A few months ago I reviewed a book written about the Close Protection industry; Close Protection: A Closer Observation of the Protection Equation. In this book the author, Richard Aitch, openly criticises the lack of standards set by the Security Industry Authority within the Close Protection sector which I applauded and still do. He’s now gone one step further though and set up an e-petition to try and make the UK government take note of his criticisms.
Here I give a brief overview of whether or not this petition is worth signing.
Security Industry Authority Fit For Purpose?
So the first question to ask really is, is the security industry fit for purpose. Well, many working in the industry, including myself would say no. While it is widely accepted that the creation of the Security Industry Authority (SIA) has reduced the criminal element in the security industry it does seem to be lacking in the standards department, especially where Close protection is concerned. The problem seems to be that with the introduction of the SIA, the security industry changed into what some call a “trainers market”, especially in the build up to the London Olympic Games. With this and the creation of the government scheme to get those that are unemployed and receiving benefits back to work in the security industry by offering them free training courses it’s no wonder that the training side has rapidly increased in recent years.
The increase in training providers causes another problem to arise. With the lowering of standards you get an influx of people who would not otherwise work in this industry, particularly at the higher end of the security ladder. The influx of people coming into the industry is continually growing and when it comes to the Close Protection sector within the industry there seem to be a lot of people who are unable to find work. This causes desperation and forces people with bills to pay and family’s to feed to accept whatever work they can get. This in turn lower’s the wages paid to the workforce and with a low paying job, you get a lowering of standards and thus the vicious circle grows and grows.
Richard writes on his website;
“This e-petition has been created for the benefit of highlighting the UK private security industry’s vote of no confidence in the regulatory body The Security Industry Authority; specifically, the training standards implemented for the Close Protection sector since 2006. I want the UK Government to recognise the current unfit for purpose standards currently imposed in my industry and to create a new body comprising of properly experienced security professionals dedicated to implementing a proper workable fit for purpose training standard that is transparent, impartial and independent.
The standards imposed do not only affect the actual service being received by the end user; the client/ Principal but our industry as a whole. If we, as an industry, do not present our view as THE single voice then standards will not improve and the end result will remain unfit for purpose.”
Is The Petition Good Thing?
In a nutshell, YES! Some people may be reading this and thinking, great, where do I sign up, and I don’t doubt for one minute that there are people reading this with a bit of frustration and panic. For the latter I imagine it’s because they are one of these profit driven training companies that are churning out cheaply trained security operators which are doing the industry no good. For these people the task of raising standards within the industry must be a frightening thought. For the former, like me, it is something that is needed within the security industry. There are many people, like myself, who pride themselves on their high standards of training and who don’t always go for the cheaper option when it comes to courses. That’s not to say that cheap always means bad, but for those like me it is frustrating to spend so much time and money on training and keeping a high standard and to then come across those who have taken the cheapest and quickest option they can and people who really have no place in the security industry at all, let alone in the higher rungs of the security ladder. One thing’s for sure though, the raising of standards within any industry can only ever be a good thing and could potentially create more work.
On Richard’s Facebook page, Raising Standards in Close Protection he notes from a recent article;
“Due to cost cutting the Met cannot really afford to provide protection to visiting heads of state & other VIP’s to the UK. They have looked to the private sector as a feasibility study and guess what – they have drawn the conclusion that the standards in the commercial world are …unfit for purpose.
Two aspects in particular were the lack of Advanced Driving and Physical Intervention.”
Yes it may mean that some people already working out there may have to raise their game a little, but it will be better for the client in the long run. And that is who’s interests we are here to protect, the client!
Signing the Petition
You can get to the e-petition thorough Richards website CP BOOK, or you can go directly to it following this link;
As with any e-petition you need to be a UK citizen and all you details are kept confidential. With enough signatures this could really make a difference within the industry, which as already said, can only be a good thing!