Key questions for the industry on emerging threats

March 5, 2024


emerging threats

Simon Giles, CEO, City Group Security looks at the areas in which the security industry will need to evolve to keep pace with emerging threats and technological advancements. 

The security industry will need to evolve in several key areas to meet the demands of today’s complex and interconnected world. Here are a few areas where evolution is crucial: 

1. Cybersecurity: With the increasing prevalence of cyber threats, security professionals and businesses must have a deep understanding of cybersecurity principles and best practices. This includes knowledge of data protection, network security, and threat detection and response.

What is clear is that in the years to come physical and virtual security are going to get ever closer and professionals will be needed that are able to talk knowledgeably about both areas and deliver integrated solutions. 

2. Technology Building Integration: Security professionals need to be well-versed in the latest security technologies, such as access control systems, video surveillance, biometric identification, CCTV, and body cameras.

Integrating these technologies effectively is crucial for comprehensive security solutions. The largest cost on the majority of security contracts at the moment is personnel, as this can be 90%+ plus of the total cost and therefore looking and finding ways to better integrate technology solutions with personnel will help drive a better service for customers and reduce costs. 

3. Risk assessment and management: Security professionals must be trained in risk assessment and management to identify potential vulnerabilities and develop strategies to mitigate security risks effectively.

This is increasingly important with the potential development in areas such as Martyn’s law, as whilst sadly there will be lots of ‘snake oil salesman’ trying to sell over the top assessment, well trained security professionals will be able to help advise their customers on best practice. 

4. Regulatory compliance: Changes in laws and regulations regarding data privacy and security necessitate that security professionals stay up to date with compliance requirements and industry standards.

The changes in the Equality Act and having policies and procedures to deal with sexual harassment and long overdue but welcomed by businesses. 

5. Learning and development: In addition to technical expertise, security professionals require strong communication, teamwork, and leadership skills to work effectively with diverse, inclusive teams and create belonging through stakeholder engagement.

Whilst it is encouraging to see the new apprenticeship levy framework now including security, sadly the Government fails to recognise that until they allow employers to claim from the levy the cost of the pay of the learner then it puts a large additional wage cost on companies, as unlike someone who is salaried, when someone who is paid hourly does training they not only need to be paid, but so does their backfill completing their shifts.

In a low profit margin, industry employers just cannot fund the double wage cost. 

6. Becoming a more diverse industry. Security has always been heavily male dominated, with there being nearly ten times as many men as women working as security officers.

As I discuss below, bringing in a more diverse workforce will help dramatically change not only the face of the industry but help address issues in society today. 

How can we mitigate the current increase in violence? 

Unfortunately, what we are seeing now is the vacuum becoming bigger and bigger as the ability of the Police to be on the streets dealing with day-to-day offences becomes harder.

We all know that there is no magic money tree that is going to fix this and put more police officers back on the streets, and therefore a key part of filling that vacuum rests with the security industry. 

To be an effective deterrent our security officers need to be visible and have more ability to issue ASBOs and dissolve situations before they escalate. A couple of ideas are: 

1. Integrating K9 units into law enforcement and security protocols has proven to be an effective means of mitigating the increase in violence. These units play a vital role in maintaining public safety, detecting explosives and narcotics, and contributing to search and rescue efforts. Their value in securing public spaces and high-risk environments cannot be overstated. 

One of the key aspects of K9 units is their ability to deter and detect violent threats. The presence of a K9 unit alone can serve as a deterrent to potential perpetrators.

The keen senses of a trained police dog enable them to detect concealed weapons and explosives, thus preventing violent acts before they occur.

In situations of escalating violence, the swift response of a K9 unit can help law enforcement personnel gain control and minimise the impact of the threat. 

The use of K9 units in high-risk environments such as airports, public events, and critical infrastructure facilities has become essential.

These units provide an added layer of security, complementing other security measures in place.

Additionally, their ability to quickly search and clear areas in search and rescue operations minimises the potential for harm to victims.s. 

2. Increasing the current percentage of female officers in the industry can help a lot to dissolve difficult situations. Time and time again we see that female officers are better able to stop, especially the potential of violence, escalating into a physical act more than their male counterparts. This is very much deeply embedded into our DNA. Key for us therefore as an industry is making sure that we can better attract females into the profession and create long lasting careers.  

Influencing the buyer of Security – what needs to be done? 

From a buyer’s perspective, security services are about more than just protection; they encompass a comprehensive approach designed to mitigate risk, enhance operational efficiency, and provide peace of mind.

Buyers seek tailored security strategies, advanced technological integrations, and proactive threat mitigation, recognising the crucial role that security providers play in enabling businesses and communities to function safely and smoothly. 

By showcasing the value of these services in ensuring safety, minimising risk, and optimising operations, security professionals can influence buyers to invest in high-quality security solutions and personnel.  

Emphasising the expertise, experience and reliability of security professionals can also be a persuasive factor for buyers.

It’s important to highlight the professionalism and competency of security personnel, as they are often the frontline representatives of security services.

The security personnel should be rewarded and recognised for their expertise and professionalism. 

In the compensation of security personnel, it’s important to consider fair and competitive wages that reflect the critical nature of their work.

Compensation that values the skills, training, and responsibilities of security personnel is important in attracting, retaining, and upskilling qualified professionals in the field. 

By understanding and addressing the concerns and priorities of buyers, security professionals can effectively influence them to invest in security services that meet their unique needs and expectations. 

This article was originally published in the March Edition of Security Journal United Kingdom. To read your FREE digital edition, click here.

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