Spotlight on a Security Officer Ron Liles, In-house security, The Savoy
On a recent visit, I met Ron Liles, a Security Officer at The Savoy hotel to discuss his career in security.
Following an injury sustained in 2009, Ron needed to seek a new career path. Through friends’ recommendations he chose the security sector and in 2010 obtained his SIA licence and “has not looked back since”.
He describes his role at The Savoy as, “Providing a 5-star service to guests from around the world and understanding a variety of cultures means my job can be extremely dynamic. We are not the stereotypical black suits you see in most lobbies around the world. We anticipate our guests’ needs and deliver them to the highest level. I also provide Service Quality training to new starters, known as Heartist within AccorHotels, which gets us thinking about the different ways we can communicate and form connections with our guests, building on our Forbes Travel Guide standards.”
I asked about the highlight of his career to date? Ron answers with a big grin on his face, “My team and I winning the ‘In-house Security Team of the Year’ award for 2018 at the Security and Fire Excellence awards. It was an amazing evening which I felt privileged to attend.”
We discussed the skills he believes are important for his role:
“Communication: It’s an area where mistakes or misinterpretations can be made. To excel in security, you need to understand the importance of information. Even more so in 5-star hospitality when looking after royalty, dignitaries and the world’s rich and famous.”
“Situational awareness: We need to be able to adapt ourselves to the situation we are dealing with rapidly to ensure the correct decisions and actions are taken.”
I asked Ron if technology plays a part in his role. “From the CCTV systems to Access Control, key card issuing to information sharing technology plays an instrumental role in today’s security roles and the systems and platforms we use are developing year on year.”
We discussed how Ron’s role has changed. “Today there is a lot more emphasis on Counter Terrorism than there was ten years ago. Of course, there was still a high level of awareness and training available, but in comparison, in the last two years I have attended Project Griffin (twice), Argus, REAct and SCaN provided by the Met Police plus a live scenario initiative provided by CPNI.”
What’s his next step? “To finish my hospitality diploma and continue developing my service quality/training skills. I’ll use all the knowledge gained from these when looking at leading a team/managing others as my position develops in the future.”
Tim Molden, Director of Security & Risk at The Savoy commented on Ron’s contribution and success:
“Ron is an exceptional Duty Security Officer who balances the need to provide a 5-star guest service along with keeping our guests and staff safe. He utilises his experience of dealing with VIPs in his previous role to great effect. His clear communication skills make him a natural leader and he often turns a negative situation into a positive. In 2018, Ron was shortlisted internally as employee of the year which was a credit to him and the rest of my department.”
See also our Security Careers section, including: