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Security industry campaign “to reset perceptions of security officers in public domain”

05 August 2020

THE BRITISH Security Industry Association (BSIA) has joined forces with The Security Institute and The Security Commonwealth to run an awareness campaign designed to highlight the essential role that security officers play in public life and 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 security officers. The campaign will showcase security officers as respected, valued and professional service providers actively contributing towards and creating a safe and secure environment. One that is critical for protecting people, places and property. The overriding desire is to see security officers recognised as key workers who are acknowledged and embedded in our daily lives.

Within the last few months, and due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, security officers have been working in critical settings playing key roles while remaining largely unheralded for their efforts. They have been working at testing centres and at 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, providing 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 security industry’s officers transact, but that the industry believes are rarely acknowledged by the public.

Recognition as key workers

Mike Reddington, CEO at the 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 to play in supporting public confidence. We are working closely with the police and all other public sector bodies to find the best way to achieve this.”

Rick Mounfield, CEO at The Security Institute, added: “The security sector is vast, with specialisms from cyber and engineering through 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 front line officers and they have proven their worth during the Coronavirus crisis in the UK. They, along with the wider security sector, absolutely deserve to be recognised, respected and appreciated for the safety and security they provide across the UK.”

Guy Matthias, chairman of The Security Commonwealth, stated: “The Security Commonwealth 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 very much hope that this campaign can make more people recognise the changes we have all made and, indeed, continue to make.”

British Security Awards

During July, the BSIA will be holding its annual British Security Awards (an online event in 2020), which is its annual showcase designed to celebrate security excellence. The annual event always highlights many great security officers who, on a daily basis across the UK, exceed expectations through excellent customer service, teamwork, innovation and outstanding acts in the face of adversity. 

These achievements are celebrated across the industry, but 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 Security Industry Authority as the Regulator and encouraging the industry at large to engage with the #SIAHeroes campaign which itself is designed to recognise the great (and often unseen) work being carried out by security officers.  

The BSIA has also opened up a consultation on what to call the service that security officers provide. ‘Manned Guarding’ fails to reflect the 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. Reviewing current terminology is part of the overall campaign.

*To respond to the campaign directly visit 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 hopes that, over the challenging weeks to come 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.