The key to success in the Security industry? Continuous learning and growth
Joe Rutlidge, Guarding and External Partnerships Manager responsible for security, response and shrinkage at Tesco, shares his career path and how he’s gained the right skills and knowledge to progress.
I have worked in security for over 16 years, and this started following studying Public Services at college. I found myself initially working at a debt management company, working through people’s finances, analysing their income and expenditure, trying to help them navigate the financial challenges life brings.
During this time, I volunteered as a Special Constable for the police. I originally did so with the intention of joining as I enjoyed the high pressure, varied and adrenaline-fueled nature of the role. Little did I know at this time that this experience, tied with my studying and full-time role in debt management would shape the course of my career, instilling in me a deep sense of responsibility and a lifelong dedication to serving and protecting the community.
In September 2008 I was successful in applying for a role as a loss prevention investigator for EH Booths. Booths, a high-end retailer described as ‘Waitrose of the North’, is a luxury food retailer with 30 supermarkets across the north-west. I remember my first day reviewing the high-risk lines: these included Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne, Hennessy XO and whole fillets of British beef. All live, no tags; I just knew it was going to be challenging!
My role involved a mixture of working as a security officer, a store detective, an investigator, and being mobile across a number of stores. At this point, despite being offered an opportunity in the police full time, I decided that Retail Loss Prevention was the role for me.
In March 2011, I was promoted to the loss Prevention Manager, heading up the team of 15 officers and investigators across retail and distribution, which I did for 4+ years before moving on to a bigger role in Tesco Onestop, overseeing security for 350+ stores in the north.
In March 2018 I stepped up to become the UK Lead Security Business Partner for all Onestop stores (800+), which I did for three years before moving into Tesco Security in the Northeast Region for a year. Then in January 2022 I was successfully appointed as the UK Guarding and External Partnerships Manager for Tesco.
I have accountability for guarding nationally, a significant budget, over 5,000 officers and five contract, leading a regional team of experts on transforming how we support our colleagues through a flexible, sustainable, industry-leading, value-for-money proposition supported by technology.
Technology such as body-worn cameras, headsets, digital radios (connecting colleagues to each other, mobile officers and our intelligence hub), door access systems and the ‘Dalek’: all to help keep our colleagues and customers safe, with a focus on preventability, deterrence, customer service, and conflict management. We conduct advanced accredited training for our officers, including mobile officers, who work proactively and reactively based on intelligence, to support our colleagues, customers and communities.
It’s important for me to stay ahead of the curve, keep up to date on the industry, drive standards and work as strategically as possible. Each year I ensure that I complete and submit my CPD, but it doesn’t stop there. I continue this throughout the year and always work on my professional development. I have actively sought out opportunities to enhance my knowledge, some of which have been funded by my employer/s, some by myself; these include BTEC qualifications in Security, Education, Training and Conflict Management, through to a Foundation Degree in Leadership and a Master’s in Investigative Practice.
If you are passionate about security, there are so many opportunities to grow and develop your knowledge. I have helped myself by actively reaching out for support with mentoring. In our industry there are professionals in a variety of roles, from a wide range of backgrounds, experts in the UK and further afield; don’t be afraid to reach out or make use of a mentoring platform if you have access to one.
Whether it’s for a short-term goal or long-term strategy, the key to success in the security industry is continuous learning and growth. Building relationships with experienced professionals through mentoring can provide invaluable guidance, insights and opportunities for professional development. By actively seeking support you can expand your knowledge, enhance your skills and navigate the ever-evolving landscape of security.
Joe Rutlidge MSyl, APCIP, UK
Member of the Security Institute and Guarding and External Partnerships Manager