The right approach to securing your premises

CCTV CamerasThe perception of value for money can differ significantly between those who have knowledge of security and those who have more of a procurement background. From a procurement perspective, value for money is reflected solely in the overall cost of a service and its return on investment (ROI) whereas those with experience in security might take into account the overall quality and long-term benefit of a service, even in cases where short-term savings cannot be made. Taking advantage of the expertise offered by a quality security organisation however, can lead to future savings and efficiencies.

Looking at the holistic solution rather than simply comparing like-for-like costs can have significant long-term business benefits. Without expert knowledge or security expertise, those responsible for commissioning security might find it difficult to base their decisions on anything but cost.
In order to better protect a premises against threats and intrusions a wide range of measures are available. The nature of work conducted onsite and the individual threats and risks that the premises may face, determines what security measures will be required. Making the most of technology and choosing methods that will do the job properly is equally important but this can be a daunting task, particularly for those who are not familiar with the technologies that are available on the market. This is where the knowledge of security consultancies can greatly assist those responsible for buying security in local and central government.

A guide towards the right security
Security consultancies can guide businesses towards the best security measures that will be of most use. A consultancy will conduct a thorough risk assessment, providing essential advice on security reviews and audits, development of security polices and strategy, guarding services, systems design, tender management and security awareness training. They will work with their client to identify threats and ensure that business continuity is addressed, therefore eliminating the chance for corners to be cut.

Based on this assessment the security consultancy will then suggest various measures that could benefit the premises. These may differ depending on the requirements and risks faced by each client but they could include the likes of CCTV, access control, physical security equipment and guarding.

Safeguarding your premises
CCTV is an effective method of protection and can be installed all over a site whatever the size. It is a prominent security measure that often acts as a deterrent as well as catching evidence of crimes taking place on the site. Specific applications of CCTV such as Video Content Analysis (VCA) can also be used to enhance the security on a premises. VCA is the automatic analysis of CCTV images to create meaningful information about the content. Potentially any ‘behaviour’ that can be seen and accurately defined on a video image can be automatically identified and an appropriate alert raised. This element of CCTV can be used to alert an operator of any unusual behaviour or a left package somewhere on the site, so that the appropriate action can be taken.

Combining CCTV with access control further enhances the level of security that a site adopts. Access control provides the ability to control, monitor and restrict the movement of people, assets or vehicles in, out and around a site and consists of three components known as the physical barrier, the identification device and the door controller and software. The physical barrier consists of doors being secured by a magnetic or strike lock and turnstiles or speedgates, which are designed to limit access to one person for one card presented. Cards and readers can be used to identify each individual, which can be achieved through Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) or even a smart card and reader, a swipe card and reader or PIN pads. Door controller software decides who can gain access through which access point at what time of day, which can vary depending on the size of the system and how many readers or sites are being controlled.

Physical security measures
Another area of security to consider is physical security measures, which can be installed not only on the building itself but also around its perimeter. Security rated window and door locks, grilles and shutters can be installed to strengthen security by reducing the chances of unlawful entry and making an intruder’s task difficult, time-consuming and noisy. Of course, their effectiveness is directly related to the intruder’s skill and determination, which, in turn, depends upon the perceived benefits of crime.

In addition, security fencing, gates and bollards can be installed to increase the protection of its perimeter. Installing security fencing requires several design considerations such as sufficient height and strength, the use of climbing impediments, secure ground fixing as well as the provision of clear areas to facilitate surveillance and maintenance. Enhancing the impact of this barrier is key and this can be achieved through the use of lighting and signage to indicate the presence of security patrols, CCTV and alarms.
Gates and entrances can also be installed to secure entrances and bollards can physically prevent vehicles accessing the site. Such bollards can sink into the ground and be removed when authorised vehicles need access to an area.

Know your legislation
When it comes to purchasing security measures, awareness of standards is a huge benefit and should not be ignored. Ensuring that equipment adheres to certain British and European standards is key if premises are to be protected effectively and businesses are discouraged from using companies that do not adhere to these standards. It is the BSIA’s belief that standards are central to the current professionalism and future development of the private security industry and as a result all association members operate to strict quality measures whether they work in the installation or maintenance of security services. The association also has its own technical team who are dedicated to the production and updating of standards across the whole industry. Choosing a BSIA member gives customers piece of mind that they are in safe hands and the security supplier is up-to-date with the latest industry developments and technology.

In addition to standards, it is vital that buyers are conscious of licensing. This concerns those businesses that are looking to adopt the services of a security guard, close protection officer or door supervisor. Businesses tend to opt for security guards, which, in terms of local and central government office, can prove very beneficial. As well as acting as a deterrent, the guards will require all visitors to present themselves and give a reason for their appointment, which will help to ensure that unauthorised individuals cannot gain access into the building.

Consider more than cost

It is important for businesses to remember that choosing a security guarding company on the basis of cost alone can have some hefty repercussions. The best providers bring real insight, know-how and enthusiasm to their work, which ultimately translates into better security, the delivery of a solutions-led approach, and ultimately lower costs. And, on the subject of costs, it’s worth noting that lesser providers may initially appear cheaper but, because they do not or cannot deliver the benefits mentioned, they invariably end up costing more. Primarily, it should be remembered that all guarding companies face a few basic, unavoidable costs. Uniforms, training, holiday, sickness, licensing and a basic rate of pay must all be covered by the cost charged to the customer, so it’s worth considering what may have been cut back by cheaper services in order to drive cost down. 

Licensing Regulations

It is paramount that all staff who are responsible for employing security guards on their premises are aware of licensing regulations. Since 2005, these regulations have been introduced across the UK, with England and Wales first, followed by Scotland in 2007 and finally Northern Ireland at the end of 2009. The regulations mean that any personnel working in cash and valuables in transit, close protection, door supervision (including in-house door supervisors), public space surveillance (CCTV), the immobilisation, restriction and removal of cars, key holding and the security guarding sector will need to obtain a licence in order to work in the private security industry. This licence is available from the Security Industry Authority (SIA), which is an independent body reporting to the Home Office that is responsible for the regulation of the private security industry in the UK. In order to become eligible for a licence, three key areas are covered in the application process, which include training, criminal record checks and identity verification.
Due to the nature of these checks, the licensing regulation works to increase professionalism and improve levels of training in the security industry. Applicants are required to prove that they are qualified to do their job, which means they must have undertaken an approved, structured training programme that is recognised by the SIA. End-users will benefit hugely from this regulation, as they will have peace of mind that they are using security personnel who have been efficiently trained and thoroughly investigated in order to obtain a licence. Therefore it is essential that those who are responsible for buying security measures in local and central government ensure that any security personnel who are employed adhere to the regulations.

Better Protection
Protecting the premises and staff is of utmost importance in local and central government and applying a range of security measures will help to provide the highest level of safety. Taking a holistic approach to security will help to ensure that adopting security measures is not solely based on costs. Combining various technologies including electronic measures such as CCTV and access control with those of physical equipment and security guarding will provide tougher protection for government premises meaning that trespassers and criminals will be discouraged from targeting the buildings.   

Keeping abreast of standards and licensing regulations is also paramount to ensuring quality security is secured in these premises and helps staff purchasing security to avoid cutting corners as well as filter out those companies who do not adhere to such legislation, consequently better protecting your site.

The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) is the trade association covering all aspects of the professional security industry in the UK. Its members provide over 70 per cent of UK security products and services, and adhere to strict quality standards.

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