What will 2013 bring to the world of security?
With the newly-elected Police and Crime Commissioners beginning to find their feet and the continuing impact of police budget cuts, how will this influence outsourcing and other aspects of the security world? Will international terrorism, cyber crime and economic uncertainty be the main threats in 2013? What technological advances will make the most impact? And given all of these considerations, what will be the priorities for 2013? We asked the following industry heads, experts and thought-leaders from across the security world for their views:
- John Roddy, CEO, The Shield Guarding Company Limited (at time of writing)
- Stewart Angell, UK Managing Director, G4S Technology (at time of writing)
- Claire Lambert, Managing Director, Charter Security plc (at time of writing)
- John Briggs, Operations Director, First Security powered by Interserve
- David Ward, Managing Director, Ward Security
- Ron Fellows, Global Subject Matter Expert, Crime Analytics at IBM
- Jonathan Levine, Group Chief Executive, Axis Security
- Jon Burke, Marketing Manager, Abloy
- Peter French MBE CPP FSyl, CEO, SSR® Personnel
John Roddy, CEO, The Shield Guarding Company Limited (at time of writing)
There is no single type of security threat that can be planned for. At The Shield Guarding Company, we always prioritise the continuous re-evaluation of our threat assessments to ensure that clients not only receive paramount service, but also a tailored security package that is specific to their requirements.
During the past 10 years we have seen the growth of security contracts, both manned and electronic, forming part of wider FM contracts, where services are bundled together. Without doubt there is clear indication that large businesses with potential major risk issues are steering back in the direction of a single and experienced supply of security services and we believe that this trend will continue.
Stewart Angell, UK Managing Director, G4S Technology (at time of writing)
As we enter 2013, I see another really exciting year ahead. Like 2012, it will be challenging as the economic climate continues to dominate the landscape. With developments in cloud-based hosted solutions and the technology versus manpower debate picking up pace, we are going to see some very positive advances across the security industry. Price points continue to drive the marketplace and this is set to accelerate further, as the industry increasingly demonstrates that technology delivers significant cost savings when replacing manpower. Furthermore, cloud-based systems are going to become even more the ‘norm’ as this market grows rapidly. To stay ahead in the marketplace it is imperative to offer solutions which address these trends and deliver practical cloud-based systems that allow companies and the facilities they occupy to run more efficiently – mitigating risk, increasing safety and reducing operating costs. We will continue focus on providing our customers with efficient and cost effective security solutions, delivering a world class product and service offering.
Claire Lambert, Managing Director, Charter Security plc (at time of writing)
What does 2013 hold for the UK security sector? As a mid-sized independent business I am optimistic about the year ahead. What has become clear is that companies such as ours fly completely under the radar of any consultation process, whether it be the award of the Olympics security contract (we provided the security at the Aquatics Centre during its construction) or part of the forthcoming SIA changes; we hold a whole range of views that are not given air and struggle to find our way on to panels to make our voice heard. In 2013 it is my desire to see independent medium-sized security companies being engaged in the decision-making processes that directly affect our businesses and the livelihoods of all those we employ.
John Briggs, Operations Director, First Security powered by Interserve
We all know that cost restraints are here to stay, so the challenge for the security industry in 2013 is to continue to deliver quality services to the end customer – and there are a couple of areas that I believe will help us to achieve these goals.
Firstly, we have the impending changes to the Private Security Industry Act, which are expected in 2014-2015 and will make it a criminal offence for a business to provide a security service unless it is properly licensed. Ensuring that the industry is properly regulated and that operators demonstrate core competencies can only be a good thing for our industry. Most importantly, it will ensure that customers receive the best service levels. The other likely development is to combine new technologies to help secure buildings and their contents with the right manned guarding provision.
Businesses will of course continue to invest in the latest electronic devices, but increasingly they will be looking for a physical presence to complement these; a person that can react to and deal with situations as they happen and work with the technology available to provide a safer and more welcoming environment.
David Ward, Managing Director, Ward Security
Next year will see an increasing move towards data compliance and the operational requirements for building security that go towards making that happen. In effect, this means actually asking the client what they want. People talk the talk about bespoke security solutions but very few companies actually offer it. As an example, one building we looked at for a potential new client had 168 cameras installed, but only eight of these were actually in the right place. From the clients’ perspective, it’s about letting people who know what they’re talking about come into the building and do their job.
Although there has been talk of an upturn in the economy, the last couple of years have – on the whole – been business as usual for Ward Security. We have seen one or two clients looking to reduce their overheads, but there hasn’t been any noticeable dip in business. What is interesting is that we have seen a demand for increased quality of training from third world countries and we are getting enquiries about providing specialist services to the international market. British companies operate to exacting standards and lesser-developed markets are looking to improve theirs.
When it comes to technology, wireless services will become increasingly prevalent. As long as there is a phone signal, wireless solutions can go anywhere. It is so much quicker and more cost effective. The big challenge is to get clients to join up their different resources, so they can merge their services and get a more consistent and intuitive solution.
Ron Fellows, Global Subject Matter Expert, Crime Analytics at IBM
Threats. Terrorism isn’t going to go away. Nor is the threat of riots…. the pressures are still there. However, I’d like to hope that policing (and other agencies) will focus on finding out what troubles the citizen most (generally low-level crime and anti-social behaviour) and preventing it.
The Economy. Public Sector finances will be under pressure, so I’d like see (a) the PCCs take a long hard look at how things are done and cut out the waste inherent in some policing practices and (b) the PCCs finally grab hold of police IT and do something to rationalise it.
Change in 2013. I hope for the start of the long-overdue realisation that imbedding advanced analytics into the police process, instead of hiding them in a back room somewhere, can lead to real improvements in productivity and protect frontline services while enabling the financial savings to be made.
Jonathan Levine, Group Chief Executive, Axis Security
The Olympics brought the role of the security officer into sharp focus, and there was the danger that the magnificent job that thousands of officers do every day to complement and support – rather than replace – the professionalism of our police or armed forces was going to be undermined. Happily, it appears that common sense has prevailed, and the knee-jerk responses from some quarters of government have given way to more considered and rational thought.
As an industry we are successfully moving away from a time of poorly trained, poorly paid security officers earning little more than the minimum wage. We must not allow ourselves to sink back into that position again. The threats to our country, our commerce and our communities are ever present, and the pressure on our police forces and armed services continues. This is a time when the very best people are needed, and should be properly remunerated. Buying cheap invariably doesn’t work; companies need to be prepared to invest, and that will continue to be the challenge in 2013 when the pressure is to spend less not more.
Jon Burke, Marketing Manager, Abloy
2013 will bring a increase in awareness regarding the use of electromagnets in door access control, and the issues regarding security, compliance and energy efficiency.
We believe there will be a step change in terms of education across the industry, as we all make use of access control.
For example, door magnets can be defeated by placing a paper clip or by spraying hairspray on the faceplate, and we can easily demonstrate this. Electric locks are highly secure and resist significant amounts of force. These electromagnets use power to secure the door when closed while electric locks are the exact opposite, drawing power only when being opened. This is an issue of great importance, but often overlooked. Electric locks are more energy efficient and comply with relevant legal standards as well as being substantially more secure.
Peter French MBE CPP FSyl, CEO, SSR® Personnel
The issues that will arise in the coming year will be extenuated by the continuation of turmoil in the Euro Zone and if consumer spending growth in China slows to less than 2%. This matters as growth in China creates an economy equal to the GDP of Greece every six weeks.
The traditional security function is not immune to cuts in back office functions that continue to drive corporate profitability – which is considered a short term view by many. Growth in the security arena is focused in the cyber space and behaviour analytics.
Criminal attacks against the corporation will create a $20bn global annual cost of defence whilst facing a serious shortfall in available skills. Analytics will be better deployed to combat insider threats, with technology maturing and costs reducing over the next twelve months.