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Adrian Mealing: Who or What is Certalarm?

adrian-mealing-security-equipment-manufacturersThe advent of the European Union and the lowering of trade barriers across Europe brought with it the promise of freer trade among European member countries, a prospect which was welcomed by UK-based security equipment manufacturers eager to expand their business into Europe. However, the lack of a pan-European requirement for the testing and certification of security products has meant that many manufacturers are still unable to take advantage of European business opportunities. Here, Adrian Mealing, Chairman of the BSIA's Security Equipment Manufacturers Section, explains how an organisation called Certalarm is helping overcome this barrier.

CertAlarm is an independent, “not for profit” organisation started in 2010 in order to advance a pan-European “one-stop testing and certification” process in the fire protection and security systems industry.

Currently, products and systems undergo multiple tests and certifications when companies want to trade in certain European states. These states, unlike the UK, require independent testing and certification of security products to the relevant standards. The time and costs involved are immense, and result in unnecessarily high product costs, hinder product innovation, slow down market introduction and stifle competition.

In contrast, CertAlarm offers a unique European quality mark based on third party, one-stop testing and certification to EN54 fire standards and EN5013X security standards at System 5 level.

System 5 is an assessment system that combines factory inspection, quality management review, product testing and ongoing surveillance in one package. These requirements make system 5 and thus CertAlarm the most rigorous EU-wide scheme in the market.

So what does all of this mean to professional installers and system specifiers in the UK? It is very simple, whilst there is no mandatory requirement for testing and certification of security products in the UK, the benefits of such a scheme are huge. Installers, specifiers and other industry stakeholders can have a greater level of confidence in products that are independently tested and certified to "do what it says on the tin". The BSIA manufacturers and Security Systems members fully support the CertAlarm scheme, with many taking advantage of the obvious benefits that independent "one stop" testing and certification provides.

PD6662:2010 the scheme document used in the UK for installed Intruder & Hold Up alarms states in clause 4.1 that "The alarm company should be able to provide evidence that all components used are suitable for the security grade of the installed system and for the environment in which they are installed”

Now, the above statement is quite clear, it is not the Inspectorates job to make sure equipment complies, so how can Installers ensure they comply with the requirement if the manufacturer cannot produce a certificate or test report to verify their claims? Surly a simple label on a product box or installation manual is not enough evidence to ensure that when the need arises the product will react as expected.

This may seem like an extreme analogy, but self-regulation of the banking sector seemed to be OK, until it all went belly up. The very fact that our products and systems protect lives and property should mean that verification by a third party of a product, or systems level of performance is the minimum that should be accepted. Customers have a right to expect systems to perform; isn't it about time the UK Security Industry stepped up to the plate and offered the same levels of assurance that we see in other industries?

The choice for the installer and specifier is a simple one; the outcome of the wrong choice could be disastrous.

For more information about the BSIA and its Security Equipment Manufacturers Section, visit www.bsia.co.uk/security-equipment-manufacturers



Geoff Zeidler: Is BSIA membership a key to growth for all Security Organisations?

geoff-zeidler-bsia-chairmanAs the stock market reaches record highs, with good growth and inflation figures and confidence shown through the growth in mergers and acquisitions, BSIA Chairman, Geoff Zeidler, reflects on what economic recovery means for the security industry.

How can we ensure this will this finally turn the Security market away from a destructive focus on price, to one that will invest in infrastructure and have a more considered review of value and risk?

The last 5 years have had structural consequences for the market. The role and authority of many corporate Security Managers has changed; and effectiveness and risk expertise has declined in some companies as a result. As outlined in my recent City Security article, Bundling is being considered without the consequences always being evaluated. This legacy of less-expert customers; service aggregation with a cost focus and the role of Procurement will not change quickly - except in the face of Security crisis; powerful evidence or a major corporate restructuring.

The supplier side picture is also changing with the uncertainty of Business Licensing structure and costs, continuing consolidation and import threats from a strengthening pound; the influence of European standards and the Government considering changes to minimum wage which could impact margins further. These are not natural conditions for building a valued, independent Security market.

Highlighting these issues, and championing the real benefits that the Security Industry brings is an important challenge and, with a very diverse and fragmented group of stakeholders, ensuring it is managed effectively is critical for the future health of the Industry as a whole.

The BSIA is the industry’s largest representative body and it has been heavily involved in the majority of the key issues. It has formed and Chaired the Security Regulation Alliance to respond to the SIA’s New Regulatory Regime; co-ordinated standards in the UK and EU such as practical guidance on CCTV planning, design & installation compliance through BSIA Form 109; supported professionalism through its investment in Skills for Security; and is growing membership and building stronger alignment with bodies representing both individuals working in the sector and other stakeholders.

This is captured in a strategy that is specific on what the BSIA does for the industry, including expanding the market; shaping industry development and promoting the value of security. All industry stakeholders, BSIA members or not, benefit from the BSIA’s contributions in these areas and the Association is proud of its impact.

More important has been refining, over the last year, the core services the BSIA offers Sections that deliver real value to active members. These core services include Networking; Knowledge Development & Policy; Expertise Awareness; Expert Advice & Education; Special Services; and Affinity Benefits. All 17 different BSIA Sections are now defining their particular needs from these Service sets; allowing the Association to use its resources to help members develop their market effectively, but also keeping aware of related market change. There is also clear responsibility as to how each Section can contribute to the success of the BSIA.

Together, this is creating a more effective and co-ordinated voice which can both support the security industry and add value to members, with a clear understanding of its role in the complex, and sometimes confusing, security market at this critical juncture.

The market still suffers from the challenges above and, despite general economic growth, risks missing on its opportunity. The Industry needs a champion for integrated security that coordinates capabilities across all risks; makes a strong case for the business benefits Security provides; and ensures stakeholders support the greater relevance of investment and risk evaluation over simple cost.

Such a change in perception can mean economic growth is used to enable a more valuable service-based industry. The BSIA is stepping up to be that champion through its broad-based membership and wider engagement; and I hope that for any business that aspires to be successful, they will find an active role in the BSIA will prove their best investment.

Follow this link for more information about joining the BSIA.



The value of events in an expanding overseas market

Greg Stuttle, Chairman of the Export CouncilIn this month’s blog, Greg Stuttle, Chairman of the British Security Industry Association’s Export Council explores the importance of funding and events in an ever-increasing overseas climate.

In the current challenging economic climate, more and more UK companies are turning to exporting in order to strengthen revenue. The Office of National Statistics indicated in its end-of-year estimates that UK exports to non-EU countries increased by £15.7 billion between 2010 and 2011, with the weakening of the pound against other currencies enabling UK products to compete more effectively against their overseas counterparts. As such, exporting is often seen as the key to economic recovery, meaning that more and more UK companies, including those operating in the security sector, will be looking further afield for business opportunities in the future.

Exporting, however, can be challenging in terms of both the initial start-up and the expansion into new markets. Some challenges faced by UK companies include overcoming the language barrier, as well as understanding legal and cultural differences between countries. Support from UKTI and the BSIA can prove invaluable in both cases.

Overseas exhibitions in particular are an extremely effective way for UK companies to test out new markets, attract a wider customer base and ultimately make sales. The BSIA is an Accredited Trade Organisation (ATO) and is now appointed one of the new UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Challenge Partners. Over the next two years, the BSIA will be working closely with UKTI to deliver an enhanced Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) for the security industry.

The TAP scheme endeavours to provide increased financial support to UK SME’s who attend international trade shows. For eligible companies, grants of up to £3000 are available. The key aims of the TAP support are to provide a credible, quality representation of UK business capability to an international audience.

The TAP scheme is focused on an agreed programme of overseas events where ATO’s organise and lead UK groups. Where necessary, ATOs agree with UKTI on how best to enhance the group presence and are responsible for passing on grant payments and implementing value added services such as pre-event publicity, branded meeting facilities and networking opportunities.

Funding such as that provided by the TAP scheme is essential in providing a greater, more enhanced UK presence at overseas events. This funding also enables the BSIA to lobby for support on behalf of the Export Council and eligible British companies who are interested in exploring new markets at selected International Trade Shows. In fact, the scheme enabled ten BSIA member companies to attend IFSEC South East Asia and IFSEC Istanbul in September and October respectively.

The BSIA has worked hard to forge strong relationships with the organisers of international shows and offer its members a dedicated and cost-effective opportunity for UK companies to exhibit. Just recently BSIA Export Council members participated in the UK pavilion at IFSEC Istanbul, which took place on 30th September – 2nd October. The event targeted a Southern European market, alongside offering a beneficial route to the Middle East, attracting many members of the BSIA’s Export Council, whose key target markets throughout 2013 included Eastern and Western Europe and the Middle East.

Throughout 2014, the BSIA’s Export Council will continue to have an active presence at overseas events including INTERSEC Dubai (19th – 21st January 2014), MIPS Russia (14th – 17th April 2014) and Security Essen Germany (23rd – 26th September 2014).

The UK pavilions at each of these trade shows offer a useful platform for companies who are wishing to take their first steps into export or new overseas markets, whilst benefiting from the support of a dedicated team along with the experience and knowledge of co-exhibitors.

For more information on the TAP scheme visit: http://www.ukti.gov.uk/export/howwehelp/tradefairsexhibitions.html

To learn more about the BSIA’s Export Council visit: http://www.bsia.co.uk/export-council/about-bsia-export-council



"Wearable CCTV": the future of lone worker safety?

Craig-Swallow-BSIA-Lone-Worker-SectionAs with all areas of technology, mobile communications are constantly changing and evolving. This has directly impacted on the security industry, allowing new and emerging categories and services to develop. Craig Swallow, Deputy Chair of the BSIA's Lone Worker Section, explains.

As well as impacting the security industry, the use of video monitoring is likely to become increasingly more popular throughout the lone worker industry too. The ability for a user to not only raise an alert, but stream video in real time to the Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC) can prove invaluable in assisting a lone worker in an abusive situation. The video, streamed live to an ARC along with audio of the incident, can help provide a more informed response from the Police, whilst proving vital as evidence if the incident results in a prosecution.

Closed Circuit Television

Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras are described as being one of the most powerful security tools to be developed during recent years, to assist with efforts to combat crime and disorder whilst enhancing community safety.

The Metropolitan Police announced that CCTV cameras solve six crimes every day by identifying suspects, whilst the Daily Telegraph announced seven of ten murders are solved by CCTV.

In Firthmoor, Darlington, 11 cameras were installed on a large housing estate, a reduction of 46% in reported crime was recorded while a new control room and extra cameras in Sunderland has helped lead to 225 arrests.

Research conducted this year by the BSIA has suggested that there are around 5 million cameras now in the UK, with the average person on a typical day being seen by around 70 cameras.

Wearable CCTV: The Introduction of Video Enabled Lone Worker Devices

Video enabled devices are becoming increasingly popular and facilitate protection for a wider group of worker applications including stewarding and venue and crowd management.

Combining video capability with lone worker device functionality arguably creates a new category of security referred to as ‘Wearable CCTV’. The video enabled lone worker device allows evidence of an event taking place to be streamed directly to the Alarm Receiving Centre, unlike other video devices (such as head cameras or other video devices that are body-worn – but not mobile communication enabled) that only allow video to be recorded and stored on the worker to be accessed retrospectively.

In December 2011, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club stewards took video monitoring at games a step further and wore head cameras during a football match against local rivals Chelsea. The club supplied the head cams to enforce the zero-tolerance policy towards fans using foul, abusive, homophobic or racist language.

The cameras were met with a mixed reaction from fans, as it was reported that some did not like being filmed at the match and without their permission. The club also received criticism from the Football Supporters Federation and a number of human rights groups for the use of the cameras, saying it was an infringement of the fans privacy.

Following the match, Tottenham Hotspur released the following statement: “For our staff, it is better to monitor the problem as it is happening as we can view the area of concern on CCTV and deal with everything quickly. We do not tolerate discrimination of any sort at the club, on the pitch or in the stands.”

England and Wales Cricket Board also confirmed that their stewards have used head-mounted cameras at a number of selected international cricket matches for the last three years, primarily using the footage to assist with cases where fans are ejected from the stadium.

However, as with all technology, there are limitations with head cameras, or other video enabled devices not specifically designed for lone workers. One drawback is, unlike other devices, the recording of an incident remains on the wearer, often stored locally for retrospective use only and therefore is only accessible after the event. This means that those responding to the incident are not able to dynamically assess the situation and adapt accordingly. They also, don’t always record audio at the same time as recording the incident facing the user.

Safety or Invasion?

When CCTV cameras were first implemented in the UK, people began believing they were constantly being watched and monitored. Now, CCTV cameras are widely accepted to be a necessary safety precaution and regularly go unnoticed by the public. The dramatic shift in opinion could in turn lead to video monitoring devices being considered the same, capturing the user’s perspective of a situation.

However, CCTV cameras also act as a deterrence of criminal activity. Although cameras in retail stores are not monitored 24/7, the possibility of someone watching acts as deterrence to people considering committing an offence. The same can be said for deterring criminal behaviour in Town Centres.

Over time, CCTV cameras have been accepted by society as a necessary safety precaution and are generally forgotten about by the majority. A recent survey conducted by the CCTV User Group showed that 90% of the public support local council cameras and 80% said they didn’t feel their privacy was infringed by CCTV.

Benefits of Wearable CCTV

Video enabled lone worker devices can be supplied as part of a monthly solution for an affordable monthly price and boast a number of features such as:

1. They are very accessible. Devices being provided to staff by an employer as part of a monthly solution fee, often including usage, network fees, staff training, and monthly reporting.

2. Video is streamed live to the Alarm Receiving Centre through 3G enabled devices

3. The ability to link with specific locations through a GPS enabled device

4. No in-house monitoring costs

5. Footage from a user’s view

6. Audio listening and recording to gain a better insight into the incident

7. Can often include high quality video, closer to the action

8. Some devices can offer two-way audio if required

9. Devices can be discreet in appearance and operation if required

10. Devices are mobile, therefore always with the user

11. Protection for a wider group of users

12. Video safely stored in Alarm Receiving Centres

13. Easier to build a picture of an event unfolding for Alarm Monitoring employees.

Lone Workers to Benefit from Video Monitoring Devices

Lone workers work in a range of different sectors and so won’t all benefit from the ability to wear the same style of video devices, i.e. such as head cameras. Therefore, discreet devices can be of genuine benefit to a wider audience.

Video enabled devices can benefit lone workers with the ability to video record, stream or capture image stills of a situation which can be stored for future use and be admissible in court if necessary. Often, devices can allow the ability for an alarm to be raised if a lone worker is feeling vulnerable in a situation. This can then coincide with audio and video recording which can then be streamed live to an Alarm Receiving Centre helping with the understanding and the response needed for a situation.

For a lone worker it is important that they feel an employer is taking corporate responsibility for their protection. By providing lone workers with a video monitoring device that can discreetly raise an alarm and video a situation if necessary, it not only increases peace of mind for the employer but also helps workers to feel safe in their job and lowering the risk of incidents they may face.

The Police also benefit from lone worker video monitoring devices as they are provided with first-hand information from the Alarm Receiving Centre about the incident that has received the alert. This enables them to make more informed choices about how to handle situation lowering the risk to the user involved.

For more information about the BSIA's Lone Worker Section, visit their online homepage.

About the author

Craig Swallow is Managing Director of Connexion2, a leader in the provision of lone worker security and member of the British Security Industry Association’s Lone Worker Steering Group. Connexion2’s award-winning lone worker device, Identicom, is the world’s first lone worker device to benefit from 3G and live video streaming to an Alarm Receiving Centre.



Simon Alderson: Vacant properties can be more vulnerable to squatters under new law

Simon AldersonThis month Simon Alderson, Chairman of the BSIA's newly formed Vacant Property Protection Group and Commercial Director for BSIA member Vacant Property Specialists, looks at the effect recent squatting laws are having on commercial properties.

In September 2012, Section 144 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill, which criminalises squatting in residential properties, was implemented. Squatting in residential buildings is illegal and can lead to six months in prison, a £5,000 fine, or both. Squatting is when someone knowingly enters a residential building as a trespasser and lives there, or intends to live there. There are estimates that there are approximately 50,000 squatters in the UK.

It is no surprise that the concern for owners of commercial (non-residential) properties, especially if they are vacant, is that this new law has made such properties more of a target for squatters now than before. There have been calls to widen the scope to include non-residential properties too. Vacant pubs, offices and warehouses are particularly considered to be vulnerable, and certainly in VPS’ experience there has been an increase in requests about squatting by our clients who ask us to manage these types of empty properties for them.

How much difference the law has actually made to commercial property owners is currently difficult to define. On March 1st this year, six months after the law came into effect, a property lawyer, David Marsden of Charles Russell, spoke on BBC Radio 5 Live and said that his dealings with commercial clients on squatting issues had doubled.

Top 5 Tips to prevent squatting:

In terms of protecting such assets, the new law has meant that the five good practice steps for owners to take for vacant property are even more important to adhere too:

  1. When a property becomes vacant, act quickly to protect it. A risk assessment will detail the requirements for a particular site.
  2. Ensure the vacant buildings and their perimeters are properly secured and alarmed – the options are numerous from cameras through to security shutters, specialist remote alarms or guards.
  3. Turn off utilities, drain down internal water tanks and boilers and use specialist locks to secure utility taps.
  4. Check on the premises regularly, at least every week, to see if there are any signs of attempted squatting – this is particularly important because there are time limits in implementing an Interim Possession Order, a potentially fast track method to freeing a property from squatters.
  5. Remove any articles of value internally and externally, if possible.

In the meantime, what does the future hold? There have been campaigns to both repeal Section 144 (because the new law is regarded as unnecessary – previous laws were in place to deal with squatting - and could penalise/criminalise the homeless) and, from another viewpoint, to widen the law to include commercial properties (because those properties are greater targets now, and because previous laws were not as effective or as easily understood). As befits the legal sector, there are lawyers on both sides of the argument.



Information, Here There and Everywhere

Anthony-Pearlgood-Chairman-BSIA-Information-Destruction-SectionOver the past decade, people's awareness of the issue of identity theft has increased to a good level. This is partly because of the wide media coverage on the subject and also unfortunately because of the increase in the amount of ID fraud victims. Anthony Pearlgood, Chairman of the BSIA's Information Destruction Section, explains:

Although people are now more aware than ever of the need to protect their personal and business data, there remains some lack of understanding and awareness of how widespread the problem is, and indeed how vulnerable we are to identity fraud.

Most people now have a personal shredder in their homes, and many businesses have some sort of data protection process in place (although there are still surprising gaps in take up). However, it is startling to witness how few people, and organisations, still don't appreciate the breadth of confidential data that exists, and more importantly where and how it is held.

Information is all around us, in obvious places like employee records, medical records and bank statements. But what about those more hidden sources, like hard drives and servers. What about CCTV recordings? What about the ID card hanging on a lanyard, or the range of products sat in your warehouse or on your store shelves? Or your company letterhead?

All of these items should be treated in the same way as paper documents. They need to be stored safely to avoid theft, because they hold great value in the hands of thieves and crooks. They should be closely guarded to protect the data contained whether in terms of information about a person, or brand identity.

ID cards in the wrong hands can be used to gain false entry to your organisation's site, or worse, the homes of your clients or members of the public. CCTV holds potentially sensitive information, as does other types of electronic media - CDs, USBs, microfiche and photographs. Goods under your brand in the wrong hands could be sold at knock down prices on the black market, potentially damaging the brand you spent many years, and much investment in building up. Company letterhead is often used as official documentation, which in the wrong hands could be catastrophic.

So, whilst businesses and the general public have grown accustomed to the safe and secure disposal of their paper documents, and the requirements of the Data Protection Act, many still fail to recognise the need to carry out a more thorough assessment of the location and availability of confidential data contained in non-paper sources.

Although data wiping services are available for some electronic storage devices (hard drives and servers), the best practice option to keep other data contained in other materials secure is to destroy such materials at the end of their usage.

Some shredding companies are able to carry out this work, in much the same way as they do with confidential paper. As always, the BSIA recommends that you choose a company that is a member of the BSIA’s Information Destruction section, and therefore holds all the relevant accreditations required. It is your responsibility to check that the company you choose has the right processes and procedures in place to keep your data secure, and ensure your compliance with the Data Protection Act.

The BSIA's Information Destruction Section is hosting its annual exhibition and conference for the secure data destruction industry on 5th June 2013. For more details, visit the BSIA's website. Or, for more information on the importance of choosing a professional data destruction supplier, watch the BSIA's video on YouTube.



Europe: setting an example for public/private policing

James-Kelly-BSIA-Chief-Executive

James Kelly, Chief Executive of the BSIA, reports back from a recent trip to Madrid, where he found out more about how the UK's private security industry compares to its European counterparts.

As the BSIA continues to promote the important role that the private security industry plays in delivering essential support to police forces across the UK, I was keen to attend last month’s European Security Summit to find out more about the extent to which the attitudes and perceptions of the UK are mirrored elsewhere in Europe.

The summit – the fourth edition of this annual event – was organised by the Confederation of European Security Services (CoESS), of which the BSIA is an active member. Founded in 1989, CoESS represents 27 national private security Associations in a total of 25 countries across 18 EU member states.

With presentations delivered from security forces in Belgium, France, Sweden, and of course, Spain, the event gave BSIA representatives a fascinating insight into how the relationship between the police and private security industry has been established and developed outside of the UK.

As the BSIA has learned through our continued engagement with Parliamentarians and Police and Crime Commissioners, there still remain some key barriers to the partnership working approach here in the UK, with trust, accountability and the delivery of true value for money three of the most important factors raised in our discussions.

While some of these barriers also existed for our European counterparts, it was encouraging to see how they had been overcome through transparency, mutual trust and a clear definition of responsibilities and limitations. Against a backdrop of economic austerity, there is clear recognition across the political spectrum here in the UK of the need to consider new and innovative resourcing solutions within the public sector, and certainly, these European examples give us food for thought.

In Belgium, for example, partnership is important, and the private security industry is an important partner for Police, according to Eddy De Raedt of the Belgian Federal Police. Here, the approach to partnership working has been carefully planned, taking into account the legal and functional implications of private sector involvement to set out clear limits and accountability, while ensuring that synergies are created to strengthen the force with specific crime phenomena in mind, such as metal theft or jewellery theft.

To support this approach, the flow of information between private and public sector providers was streamlined and a line of communications for security officers and alarm monitoring centres to report crimes directly was created.

According to Mr De Raedt, among the success factors fuelling the further development of the partnership approach are the presence of shared goals, a clear and transparent approach and a positive, “yes we can” mentality. Such a cohesive, open-minded approach – along with the sharing of best practice between police and industry practitioners – sets an impressive example of how barriers to partnership working can be overcome here in the UK.

The BSIA’s discussions with Parliamentarians have revealed that one of the biggest barriers to increased partnership working in the UK is the perception of the private security industry assuming police powers without suitable checks and balances. As the BSIA works to dispel this myth of a ‘privatised police force’ among British police and Parliamentarians, a glance at the Swedish private security industry provides an excellent example of where security powers can be shared in a measured, clearly defined way.

According to Richard Orgård of Almega – the BSIA’s Swedish equivalent – a partnership approach can contribute towards the creation of more jobs and lower security costs for most countries. Here, the role of private security personnel is given even greater credence, with a select group of officers working in certain locations, including airports, shopping malls, hospitals and subways, being given limited police powers including the power of arrest and the ability to bear arms.

These additional powers are bestowed upon such officers with the permission of police, who retain ultimate responsibility over the policing of public areas. According to Mr Orgård’s presentation at the CoESS summit, this special type of security officer can be utilised for a number of functions, including the transportation of apprehended people, isolation of a crime scene, witness protection and alcohol testing.

At present, British police officers perform far too many tasks that don't necessarily require the presence of a warranted officer, many examples of which are mentioned above in our Swedish example. With the introduction of a new era of regulation, including business licensing, the BSIA and its members hope that this will serve to increase police confidence in working alongside our industry. Certainly, the examples we learned about at the CoESS Summit will provide interesting talking points for our future Parliamentary contact meetings, and allow us to provide important evidence that a partnership approach really can work in practice.

With the BSIA’s political engagement programme for 2013 now in full swing, the Association is continuing to represent the private security industry at all levels of government, highlighting the important role that the sector can play in supporting police forces across the UK, and I look forward to updating you on our progress in future editions of the blog.



Adrian Mealing: A pan-European foothold for UK alarm manufacturers

Adrian Mealing, Chairman of the SEMS SectionAdrian Mealing, Chairman of the Security Equipment Manufacturers’ Section of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), explores the issue of pan-European certification and how the advent of new European legislation would signal a new era for the UK’s intruder alarms market.

According to members of the BSIA’s Export Council – a forum for UK security companies focused on increasing their business abroad – technological innovation is the main factor that currently attracts overseas buyers to UK security products. Despite this, over a third of Export Council members reported in a recent survey that the costs of getting products officially certified in foreign markets is the biggest barrier to growing their business abroad.

This barrier is particularly apparent in Europe, where, under current rules, each UK company intending to export their security solutions across the EU is forced to undergo separate testing of products for most of the countries they wish to export to. This means, for example, that an alarm that is compliant to the auditing requirements in France cannot necessarily be sold in Germany, unless it is being retested specifically for the German market. This onerous process is not only time consuming, but is also financially burdensome, as the costs and time associated with the separate testing of the same products in each country is considerable.

This issue is in direct conflict with the primary mission of the European Union, to allow for fairer trade across its member countries and stimulate competition. Smaller companies in fact, risk being discriminated against, as they are unable to sustain the costs they encounter each time they set out to achieve local quality marks.

The BSIA and its Security Equipment Manufacturers Section (SEMS) have been long term supporters of the principle of pan-European certification, whereby the quality mark of a security product is recognised in all EU member countries.

This is to ensure consistently high – and more uniform – quality of products and systems, promoting technical innovation and investment into what is now a fragmented industry, in keeping with the aims of European policy. As mentioned above, one of the European Union’s main objectives is to facilitate reciprocal trade between its member countries. In actual fact, however, this has not translated as effectively as companies operating in the security equipment manufacturers’ environment may have hoped for. Increasingly, standards have been written to provide the platform for uniform independent testing, but this in itself is not enough.

Alex Carmichael, Technical and Export Director at the BSIA, comments: “Although the European Union has proved successful in shaping regulations and standards applicable to the security industry, it has not managed to streamline the testing process for security solutions. A uniformed testing process could be achieved by introducing pan-European certification, which would provide a one-stop shop for all quality marks across the continent. This would mean that security products exported would be assessed against requirements shared by all EU countries, therefore dramatically improving the quality of products entering the market and reducing the confusion surrounding which tests are needed for each country. In addition, pan-European certification would reduce costs for companies, allowing even smaller businesses to stand a chance to compete on a European level.”

The BSIA’s SEMS section have vocally supported the benefits of making pan-European certification a legal requirement in the EU, as it is the section’s belief that this would provide a more favourable international trading environment for security manufacturers. More recently, members of the section have welcomed the announcement of a EU-wide industrial policy for the security industry, issued in July 2012 by the European Commission.

The policy represents a significant step towards pan-European certification, and aims to increase harmonisation between EU member countries, reducing the severe fragmentation that currently exists in the European security marketplace and removing trade barriers that restrict the ability of UK security equipment manufacturers to expand their product offering to other countries within the EU.

In recognition of the problems that currently exist, the European Commission’s policy acknowledges that “a competitive and innovative security industry is [fundamental to] any viable European security policy,” and pledges to reduce the fragmentation that currently restricts EU-wide harmonisation.

Through their involvement in RISC and Euralarm, members of the BSIA’s Security Equipment Manufacturers’ Section (SEMS) have contributed directly to the European Commission’s policy consultation and welcome the opportunities it brings in encouraging fairer trade across EU member countries and subsequently, in stimulating competition.

Results of the consultation revealed that independently of their background (be it SME, large corporate or public authority), stakeholders underlined the clear added value of a European-wide certification regime, highlighting four key benefits that this would bring, not least the reduction of the administrative and financial burden brought about by the duplication of current certification procedures.

Alex Carmichael adds: “This policy represents an excellent starting point for harmonisation across the EU, and is set to have a monumental impact on views and procedures in EU countries. We at the BSIA hope that this policy will drive test houses to adopt a European – rather than national – focus, increasing quality standards across the board.”

Respondents to the European Commission’s consultation also expressed concern for the fragility of the EU security market in comparison to its international competitors, and agreed that an industrial policy framework could help the European security industry regain its competitive edge in the global market.

“With an estimated market value of as much as €36.5bn, the EU security market has real potential to compete with the likes of China and the U.S.” continues Alex Carmichael. “Removing trade barriers and creating a one-stop testing regime will not only increase exporting opportunities for UK companies, but will also help to drive the overall professionalism of the European security industry.”

To find out more about the BSIA’s SEMS section, visit http://www.bsia.co.uk/security-equipment-manufacturers.



Simon Adcock: Planning perimeter protection - Top Ten Considerations

Simon Adcock, Chairman of the CCTV SectionThis month's guest blogger is Simon Adcock, Chairman of the BSIA's CCTV Section, who is discussing the importance of perimeter protection in preventing business losses. 

It is often thought that the purpose of a perimeter security system is to detect intruders, but its real function is part of an overall strategy to prevent business losses. Many also fail to consider the potentially devastating damage to business continuity or reputation, which might result from an incidence of theft, vandalism or even arson. Here are the 10 most important functions that should be considered when planning a well-thought-out perimeter protection solution:

1) DETER - Most organisations would prefer potential intruders to think twice and go looking for a softer target. This needs to be balanced against the preference of some organisations not to “advertise” their security. CCTV cameras can be a deterrent but sometimes it's hard to beat a big fence in this respect.

2) PREVENT/DELAY - Generally achieved by physical security measures designed either to prevent unauthorised entry or to delay intruders pending the arrival of an on-site presence. Even if people have easy access to your site, controlling vehicle access can make a big contribution to minimising loss.

3) DETECT - A core function of a perimeter security system is to detect unauthorised activity. The ability to filter out normal activity is key to minimising false alarms and improving performance. Relatively dumb motion detectors are being overtaken by sophisticated video analytics because of this.

4) ALERT - An appropriate person (i.e. someone with the means, motivation and authorisation to respond) needs to be alerted to the issue in real-time. The key to minimising loss is to be able to intervene straight away, which for those without their own control room means an RVRC (remote video receiving centre). An email/text to your iPhone might seem sufficient, but can you be relied upon to read your emails and texts immediately?

5) ASSESS - That appropriate person needs to be given the information to determine whether the alert is genuine and to gauge the nature of the threat. For this, there is no substitute for seeing it with your own eyes and in that respect, it's hard to beat an image from a CCTV or thermal detection camera.

6) RESPOND - Alerting the intruders to the fact that they are being watched is often all that is needed to prompt a swift change of plan. Typically this is done by switching on lights or audio challenge. It's a good idea to have a reputable guarding company who can respond in person in case this doesn't work, and potentially to check the integrity of the site even if it does. Depending on workload, the Police will normally respond quickly to a confirmed alarm with video evidence but there is no guarantee of this. A skilled thief can be in and out of a property surprisingly quickly with some of your most important IT equipment.

7) MONITOR - What happens once an operator has intervened? Does the unauthorised activity cease or continue and if there are intruders where are they now? If a guard is investigating how will he find them, and how do the intruders then react?

8) EVIDENCE - It is crucial that the system provides evidence of what happened and how it happened. Even if the organisation or the Police choose not to prosecute then video evidence can provide valuable information that can help lessons to be learned.

9) CONTROL - How is the system to be set and unset? What other measures might an operator need to control that could minimise losses, such as identity management/access control.

10) AUDIT - If something goes wrong it's important to know who knew what and when, and what they did about it. This can be a vital tool to learning lessons and preventing future losses.



Patrick Dealtry: 2013 a 'period of expansion' for lone worker market

Patrick Dealtry - Chairman of the BSIA's Lone Worker Steering Group

This month's guest blogger is Patrick Dealtry, Chairman of the BSIA's Lone Worker Steering Group, who is reflecting on the recent growth of the lone worker market, and what 2013 is set to bring for the sector. 

This is both a first and a last; the first Lone Worker blog for the BSIA and the last blog before the BSIA's Lone Worker Steering Group becomes a fully-fledged Section in its own right.

This is a good thing; a New Year means new beginnings and it reflects a time at which the Lone Worker market is coming of age.

So first let me look backward and then forward.  10 years ago there was no such thing as a Lone Worker market.  Those of us in at the start had to create it from scratch - and it was hard work.  It needed a belief and a good dash of optimism as we lurched forward.  There were a number of significant milestones:

  • creation of a British Standard at an early stage which gave structure, discipline and credibility
  • appreciation by Lone Worker suppliers that this was about service not technology
  • acceptance by ACPO that Lone Worker devices did not result in huge numbers of false alarms and were not a problem for their control rooms and response services
  • the impact of the very large NHS contract
  • first prosecution under the new Corporate Manslaughter Act - which was for a Lone Worker
  • the start of the BSIA Lone Worker group
  • technical advances resulting in more capable and practical devices
  • advent of downloadable apps for smartphones
  • entry into the market of large companies like G4S, Mitie and Securitas
  • expansion into Lone Worker monitoring by an increasing numbers of ARCs.

Perhaps this period from 2003 to 2012 is best described as a ‘period of education’ for both suppliers and customers; suppliers who discovered what customers really wanted and customers who understand that paying attention to the needs of their Lone Workers really is important for their businesses.

So much for the past, what of the future?  I believe the ‘period of education’ will turn into a ‘period of expansion’.

There are probably about 140,000 Lone Worker devices in use at present and many more low risk employees using low level non-standard services.

I believe the next 12 months will see:

  • the number of devices double – despite difficult trading conditions
  • moves into international markets
  • the introduction of more smartphone apps
  • entry into the Lone Worker market of established companies already supplying other location based services such as asset and vehicle tracking
  • development of the BSIA Lone Worker Section leading to increasing differentiation between companies in the Section and those outside it
  • development of the consumer market
  • greater focus on training in all aspects of personal safety

Making forecast for the following year is a bit of a mugs game.  Fortunately if a week is a long time in politics, then a year in the security industry is long enough for most to forget what happened 12 months ago.

We shall see.



James Kelly: Regulation consultation "hollow" without primary legislation

James Kelly, Chief Executive of the BSIAWhile 2012 gave our industry much to reflect on, there has certainly been no time to rest on our laurels this month, as 2013 began with a particularly pivotal event: the launch of the Home Office’s official consultation on the future of the regulatory regime for the UK’s private security industry.

Here at the BSIA, we’ve been working up to this moment since the Government’s original announcement regarding the future of regulation – and potential abolition of the SIA – back in 2010. Thankfully, the plans have been much refined since then, and the launch of the consultation paper this month gave us the opportunity to officially canvass the opinions of those members who operate in licensed sectors.

My personal involvement in the development of a new regulatory regime – or NRR as it’s known – is two-fold. Not only do I represent the BSIA and its members on the Home Office’s Transition Steering Group (TSG) as one of two industry representatives, but I also sit on the SIA’s Strategy Consultation Group (SCG), which is the Authority’s main consultative body with industry, specifically focused on regulatory change. The Security Alliance, of which I am Chair, is also represented on the SCG.

In fact, it was at a recent meeting of the TSG – which I attended on 28th January – that the initial results of the Home Office consultation were discussed, and a particularly high response rate was revealed. The Home Office reported that it has received 760 responses to the consultation, which sits in the top 10% of response rates for similar Home Office consultations.

While around 10-15 responses were received from organisations, the Home Office has particularly welcomed the BSIA’s response, I believe both for its uniqueness in representing the views of a whole range of member organisations, and also for its detailed and qualitative response, supported by graphs and further analysis. As such, the Home Office has indicated that it will analyse and reflect on the BSIA’s submission separately, a move which we clearly welcome.

The TSG meeting also enabled me to express my strong beliefs about the need for primary legislation, which will be essential in the development and implementation of the proposed new regulatory regime. It is my opinion that the industry will conclude that the whole consultation effort will have been ‘hollow’ if the Government claims ultimately to have tried, yet failed, to procure primary legislation. For me, it’s essential that no mistakes are made in the process of regulatory change – as an industry, we have to get this right, and primary legislation is the cornerstone of making these changes work.

With this in mind, I have echoed this call for clarity around the issue of primary legislation in other Parliamentary contact meetings I’ve been involved in this month. We already have excellent relationships with key Government figures, but are now increasingly engaging with senior Opposition politicians. Seeking their support for this particular cause led me to meet with two senior Labour figures – Hazel Blears MP and David Blunkett MP – in Westminster last week.

In addition to this, members of the SCG – including myself, as well as several representatives of the Security Regulation Alliance – were invited to meet with Lord Taylor, to discuss the current proposals for the new regulatory regime, and explore the industry’s thoughts in more detail. This meeting was particularly positive, and Lord Taylor pledged his intention to be a supportive advocate for the need for primary legislation across Government.

Next month, I shall be seeking to increase the BSIA’s engagement with Parliamentarians even further, with the Association’s next Parliamentary Roundtable meeting just around the corner. This meeting is due to be chaired by Hazel Blears MP, and will discuss the issue of private security involvement in the delivery of police reform. I am encouraged by Parliamentarians’ keen interest in our industry, and hope that the roundtable meetings that we have planned this year will help further our industry’s influence within both Government and Opposition.

Follow me on Twitter, or keep up-to-date by visiting the BSIA’s website.



John Davies: Exporting "crucial" during economic downturn

John Davies, Chairman of the BSIA's Export Council

In the first edition of the BSIA's blog, the Association's Export Council Chairman, TDSi's John Davies, discusses overseas trends and the role that exporting will play in making 2013 a successful year for the UK's private security industry.

January is a popular time for reflection. With Christmas and New Year out of the way for another 12 months, most sectors of the economy are reviewing their performance in 2012 and looking towards the opportunities in 2013. Undoubtedly the economic challenges of the last few years are still on everyone’s mind and one thing that they have shown is that we are living in a far more global-orientated economy than ever before. This has been borne out by recent research commissioned by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), which suggests that 85% of respondents felt that the ongoing slowdown in the UK makes exporting even more important and that the security industry is looking beyond the more traditional markets to mine business in perhaps less obvious, but nonetheless profitable and potentially very lucrative markets. In fact the survey goes on to suggest that currently, sales outside the UK account for a very significant 40% to 70% of turnover for BSIA Export Council members – a crucial amount of business.
 
January sees the 2013 Intersec Dubai show and the BSIA will be making its 15th appearance at this important show. Of the growing markets, the Middle East is undoubtedly a vital one to the UK security industry (70% of BSIA members say they are looking to actively increase business in the region this year) and Intersec Dubai is a major event in our diary. The BSIA Export Council connection, whilst not taking on a regulatory role, does offer an additional confidence to prospective clients and also shows support to member companies, highlighting that the whole sector is backing trade in the region. Many of the UK companies at the show will be exhibiting around the BSIA-organised UK Security Pavilion giving visitors an excellent introduction (or in many cases reintroduction!) to the excellence of the UK security industry.
 
Whilst Intersec Dubai is a major focus for January, many BSIA members will also have a keen eye on other potentially lucrative markets. A great example are the CIVETS (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa), a rapidly growing set of emerging markets which are hungry to acquire professional security products and services as they continue to build their economies. The CIVETS countries share some important traits, including a great number and variety of export goods and their economies consist mostly of primary products and natural resources. With a combination of bustling economic growth, rapidly evolving infrastructure and the need for expertise, along with security needs like any developing country, the CIVETS offer fantastic opportunities for any security supplier to offer best-of-breed technology and real value for money. The British security industry has the technical and deployment experience, along with an enviable reputation for doing this well and is in a perfect position to help emerging countries secure vital installations and businesses.
 
Unsurprisingly, 2013 also promises to be another exciting year with regards to security technology development. Putting my access control hat on for a moment, smartphones are likely to even further dominate our lives, using their Near Field Communications (NFC) ability to act as access control identification, potentially replacing more traditional cards and tokens (with obvious convenience and cost-saving benefits). With a growing demand for NFC readers going forward, the security industry will need to look at the pace of adoption, the potential markets for the technology (in theory any vertical market with access control needs could use such a ubiquitous technology) and how it can best meet the needs of customers. But then meeting consumer demands and offering unrivalled support is what the British Security Industry has always done best, so I’m looking forward to a very busy 2013!

For more information about the BSIA and the work of its Export Council, visit the Export Council web page.



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