Chair: Martin Gill

Panellists:
Eddie Ingram – Managing Director at Bidvest Noonan
David Evans – CEO at Global Aware International and Chairman and Founder of Terrorist Information New York Group (TINYg)
Peter Prak – Director at Vertas B.V.

Key points

Eddie Ingram outlines a whole range of benefits security provides and he gives many examples including: the ways in which security on mixed use estates provide security for tenants but also for everyone else passing through it, whether that be for business or leisure; providing security in sports stadia and elsewhere and relieving police to undertake more important tasks; on transport systems where they protect the infrastructure but also offer succour to passengers and the public. Security provides a wide range of services too, clearly protecting against all types of security threats, but also helping when people slip, supporting people if there is an attempted suicide and even in one case at least helping with the birth of a baby! The benefits are often appreciated by others and one example is the police where there are good partnerships. The route to collaborating more and better rests on part on the generation of better data and intelligence and finding ways to share and integrate it meaningfully. The benefits and good work provide in the pandemic may not be realised because many of the stakeholders would not have seen it, often they were working from home.

Peter Prak notes that security is the centre of the business and highlights the value of Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM) which is focussed on integration (with different stakeholders including customers). That said he notes that this is still not adopted by most companies. When thinking about benefits one of the problems with security is that these are mostly interpreted in qualitative terms, but business like quantitative measures and you will hear an interesting discussion about the value of ‘disquality’. Part of the difficulty is that security is not always a priority, even in an industry like the railways, of course security matters but the priorities are elsewhere and so communicating benefits and value needs a focus. There are benefits in highlighting overlaps with other areas and he gives the example of security and safety – two sides of the same medal – not least in terms of the role of communication and awareness raising. There is also an interesting call to look at CPTED principles, they have much to offer. The pandemic has shown that things can go wrong and can have a major impact, that is something for security to work with, now it must make sure that it does.

David Evans highlights the role of security in not just protecting those who are paying but the broader benefits of those using facilities, there is an enormous value in providing reassurance. Public and private partnerships have been enormously progressive and show what good collaboration can do, including releasing police officers to do more work. In a different way, the work that has been done by organisations about protecting data has had benefits for the public who are much better prepared than they would have been. In the fight against terrorism the security sector has produced a range of important technologies including mass communications platforms as well as intelligence modules to assist the public and the police. In other ways the private security sector helps spread the police message. In the retail sector security and loss prevention departments protect against loss and therefore rising prices. There needs to be more government support of partnerships, more engagement with media outlets to promote the good work, and more thought needs to be given to harnessing the work the private security sector. The police, at senior levels anyway recognise the efforts, but building trust across the piece needs to be developed.

The private security sector generates many benefits, important ones too. The panel were generally of the view that these were appreciated, at least by those they worked with, but there is more that can be done. Most poignantly perhaps the point is not that the sector needs to do more, rather that it needs to better communicate what it already does, it is a lot.

Martin Gill
17th June, 2021