Security Officer of Distinction Awards

by Mark Rowe

The annual ACS Pacesetters Security Officer of Distinction Awards and lunch was unusually rainy on Wednesday, at Windsor Racecourse, but diners indoors regardless applauded the bravery and life-saving of those who go ‘above and beyond’ in their duties, marked by the dozen awards. Some £2180 was raised by a raffle in aid of the Pacesetters’ chosen good cause, the Felix Fund, for bomb disposal.

The guest speaker was the former Metropolitan Police inspector Mick Neville, now CEO of Neville Forensic Recognition Limited, who related the Met’s human ‘Super Recogniser’ Unit, using images to identify and apprehend criminals. Mick Neville went over the scientific phenomenon of having an out of the ordinary ability to ‘put a name to a face’ and to match a face from video surveillance footage or stills, with other images, even if the suspect is wearing a mask, or hood, or the quality of the image is poor or at different angles. He also made the case for security teams and departments making the most of such talents, whether to deny entry to pick-pockets or other known criminals or nuisances at venues, or for loss prevention purposes in retail, besides the broader criminal justice use of linking one prolific criminal to multiple offending (which can lead to larger punishments in court).

Professional Security Magazine MD Roy Cooper, pictured, was again compere; and the main event sponsor was TEAM Software. Among the guarding sector managers and leaders attending were the CEO of Leeds-based First Response Group (FRG), Simon Alderson, who said afterwards: “It is an honour to attend an award ceremony where not one but two of our fantastic security officers are recognised for their dedication, commitment, and resilience in the face of danger. Despite being confronted by a hostile group armed with various weapons, including what appeared to be a firearm, Yasir stood his ground, protecting the vacant premises. His refusal to abandon his post, even under threat of harm, demonstrates his steadfast commitment to his role.

“We would like to say congratulations to all the winners and those highly commended, who have each shown great tenacity and perseverance in the most challenging of circumstances.”

FRG security dog handler, Yasir Butt, received an ‘Officer of Distinction’ award for his bravery and commitment to his role during a confrontation at a vacant premises with an threatening and hostile group. A second FRG officer received a highly commended certificate for his exemplary commitment to ensuring the safety, integrity, and security of the high-profile venue he and his team protects.

For the winners in full, including the highly commendeds, visit

About Pacesetters

FRG was also presented with a company award, for being an ACS Pacesetter – one of the top-scoring 15 per cent of ACS companies, who are voluntarily part of the UK regulator the Security Industry Authority’s approved contractor scheme. While the SIA does not have any connection with the Pacesetters, SIA chief Michelle Russell was among SIA people in attendance. Visit

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