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Michelle Russell’s end-of-year message


An end of year message to the private security industry from Michelle Russell, Acting Chief Executive of the Security Industry Authority

As 2020 draws to a close, I want to send a message on behalf of the whole SIA to the 367,000 licence holders and the businesses that employ them. The security industry has every reason to be proud of the way it has responded in this, the most extraordinary of years.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on you individually, as an industry, those businesses you work with and for, as well as the public you protect. You rose to those challenges and the uncertainties the pandemic and 2020 brought.

Security operatives went about their daily, and nightly, work with professionalism and determination. Some door supervisors from the closed pubs and nightclubs moved to supervising a nervous public in supermarket queues or stood guard at the new Nightingale hospitals. Others met unusual situations with exemplary courage. There are people across the UK this year who owe their lives and safety to quick-thinking licence-holders putting themselves in harm’s way.  We’ve been inviting the industry to tell us these stories, and sharing them more widely as SIA Heroes features, which you can read here.

This year has demonstrated once again that security is not simply a business overhead, or a compliance activity. Dependable, well-trained, professional security is an essential part of a service to customers. 

Whether you were involved in the extraordinary and stand out acts of bravery or support, or you were part of the quiet heroism of all the operatives who carried on going out to work to protect the public and premises when the pandemic has been at its worst; you and your roles have been highly valued by communities across the UK, as well as local and national businesses.  We also remember those within the security sector that have been affected by COVID-19 themselves including those who lost their lives.

2021 brings hope for the future and an acknowledgement that the shape and size of the sector and workforce has and will continue to change. The impact of the pandemic on some sectors particularly in the hospitality, the night-time economy, festivals and events industries has been felt hard and its likely recovery will take some considerable time.

As the regulator, we have also had to adapt. We have prioritised keeping our core licensing services working smoothly and supporting the industry with changes where we were able, including the virtual training pilots.  We are proud to work with an industry that has risen to the challenges of this year and has demonstrated its commitment to protecting the public.  Whatever the future holds, we share a dedication to quality and the pursuit of best practice in the security industry. On behalf of everyone at the SIA, and with deep appreciation for your hard work this year, thank you all.  Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Michelle Russell

By Michelle Russell, Acting Chief Executive of the Security Industry Authority