News Archive

Training – What Next

by msecadm4921

After the annual SITO conference heard that a regulated security industry has training options of going it alone, or with the police, health and safety or facilities sectors, Professional Security Executive Editor Mark Rowe considers where the industry goes from here. One option might not be all that different from another, he suggests.

As I wrote in the editorial in the December 2002 print edition of Professional Security, whatever training body is set up for the security industry in the era of regulation, not everyone will be happy. In such a large undertaking as regulation of hundreds of thousands of people, some will be more satisfied than others by what they get. On the face of it, a security training body linked to facilities will have a different slant from one linked with the police and prisons. But maybe not. Consider a thrust – admittedly not the only thrust – of UK policing today, under Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett’s police reforms. The aim is more ‘restorative justice’, less locking up people. To arrest people and put them in clink is in a way a sign that the authorities have failed someone before they went totally off the straight and narrow. Police by this reckoning are more like an arm of social services, seeking to understand why people are offending, and doing something practical about it, promptly – offering careers or youth worker advice, or drugs treatment. The same ‘softening’ is going on in the armed forces, that other natural recruiting ground for the private security industry. Whether on the streets of Belfast or Kosovo, the Army is no longer shooting first and asking questions (if at all) afterwards. To shoot and to take life even of an enemy may mean that you the soldier have failed in your peace-keeping capacity – may even be offending and be brought to account. Similarly, if that private becomes a retail security officer, and is walking around a shopping mall doing his job, and a member of the public for no reason walks up and calls him a @£’er, if that officer replies with a punch, he gets the sack. The proper course of action is to say ‘thank you sir’ and take it proverbially on the chin. It’s customer service. A Security Industry Training Organisation linked with the police and prisons may not be that much different from a SITO with the facilities or health and safety industries. The issue then becomes not the training organisation but the training itself, and whether security companies are getting training relevant and affordable. As reported in the December issue of Professional Security, at the SITO conference acting chief exec David Dickinson promised to listen to what security firms want of their trainers, and to give firms what they want. The trouble is – and it’s not at all confined to the security industry – that firms, if asked what training they want, will say ‘the least and cheapest we can get away with!’ That’s understandable – why give staff skills they will never or hardly ever need’ If manned guarding turnover is so high, why train staff who are likely to leave and join a competitor, who gains from your investment in training’ A SITO that listens to the industry as David Dickinson promised may not be in tune with what the Security Industry Authority wants to hear, if the SIA calls for higher minimum standards and periods of training than the industry is comfortable with or wants to pay for.
<br><br>
Debate on this and other subjects to do with evolving security regulation is healthy. Debate is healthy because struggle in the political sense is inevitable between players – Security, driven by the profit motive; and police and the criminal justice system, with its own interests and budgets to protect. Only after healthy internal debate can the industry put its best foot forward to deal with the larger issues, ones that Security indeed has in common with police – tackling crime with finite resources. If Security and police scrap over turf, it’s only because they are on the same side against a common enemy – criminals, fraudsters and those behaving anti-socially.
<br><br>
Two snapshots from different ends of the country. First, the Basingstoke Gazette newspaper spoke to Hampshire Chief Constable Paul Kernaghan one winter’s Friday night as he patrolled Basingstoke town centre. The chief said new shopping centres like Festival Place in Basingstoke were designed with security in mind and he was content for them to employ their own security staff: ‘The reality is that we haven’t got the resources to have police officers in shopping centres.’ Next to Eston in the North East, a place afflicted with anti-social behaviour, graffiti, burnt-out cars – crimes that police know all about but lack resources to combat. Cleveland Police Chief Supt John Kelly told a public meeting: ‘CCTV only goes so far, although we will look at moving our mobile CCTV camera there for a period. Next year we will be able to use new community patrol officers and we will go round all the area’s off-licences. I would say to all the members of the community, don’t lose faith in your police.’ With police so hard-pressed police, public and private organisations alike are turning to private security to do what were once typical bobby’s policing. For instance, Select Security are contracted by Redcar and Cleveland Council to patrol, in pairs, building work and empty properties; looking for breaches of security, or anything suspicious such as piles of rubbish against property, maybe put there by arsonists.
<br><br>
Why the Security Industry Authority has to take care to set standards on training for licences, for all comers to meet – National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) for example – rather than backing one training organisation to train everybody.
<br><br>
There are already cases of training companies taking issue with the authorities who run security training courses, or point trainees in the direction of only one training provider, instead of setting out what a course should contain and certifying whatever courses make the grade. Take an example from North Yorkshire. Graham Watson of Harrogate-based Stag Security Services complains that people needing approved training to become registered door supervisors are not given the option of taking his course. The York-based police licensing unit, which oversees the police-run Doorsafe scheme, only tell applicants about its in-house training, according to Mr Watson. This is not to pass judgement on Doorsafe – quite a pioneering scheme in fact, quoted in our May 2000 issue – or Mr Watson. The point is that if one body runs courses that tens of thousands of security people have to take, others can (and will) cry foul. Better to set the standard of training and let the market decide …. anything else is open to the charges of closed shop and nationalisation.

Related News

  • News Archive

    Defra Bill

    by msecadm4921

    Measures to clean up local communities and tackle anti-social behaviour are proposed by Government in its Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Bill. At…

  • News Archive

    Search Service

    by msecadm4921

    i2, a provider of intelligence and investigation management software, launched i2 iXa Search Service with Full Text Searching technology for analysts working…

Newsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay on top of security news and events.

© 2024 Professional Security Magazine. All rights reserved.

Website by MSEC Marketing