Paul Crowther CBE, former Chief Constable of British Transport Police on security in 2022
We asked Paul Crowther CBE, security consultant and former Chief Constable of British Transport Police: What key innovations and developments for security do you think will emerge in 2022?
2021 was a strange year of business adjustment, as the limitations on businesses and individuals brought about by COVID began to lift. As they have, a new type of normal has emerged, with different working and travel patterns. The implications for the security industry and for security organisations are yet to be fully seen, and 2022 will be a year of further adjustment with a real need for flexibility and innovation.
Fewer staff in offices means a reduction in the levels of informal premises security traditionally achieved through the presence of alert staff. Changes in staff travel patterns coincide with a long overdue awareness and growing unease about the threat to the safety of women and girls, not just when travelling or socialising, but when in the workplace too.
That in turn means that employees rightly have a significantly higher expectation of their employers’ commitment to their overall personal safety and well-being.
Helping ensure their safety to, from and during work will become much more of a standard expectation.
Financial challenges faced by businesses over the last two years will undoubtedly drive even greater focus on cost.
The nature of security, the services provided and the way they are delivered will need to adapt and change accordingly.
Physical security measures, particularly using traditional guarding resources, may become an expensive option in the face of significant workplace change and organisational demand, and the availability of new technologies.
Traditional CCTV systems and patrolling personnel may find themselves left behind, as drones, advanced computer vision, artificial intelligence, machine learning, data lakes and other smart technologies begin to find their way from high-end national security use cases into more everyday security scenarios. The tech world is adapting quickly and will challenge traditional approaches.
Now is the time for innovative thinking within security organisations.
We can be absolutely certain that customers will be thinking differently, and the industry needs to keep pace. But that in turn requires different leadership. Not just reimagining ways of delivering existing services by alternative means. It also requires an ability and willingness to rethink the problem, sometimes in a completely sector-agnostic way and being open to solutions from parallel sectors or problem sets.
That sort of innovative thinking is not as common as other forms of corporate planning or risk management. It should be seen as an important leadership skill to be nurtured and developed in both current and future leaders.