I find it strange just how quiet the security industry is on the subject of Brexit. Whether you voted to leave or remain, whether you believe in the PM’s plan or think she is wasting valuable time, Brexit is undoubtedly the topic of the moment and will remain so for some time to come. Yet collectively the security industry remains relatively mute on its potential impact – which could be significant.
It is easy to shy away from the debate with the excuse – “we don’t know what is happening or how it will impact us”. However, we can make some educated guesses, particularly around the challenges we could face. Immigration issues for example were central to the leave campaign and could impact our industry in a number of ways. Firstly, there is the matter of our workforce, which is incredibly diverse – from control rooms to guards working on the ground it would be hard to find an industry that better reflects the UK’s multicultural society. However, The Brexit process could very well threaten much of that as people are either compelled to leave or just as likely feel they don’t want to stay in a country where they are made unwelcome.
A poorly managed Brexit will lead to a staffing crisis within the security sector. I find this in turn somewhat ironic as the immigration and border control challenges that are likely to be a legacy of the Brexit negotiations mean we will need more staff then ever before to support the police, border authority and wider public sector activity at ports and more.
The government have apparently started planning for a worst case scenario no-deal Brexit. It is impossible to predict all the potential ramifications. Despite scaremongering amongst the mainstream media it is unlikely the country will suddenly fall apart at midnight on 29 March. However, there is plenty of room and opportunities for challenges even in a negotiated deal – which is looking ever more unlikely. Therefore, as security industry leaders we need to be working together to consider the challenges ahead and how best to deal with them. We need to have plans in place to support our workforce, support our businesses and more. Never before has the old adage “hope for the best but prepare for the worst” been so true but we need to all get on board and think about where we go from here as an industry facing some serious challenges.
Abbey Petkar, Managing Director, Magenta Security Services Ltd