News Archive

Meaning And Molehills

by msecadm4921

Thoughts for today from Mark Rowe,

I will tell you why I remember the boy. He was on my Tube train and on the train towards home. He was a silent boy in a wheelchair wearing a black T-shirt that said in white ‘F’k cancer’. Except that it didn’t say ‘f’k’. Now I have never been one to use swear-words, but for the first time I thought, silently, that I could see what he meant.

Why tell you this? For one thing I report senior guarding figures from IFSEC who deplore low margins and how things are not better a year after the SIA’s approved contractor scheme. We can argue about educating the buyers, or politics. But beyond it all, you, I, health and safety, lawyers, everyone … can we stand in front of the boy in the wheelchair and make a case for deserving more of the national cake?

Which sort of will be a question for the SIA, too, now that it has its new chief executive (separate article). From hearing SIA chairman Baroness Ruth Henig on May 9 at Leicester (report last print issue) and again at IFSEC, better performance will be the number one aim. But – and you may doubt this if delays in licences and at call centres have made you pull nose-hair out – improving performance will be the easy bit. Harder for the SIA will be deciding what it should and shouldn’t do as a regulator. Brian Kingham of Reliance put his finger on it on May 9: ‘regulation creep’. Guilty of that is the Office of the Information Commissioner. What has it got against private security? First it goes after private investigators for the ‘trade’ in personal data (as if the newspaper, insurer and lawyer buyers aren’t the real problem!) – now it backs CameraWatch. Its chairman goes on national radio quoting research that up to 90pc of CCTV installations fail to comply with the Information Commissioner’s UK CCTV code of practice. Implying, you 90 per cent out there had better comply! Does the Information Commissioner’s Office have nothing better to do? I hear on the other hand that a council trading standards staff are talking about prosecuting a shop for not having CCTV!

What have the authorities got against CCTV? The back-lash has started. CCTV did not end crime, so the authorities that built it up want to pin the blame on it.

While Mike Wilson the new SIA chief exec has a useful background as a regulator and vetting agency man – criminal record checks taking up some of the time it takes to get your SIA licence – I spied there was one line in his Who’s Who entry that the SIA kept quiet about … ‘mole catcher to the vicar of Old Malton’. Even as you read this, I may be walking around Old Malton churchyard, investigating for molehills. I’ll let you know how good a (mole) enforcer he is!

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