Focus on a Chartered Security Professional: John Conaghan
John Conaghan CSyP shares his journey to becoming a Chartered Security Professional.
Tell us about your early career
I chose a career in policing because it was aligned with my personal values and I saw it as a role which would challenge me and give me a structured career path, but I didn’t realise when I joined just how much I would enjoy it, or for how long I would be part of it.
I served over 30 years with British Transport Police, based in London, in a variety of uniform and detective roles, concluding my service as Chief Superintendent, Head of Specialist Operations.
Why did you decide to move to the security sector?
I am excited to be taking the next step in my career, as I launch my business and aim to use my skills and experience to help others manage risk. The security sector was a natural fit for my experience which lends itself to managing crime and terrorism risk. I believe I am well-placed to help businesses assess vulnerability and evaluate risk to develop effective plans, processes and training, enabling managers and staff to mitigate risk effectively.
Whilst I believe I have much to offer, I’m also looking to broaden my knowledge base, learning from professionals already established in the sector. My policing experience in the transport sector provides a good backdrop for advising on proportionate security measures in the commercial operating environment but I am conscious of the need to ensure I achieve a smooth transition.
Why did you become a CSyP?
I applied to the register of Chartered Security Professionals for a number of reasons. Firstly, CSyP is recognised as the ‘gold standard’ for security professionals – a select body of experienced, skilled individuals who are operating to the highest standards. Admission is via a stringent selection process, designed to identify high calibre candidates, all of which appealed to my sense of professionalism.
Secondly, the application process highlighted the breadth of my relevant, transferrable skills and provided further validation of the experience I had gained during my policing career.
Thirdly, I always placed high importance on continuing professional development throughout my career and still do. There is a requirement to maintain continuing professional development to remain on the CSyP register, which aligns with my own approach to maintaining professional competence.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, CSyP is a community of highly experienced professionals, from whom I hope to learn and develop. There is a rich vein of information, help and advice available to members to enhance professional knowledge.
What advice would you give others beginning or developing a career in security?
I believe this is a good time to be joining the sector. Businesses continue to face a range of evolving security threats, which call for effective but proportionate measures.
Terrorism remains a key consideration and is likely to be a principal factor in security management for the foreseeable future. The forthcoming ‘Protect’ duty is likely to drive further demand and I am keen to support businesses as they grapple with this new legislation, helping them protect their patrons and employees.
For those considering a move to the security sector, I would say consider your skill set and think about how transferable this is. You may be surprised just how applicable your ‘niche’ experience is to the private security industry. I benefitted greatly from the advice of colleagues who are already well established in the sector, and I’d encourage others to do likewise – well-informed advice is a gift, so accept it when offered!