The Hidden Workforce: resetting the perception of the security officer: July 17 2020
The Hidden Workforce: resetting the perception of the security officer
Last month, following the public recognition of security officers as key workers, the BSIA recognised that there was an opportunity to re-set general public perceptions of the Security Industry which, we believe, remain rooted in the past and do not reflect the increase in contribution, capability and professionalism that has been achieved in the past 15 years.
To achieve change the BSIA has sought to establish a wide industry coalition of interested parties through a core steering group of the Security Institute; and Security Commonwealth with the SIA in attendance.
The objective of the Hidden Workforce campaign is to get politicians, regional Police, and the public to recognise the increased professionalisation of the industry and accept that (media stories notwithstanding) the security industry actually provides a very positive, caring, service-focused support to their safety in public space. To assess success, we are finalising a short YouGov survey to understand current benchmarks which we intend to repeat in six months.
In terms of actions to date the BSIA has written to the Home Secretary, Security Minister and Lord Greenhalgh (Home Office Minister in the Lords and ex-head of MOPAC) with three requests:
- Public ministerial recognition that security officers can, and do, provide higher value services in support of public safety without significant risk to the public.
- Participation in a review of the contribution the security industry can make to supporting public safety in association with the NPCC and SIA; possibly extending to a strategy for the industry.
- Support for the BSIA and Skills for Security to work with the NPCC to establish a formal Accreditation/Standard, recognised as appropriate to deliver support to local communities.
The BSIA has launched a consultation on whether it is still appropriate to call the service “manned guarding” and seeking alternatives that reflect the diversity of both staff and roles to drive engagement with the Industry. However, we also realise that the key is to stop talking to ourselves (whom we have convinced) but actually engage the wider public at a time (during COVID-19 relaxation) when public tensions may be high and security is likely to have a significant and visible role to play.
The Steering Group is also widening engagement through the Police & Security APPG; ADS/RISC; CSSC; PaS/NBCC; and other organisations to try and establish momentum around a simple, clear message to drive the change needed.
We are asking BSIA members and the wider industry to support us in this campaign in the following way:
- Post a press release from your business containing a consistent message with common language (copy of proposed press release text listed in the body text of the email)
- To identify any specific examples of innovative collaboration projects where your Security Teams are working closely with the Police that you can share with us to be used in our marketing of this campaign.
This last point is particularly important as, although we are aware of many positive projects, there is no co-ordinated view of where collaboration is working well and we would like to create a central repository/register for these.
British Security Industry Association
The Security Institute