We asked David Ward, Chair, City Security Council, to analyse the impact of 2020 and look forward to 2021.
One positive take from this pandemic for our security sector is that COVID-19 elevated the important role all frontline workers play in our society.
The media shone a spotlight on so many people, from supermarket staff, bus drivers, tube workers, railway operators, delivery drivers and postmen to our NHS staff and emergency services workers, and in doing so has helped a nation wake up, possibly for the first time, to how our society really runs.
Security officers are often quite literally standing on the front line. Yet they are so often unrecognised until they are needed. They are the silent onlookers, the trained first responders and inevitably the first people asked for help in the absence of a police officer.
They are invaluable to us, yet our industry remains underrated and often poorly remunerated. We must learn to pay all frontline workers a decent wage, one that reflects the important contribution they make to our society and the professionalism of these people. However, if we are to gain the buy-in from the people that pay the wages of our officer, then we as a security industry must maintain and continue to drive high standards. To this end the City Security Council has created an HR group where representatives of 16 security companies have been tasked to look closely at what training the industry should be investing in to raise standards. The findings of the group will be taken back to the Security Industry Authority to advise on best practice and what they believe should be built into the qualifications and training of all security professionals. This process should drive quality standards as well as demonstrate to clients hiring security services just what they are paying for and why they need to pay more.
Let’s not go into next year leaving this issue of poorly remunerating our frontline workers as something we all say should be addressed but is not. We may have stood on our doorsteps and clapped our thanks but we need to go much further to reward and recognise the importance of our security officers.
David Ward, MSyI
For further views on this topic, see related articles from our Police & Partnerships category:
Robert Hall, Resilience First, on lessons learnt from 2020
Guy Mathias, Security Commonwealth on evolving the security response
Richard Jenkins, NSI on the security sector response to Covid-19
Mike Reddington, BSIA, on dealing with the global pandemic