facilities management function has been praised from CEO level at Channel 4. It’s nice to have the support of the very people we are protecting.

On a wider level though, I do think people’s views will change but only in the short term. I think security officers will be praised initially but, I don’t know for how long. There are many roles from different sectors that have shown to be vital in a crisis and I hope they all continue to get the recognition that they deserve.

What positive things do you think we can take into the post-pandemic world?

For security, I think having the support of the people officers are trying to protect would be fantastic. We’ve seen it happen more recently and it makes a big difference. Generally being kinder to each other and supporting one another more are other positives that have stemmed from the pandemic. There has been such a great sense of community and it would be a shame to lose that.

What’s your favourite thing about working in security?

I really enjoy the problem-solving aspect of security. I like being creative and finding solutions to problems and improving processes. I also love the people I work with. Collaborating with people in so many different teams like reception, front-of-house, cleaning, management, legal, HR means you get to know a lot of people in the building you work in. When there’s a problem, everyone does their bit in the jigsaw to get things back on track.

What would you say has been your biggest highlight whilst working for Corps?

The biggest highlight for me is the support that I’ve received from Corps to go into the role I’m in now. Clarence and Glenn have been a really positive influence and have given me a lot of “you can do it” encouragement.  Taking over the Channel 4 contract was my first big role and there were a few hurdles to overcome. At that point we only had one Channel 4 premises to look after. We now oversee all sites across the UK, so it’s been great to have made a difference and have been part of that growth.

What do you like doing outside of work?

I love seeing my mates! I think this pandemic has really highlighted that it’s people I miss the most above days out, activities or experiences.  I’m looking forward to being able to see all my friends again. I am also a complete foodie and love cooking and doing cooking classes.

Security Officer Or Police Officer: The Role Of Security In Managing Social Distancing

As buildings slowly start to become reoccupied, the role of the security officer is being changed once again. Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve seen an interesting shift from officers managing occupied buildings to empty ones and then planning for reoccupation with changes to security and access control. With people now back in buildings – albeit in small numbers – another shift is occurring.

We’re seeing some of our security officers taking a leading role in managing the ‘new normal’ in workplaces. They’re the first person that building occupants see when they arrive back to work and they’re reinforcing the instructions around social distancing, taking the time to explain how the new security and access control systems work, talking people through new technology such as thermal imaging cameras, and reassuring them that the building is safe. Essentially being a friendly and welcoming face.

Thanks to lift capacity restrictions, many of our officers are manning lifts for the first time in years. Others are working on the occupied floors, near washrooms, meeting rooms and in staff restaurants, ensuring people abide by the social distancing rules. This is a sensitive and challenging job. Some people are relaxed about catching the virus whereas others are quite anxious and the potential for conflict in the workplace is therefore significant. Our officers are caught in the middle of that, attempting to difuse volatile situations while keeping everyone safe.

Our offices have been on the front-line of this virus since day one. They were working when the rest of us were safely working at home. Their importance was demonstrated when the Government gave them key worker status. Now their role has changed again, and they’re fighting on the front-line yet again. Their role is not dissimilar to police officers, who, during lockdown were tasked with enforcing social distancing rules.

Not all organisations are using security officers in this way, of course. Some have set up the workplace in a socially-distanced way and are leaving people to their own devices. But with more people returning to the office over the coming months – particularly once the schools go back in September – the role of the security officer is going to take on increasing prominence in managing the new normal.

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.

 

Corps Security raises more than £2,000 for Armed Forces charity

Last week Corps Security celebrated its link to the Armed Services by raising just over £2,000 for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity as part of the annual Armed Services Week.

The Corps Security team took part in several different fundraising activities, from the Big Brew Up and virtual 13 Bridges Walk, to baking cakes. In addition more than 30 security professionals working across the country, many with their own distinguished military service records, performed  the SSAFA Salute to our Armed Forces. The photos were shared across Corps’ social media channels and website.

“It was an inspirational week and highlighted just how close so many of our colleagues are to the armed forces,” said Paul Lotter, MD of Corps Security.

Corps has a strong relationship with the Armed Forces as the organisation was set up in 1859 to provide employment for service men returning from the Crimean War; former servicemen still make up a large percentage of the organisation’s employees.

Follow Corps’ social channels for updates and images of these and other activities. And please do support this worthy cause by donating here.

>> Dontate Here

Corps Security Marks Armed Forces Week With SSAFA Salute

Corps Security is celebrating its link to the Armed Services by picturing many of its front-line teams performing the SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity – Salute at sites across the country. Over the course of #ArmedForcesWeek, more than 30 security professionals, many with their own distinguished military service records, saluted the Armed Forces.

Together with other activities, including a Virtual Brew Up and Virtual 13 Bridges Walk, the campaign has helped to raise more than £1,000 for the charity.

Corps has a strong relationship with the Armed Forces as the organisation was set up in 1859 to provide employment for service men returning from the Crimean War; former servicemen still make up a large percentage of the organisation’s employees.

Here are a selection of our officers performing the SSAFA Salute.

Corps Security Marks Armed Forces Week With SSAFA Salute

Follow Corps’ social channels for updates and images of these and other activities. And please do support this worthy cause by donating here.

>> Donate Here

Corps Security Publishes Research Assessing The Key Reasons Behind Security Officers’ Susceptibility To Covid-19

There are a number of factors that may be contributing to security officers having one of the highest death rates of any occupation, according to a new report commissioned by Corps Security from Perpetuity Research and Consultancy International.

The Office for National Statistics published data in May which revealed that security officers have one of the highest death rates from Covid-19 – 45.7 deaths per 100,000 people.

The seven issues the research points to are:

  • Low-paid occupations were found to have the highest rates of death involving Covid-19 and front-line security is typically low-paid.
  • The role of security officers generally involves close proximity and frequent interactions with others, and this was found to be a significant risk factor for contracting Covid-19, albeit it is not known whether security officers generally worked in a similar way in the crisis. However, their risk factor relating to exposure was not rated as high as healthcare personnel; the level of virus found in healthcare settings is much greater than among the general public yet death rates for healthcare staff are lower than for security officers.
  • Older people appear to be more vulnerable to Covid-19 compared to their younger counterparts and experience less favourable outcomes. Analysis of licences issued by the Security Industry Association (SIA) in 2019 suggests that 21% were obtained by those over 55 years of age, compared to the UK average for all occupations of 19% of the workforce in that age group. Yet 42% of those with a manned guarding licence, were issued to those over 55 years of age.
  • More men than women have been affected by Covid-19 and because approximately 90% of security personnel are men, the risk factor for the sector overall is higher than occupations with a lower proportion of males.
  • Not all groups in the UK have been affected by Covid-19 equally and ethnicity appears to be a significant risk factor. Nearly a third of security officers are from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and vulnerability is linked to both genetic, social and economic factors. Within this group, Black Africans, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis appear to be particularly vulnerable and they are overrepresented among security officers.
  • The very nature of the role of security officers influences their risk to Covid-19. Being a frontline key worker may mean encountering conflict when trying to enforce Covid-19 guidelines; this may make social distancing more difficult. They also have to touch equipment and technology others have handled on a regular basis and may find it difficult to ensure they carry out frequent handwashing.
  • Many security roles are located in major cities and some of these, particularly in London, the Midlands and south-east have been particularly hard hit by Covid-19, affecting the vulnerability of those working there.

The full report can be downloaded here.

>> Download Report

The research was carried out through desktop analysis of a number of data sources.

“The ONS data made for difficult reading for the security profession. We wanted to know why security officers were so affected by the virus so we could better support and protect our people. This report gives us valuable insight and we’re delighted to share it with the wider security sector so we can work together and do all we can as an industry to ensure no more security officers die as a result of this terrible virus,” said Mike Bullock, CEO of Corps Security.

“We were delighted to research this key area for Corps,” said Martin Gill, director of Perpetuity Research and one of the report’s authors. “The true picture is complex, with some risk factors almost certainly interrelated, may still be emerging, or even not yet identified. What does seem clear though from this preliminary research is that gender, ethnicity, the nature of the job have all been seen to increase risks and these are all characteristics of security officers.”

Report: Why Is The Death Rate Of Security Officers Comparatively High?

Following the news from the Office of National Statistics that security officers have one of the highest death dates from Covid-19, Corps Security decided to commission research to better understand why. This will allow us to better support and protect our people.

We’re delighted to share it with the wider security sector so we can work together to ensure no more of our people die as a result of this terrible virus.

Download Report

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Corps Regional Director Volunteers For RAF Police

Corps Security’s Regional Director John Ford has mobilised with the RAF Police for a six-month tour to support the organisation during the Covid-19 crisis.

Ford, who has been an RAF Reservist for the past five years, is stationed at RAF Honington with 3 (T)PS and is now mobilised with 7 Sqn at RAF Brize Norton. His role is with the Air Transport Flight (ATSy) at the main Brize Norton terminal to assist with the screening and security of the passengers as well as monitoring air cargo to ensure it’s safe to board the aircraft for onward transport.

“The RAF Police asked for volunteers to help with the UK Covid-19 mitigation effort and I volunteered so I could play my part, albeit a small part compared to the NHS workers,” Ford said. “The RAF Police reserve is deployed to support and work alongside the regular RAF Police force during these unprecedented and worrying times. For me it was a straightforward decision to volunteer, as well as my duty and it’s what I’ve been trained to do.”

John joined Corps Security in 2014, and was appointed to Regional Director in November 2017. In his role, he leads the operations teams in the south region. John has over 20 years’ experience in the security sector having previously held senior national account management positions in a number of leading security companies before joining Corps.

“As an organisation which was set up more than 160 years ago to provide employment for service men returning from the Crimean War, we are committed to always supporting our armed services,” said Mike Bullock, CEO of Corps Security. “Enabling one of our RAF reservists to be drafted into regular service is a key part of that.”

Corps Security Supports Armed Forces Week

Corps Security is celebrating its link to the Armed Services by setting out to raise more than a £1,000 for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, during Armed Forces Week, which takes place from Monday 22nd June to Saturday 27th June.

Corps has a strong relationship with the Armed Forces as the organisation was set up in 1859 to provide employment for service men returning from the Crimean War; former servicemen still make up a large percentage of the organisation’s employees.

Activities Corps is organising this week include:

  • A Virtual 13 Bridges Walk: The planned 13 Bridges walk across London is being replaced with a virtual alternative. Corps MD Paul Lotter will take the lead by walking 10 miles near his home in Swindon, including taking in RAF Blakehill Farm near Purton which was used as a RAF Transport Command station during the Second World War. Rachael Williams from Corps’ HR team completed a similar distance around Windsor and Runnymede – taking in Victoria (1stBattalion, Coldstream Guards) and Combermere Barracks (Household Cavalry, Royal Yeomanry, Welsh Guards), 94 Signal Squadron (Berkshire Yeomanry) and The Runneymede / Air Forces Memorial. You can support the cause by donating here:
  • The Virtual Big Brew Up: the Corps operations team is joining together for a virtual cup of tea over video conference. Every member will donate £5 to the SSAFA cause as they raise a toast to the Armed Forces. They will also have the option to enter the Armed Forces Week Virtual Raffle where the top prize is a Ceramic Poppy from the 2014 ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ installation at the Tower of London.
  • The SSAFA Salute: throughout the week, the front-line teams on site will be taking selfies of themselves saluting the Armed Forces to celebrate Armed Forces Week.

Follow Corps’ social channels for updates and images of these and other activities. And please do support this worthy cause by donating here:

>> Donate Here

“We are proud of our heritage and delighted to do everything we can to support this worthy cause,” said Mike Bullock, CEO of Corps Security.

Corps Commemorates The Death Of Dame Vera Lynn

We were sad to hear about the death of Dame Vera Lynn, who brought such joy to troops during the Second World War.

As an organisation which was set up to provide employment for servicemen on their return from the Crimean War in 1859, and still includes many veterans in our ranks, we salute her for the role she played in lifting morale. Her passing is all the more poignant because next week is Armed Forces Week.