Severe is the second highest of five possible UK threat levels that have been used by the government since 2006 to warn of terrorist activity. It indicates the likelihood of a terrorist attack in the UK is highly likely, although speaking at the time Theresa May stressed that there was no information to suggest an attack was imminent.

However, Peter Webster believes that all organisations – particularly those with strong links to the USA or UK – must step up their counter terrorism activities. Drawing on his vast knowledge and experience as leader of the nation’s leading provider of specialist security solutions, Peter Webster said, ‘I fully appreciate that this is easier said than done and countering covert threats can be difficult. However, what I find concerning is that there is sometimes a reluctance to look at the bigger picture in terms of identifying the reasons that a particular organisation could be a target, where a threat might originate from and what to do about it.’

Peter Webster argues that the key to effective preventative action is for companies to undertake a comprehensive risk and threat assessment. He concluded, ‘One of the main barriers to effective security is a “silo mentality” rather than an inclusive policy of shared thinking, planning and action using the concept of convergence of security risk. Adopting this approach will require some organisations to re-examine their existing security strategies but it is only by doing so that they will be in the best possible position to address this clear and present danger.’

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500 or E:  info@corpssecurity.co.uk

With an early evening start at the Corps Security headquarters in Cowcross Street, London, the team took it in turns on a static rowing machine to row all through the night and all of the following day.

The team, which included Gary Broad, Rob Hill and Jason Taylor, were in full view of passers by throughout the gruelling event and £200 of the money raised resulted from public donations who dropped money into collection buckets on the street.

The money will be evenly split between the company’s chosen charity – the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund – and the individuals’ preferred charities which are the Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust and Mind.

Participant Gary Broad said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank the general public, colleagues and business partners for their support and generosity. It was a really tough challenge but the camaraderie kept us going and we’re delighted with the total amount raised.”

For anyone still wishing to make a donation, please visit the Virgin Money Giving page on http://virginmoneygiving.com/team/CorpsSecurityRowathon .

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500 or E:   info@corpssecurity.co.uk

Corps Security, the leading provider of specialist security solutions, has announced the latest high profile appointment to its senior management team, with Mark Rogers joining as its major account development director.

With a remit to spearhead business development activities across a wide range of new sectors, Mark’s appointment into this newly created role will accelerate the company’s growth strategy and facilitate increased awareness of the diverse services it offers. Through identifying and negotiating new opportunities for service delivery, he will work closely with large corporate clients to promote Corps Security’s ability to provide the knowledge, expertise and best-in-class service that only a security specialist can.

With a long established and highly successful career within the facilities management (FM) sector, Mark joins Corps Security from Compass Group PLC. As a company director, he oversaw the management of the sales and marketing team, a role in which he achieved exceptional organic growth in key target markets including retail, leisure and hospitality.

Mark is confident that he will build on his already impressive achievements in his new role. He commented, ‘Having worked extensively in the FM sector for over 20 years, I’ve long been aware of the important part that efficient and effective security provision plays in keeping customers’ people, property and assets safe. Security has never been more vital than it is today and Corps Security’s ability to offer specialist services that are carried out to the highest possible standards, means that there is enormous potential for the company to experience significant growth in FM and other key sectors by forming long-term working relationships. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to make this happen.’

Mark is particularly impressed with Corps Security’s ability to combine traditional values with a modern approach. With its motto of ‘loyalty, integrity, service’, its fresh, friendly and flexible approach means that it is already the specialist security solutions provider of choice for organisations across a wide range of business and operational sectors.

Welcoming Mark on board, Corps Security’s chief executive, Peter Webster, concluded, ‘Having a background in FM myself, I’ve long been aware of Mark and his exceptional professional achievements. When we decided to appoint a major account development director, he was the ideal candidate and, therefore, I’m thrilled that he has joined us. I’m looking forward to working with him in taking Corps Security to the next level of success.’

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500 or E:   info@corpssecurity.co.uk

Now in their sixteenth year, the BSIA Security Personnel Awards pay tribute to those who go to extra lengths to exceed expectations. James Kelly, chief executive at the BSIA, commented, ‘It is always fantastic to see the high level of achievements within the security industry. The awards are always so hard to judge due to the exceptional standard of applicants, and this year was no exception.’

The Best Team accolade went to Corps Security’s 27 strong contingent operating at the Commando Training Centre Royal Marines (CTCRM) in Lympstone, Devon. With up to 1,500 Royal Marines trainees on-site at any one time, the CTCRM has to be tightly guarded and protected from the possibility of a terrorist or other security threat. The site is extremely busy, with people entering the facility through two main access points on a 24-hour basis.

The Corps Security team is charged with checking personal identity cards and vehicle passes, and carrying out vehicle checks. Not only do the individuals in the team have to work well together, they also enjoy a great relationship and rapport with the staff and trainees at CTCRM. This was recognised by the judges, who identified the team’s ability to communicate effectively, carry out their duties with enthusiasm and flexibility, and ‘go the extra mile’ as important elements of the team’s star quality.

While teamwork is highly valued at Corps Security, so too is the dedication of individual officers. This commitment is exemplified in Leonard Brownsword, who won the Service to the Customer award. The 65-year-old is senior site supervisor at the Joint Service Adventure Sail Training Centre (JSASTC) in Gosport, Hants – a 6.3-acre site that provides sail training for the armed forces.

Len Brownsword has worked on the site for 13 years, and has incorporated himself so effectively into the structure of the site that he is not viewed as a contractor, but rather as one of the permanent staff. This means that he often knows well in advance when events are happening and is able to put procedures or staff in place to deal with them. This is all done with minimal consultation in order to avoid any unnecessary work for the customer.

Extremely effective and highly regarded by whoever he has to deal with, the judges praised his loyalty and determination to provide a service of the highest possible standard, as well as his ability to understand JSASTC’s developing requirements from its security team.

‘We strive to provide our customers with a level of service that is unrivalled elsewhere in the manned guarding sector,’ commented Corps Security’s chief executive, Peter Webster. ‘Having this recognised at the BSIA Security Personnel Awards 2014 is confirmation that we are meeting our objectives and I would like to congratulate both Len Brownsword and the CTCRM team on their awards, which are thoroughly deserved.’

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500  or E:   info@corpssecurity.co.uk

Mike Bluestone, director of security consulting at Corps Security, offers 10 recommendations for SME’s to consider when addressing the protection of people, property and assets.

• Tip 1 – Understand where potential threats could come from

It’s difficult to put measures in place that limit the exposure to risk unless the likely sources of potential threat are identified. There are some locations, organisations and establishments that are at higher risk of attack than others, so be proactive – understand where you sit on the threat scale by looking at whether what you do and where you do it could provoke an attack.

• Tip 2 – Define policies and strategies

Good corporate governance includes well-defined security policies and procedures that minimise the risk of harm to stakeholders. Injury or death caused by a failure to provide a safe and secure environment could lead to prosecution and even charges of corporate manslaughter. Effective staff screening & vetting policies are a must. Get these policies written down and make sure they are understood and acted upon throughout the company.

• Tip 3 – Allocate the necessary budget

Make sure that there is money allocated to security. This is best addressed at the beginning of the financial year and good financial planning will avoid the problem of having to find ‘emergency’ funds.

• Tip 4 – Carry out a comprehensive risk and threat assessment

The only way to accurately gauge the vulnerability of a company is to carry out a comprehensive risk and threat assessment. Undertaking an in-depth analysis of your activities, premises and facilities will allow the most appropriate security solution to be identified. Also, keep aware of what’s happening in the wider world and see whether any events have safety implications for your organisation.

• Tip 5 – Determine who is responsible

Irrespective of the size of an organisation, someone has to take overall responsibility for the security function. This is particularly important in the event of a fire, robbery, explosion or other emergency, as a designated person will need to manage the crisis and make sure that the necessary safety procedures are implemented correctly.

• Tip 6 – Educate internal stakeholders

Once the first five tips have been understood and acted upon, it is then important to educate the entire workforce about the importance of security. Internal or external training will help personnel identify and respond to potential dangers and give them confidence in the organisation’s ability to manage threats appropriately.

• Tip 7 – Be discerning when procuring advice and services

When you seek advice look for professional credentials such as the Chartered Security Professional designation, and or membership of the Security Institute, or Association of Security Consultants. Anyone can call him or herself a security consultant, so ask for references and follow them up. Likewise, when looking to employ an external security service, only use manned guarding companies that are designated as Approved Contractors by the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and make sure that their personnel are licensed.

• Tip 8 – Work together

It is surprising how many businesses don’t communicate with their neighbours. Sharing concerns and passing on information can often help prevent unwanted and antisocial activity, so make sure that those in a particular area are aware any incidents that might affect them. This includes liaising with the police and being aware of local crime trends.

• Tip 9 – Integrate resources

Although CCTV and access control are vital security technologies, it requires human intervention to maximise their potential and integrating resources will result in a more effective solution. Remember to look at the bigger picture – all too often companies that suffer a security breach act in a knee-jerk fashion and simply install a system that doesn’t address their underlying security issues. Don’t make this mistake, as it will lead to a fragmented and dysfunctional system that could also cost a lot of money.

• Tip 10 – Use remote monitoring services

Many companies fail to consider the need for remote monitoring in the event that an in house system becomes compromised. Linking a CCTV system to a remote monitoring centre provides a 24/7/365 service that also ensures that the appropriate response is provided in the event of a fire, break in or other event. Not only does this achieve an enhanced level of security, it also saves money.

TUPE can seem like a daunting prospect for any organisation embarking on a service provision transfer, however, when the process is carried out to the highest possible standards it can offer significant benefits to all concerned. Pat Stringfellow MBE of Corps Security explains why going beyond basic legal compliance will result in a highly motivated and fully engaged workforce.

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) protect employees’ terms and conditions of employment when a business or service is transferred from one owner or supplier to another. Ensuring that any changeover happens as smoothly as possible requires efficient management, cooperation and communication between the client, the outgoing and incoming service providers, and the employees. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen as a matter of course.

The right approach

As all HR professionals are aware, correct processes and procedures underlie everything in employment and there are basic legal measures that must be carried out to comply with TUPE. Any attempt to circumvent the process will leave an organisation exposed to legal action and should be avoided.

However, despite being legally compliant it is not unusual for employees to be viewed as commodities, or even as an inconvenience, during a TUPE transfer. In such circumstances it is no surprise that so many transfers result in dissatisfaction and animosity between the various parties, leading to deterioration in the standard of service provided.

To avoid this happening legal compliance should be viewed as a bare minimum requirement, as adopting a policy of inclusivity, communication, consultation and best practice will be rewarded with a more motivated and engaged workforce – ultimately ensuring that high levels of productivity and service provision are maintained.  In effect, going beyond the ‘letter of the law’ ensures that employees are more engaged and fully motivated; so bringing distinct benefits to the organisation!  A few examples – drawn from our experiences at Corps Security – serve to demonstrate this well.

The finer details

Establishing exactly which personnel fall within the scope of the TUPE transfer must be established as soon as possible and, once this is done, the transferor must prepare employee liability information (ELI) for those who are affected.

This should include the identity and age of the employees, information about any disciplinary or grievance procedures over the previous two years and their statutory particulars of employment. This is, of course, subject to a duty of confidentiality under the Data Protection Act.

However, while ELI does not have to be provided until 14 days before the TUPE transfer, experience shows this is simply not enough time for the transferee to properly plan for the transfer. It is therefore advisable to ask the transferor to provide the ELI as early as possible – and be prepared to ask the client to intervene if the current employer is tardy in providing a response.

Perfect timing

Although TUPE states that the consultation process should be started ‘long enough before the transfer to enable the existing employer to consult the representatives’, this definition is open to a number of different interpretations. It is therefore crucial to start the process as early as possible – if it is started too late then it may not be TUPE compliant. It may also restrict the early establishment of a good relationship between the new employer and their new employee.

Proactively providing information to all relevant parties will result in benefits down the line. Businesses handing employees over are under a legal obligation to inform any affected personnel of the fact that the transfer is to take place, the date or proposed date of the transfer and the reasons behind it. They should also be informed about the legal, economic and social implications of the transfer and where there is a recognised trade union, this process can include representatives from that body.

There is joint liability between the transferor and transferee for any failure to inform and consult, so it is in both parties’ interests to make sure they comply with this obligation. In some, albeit rare, cases where the information is not provided and the case goes to tribunal, it may award up to 13 weeks’ pay to each affected employee. against the company at fault.

A personal touch

Finally, while some companies choose to carry out the consultation procedure by simply sending out a letter, this method lacks the reassurance and ‘personal touch’ that some employees welcome in such a situation. Corps Security, like other forward thinking organisations, considers it best practice to set up face-to-face meetings, followed up by a detailed letter that reiterates the points made. To ensure that the transfer is as seamless as possible it is also a good idea to produce a detailed transition plan that sets out responsibilities and key objectives for all involved.

It is important to remember that for those caught in the middle of the process – the employees – a TUPE transfer can be a very unsettling time. Therefore, not only should the new company do its best to provide them with the appropriate advice and assistance at all key stages, it should use the consultation as an opportunity to demonstrate it is going to be as good, if not better, than the existing employer. We have found that talking about issues such as training, career development and uniform, along with providing the support and visibility of senior management, helps convince personnel that their best interests are at the heart of the process.

Fact of life

TUPE is a fact of life and despite its reputation as a combative process between the transferring parties, it is ultimately designed to protect employees – something that should always be remembered. The challenges facing the various parties involved may differ, but taking the time to go beyond the basic requirements will ensure that employees are motivated, engaged and positive about their situation, while the new service provider will be confident about being able to raise standards of service. Ultimately, a smooth transfer will prove beneficial for all.

ENDS

(BOX OUT)

Problem solving

Any attempt to ‘bend the rules’ when it comes to TUPE is extremely unwise and could well result in a legal ramifications. Here’s an example of a common scenario and how Corps Security would advise that it should be handled:

Q: We have decided to change the supplier of our security services because of cost factors and the professionalism of the staff that the contractor provides to us. However, as TUPE compliance would mean that the same employees have to remain employed under their present terms and conditions, is it worth changing our supplier?

A: The simple answer is yes. When it comes to the attitude, conduct and professionalism of security personnel, this can be addressed in a variety of positive ways post-TUPE. A company that offers thorough training, good management and supervision will often get the best out of people.

If discipline and conduct has previously been an issue, any disciplinary procedures or grievance procedures will be in the ELI passed between the companies during the consultation process. If positive measures fail to have the desired impact and the problems persist, the new employer can then continue the disciplinary process until a satisfactory conclusion is reached.

The issue of cost is slightly more complicated, as under TUPE all employees must be retained under their existing terms and conditions. However, the new contractor should be able to present to the client TUPE and non-TUPE based recommendations, as well as a detailed suggestion about how the ideal service solution could be reached over a period of time.

Reducing headcount can be addressed in a number of creative and mutually beneficial ways. For instance, employees might be receptive to working on a different job, especially if it is closer to where they live, or they might welcome the opportunity to work different shifts. Employee numbers can also be reduced over time due to staff attrition. The key element here is to include the employees in all relevant discussions and communicate information on a regular basis.

Also, if there are economic, technical or organisational reasons for reducing the number of personnel on a contract, this can be carried out as long as a correct redundancy consultation process is followed. But beware – it is mistakenly believed by some that TUPE has a time limit. Whether TUPE has been flouted one day or one year after the transfer date then the same penalties apply, so it is important to abide by the rules.

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500 or E:  info@corpssecurity.co.uk

Mike Bluestone of Corps Security explains why a comprehensive risk and threat analysis is the only way to ensure that the most appropriate security strategy is implemented.

The commoditisation of security services has had far reaching implications for the safety of people and property, and the preoccupation with lowest cost is increasingly proving to be a false economy. At a time when their security strategies should be watertight, many businesses simply do not have adequate measures in place to counter risks or threats.

The problem often originates from the initial tender process, when all those invited to pitch are asked to attend a site survey at a specific time and subsequently make their recommendations. This process often takes no more than half an hour, with little or no opportunity to ask the right type of in-depth questions that will lead to a comprehensive understanding of what’s required. Even if there was, the fact that all the various competitors are in each other’s company means that raising an issue could result in the loss of a valuable competitive edge.

Incredibly, decisions are made and contracts won or lost on this process alone. While it may be sufficient for a service provider to get a ‘foot in the door’, the service they provide will usually fail to meet the company’s specific requirements, leaving it exposed to risk and potentially out of pocket, as the loss of business continuity can be enormous.

Tenders are often carried out on an ‘as is’ basis because clients are concerned that the cost of implementing measures that are different than those already in place will cost them more. While this can be the case, it is equally possible that it could cost less, as a more streamlined service will be more efficient while also reducing the possibility of attack.

 

Rather than having a ‘bodies on the ground mentality’ a security solution should be based on a comprehensive risk and threat assessment, and if this can’t be carried out initially it should be conducted as soon as the contract is won. This involves an analysis of an organisation’s activities, premises and facilities, and will address the risk posed to staff, visitors and customers.

Some business sectors are more at risk than others and those operating in, for example, the defence, pharmaceutical and banking industries must be particularly vigilant due to threat posed from anti-war protesters, anti-capitalists, religious extremists and anti-vivisectionists. Organisations that are located near to any of these types of companies, transport hubs, or major utilities such as power stations, could also be at risk.

Empty buildings should also be kept secure as they can be targets for vandalism. Preventative security is the only way to maintain a deterrent effect that will reduce the likelihood of criminal damage. Failure to take this issue seriously can result in what is known as the ‘broken windows syndrome’. This idea suggests that small-scale damage and disorder attracts greater levels of vandalism which, unless addressed immediately, leads to on-going problems that can be difficult to eradicate.

It is crucial to carry out a thorough investigation and probe any potential issues. Clients might be reticent to admit any potential weaknesses but encouraging them to share information will allow a security provider to configure a solution that provides the requisite level of protection by identifying risks and threats that are not at first apparent. They may also be subject to a completely different set of threats at night than they are during the day and for this reason separate audits should be performed for each time period.

Every situation is unique and a final security strategy will necessitate the integration of a range of measures including manned guarding, CCTV, access control, lighting and remote monitoring. It may also be necessary to deliver on-site training to enhance an organisation’s existing security measures. This will help personnel identify and respond to potential threats and give them confidence in the organisation’s ability to keep them safe.

When it comes to manned guarding, companies that specialise in protecting certain types of environments will possess unique knowledge of the threats posed to that kind of establishment. For example, a security officer working in a Distribution Centre environment would need to have a thorough and detailed understanding of the threats from ‘shrinkage’, ‘grazing’, and pilfering.

Even those that have a proactive approach to security sometimes fail to recognise that threats evolve over time. A thorough risk assessment carried out five years ago may well be woefully inadequate now and a regular audit will ensure that the correct measures are always in place to maintain a building’s integrity.

There clearly needs to be a root and branch rethink about the way that security services are presented and procured – something that will benefit all those in the sector and enhance its levels of professionalism. When it comes to choosing which company to work with, those that provide a consultative approach to what they do will ultimately deliver best value.

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500 or E:  info@corpssecurity.co.uk

Peter Webster of Corps Security examines how IP based technology is allowing more organisations to experience the benefits of remote monitoring.

The rapid development of Internet protocol (IP) based technology means that it is now possible to control a wide variety of building services over one infrastructure. Nowadays a single cabling network can be used for security, access control, fire and safety, voice, data, wireless devices, audiovisual, energy management, lighting controls, and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

IP is a communications mechanism which allows every computer or other device on a network to have an individual address, providing the ability to control and monitor them from anywhere on a network. What’s more, they can even be configured and controlled from an off-site location and a growing number of businesses are choosing to use third party remote monitoring centres as a way to maximise the efficiency of their operations.

Perhaps the biggest driver for using this type of service is to reduce overheads and the potential cost savings are enormous. Take, for example, barrier and access control. Shopping centres often have one dedicated person on site to provide access for deliveries etc. While this is obviously important from a security point of view, there may well be long periods of time where that operative is doing very little. By using an IP based two-way video and voice system, a remote monitoring centre is able to carry out this function as part of a much broader range of activities.

Remote monitoring can also help organisations reduce their energy consumption. Although most premises have building energy management systems (BEMS) in place, some of these systems can be tampered with over time, leading to a situation whereby they fail to operate at their optimum level. This not only results in wasted energy, it can also have a dramatic effect on a building’s comfort conditions by, for example, making certain areas too hot or too cold. A remote monitoring centre can address this by making sure that a BEMS’ set points are correctly configured and properly maintained at all times.

Energy efficiency can also be enhanced by remotely turning lights off in unoccupied areas and even switching computers and other networked devices off when they are left on. When you consider that in Europe buildings account for 40 per cent of all energy consumption, it’s immediately striking what an opportunity for carbon reduction this kind of continual assessment and improvement can present.

Health and safety compliance is another key benefit. While fire alarm tests should be carried out on site, the tests can be monitored to make sure that they have been completed correctly and documented accordingly. This also acts an audit trail and ensures that these processes are carried on schedule.

By installing a network of sensors it is also possible to provide early warnings about a range of environmental conditions. Sensors can be used to provide an alert when air quality falls below a predefined level, which is especially useful for locations such as manufacturing plants that use potentially dangerous chemicals.

One important but often overlooked area is that of water quality. Legionella bacteria are widespread in natural water systems, however, outbreaks of the illness can occur from exposure to legionella growing in purpose built systems where water is allowed to reach a temperature high enough to encourage growth. By having a sensor attached to these types of systems temperature can be monitored and alert building owners to take preventative action taken when necessary.

When it comes to choosing a remote monitoring service provider it is important to select one that has the requisite industry accreditations. Perhaps the most important one is National Security Inspectorate (NSI) Gold – the highest possible designation for security installation professionals. NSI provides the toughest inspection services to ensure that all its approved companies continuously meet the highest standards.

Other key codes of practice to look out for are BS 5979 which defines the parameters that must be adhered to by remote centres receiving signals from fire and security systems, and BS 8418 which covers the installation and remote monitoring of detector activated surveillance technology and sets out to raise the standard of installation and operation of integrated systems. This not only concerns the overall design of a system, but also the performance of motion detectors, cameras, alarm handling and how the system is maintained. Importantly, the police force will now only issue a unique reference number (URN) to systems that comply with BS 8418.

It is unfortunate that some remote monitoring service providers tend to adopt a one size fits all approach to what they do. This has numerous downsides as each location has its own particular requirements that can only be fully addressed after carrying out a comprehensive risk and threat assessment. Undertaking an in-depth analysis of activities, premises and facilities will allow the most appropriate solution to be identified.

There are clear benefits to having a remotely monitored building, however, it is important to make sure that the company employed to perform this function has the necessary technical expertise. Only high-end remote monitoring centres that have experience of configuring state-of-the-art IP technology will be able to maximise its potential.

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500 or E:  info@corpssecurity.co.uk

Devising and implementing a security strategy that includes input from all areas of an organisation is the only way to comprehensively minimise risk. Mike Bluestone of Corps Security and the Security Institute explains how adhering to the eight principles of security will help achieve this objective.

Ensuring that an organisation, whether private or public sector, is as well protected as possible relies on the identification of potential risks to its personnel as well as to its physical and intellectual property. While this sounds straightforward enough, it has not always been easy to achieve due to the inability, or unwillingness, of risk management departments to work together.

A silo mentality often leads to a fragmented situation where security measures are either missing or even duplicated. It should always be remembered that security is just one facet within the broader concept of risk management – the others being financial, insurance, reputational, health and safety, corporate governance, and ultimate accountability.

The good news is that the benefits of convergence are being recognised. In general, convergence signifies the coming together of two or more entities or phenomena, but when it comes to security it frequently refers to two distinct security functions – physical security and information security – working alongside each other as part of a coherent risk management programme.

With so many variables, predicting where and when an attack could take place is extremely difficult, so all organisations should carry out a comprehensive risk assessment – with contributions from teams at every level – to allow the most appropriate security solution to be identified. This includes an examination of the vulnerability of utilities and key supplies, along with a detailed examination of existing security measures. For organisations that are defined as being higher risk, or are in particularly sensitive areas, specific advisory support should be sought.

In order to carry out this process and work towards the best possible outcome there are some key areas to address. These form the eight principles of security.

The first of these is to define a policy and strategy. This should contain all assessed risks and threats and be endorsed at board level. Not only will this ensure that it is fully supported, it will also mean that an appropriate financial budget is allocated to carry out any necessary measures.

This should be followed by an information and intelligence gathering process to clarify the requirements. For example, an organisation that is moving premises should examine local crime trends and statistics in its new location, look at other building occupiers in the vicinity and assess whether they pose any direct or indirect dangers.

The third principle to consider is human resources as people are the most important facet of any security programme. Human intervention is essential and trained personnel, whether specialist security officers or employees who have undergone security awareness training, are the eyes and ears of corporate security.

The next issue to address is an organisation’s technical means. The astonishing advances in technology have brought significant benefits to the way security solutions are configured. To be effective most strategies will utilise a combination of manned guarding and technology, including the use of remote monitoring where appropriate.

Next up is the need to define the control and supervision methods needed to manage the policy and strategy.  Any confusion surrounding this issue can be positively dangerous, especially during the management of a crisis or contingency. It is then necessary to address the sixth principle and define procedures, as the best security people and technology in the world won’t produce optimum and safe results without sensible, clearly defined, easy to understand and workable practices.

The penultimate issue concerns the scheduling and completion of regular tests and drills. A security system that’s never been tested and drilled is an unknown quantity and may fail to operate as it should in the case of a real situation. Penetration tests are another useful tool in terms of highlighting security strengths and weaknesses.

This brings us to the final principle – the need for internal and external audits. The value of audits cannot be overstated and they will help determine whether the current policy and strategy is still adequate enough to contain all the established risks and threats. It should be remembered that premises, threat levels and circumstances all change over time, so a system must be constantly kept under review. It is also advisable to use, whenever necessary, the professional expertise of external security consultants.

Organisations that carry out a comprehensive risk assessment using a converged approach will be in the best position to benefit from these eight principles, which will in turn help to create a strategy that helps keep people and property safe.

For further information please contact Corps Security on 0207 566 0500 or E:  info@corpssecurity.co.uk

Neglecting the general appearance of a building and its surroundings can attract vandals, leading to an increase in crime and antisocial behaviour that can easily spiral out of control. Corps Security’s director of security consulting, Mike Bluestone, explains the principles behind broken window theory and suggests ways that facilities managers can avoid their premises becoming a target for criminal activity.

One of the most influential and widely discussed ideas in the world of criminal justice is broken windows theory. It suggests that small-scale damage and disorder often attracts greater levels of vandalism. It goes on to argue that unless this is addressed immediately it can lead to ongoing problems that can be extremely difficult to eradicate.

Origin of the theory

In 1982 two American social scientists named James Wilson and George Kelling had an article published in a magazine called The Atlantic Monthly.

The article examined a study carried out by the duo and their theory was named after one of the examples given in the piece that asked the reader to think about a building with a few broken windows. It claimed that if the windows are not repaired, this image of disorder then encourages further antisocial behaviour, suggesting to residents and other passers by that it doesn’t matter and that no one cares. It went on to suggest that a further consequence could be that individuals break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside it.

Experiment

Wilson and Kelling’s theory was based on a previous experiment carried out by Philip Zimbardo, a Stanford psychologist, in 1969.

He arranged to have a car without license plates parked with its engine bonnet up on a street in the Bronx, New York, and a comparable vehicle on a street in Palo Alto, California. Vandals attacked the car in the Bronx within 10 minutes of being abandoned. The first to arrive were a family – a father, mother and young son – who removed the radiator and battery. Within 24 hours, virtually everything of value had been removed. Then random destruction began – windows were smashed, parts torn off, upholstery was ripped and children began to use the car as a playground.

Conversely, the car in Palo Alto sat untouched for more than a week. Then Zimbardo smashed part of it with a sledgehammer and soon, passers by were joining in. Within a few hours, the car had been turned upside down and utterly destroyed.

Fair game

Wilson and Kelling used Zimbardo’s findings as the basis for their own studies and summarised their findings as follows:

“Untended property becomes fair game for people out for fun or plunder and even for people who ordinarily would not dream of doing such things and who probably consider themselves law-abiding. We suggest that untended behaviour also leads to the breakdown of community controls. A stable neighbourhood can change, in a few years or even a few months, to an inhospitable and frightening jungle.’

The right signals

Wilson and Kelling’s experiments found that vandalism can occur anywhere once communal barriers – the sense of mutual regard and the obligations of civility – are lowered by actions that seem to signal that no one cares about the property.

They suggested that in order to combat the possibility of sustained vandalism problems should be fixed when they are small. Repair the broken windows within a short time and the tendency is that vandals are much less likely to break more windows or do further damage.

They extended this suggestion into other applications. For example, by cleaning up pavements and other social areas every day, the tendency is for litter not to accumulate and for fewer people to drop their rubbish in the first place.

Fast response

While it is an unfortunate fact of life that regardless of where a building is located it can be a target for vandalism, preventative and strategic security is the only way to maintain a deterrent effect, keep a building safe and reducing the likelihood of criminal damage.

Unfortunately, far too many organisations think that they are saving money by not having a well thought out security strategy and prefer to react to problems rather than adopt a more proactive stance.

In reality, what this means is that if their building falls foul of vandalism or any other breach of security, then they will simply try to ‘patch’ the problem by, for instance, installing CCTV. This is often just a knee-jerk reaction and if this doesn’t work and the problem persists, they then look at other measures such as access control and manned guarding.

This type of thinking ultimately leads to a highly disjointed and ill thought out approach to building security – one that will almost certainly be doomed to fail. This is why it is crucial to carry out a comprehensive risk and threat assessment in order to identify any possible weaknesses in a building’s security and devise a suitable strategy from its findings.

Identification parade

A risk and threat assessment will involve an analysis of an organisation’s activities, premises and facilities, and will address the risk posed to staff, visitors and customers. Once this is completed an assessment of the vulnerability of the building is completed along with a detailed examination of existing security measures.

Every building is unique and has its own particular strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, the most appropriate security solution can only be configured once all the various threats have been identified and taken into account. Buildings can also be subject to a completely different set of threats at night than they are during the day. For this reason separate day and night audits should be performed to discover the factors that relate to each particular time period.

The location, size, design and structure of a building all have a distinct influence and a final security strategy will often necessitate the integration of a range of measures including manned guarding, CCTV, access control and lighting.

To maintain a building’s integrity it must be remembered that one size does not fit all and getting specialist advice will allow facilities managers to achieve the best security solution for their budget.

Deterrent effect

Having sensible, easy to understand and comprehensive company-wide operating procedures in place can help enormously in preventing crime. This can be as simple as closing windows, removing valuables and locking doors at night. It may seem obvious but it is surprising how many facilities managers fail to do these simple things.

Personnel should also be encouraged to be vigilant and report any type of unusual behaviour or antisocial activity. Notifying a facilities manager about an abandoned vehicle in the vicinity of the building, for example, will mean that the problem is dealt with promptly.

Some security providers are able to offer services such as state-of-the-art remote monitoring, which is a highly effective way of viewing what is happening at a site. It enables virtual patrols to be undertaken and in the event of an intrusion or act of vandalism taking place the monitoring centre can alert the relevant contact to attend the building.

Physical presence

When part of a well thought out and implemented security strategy, manned guarding can prove to be highly effective.

As part of the study that produced the broken windows theory, Wilson and Kelling examined foot patrol policing in Newark, New Jersey. They found that citizens perceived they were safer if they saw a police officer on the beat.

Wilson and Kelling argued that the perception of safety was in fact the result of the police officers performing an important function. Foot patrol officers maintained a ‘surface’ order in their neighbourhoods. They silenced boisterous teenagers, moved loiterers along, and noted unusual activity. They provided a visible law enforcement presence. Because residents felt that presence, they were more likely to enforce the neighbourhood’s rules themselves.

All of these attributes and benefits apply to manned guarding and this type of security acts as a highly effective deterrent.

Lasting impact

Broken windows theory has had a significant impact on all aspects of law enforcement and security within the community. The vast majority of community policing and restorative justice initiatives can be traced to this theory and the idea that offenders should make amends with the community are all linked to the idea that visible involvement brings visible results. If people appear to care, then potential criminals will believe that they do care and will respect their rights and their property.

One of the highest profile examples of broken windows theory in practice took place in the 1990s. As part of the regeneration of New York City, the city’s mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, adopted the broken windows theory and implemented a community policing strategy that focused on order maintenance and preventative measures.

In practice, this meant that graffiti was washed nightly from subway cars, subway turnstile-jumpers were arrested, litter was picked up, and other minor offences that were previously not dealt with seriously were enforced to the letter of the law. With the attitude that minor crimes were often found to be the tipping point for violent crime, almost immediately rates of petty and serious crimes dropped substantially. In the first year alone, murders were down 19 per cent and car thefts fell by 15 per cent, and crime continued to drop ever year for the following 10 years.

Lessons to be learned

Since their original article was published, Wilson and Kelling’s theory has been scrutinised and debated. However, the impact of broken windows theory has been immense and as their theory has gained in popularity it has been applied to everything from school discipline to health and safety procedures.

The original findings have many lessons for the application of security processes and procedures, especially with regard to the deterrent effect of having a manned guarding presence. Not only does a this type of security mean that any incidents can be dealt with quickly, it also means that such events are less likely to happen in the first instance.

Thinking ahead

Broken windows theory is something that all facilities managers should be aware of. The bottom line is that in order to prevent a building being targeted for further criminal damage, any maintenance issues must be addressed immediately. While it may be tempting to wait until two or three similar jobs need to be undertaken and then do them at the same time, leaving a broken widow, graffiti or litter around not only gives stakeholders and customers the wrong impression, it will make a building a target for further criminal damage.

For further information please contact Corps Security on 020 7566 0622 or E:  claver@corpssecurity.co.uk