Mark Rowe

June 2017 print issue

by Mark Rowe

Even before I joined Professional Security in 1999, it turned out that I had already come across Mike Tennent, who died last month. I was working for the daily newspaper in Portsmouth, which ran a news item about Mike’s training company, Tavcom, in Bishop’s Waltham – on the site of the local atomic war scare-era civil defence depot, there’s a piece of trivia for you. It was appealing for more bed and breakfast providers in the area, to host the people taking his courses. Why did that piece – out of so many that crossed my desk, or rather my computer, every day – stick in my mind? I mention it to show that Tavcom, that Mike set up, has done more than pass on knowledge to so many security installers, consultants and others. It has added to the sum of prosperity of us all. It explains why so many went to his funeral, to show respect. I last heard Mike give a talk at the 2015 conference of the CCTV User Group, featured in the July 2015 issue. On reading it again I see how characteristic of the man it was – the man knew his stuff; and yet was ever willing to stay up to date (far from always the same thing); and always he had a light touch, calling himself a ‘grumpy old man’. The man did so much good for other people – including those guest houses in Hampshire, nothing to do with security – that while his death is a loss, and we are the poorer, I feel that is balanced by thanks for his life. I shall miss him this month, as I walk around the IFSEC show floor, with no particular place in mind, once half-knowing that I was on my way to bumping into him.

Last month one lunchtime my local post office, which doubles as a convenience store, was robbed. As the post part was shut as a result, I had to go to the next one in town. By chance I was buying stamps as the delivery woman was taking the sacks away. She told the postmaster that she had called on the robbed post office: “They were a bit – they were shaken up.” While cyber-crime and online life in general becomes ever more important, and the cyber-ransom attack on the National Health (page 68) seems to have been a watershed in terms of general media interest – and no wonder, as what could be more newsworthy than someone ill turned away from a hospital – it’s as well to remember that old-fashioned, physical theft is still around (page 18). As are knives and guns (page 26) and outright terror (page 41). A few months ago it struck me that at least in the centre of London, on-street guarding forces that are not police had formed, of patrollers from business improvement districts (BIDs). One such team, on the South Bank around the London Eye, Waterloo and Blackfriars, was among the first responders to the March 22 attack on Westminster, as commended by the authorities last month (page 37). It is only when something bad happens, that we appreciate the good of people, just as it is the measure of someone that only when someone dies do we appreciate what a good sort they were.

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