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Corporate calling

by Brian Sims

Working in a uniformed environment is very different from operating in the commercial world where every penny of the investment made in security and resilience has to be justified and is often hard won against competing commercial priorities. Jeff Little examines a new training course designed for those making the transition towards roles in the security sector

With the world becoming an increasingly more volatile, uncertain and chaotic environment in which to live and work, security and resilience – in its various guises – is an industry that’s expanding rapidly and one that will continue to grow through the next decade and beyond. The security infrastructure budget in the US alone, for example, is set to approach $86 billion by 2016 and forecast to grow at a rate of 8.4% per year.

Maritime security aimed at countering Somali piracy is another significant market. That’s not to mention the demand for combating a growing asymmetric threat from international and domestic terrorism nor the dangers posed from natural disasters spurned by climate change forces which are on the increase. All of these scenarios demand agile responses provided by visionary minds.

In the UK, the private and corporate security sectors have grown and morphed significantly over the past decade due to economic globalisation and threats adopting an international dimension. On top of that, new technology is swiftly and continually changing the very ways in which security systems are provided at all levels.

Security is second nature to anyone who has served – or is still serving – in the Armed Forces, the police service or indeed the Security Services and intelligence agencies.

Further, security, resilience and dealing with disaster is a way of life for those charged with managing highly sensitive documents and the control of lethal weapons and ammunition.

Many will have served at the operational and tactical levels of command while some will have worked as members of the strategic ‘Gold’ command groups.

Many will have deployed overseas on operational service and seen the devastating results of hurricanes and typhoons, the debris of war and the effects of pandemic disease on communities like those of East Africa.

Others will have participated in major incidents in the UK or assisted with civil community-type operations, for example by helping with the terrible and devastating floods that occurred back at the beginning of 2014.

Manifesto for Professional Security

One of the greatest challenges facing the security sector over the next decade will be to make security a career of first choice for young men and women leaving university and charting their futures. Individuals who find themselves at the very beginning of their career.

This need has been brilliantly recognised by The Security Institute with the launch of its ambitious new plan entitled: ‘Recognised, Respected and Professional’ (‘A Manifesto for Professional Security’: The Security Institute’s Vision of The Future, pp12-14). The Manifesto recognises the need to heighten the profile of the sector. It seeks to encourage collaboration with universities, education providers, schools and careers advisors. There’s full recognition that we must identify career paths for individuals from the point that they join the industry to the very top of the profession and show that ‘Security’ can be a challenging, intellectually stimulating and exciting career.

Until this aim is achieved, though, the security industry will continue to rely heavily upon personnel from the police, the Armed Forces and the Security Services moving to a second career in either the corporate or the private sectors.

This transition is, of course, a logical step for those for whom security has been a part of their vocation from Day One of their careers. Such men and women have provided leadership at major incidents, dealt with the news media and harbour deep experience of resilience and disaster management at first hand.

In addition, they’ve been trained to work under pressure and thrive in stressful conditions. They provide a solid bedrock of talent and experience upon which the industry depends at what is a time of significantly increased threats from terrorism, natural hazards, climate change effects and, of course, potential epidemics.

Working in different worlds

That said, even they don’t know it all. Working in a uniformed environment is different from operating in the commercial world where every penny of the investment made in security and resilience has to be justified and is often hard won against competing commercial priorities.

Many middle-ranking and senior officers and warrant officers step straight into appointments of significant responsibility with international commitments and the reputations of major brand names at stake. Others move to defend elements of the Critical National Infrastructure where there’s a need for more sophisticated defences against a range of asymmetric, omnidirectional and multi-faceted threats.

Many more move into private security companies (which used to be known as Private Military Security Companies until a change of title was deemed beneficial to their interests). Such companies have achieved great success in dealing with pirate activities, for example off the coast of Somalia.

With this canvass in mind, ForcesBridge Training has constructed an intensive, relevant and threat-driven two-week training course to give such leaders a head start as they make the transition to the commercial sector. The dynamic syllabus covers all aspects of the contemporary security spectrum for the protection of employees and senior management who travel the globe. It looks at the protection of intellectual property rights as well as the physical demands of defending, for example, a headquarters building by using access control and electronic alarms.

Value of security investment

Strategic thinking in their new role will be crucial for those transitioning to Civvy Street, and convincing the Board of Directors about the value of investment in security systems is covered in detail.

The course will enable delegates to meet other members of their cohort beginning their journey in this growing and dynamic industry and mix with guest speakers who’ve been practising in the sector for many years. Regular update briefings will be held for those who attend while password-controlled access to the website (www.forcesbridgetraining.com) will keep all delegates up-to-speed with new techniques as and when they evolve.

In short, all delegates will become an immediate member of the ForcesBridge alumni – a group destined to become the driving force in what’s now a rapidly growing threat mitigation industry.

360-degree vision is with us

The ‘Heads of Security’ or ‘Security and Resilience Directors’ of today and tomorrow will be expected – and required – to have a full 360-degree vision of the industry, its strengths and weaknesses and the technical systems and tools available to them in 2015 and beyond. No matter how broadly based a service career they will have enjoyed to date, candidates cannot be expected to have more than 180-degree vision at the point at which they make their transition. Indeed, many may only boast a 90-degree specialist duty view or even less.

Jeff Little OBE

Jeff Little OBE

Therefore, ForcesBridge Training has constructed a course which will provide a full and comprehensive overview of the complete security landscape. The course is dynamic, testing and up-to-date with current global developments such as the Jihadist fundamentalist threat emanating from the Mesopotamian Basin, the dangers of cavity bomber attacks and the risks posed by organic explosive devices.

Delivered in central London, the two week-long course will provide candidates with knowledge of risk management, an overview of investigation techniques and electronic security systems. It explores the relevant British and international standards, introduces the laws and responsibilities designed to prevent and reduce crime, deal with cyber attacks and counter today’s terrorist threats.

The course also describes the needs of the resilient organisation that’s ready and prepared to deal with disruption to its supply chain at home and abroad, confident in its disaster management protocols and playing host to a well-practised contingency action team with a solid set of operating procedures configured to lead the company’s route back to normality should the worst case scenario ever transpire.

For those yet to enter the security industry, assistance with writing a relevant CV and preparing for that all-important interview is also provided.

Jeff Little OBE MBA FSyI FICPEM is Director of ForcesBridge Training

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