Abbey Petkar finds it strange just how quiet the security industry is on the subject of Brexit. Whether you voted to leave or remain, whether you believe in Theresa May’s exit strategy or feel that the Prime Minister is wasting valuable time, Brexit is undoubtedly the topic of the moment and will remain so for some time to come. Collectively, however, the security industry remains relatively mute on Brexit’s potential impact which could be significant.
It’s easy to shy away from the debate with the excuse: “We don’t know what’s happening or how it will impact us”. We can make some educated guesses, though, and particularly so around the challenges we could face as an industry.
Immigration issues, for example, were central to the leave campaign and could impact our industry in a number of ways. First, there’s the matter of our workforce, which is incredibly diverse. From Control Room operators through to security officers working on the ground, it would be hard to find an industry that better reflects the UK’s multicultural society. However, the Brexit process could well threaten much of that status quo as people are either compelled to leave or just as likely feel they don’t want to stay in a country where they’re made to feel unwelcome.
A poorly-managed Brexit will lead to a staffing crisis within the security business sector. I find this somewhat ironic as the immigration and border control challenges likely to be a legacy of the Brexit negotiations mean we will need more staff then ever before to support the police service, the border authority and, indeed, wider public sector activity at our ports and more.
The Government has apparently started planning for a worse case scenario no-deal Brexit. It’s impossible to predict all the potential ramifications. Despite scaremongering among the mainstream media, it’s unlikely the country will suddenly fall apart at midnight on 29 March 2019. However, there’s plenty of room and opportunities for challenges even in a negotiated deal – which is looking ever more unlikely.
Therefore, as security industry leaders, we need to be working together to consider the challenges ahead and how best to deal with them. We need to have plans in place now to support our workforce, our businesses and more.
Never before has the old adage “hope for the best but prepare for the worst” been so true. We must all be on board and think about where we go from here as an industry that faces some serious challenges.
Abbey Petkar is Managing Director of Magenta Security