Una's blog

Awards host

by Mark Rowe

The Professional Security Magazine Women in Security (WiS) awards 2017 are being hosted by the NSI (National Security Inspectorate). Una Riley our USA Correspondent reports.

To apply in any award category visit https://professionalsecurity.co.uk/wis/.

It’s that time again, when the entire industry comes together to recognise the contribution women have made to the private security industry. Although many of the industry bodies present their own awards separately, they all come together as the united face of the industry when it comes to this award. As many of you will know all the judges characterise their organisations, which include the Association of Security Consultants (ASC), ASIS, BSIA, Fire and Security Association (FSA), IPSA, Security Institute, the regulator the Security Industry Authority (SIA), SSAIB and Worshipful Company of Security Professionals (WCoSP). This year it is the turn of the NSI to host. To mark the occasion, they are hosting an NSI ‘VIP Drinks Reception’ on their stand (B950) within Installer World at IFSEC International, on Wednesday, June 21, 2017.

As the patron and creator of this award it gives me great pleasure to see the industry pulling together as one to transmit one of the strongest messages in our profession; that women are recognised and vital for its future. The wider world of private security can no longer be labelled a male-dominated industry. The NSI had the first female owner of an accredited company, in the 1980s. They have been at the forefront of modernisation since David Holt (former NACOSS CEO) transformed the NSCIA into NACOSS on its journey towards becoming the NSI. When David Holt introduced the first regional chairmen of NACOSS it was a woman who was the first chairman of the southern region. One of the first top-ten companies to attain BS:5750 (now ISO: 9001) via NACOSS, was a woman. In my time as an owner of a systems company I have had business dealings with all the current industry bodies in one way or another over the years. That is why I was able to talk to each of the CEOs and industry leaders to translate the vision of the award to the original judges of each of the organisations in 2011. From being the co-founder of the FSA, first female CCTV chairman of the BSIA and delegate and EC member and of SC1 on Euralarm to being Past Master Emeritus of the WCoSP and all the other roles in between I wanted to show that women have shaped this industry and they deserve to be recognised for it. Now they are; it has been a long journey from the 1980s when there were very few women to be found to now. I get asked, why an award for women? It’s simple. I created the first personal achievement award in the private security industry in the early 1990s. The award is called the ‘Peter Greenwood Award’ and from then to now no woman has ever won it or been nominated for it; that is one of the many reasons why I created this award.

The wider world of security covers many landscapes in the 21st century and it is changing constantly. My background is systems security; the private security market place used to be referred to as systems security (electronic) and manned guarding. Now systems security is associated with computers! The private security profession now has a plethora of sectors included in the wider world of security. The NSI illustrates that growth with the expansion of their accreditation categories. The NSI now covers a growing number of sectors, from their original platform of security then with the introduction of fire and more recently extending to FM (facilities management) and integrated solutions. The ‘Integrated Solutions’ platform was created in response to industry demands for a more integrated approach to systems management. This came about due to the division between traditional electronic alarm systems and manned guarding services becoming increasingly blurred as surveillance technology develops and remote monitoring, even remote virtual patrolling, is further enabled. Developments of software and hardware are creating capabilities that would have been viewed as science fiction some 10 to 15 years ago. High definition cameras with 360 degree tracking, multiple feeds and pattern of life software are designed to ‘cue’ the human eye to incidents identified by smart applications.

A more ‘integrated’ approach is rapidly becoming the norm. Having lived in the USA and being exposed to some of the technology that is already in play the future is already here. Will NSI be considering drone standards and their application within the IoT (Internet of Everything) world of private security? Will driverless vehicles be charged with CiT (cash in transit) or will that be surpassed where no cash exists? Will we be using Bitcoins, internet money and contactless cards, no cash to transit even in driverless vehicles? Technology is moving quicker than we all realise with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI). Yet, here we are only just getting recognition for women in the workplace! I believe we must think smarter; that’s why women are essential to the future of security profession. When I had my company it was so exciting watching technology move so quickly; now it’s even more exciting and the speed has accelerated; but have we?

That is why organisations like the NSI who are moving with the times and responding to market forces will continue to grow and understand each of the sectors. NSI not only provides certification and auditing services for the UK’s security and fire sectors. It also sends out that vital message that the private security profession is a quality marketplace. When a prospective client is thinking of installing a security system they can be assured that with an NSI approved company they have chosen the services of a company that works to the highest industry standards. Even in these times it is still reassuring for clients to know that they are buying the best quality and value for their money. The NSI have always been a font of knowledge when it came to technical standards. I used to ring up Tony Weeks who always had a solution to any question in relation to the systems sector. Also, if you want to ensure that your technicians are trained to optimum level the NSI have training courses covering technical and management areas. They have always been a mine of information from their green papers and codes of practice in the past to the present offer. Now the training includes classroom or online (via the new NSI e-learning) and of course they also can provide in-house training.

I still feel very brand loyal to the NSI having spent 23 years as an approved installer and involved with industry issues on their behalf. I have known many of the CEOs that have come and gone over the years; each one furnishing the organisation with their own brand of leadership. There have been some enigmatic, individual, creative and huge personalities within the NSCIA, NACOSS NSI leadership. I thought I would take the opportunity to catch up the current CEO, Richard Jenkins the host of this year’s awards. I asked him what the awards mean to him. Richard Jenkins replied: “NSI is committed to raising standards within the security industry and the Women in Security Awards demonstrate the value women are bringing to the sector. Those considering security as a career option, whether on the front-line, as an engineer or business owner can clearly see from the awards the opportunity there is to be realised. Showcasing ‘best in class’ and celebrating such achievements is an inspiration and is something all who work in the sector should be truly proud of.”

I asked if he thinks that the awards are a valuable communication tool regarding inclusiveness and conveying a message that the industry is united in one voice regarding the recognition of women in security. Jenkins replied: “Working across the industry with our approved companies, industry bodies and key stakeholders NSI sees the very tangible contribution women make to driving standards and helping the wider security industry to move forward.”

The NSI as I have mentioned has been a future thinking organisation since the days of David Holt in my opinion. He transformed the NSCIA into NACOSS and his ethos and foundation has been a driving factor for development ever since. I interviewed Richard Jenkins shortly after he joined NSI in March 2014. He is a progressive CEO who comes from a general business background. When I interviewed him, I was impressed by his expertise in business reorganisation and strategic development. Prior to NSI, he was at IKEA Ltd where he developed and implemented IKEA’s auto enrolment pension scheme and led the work launching their UK internet and home shopping delivery service and continuous improvement. He is now applying his skills to the NSI and in my opinion, there is a new feel to the organisation. At a pre-meeting of the WiS group with one of the NSI consultants and Dianne Gettinby, Head of Marketing and Communications it was clear that the strong NSI message is one of professionalism, strategy, continuous improvement, and transparency. I must say that Jenkins has already culturised the NSI and the message is loud and clear.

I asked Dianne Gettinby her thoughts on the award. She said: “Having recently joined the industry, these awards send a very clear, positive message. They are an invaluable opportunity to shine a spotlight on the success and achievements of women across the wide aspects of the security industry. The awards encourage us all to pause and reflect on the many and varied ways in which women are shaping the world of security. I hope organisations will take time to consider the successes and accomplishments of women within their own business and submit a nomination.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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