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The Last Word
The British Security Industry Association has been working
tirelessly behind the scenes in a determined bid to underpin and
embolden the private security industry in its response to the
COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, that work has involved
lobbying Government in a bid to see security personnel
recognised for what they are (and always have been): key workers.
Mike Reddington offers a progress update
Back in February, members of the
team at the British Security Industry
Association (BSIA) were invited guests at
the 2020 Outstanding Security
Performance Awards (OSPAs) Ceremony
held in central London. Organised by
Perpetuity Research, the UK OSPAs are
an annual celebration of some of the great
examples of brilliant work transacted on a
daily basis by serving security personnel
and, indeed, the industry as a whole.
Although everyone in attendance that
night was aware of the situation rapidly
unfolding in the wider world around what
eventually morphed into the ensuing
Coronavirus pandemic, at this particular
juncture there was no indication that,
several months later, we would be where
we find ourselves today.
As a Trade Association that represents
a high percentage of the professional
security industry sector here in the UK, it
has been our duty to ensure we are indeed
proactively representing that industry.
This includes identifying how the
ramifications of fast-moving Government
policy would affect our members as the
country came to terms with the
Coronavirus pandemic from both a
business and a personal perspective.
In order to be fully effective on behalf
of our member companies right from the
beginning of the pandemic, it was vitally
important for us to have a robust business
continuity plan in place that enabled the
BSIA and its staff to be able to work
remotely and with minimum
interruption. Although never expecting to
enact this plan, the time did come for it to
be put into action once the
announcement of a full lockdown was
implemented by the Government.
From the outset, our task of lobbying
Government to give a clear definition of
key worker status was prominent.
Ensuring that as many of our industry
colleagues as possible were able to carry
out their duties in line with the new
legislation was (and remains) a top
priority for the BSIA.
Our work in conjunction with the
Security Industry Authority both before
and during the pandemic phase was (and
has been) critical in gaining clarification
from the Government for security
personnel and, in a later statement, for the
electronic security industry.
Indeed, the BSIA lobbied multiple
Government ministers and departments
including Her Majesty’s Treasury, who
clarified the status of our members
working in the Cash-in-Transit sector,
and also the Department for Education
(specifically in relation to security-focused
training providers having secured funding
at their disposal).
The effects of what could have
happened should private security
personnel not have been classified as key
workers in the unfolding scenario are
unimaginable. That said, the combined
lobbying efforts of the BSIA and other key
industry bodies (among them the
National Security Inspectorate) meant
that our members (and, indeed, the wider
industry) were able to continue to operate
and play an important role in navigating
the country though this crisis, whether
this was by dint of providing
security guarding and maintaining
national infrastructure, assisting in the
development of field hospitals (such as
NHS Nightingale), developing technology
to be used for ventilators or protecting
and assisting the public on retail sites and
in relation to vacant property.
For the first time during the crisis, it
was very positive indeed to hear security
officer services referenced on the national
stage during one of Prime Minister Boris
Johnson’s news briefings.
Job Retention Scheme
Lobbying by the Trade Association didn’t
end at clarification around key worker
status for security personnel. We
also lobbied Government on the
extension of the Job Retention Scheme,
called for key worker testing for our
members’ employees and their families
and sought clarification on death in
service payments for the families of loved
ones who’ve sadly lost their lives in the
line of duty.
We will continue to lobby Government
on behalf of our members and promote
their work and achievements to both the
trade and national press as part of our
ongoing commitment aimed at raising the
profile of the security business sector.
In order for us to raise the security
industry’s profile even further, we must
highlight the positive work we’re doing at
every opportunity and also show that
we’re stronger together as an industry.
There has never been a time in recent
years when security has harboured such
prominence in the public arena and the
public eye. Now is the opportunity for us
to position the role of security where it
absolutely should be.
Reflecting its role as a Trade
Association, the BSIA is wholly
committed to highlighting to
Government, the police service and,
further, members of the general public the
professionalism, innovation and sheer
hard work that’s going on to ensure the
country remains safe and secure.
We will continue to raise key issues on
behalf of our members and encourage
other companies to consider the value of
membership of the Trade Association in
order to ensure they have a recognised
vehicle to raise their concerns and
represent their views to Government, the
police service and regulated bodies.
Mike Reddington is CEO of the British
Security Industry Association