2014 continued the trend towards an increased use of technology within the security sector, a trend supported by higher levels of integration between all sectors of the profession – from physical to digital and computing to electrical. What developments will characterise the security guarding business sector in 2015? John Roddy focuses on the Total Security Solution model
In recent times, the ongoing development of innovative technological solutions has certainly helped to optimise traditional security guarding practices and afford those security companies who deliver them something of an edge in what’s now an increasingly competitive and price-sensitive business sector.
Businesses are presently reliant upon technological advancement for improved convenience in the working arena. The security sector is by no means immune to such progress and has duly moved forward. That movement has resulted in sufficient improvements in terms of both monitoring capabilities and enhanced customer safety.
Other technological progress has made the essence of security fundamentally easier. Motion-activated surveillance, for example, means that security officers no longer have to trawl through hours of CCTV footage in order to find what they’re looking for while highlighted video feeds identify those zones where activity is taking place. Such additions enable officers to quickly identify incidents and act on an instant basis. The time saved allows security officers to focus on other key tasks and, as a result, better secure buildings and people.
However, while it’s accepted that technology has become the backbone of professional security services, investment in that technology alone isn’t wholly effective in providing an end-to-end security solution. Neither can the overriding importance of security guarding ever be underestimated.
Basis of the security model
The devised security model should always begin with a clear understanding of the customer’s risk profile. Bear in mind this profile can alter on a daily basis and at different times of the day. Only when the customer’s risks are clearly understood can the security company develop an appropriate solutions package which may be 100% technology-focused or 100% reliant on manpower. In reality, the end product is very often a blend of the two.
There are certain instances when the threat profile surrounding an event can be extremely high. On such occasions, the security officers on duty have to be experienced in dealing with crisis management. The consequences of those officers being ill-prepared to handle high pressure situations are extremely high. There should be no doubt that every member of staff is prepared for the event and that minds are completely focused.
One of the key growth areas for professional security services providers of late has been a greater focus on designing robust Total Security Solution-focused delivery models for customers. Models integrating technology investment with a well-trained and skilled workforce whose members are able to operate that technology on a productive basis.
Effectiveness of guarding
A Total Security Solution approach assists in further optimising the effectiveness of security guarding practices. The training that’s required to use the technological advancements in place can be extremely time-consuming but it’s vitally important when it comes to gaining maximum benefit from the investments made.
Furthermore, at a time when security and safety in the business environment is pivotal and customisation of services so important in respect of client satisfaction, in 2015 there will be a further focus on an increasing requirement to extract security services from facility-managed ‘bundled’ contracts and instead adopt innovation along every step of the supply chain.
Although the presence of technology in the security sector is imperative, it’s vital that its inclusion is not solely for aesthetic purposes. Rather, it should be effective technology providing full security cover of an assignment.
The addition of technology often allows for reductions in manpower cover, but in such cases the quality of those officers deployed has to be higher as they will have more to manage. It’s extremely important for security companies to invest in training their members of staff to a degree that absolutely ensures the effective introduction of all security technologies.
Often, security officers will initially witness a developing incident by way of the CCTV cameras. The next step is for officers to be able to act both appropriately and efficiently. If this fails to happen then the security technology on site isn’t being used efficiently. It could then be argued that there was very little point investing in that technology in the first place.
Importance of good communication
Recent security threats in the UK such as the London riots and other local and international security risks involving Britain as a whole have reiterated the ongoing importance placed upon security companies to provide a Total Security Solution service to clients.
With an increased reliance on technology it might be the case that physical security staff-based solutions are neglected. That should never be the case. It has been proven time and again that a physical security presence on site has a positive impact in terms of driving down crime. For example, the value of CCTV can be visible when combined with good security guarding, as demonstrated during the aforementioned riots in the capital. London businesses with trained and licensed security officers on their premises didn’t lose as much money and stock as those businesses ‘protected’ solely by surveillance cameras.
The communication element of our business sector represents the fundamental foundation for a successful security company. Officers need to be able to effectively communicate the elements of a security situation not only with their superiors but also with each other. Good communication allows a security situation to be handled with both care and precision.
There’s no doubt the use of technology has fostered this process taking place in a smoother fashion. While CCTV and other technologies provide security companies with invaluable information to improve our operations, it’s the role of well-qualified officers properly skilled and trained on this latest technology that protects people from crime and optimises the success of security services.
Put simply, the use of manpower may be expensive for the client but generates a rapid response that invariably acts as a deterrent to the criminal fraternity.
A quality security guarding team operating in a rapidly changing environment with a number of impacting changes – whether it be the risk of a particular terror threat or the rise in public-private partnerships – needs to be proactive and adept at working with a number of technological procedures and applications to help all officers perform more efficiently.
It’s vital that security teams are well informed about what they’re allowed to implement on site in terms of security. By employing a Total Security Solution-focused service provider, the host organisation knows exactly what to expect in terms of bespoke end delivery.
John Roddy is CEO of The Shield Group