The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) has joined forces with the Security Institute and the Security Commonwealth to run an awareness campaign to highlight the essential role that security officers play in public life and to increase respect and recognition for their capabilities.
The private security industry has developed vastly in the last ten years and this campaign is designed to reset the public perception of the security professional. The campaign will showcase security professionals as a respected, valued, professional service provider contributing to and creating a safe and secure environment: critical to protecting people, places and property – a key worker that is acknowledged and embedded in our daily lives.
Within the last few months, due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, security officers have been working in critical settings playing key roles whilst remaining unheralded, such as; working at testing centres and the NHS Nightingale Hospitals, ensuring critical food deliveries from warehouses and managing queues and customers at supermarkets. They have also been involved in safeguarding the homeless in new sheltered accommodation, physical security at factories and premises, protecting industrial estates from illegal fly tipping during lockdown; and supporting police patrols in London. These are just a few examples of roles the industry and their officers provide that the industry believes are rarely acknowledged by the public.
Mike Reddington, Chief Executive, BSIA, said: “The recognition of security officers as key workers is the start of a re-appraisal of what service they provide to the community in keeping the public safe and secure. As we exit lockdown and have to navigate public spaces again, they will have a crucial role in supporting public confidence. We are working closely with the Police and all other public bodies to find the best way to achieve this.”
Rick Mounfield, Chief Executive, the Security Institute, said: “The security sector is vast with specialisms from Cyber and Engineering to protective services including both technical measures and security officers. The latter engages with society more than the rest but is often overlooked and unappreciated. Great effort has been invested in the professional standards and capabilities of frontline officers and they have proven their worth during the Coronavirus crisis in the UK. They, along with the wider security sector deserve to be recognised, respected and appreciated for the safety and security they provide across the UK.”
Guy Matthias, Chairman of the Security Commonwealth (SyCom), said: “SyCom is comprised of some 40 organisations from across the security landscape all of whom share common objectives. These include building professionalism, raising standards and sharing best practice in order to help develop a more effective security response to keep people safe and secure. I hope that this campaign can make more people recognise the changes we have all made and continue to make.”
During July, the BSIA will be holding its annual British Security Awards (online for 2020), which is its annual showcase of celebrating security excellence, that highlights many great security officers who, on a daily basis across the United Kingdom, exceed expectations through customer service, teamwork, innovation and outstanding acts in the face of adversity.
These achievements are celebrated across the industry which the public do not know about and part of the campaign aims to bring these examples of professionalism to a wider audience. The BSIA and its partners are keen to work with the SIA as the industry regulator and are also encouraging the industry to engage with the #SIAHeroes campaign to recognise the great and often unseen work that is being carried out by security officers.
The BSIA have also opened up a consultation on what to call the service that security officers provide, as Manned Guarding fails to reflect increasing numbers of women in the workforce and the scope of services provided. Today, the industry universally calls its staff ‘security officers’ to reflect a far wider safeguarding role than just guarding and reviewing other terminology is part of the overall campaign.
To respond to this, please go to www.bsia.co.uk/hidden-workforce.
The industry will be reaching out to all companies, professionals and organisations in the sector to participate in the campaign and hope that over the coming challenging weeks as lockdown is eased, the industry can play its part in ensuring that the country emerges with confidence to start to recover and build for the future.