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SIA’s acting CEO issues end-of-year message to private security industry

23 December 2020

MICHELLE RUSSELL, the acting CEO of the Security Industry Authority, has issued an end-of-year message to the private security industry in which there’s mention of the “quiet heroism” displayed by so many licensed security officers in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Russell (pictured), the security industry “has every reason to be proud” of the way in which it has responded in this “most extraordinary” of years, both from the point of view of the 367,000 SIA licence holders keeping people safe the length and breadth of the nation on a daily basis and the businesses that employ them.

Russell stated: “The Coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on individuals, the industry itself, security businesses and the general public. You rose to the challenges presented and the uncertainties both the pandemic and 2020 brought. Security operatives went about their daily and nightly work with professionalism and determination. Some door supervisors from the closed pubs and nightclubs moved to supervise a nervous public in supermarket queues or stood guard at the new Nightingale Hospitals. Others met unusual situations with exemplary courage.”

Further, Russell observed: “There are people across the UK this year who owe their lives and safety to quick-thinking SIA licence-holders putting themselves in harm's way. We’ve been inviting the industry to tell us these stories and have then shared them more widely as SIA Heroes features which can be read on the SIA’s website.”

From Russell’s perspective, 2020 has demonstrated once again that security is not simply a business overhead or a compliance activity. Rather, dependable, well-trained and professional operatives are an essential part of any protection service afforded to the customers of any security business.

“Whether you were involved in the extraordinary acts of bravery or support, or you were part of the quiet heroism of all the operatives who carried on going out to work to protect the public and premises when the pandemic has been at its worst, you and your roles have been highly valued by communities across the UK, not to mention local and national businesses. We also remember those within the security sector that have been affected by COVID-19 themselves, including those who have sadly lost their lives.”

Hope for the future

Russell is adamant that 2021 brings hope for the future and an acknowledgement that the shape and size of the sector and workforce has changed and will continue to do so. “The impact of the pandemic on some sectors, particularly so the hospitality and night-time economy sectors, as well as the festival and event industries, has really been felt and the recovery in all cases will inevitably take some considerable time.”

As the regulator, the SIA has also had to adapt. “We’ve prioritised keeping our core licensing services working smoothly, while also supporting the industry with changes where we were able to do so, including the virtual training pilots. We’re proud to work with an industry that has risen to the challenges of this year and demonstrated its commitment to protecting the public.”

In closing her message, Russell said: “Whatever the future holds, we share a dedication to quality and the pursuit of Best Practice in the security industry. On behalf of everyone at the SIA, and with deep appreciation for your hard work this year, Thank You to all of you. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”