Una's blog

WiS 2017 launch at IFSEC

by Mark Rowe

The Professional Security Magazine Women in Security (WiS) Awards are the security profession’s dedicated awards that recognise and honour the accomplishments, value, and contributions of women within the wider world of security. Una Riley attended this year’s host of the awards the NSI at their VIP launch on their stand at IFSEC 2017 in June.

Having been living in the USA on and off for some years I have not attended IFSEC for almost a decade. In 1985 when I started my company Euro Alarms Ltd I used to visit IFSEC at London Olympia; by the time the venue changed to the NEC in Birmingham we were exhibitors. IFSEC was a vital part of my business on many levels. Initially, IFSEC was dominated by the systems sector, from installation companies to manufacturers of intruder alarm, access, and CCTV equipment. At that time, the technology was moving fast or so we thought; cut to today.

The technology from cyber to AI is awesome and security is at the heart of all that is happening in those areas from security solutions to threats. This has always been an exciting industry and it is just getting better and bigger. IFSEC is now at the ExCel Exhibition Centre, and is even more impressive than before. My primary reason for attending IFSEC this year was to attend the VIP launch of the NSI (National Security Inspectorate) hosting of the Professional Security-WiS 2017 Awards. It was a great launch to announce that the 2017 awards will take place on board the ‘Harmony’ Cruise Boat of Bateaux London on the evening of Thursday, September 14. As the creator and patron of the awards I can’t wait for the event and the fact that NSI are the hosts this year fills me with pride as the first female company owner approved by NSI (NSCIA/NACOSS) in its history. Having supported women in the systems sector since the 1980s there is no doubt that the NSI is advocating the PSM-WiS Awards.

Richard Jenkins, CEO of NSI said: “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 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. 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.”

Dianne Gettinby, NSI’s Head of Marketing Communications added: “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 concur. On stage at the launch alongside Roy Cooper, Professional Security MD, and Richard Jenkins and myself was Elizabeth France, Chairman of the SIA and a judge and future host of the awards. She said: “Judging the Women in Security Awards provides an opportunity each year for me to reflect on the wonderful work being done day in and day out by women in the industry. They provide role models for the many more women I hope will regard the security profession as a career of choice; I am looking forward to seeing what I know will be a strong field of nominations for this year’s awards.”

It was a great launch by the NSI and I am looking forward to the awards night, I am sure it will be a systems extravaganza. After the launch I rushed over to the FSA (Fire and Security Association) stand. The FSA hosted a drinks reception. There were speeches by FSA Chairman Pat Allen and Head of the FSA Steve Martin, along with one of the co-founders of the FSA; me (pictured: on the FSA stand)!

It was great to witness the achievements since its formation in 2007. Mind you it was quite an achievement that it was ever formed at all! The FSA was born out of necessity and survival as far as the systems sector was concerned at that time. Our sector needed strong support to fight off a European model that was coming down the pipe and unfit for purpose regulation back at home. I was very involved at that time being a delegate in Europe on behalf of the BSIA on Euralarm and having been involved at the white paper stage with what became the SIA as a council member of the BSIA. There was plenty to reflect upon at the tenth birthday celebration, but from that turbulent start has risen the organisation I visualised ten years ago, it was all worth it. I have great admiration for Steve Martin, Head of the FSA, and the way he has taken the organisation forward. His technical background and contemporary foresight regarding technology is exciting to listen to. We had a quick conversation after the speeches ranging from smart homes to AI (Artificial Intelligence) and the Peter Greenwood Award, the longest established individual award in the security profession, since Peter died in January 1995. He was a down to earth guy who was a former Head of the Electrical Contractors’ Association Security Group. He was also a founder member of the Security Industry Lead Body (SILB) where I first met him. I was Chairman of the Systems Industry Lead Body pre-merge with the Manned Guarding sector. After Peter passed away, I took on the role as Chairman of the implementation group. I did not want his passing to go unmarked. I felt it appropriate to create an annual award to be offered to an individual who demonstrated the same kind of enthusiasm and selfless concern for the industry which Peter himself demonstrated. Ironically it was first launched at IFSEC and UBM were instrumental in getting this award off the ground at the time along with John Cully the publisher of this magazine. For a while it travelled around the industry and was with BSIA, NSI and the WCoSP until it returned home to the ECA via the FSA where it belongs.

The NSI launch and the FSA celebration took place early Wednesday evening, June 21, but before that I had visited the Association of Security Consultants and as a member manned their stand over lunch. Afterwards I visited the BSIA stand to see Amanda Caton, BSIA but she was tied up so I headed towards the IPSA stand, on route I met Christine Brooks of Christine Brooks Associates Ltd. who was on the Perpetuity stand. I discovered that Christine was working with Martin Gill on the International OSPA Awards project. Christine’s role is to help oversee the development of the OSPAs around the world and lead on organising the OSPAs conference and awards in the UK. Christine talked at length about her role and explained the outline of the awards and the events. I remarked that the OSPA’s sounded a lot like the PSM-WiS Awards regarding the framework. The PSM-WiS Awards were established in 2011 and launched in 2012 at the ASIS European Conference in London. Theresa May then Home Office Minister (now Prime Minister) sent a message of support through James Brokenshire MP, Home Office Minister, who conveyed her message to all present. The PSM-WiS Awards are of the highest integrity and transparency since their inception in 2011 and launch in 2012. The judges are representatives of the major lead bodies in the profession. The PSM-WiS Awards are unique and were the first to be created for the industry by the industry. They are independent and travel around the profession via the judge’s organisations giving everyone an insight into the various trade bodies, associations, and professional platforms without having to be a member of any of them. However, although we have had International interest to help replicate the awards we have focused solely on the UK. Although, we have had international nominations and winners. Martin Gill returned to the stand and carrying on from what Christine had said, said: “The OSPA’s set out to be different. The aim always was to set up a global scheme for excellence based on trying to eliminate bias, be inclusive of all security associations, and establishing a reputation for excellence worthy of the very best in the security sector. We are on that journey and making progress around the world. The aim is to ensure that globally winning an OSPA is the ultimate accolade; one of the categories is Women in Security, which you have done an excellent job of here in the UK.”

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