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

With so many young people looking for rewarding careers, why are so few joining the security industry? Jason Taylor of Corps Security explains why all parts of the sector must work together to attract the next generation of security professionals.

Whether it’s down to a negative perception, or simply a lack of awareness about what it can offer, the fact is that too few young people are looking to embark upon a career in the security industry. This is despite great advances in professionalising the industry and the development of qualifications, certifications and accreditations that have made it possible for individuals with the requisite drive and enthusiasm to develop a successful, and potentially lucrative, career.

This situation is all the more surprising in light of the worryingly high number of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET). Latest government figures state that there are 1.09 million young people aged 16-24 in the UK who are classed as NEETs, which in percentage terms equates to 15.1 per cent of all those in this age group. Just over half (53.6 per cent) of all NEETs are looking for work and therefore classified as unemployed.

While there are numerous reasons for this situation, it would be interesting to know just how many NEETs have considered joining the security industry. What’s more, amongst those who are not NEETs, was security ever presented as a career option whilst they were in full time education? It’s fair to assume that it probably wasn’t.

According to the government’s Directgov website, the security industry currently employs around half a million people in the UK. As one of the fastest growing service sectors, it offers flexibility, variety and a level of career progression that few others can boast. Many of today’s security companies are dedicated to providing training, qualifications and a clearly defined career path, all of which are designed to appeal to a wide range of individuals.

Positions include ‘front line’ security officer based roles such as door supervisors, commissionaires and security guards. However, a variety of middle and senior management positions also exist, for example, duty managers, contracts managers, regional operation managers and regional directors. At the higher level, security managers, fraud investigators, cyber crime and technical experts, and security consultants are all in demand.

However, while these are all attractive roles that can suit people of differing abilities, the industry still suffers from an image problem and the general public perceives that Public security personnel tend to be male, muscular and macho, with a background in the military or police force.  Reality is that the modern security sector comprises people from a variety of ethnic, racial, religious, and gender backgrounds.

Despite there still not being enough, more women are joining the industry and displaying the tenacity, determination and ability to succeed in what is still a male dominated sector. Women that stay in the industry and make it their career are increasingly seen as valuable business assets to their employers. Customers can see the benefits of a more gender-balanced workforce and in some instances there are specific places where only women are required to work.

Some forward thinking companies have long-recognised that offering a clearly defined career path with continuing professional development (CPD) is the only way to attract the attention of young people.

With the costs associated with higher education becoming prohibitive, apprenticeships are becoming popular. According to research from the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS), over 80 per cent of employers who take on apprentices find that they make their workplace more productive and customers are more likely to work with a company that invests in young people.

That said, it appears that the demographics for the security industry show an ageing workforce and more needs to be done to balance the profile more in favour of younger people wishing to establish a career.

Great strides have been made to make security management a profession that is on a par with well-established, recognised and respected disciplines such as law, education, medicine, accountancy and engineering. Take for instance The Register of Chartered Security Professionals. Created in 2011, it demonstrates to clients, employers, peers and the public an ability to perform to the highest standards, with those applying having to go through a rigorous assessment process.

While all of this is undoubtedly good news, the aforementioned misconceptions about the security sector prevail and have undoubtedly deterred some young people from even considering it as a career.

Slightly concerning is that the industry – and that includes its trade bodies and associations – has not done enough to challenge these pre-conceived ideas and promote itself as a vibrant, interesting and positive place to work.

Even though organisations are seemingly aware of the need to do more to attract young people – the ASIS Young Professionals Group is particularly noteworthy and welcome, as is the apprenticeship programme operated by Skills for Security – they are still just a drop in the ocean. Trade bodies and associations like The Security Institute, the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and the Security Industry Authority (SIA) play a vital role in providing training and qualifications, developing standards, writing reference materials, and promoting best practice – issues that affect us all. However, companies need to work with them to promote the industry and its positive attributes.

Even though competitors working together might seem like a utopian ideal and nothing short of wishful thinking, it’s worth remembering that this approach works well in other sectors. For example, the Facilities Management Association (FMA) has experienced considerable levels of success in representing the interests of its members due, in no small part, to the willingness of its members to put aside their business rivalries to ensure the future success of their industry.

When making their career choices, the security industry is not even on the radar of most school leavers. This needs to change and doing so requires all industry stakeholders to join together to promote a clear and consistent message about the opportunities that it offers. If we are to all benefit from a steady influx of high calibre individuals entering the industry this must be addressed – now.

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

Corps Security teams up with ACP Solutions to offer state-of-the-art protection for the nation’s top events

Corps Security, the UK’s leading specialist security solutions provider, has announced that it has formed an exclusive strategic partnership with ACP Solutions. This landmark agreement will see the two companies combine their respective areas of expertise to deploy innovative security solutions for some of the UK’s leading events.

Based in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, ACP Solutions has carved an enviable reputation for its ability to configure temporary Wi-Fi network connectivity that enables communications at events that present security challenges – eg where there is a large acreage to be secured.  Its particular area of speciality is equine events, having completed projects for the nearby Badminton Horse Trials, as well as the Burghley Horse Trials in Lincolnshire.

With the growth in mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, Wi-Fi is now seen as a vital on-site service for staff, traders and visitors. In addition, and as part of a communications infrastructure, event organisers are increasingly looking to utilise high-level surveillance technology that can be operated over Wi-Fi.

ACP Solutions’ director, Phil Platts explained, ‘Security is a major issue for organisers who have to protect staff, visitors and property, and ensure the smooth running of their events. We are increasingly involved with the specification of IP based CCTV and by working closely with Corps Security we are now able to provide our customers with a range of technology to suit a diverse range of applications and the personnel to operate it.’

According to Jason Taylor, Corps Security’s event sales and marketing manager, there is a perfect synergy between the two companies. He said, ‘We have very similar target markets and we are both determined to extend our activity within the sports, leisure and agricultural event sectors. Through the Corps Monitoring Centre (CMC) we have built up excellent relationships with all of our technology partners and we are now in a position to bring these advancements to ACP Solutions and the events sector. What’s more, thanks to our expertise in event security and crowd safety management, we are also uniquely positioned to offer this as part of an integrated security service.

Today’s deployable CCTV systems can transmit live or recorded images directly to a control centre via GPRS, 3G, broadband or wireless LAN. Products can simply be screwed to a wall or fixed to a mast, plugged into an appropriate power source and activated – a process that can take as little as 90 seconds to complete.

Corps Security’s Jason Taylor, concluded, ‘I’m tremendously excited about the prospect of working with ACP Solutions and using our combined expertise to provide truly innovative ways of protecting people and property. This latest strategic partnership will further enhance the reputations of both companies, while allowing us to offer a unique service to the burgeoning events industry.’

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

Corps Security, the UK’s leading specialist security solutions provider, has announced that it has formed an exclusive strategic partnership with ACP Solutions. This landmark agreement will see the two companies combine their respective areas of expertise to deploy innovative security solutions for some of the UK’s leading events.

Based in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, ACP Solutions has carved an enviable reputation for its ability to configure temporary Wi-Fi network connectivity that enables communications at events that present security challenges – eg where there is a large acreage to be secured.  Its particular area of speciality is equine events, having completed projects for the nearby Badminton Horse Trials, as well as the Burghley Horse Trials in Lincolnshire.

With the growth in mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, Wi-Fi is now seen as a vital on-site service for staff, traders and visitors. In addition, and as part of a communications infrastructure, event organisers are increasingly looking to utilise high-level surveillance technology that can be operated over Wi-Fi.

ACP Solutions’ director, Phil Platts explained, ‘Security is a major issue for organisers who have to protect staff, visitors and property, and ensure the smooth running of their events. We are increasingly involved with the specification of IP based CCTV and by working closely with Corps Security we are now able to provide our customers with a range of technology to suit a diverse range of applications and the personnel to operate it.’

According to Jason Taylor, Corps Security’s event sales and marketing manager, there is a perfect synergy between the two companies. He said, ‘We have very similar target markets and we are both determined to extend our activity within the sports, leisure and agricultural event sectors. Through the Corps Monitoring Centre (CMC) we have built up excellent relationships with all of our technology partners and we are now in a position to bring these advancements to ACP Solutions and the events sector. What’s more, thanks to our expertise in event security and crowd safety management, we are also uniquely positioned to offer this as part of an integrated security service.

Today’s deployable CCTV systems can transmit live or recorded images directly to a control centre via GPRS, 3G, broadband or wireless LAN. Products can simply be screwed to a wall or fixed to a mast, plugged into an appropriate power source and activated – a process that can take as little as 90 seconds to complete.

Corps Security’s Jason Taylor, concluded, ‘I’m tremendously excited about the prospect of working with ACP Solutions and using our combined expertise to provide truly innovative ways of protecting people and property. This latest strategic partnership will further enhance the reputations of both companies, while allowing us to offer a unique service to the burgeoning events industry.’

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

Corps Security is helping the National Army Museum, Chelsea secure its Building for the Future redevelopment project by donating to its £23.25m fundraising appeal.

The Museum’s redevelopment project will see the radical transformation of the current Chelsea site with a bright open atrium, stunning new galleries, a dedicated learning suite, an upgraded research centre and new café and shop facilities.

Central to the redevelopment has been the need to respond to the public’s call to create a Museum which provides a more modern, welcoming and social environment for families and to create displays and programmes that foster dialogue and debate about an Army which has been part of British society for over 400 years.

Corps Security provides security and customer visit staff for the Museum’s site in Chelsea and for the bespoke warehousing facility in Hertfordshire. Corps Security and its staff are key to making the Museum’s visitors feel welcome and its one million strong, world class Collection secure.

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

Corps Security has announced the introduction of a new business division that provides a diverse range of consulting, investigative and training services specifically designed to help customers improve risk and threat management. CorpsConsult fully utilises the extensive in-house expertise that Corps Security possesses and which makes it the industry leading provider of specialist security services.

CorpsConsult is headed up by noted industry authority and Corps Security’s director of security consulting, Mike Bluestone, who commented, ‘Our experts all have recognised academic and professional security qualifications and come from a diverse range of corporate backgrounds. In addition, several leading members of the team have served with distinction in the police and military. This wide ranging experience combines to ensure that CorpsConsult has unrivalled levels of knowledge and expertise that can be used to advise companies on the security of their people, property and assets through both human and technological means.’

A key element in having the right security solutions in place is an awareness of risks and threats. CorpsConsult’s consulting services provide both strategic and logistical answers to an organisation’s security requirements. These services include: strategic security reviews; the development of corporate security policy and strategy documents; risk and threat assessments; security surveys; and audits. CorpsConsult prides itself on providing clear reports with easy to follow guidance and recommendations.

CorpsConsult’s investigative services are used by organisations looking to carry out due diligence in areas such as mergers and acquisitions and the examination of corporate fraud and financial impropriety. Areas of potential risk can be identified through discreet checks on the backgrounds and reputations of companies and individuals. Other services include scene of crime, personnel screening and vetting, and corporate surveillance.

To complement its other activities, CorpsConsult also offers a selection of training courses that are delivered by its specialist experts. These courses can be designed to meet a client’s specific needs and subjects include security management, security auditing, fraud prevention, strategic security and security awareness training.

Corps Security’s chief executive, Peter Webster, said, ‘The importance of a clearly defined and implemented security strategy cannot be overstated and organisations in all business sectors now realise that expert guidance is an invaluable part of this process. Although we have offered consultancy services for many years, the formation of CorpsConsult galvanises our extensive knowledge into one complete offering. I believe it is a valuable addition to our existing specialist security services and we will continue to develop it to meet the ever changing needs of our customers.’

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