BSIA’s Information Destruction Section members speak out against “irresponsible” shredding

Members of the British Security Industry Association’s (BSIA) Information Destruction Section are reminding organisations of their obligations under the Data Protection Act and the importance of secure data shredding. This warning follows in the wake of allegations that a Scotland Yard intelligence unit shredded a large number of files relating to the Pitchford public inquiry.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission announced on Wednesday 8 February that it was investigating claims documents had been shredded despite a specific instruction to preserve the files. While the investigation is ongoing, this episode has highlighted the clear need for organisations to ensure that they have up-to-date governance policies and procedures in place that effectively control when and how items should be destroyed.

There’s also a need for a responsible person within an organisation to have an understanding of the Data Protection Act as well as the company’s corporate governance requirements in order to ensure that the collection, retention and disposal of confidential data is carried out in the correct fashion.

Don Robins, chairman of the BSIA’s Information Destruction Section, commented: “When it comes to the disposal of documents or data, it’s the loss of confidential information that most organisations fear as this can lead to significant financial or reputational loss. Where there’s a requirement to shred data, the destruction should be signed off by a person within the organisation who has the authority to do so. Materials shredded correctly are not recoverable. In our industry, destroyed means destroyed.”

Robins added: “If the destruction process is outsourced, organisations should ensure that they only entrust such work to quality, professional destruction service providers.”

The BSIA recommends that, when selecting an information destruction service provider, steps are taken to ensure the solution provider will protect data until it has been safely destroyed. This includes making sure that the provider uses security-cleared personnel, has clear and secure procedures from collection through to destruction and that the business can provide a certificate of destruction.

A reputable supplier will also comply with the essential BS EN 15713:2009 (for security shredding), as well as BS 7858 (which is focused on staff vetting). These standards ensure that the companies providing data destruction services are doing so in a manner which offers maximum security for sensitive information.

“Organisations should also be asking for references from their supplier and making sure that they know who the actual destruction service provider is,” asserted Robins. “Check that they’re members of a professional Trade Association such as the BSIA and draw up a contract with explicit requirements.”

BSIA, FIA and FSA announce launch event for Trailblazer Apprenticeship

On Wednesday 22 February, the Fire, Emergency and Security Systems Apprenticeship Trailblazer will be officially launched at UBM’s offices in Blackfriars, central London.

The event is jointly hosted by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the Fire Industry Association (FIA) and the Fire and Security Association (FSA) and will be taking place from 12.30 until 2.30 pm, with a networking lunch being sponsored by CSL Dualcom.

The Trailblazer, which is a Level 3 apprenticeship, has been developed by the Trailblazer Employer Group with the support of the BSIA, the FIA and the FSA along with other industry stakeholders, and gained Government approval last year. The Government’s Trailblazer initiative focuses on employer-designed apprenticeship standards to ensure apprentices’ training and assessment directly meets industry and business needs.

The new Fire, Emergency and Security Systems Trailblazer standard will replace the current industry apprenticeship framework. It aims to equip apprentices with an array of core knowledge and skills, including Health and Safety, electrical and electronic principles, practices and procedures, core systems, system technologies and environmental principles, as well as customer service, communication and commercial awareness.

Pat Allen, chairman of the Trailblazer Employer Group, commented: “The new Trailblazer standard provides an opportunity for employers within the fire and security sectors to join forces and influence the future of our industry. Together, we were able to create a clear and cohesive standard that will give apprentices the core skills and experience needed to excel within their roles.”

*The launch event will feature addresses from key industry figures and serve as a networking opportunity for attendees. To register for the event visit:

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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