Chair: Martin Gill

Panellists:
Peter Harrison – Managing Director at FGH Security Ltd (UK)
J. David Quilter – Author and President at QuilCo, Inc. (US)
J. Kelly Stewart – Managing Director and CEO at Newcastle Consulting LLC (US)

Key points

J. Kelly Stewart advances the value and expertise of people produced within the public sector but which to be of maximum benefit to the private security sector needs to be matched appropriately. There are transferable skill sets, but security differs and so do organisations, you will hear him discuss the importance of the ‘cultural fit’. Kelly notes he benefited from a mentor and sees much value in that. People making the transition need to be open minded and prepared to learn but only some are; seeing private security as a retirement job is to undervalue it and a recipe for problems. He calls on security associations to do more and highlights the value of education and training on the one hand and the development of a clearer career path on the for harnessing the potential of public sector employees.

Peter Harrison employs a lot of ex personnel from the marines in particular but also some from the police. He notes a distinction, the key priority for public sector employees is protecting people whereas in private security it is about protecting the organisation cost effectively although always includes an element of keeping people safe. In the commercial world the economic imperative is the dominant consideration and understanding that is a key requirement of those making the transition. Public sector employees bring distinct skill sets, indeed some courses are only available to public employees and so some knowledge bases can best and only be engaged by appointing retirees from the public sector.

J. David Quilter has extensive experience of preparing public sector personnel for private and corporate security positions. He stresses the importance of the cultural fit, and the advantages in people preparing for transition 2 to 3 years ahead of time. He too, emphasises the need to understand the business, there is never a substitute for that. Similarly he highlights the need to recognise that the commercial sector is less command and control orientated; some struggle with that adjustment. The public sector could do more to prepare its retirees, he argues that what they do has not changed since 1947. A big advantage of public sector employees is that they have networks, and contacts across other public sector agencies which can be crucial to some companies. David emphasises the importance of lifetime learning.

This webinar highlights the benefits of public sector employees, their potential to enhance business performance as well as the hurdles that need to be managed but only sometimes are. There is potential to harness more from those who have ‘security’ knowledge and the public sector needs to play a fuller role, associations too, and once again the value of a more defined career path raises its head. Indeed, the process of engaging public sector employees for private security deployment is another area ripe for new thinking.

Martin Gill
22nd October 2020