Home se­cu­rity: Be alert, but not alarmed

To co­in­cide with Na­tional Home Se­cu­rity Month, Ge­orge R Foster of­fers ad­vice on how to ‘be alert, but not alarmed’

Cotswold Life - - NEWS -

The best form of pro­tec­tion is anonymity. How­ever, for some, that’s sim­ply not al­ways pos­si­ble…”

In 2015, it was re­ported that within the Glouces­ter­shire area, 92% of bur­glar­ies went un­solved. Un­for­tu­nately, not only is there the pos­si­bil­ity of this hor­ren­dous act oc­cur­ring but, ap­par­ently, it seems it’s very dif­fi­cult to hold any­one ac­count­able and bring them to jus­tice.

For some time now, I’ve been heav­ily in­volved in pro­vid­ing close pro­tec­tion for those in the pub­lic eye and the wealthy, as well as writ­ing se­cu­rity strate­gies and con­duct­ing se­cu­rity sur­veys. Glam­orous work, some may say, but in re­al­ity it can be quite frus­trat­ing.

There are two main rea­sons for this frus­tra­tion. The first is the overzeal­ous se­cu­rity com­pany that sim­ply wants your money; those firms that ha­rangue you with never-end­ing sales emails that prom­ise the world and, un­for­tu­nately, more of­ten than not, de­liver a sub­stan­dard ser­vice. The sec­ond frus­tra­tion re­volves around those naïve enough to be­lieve it will never hap­pen to them.

When ad­vis­ing peo­ple, and in­deed busi­nesses, on their se­cu­rity ar­range­ments, I’ve al­ways been as re­al­is­tic as pos­si­ble with my ad­vice. As much as I want them to be aware of the very real dan­gers that ex­ist, in the grand scheme of things the risk per­cent­ages are still rel­a­tively low – un­less of course there has been a spe­cific threat made, or breach at­tempted. Most of the time my ad­vice is: “be alert, but not alarmed”.

I would al­ways ad­vise against just sim­ply throw­ing your money at the lat­est tech­no­log­i­cal gad­get. While this may act as a de­ter­rent ini­tially, there re­main many ways to de­feat these gad­gets. With statis­tics very much favour­ing the prospec­tive per­pe­tra­tor, phys­i­cal se­cu­rity would al­ways be my first rec­om­men­da­tion. Tech­nol­ogy, I would sug­gest, should al­ways be used in sup­port of phys­i­cal se­cu­rity. Sys­tems such as CCTV are only as good as the peo­ple op­er­at­ing them and, un­for­tu­nately, most of the time that’s no one.

So, what can we do?

THERE are sev­eral op­tions to look at be­yond the ba­sic con­sid­er­a­tions, such as lock­ing away lad­ders, en­sur­ing valu­ables are se­cured in the safe, up­grad­ing your alarm sys­tem, and main­tain­ing sys­tems for gated premises.

If you are some­one of con­sid­er­able wealth, or you value the well­be­ing of your loved ones so much so that you sim­ply must en­sure their safety at all costs, a Res­i­den­tial Se­cu­rity Team (RST) is by far the best op­tion. A good RST will have com­pre­hen­sive plans in place to counter every fore­see­able safety and se­cu­rity breach or threat.

An­other con­sid­er­a­tion is: what do your in­sur­ers ac­tu­ally say? There may be a re­quire­ment from your in­sur­ance com­pany, de­pend­ing on what is be­ing in­sured of course, to have these sorts of con­trol mea­sures in place to val­i­date your pol­icy. It’s al­ways worth­while tak­ing your time with in­sur­ance, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons.

What does a RST do ex­actly?

PRIOR to a RST com­ing on board, an in­depth ‘Se­cu­rity Sur­vey’ and a wa­ter­tight ‘Threat, Risk and Vul­ner­a­bil­ity As­sess­ment’ should be un­der­taken, with de­tailed and ro­bust ac­tions listed on how the team will over­come and con­trol any iden­ti­fied vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties and sys­temic de­fi­cien­cies per­tain­ing to the ac­tual res­i­den­tial grounds. It should have firstaid, pae­di­atric first-aid and/or trauma kits avail­able where ap­pro­pri­ate. The team should be qual­i­fied and com­pe­tent in the use of first-aid equip­ment, and must be li­cenced to carry out this type of work in ac­cor­dance with the Se­cu­rity In­dus­try Au­thor­ity (SIA) and the Pri­vate Se­cu­rity In­dus­try Act 2001.

Un­for­tu­nately, there are a wor­ry­ing num­ber of se­cu­rity com­pa­nies out there that will ar­gue it is not a re­quire­ment to be close pro­tec­tion li­cenced to carry out this work. The truth is, the afore­men­tioned leg­is­la­tion can be, at times, as woolly as a mam­moth. De­spite that, I would al­ways in­sist that our team was li­cenced in close pro­tec­tion, which re­mains very much a spe­cial­ism within the se­cu­rity in­dus­try. Yes, of course, em­ploy­ing a team of door su­per­vi­sor li­cence hold­ers may be cheaper, but close pro­tec­tion teams, gen­er­ally speak­ing, are far bet­ter equipped and trained to man­age and mit­i­gate the level of risk that may be in­volved.

One fi­nal thought: our group of com­pa­nies has been do­ing this sort of spe­cial­ist work for many years. Make sure you do your own thor­ough due dili­gence on all po­ten­tial providers, should you choose to take this route, be­cause this busi­ness is very much a per­sonal one.

Ge­orge R Foster

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