The Security Conundrum
Written by Claire Humble
Advancing to senior leadership level in Cleveland and New Zealand Police, Claire has transitioned over to the corporate world, co-founding a Safety & Security Consultancy, Learning and Development and SMART business, Nuology. As an accomplished transformational change agent, Claire has positively impacted many organisations' culture, people, and processes, nationally and globally.
An engaging speaker who captivates multicultural audiences, presenting on topics that resonate with others, such as ‘Transformational Change within Security Sector’, she is frequently invited to attend webinars as a panel member. She holds a Master’s in International Security that complements her vast experience in security, risk and resilience. Advocating Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Claire sits on multiple ED&I working groups in renowned international security institutes.
The Security Conundrum
Security services at a crossroads: Which path should we take?
In my experience historically, a security ‘guard’ was largely considered non-skilled, expected to work long hours in challenging environments. Required to carry out mundane tasks for minimum pay with little (if any) investment, job security, satisfaction or recognition from employers.
Is that a fair assessment?
As we enter 2023, the question is, has the legacy view of a security ‘guard’ actually evolved? I would propose in some respects perhaps not as much as we would have hoped or expected. As an industry are we comfortable with that proposition? Or is it time to consider an overhaul? A new way of delivering services? Shaking off past perceptions and perhaps even go as far as a complete rethink or indeed a transformation?
I have to say, I am excited by that prospect.
After all it is a profession, I have operated within and am deeply passionate about. Yet, to even consider the question of ‘transformation’ in any sort of logical way I am initially faced with a lot more questions than answers…
Having worked in the security industry for over 30 years in various roles and levels of responsibility, I have become increasingly frustrated by the general lack of investment, innovation and development of the security industry, particularly the role of man guarding (no I am not going there) – now largely referred to in many environments as security officer (and about time)! Yes, there are examples of security companies thinking outside of the box, investing in their staff and, delivering an excellent service to their communities. Yet in my experience, this appears to be the exception rather than the rule.
In my view one of the biggest challenges in transforming the security sector is its scale. Spanning a vast spectrum of roles, environments, requirements and skill sets, the question of transformation of the sector cannot be answered with an overarching one size fits all approach.
Indeed, to attempt to answer the security transformation conundrum with any degree of satisfaction I have been compelled to pose a series of questions to help distill, drill down and challenge myself to be brave enough to take an honest and critical look at the sector.
· What is the role of a contemporary security officer in 2023 and beyond?
· Is the term ‘Security Gard/Officer’ still relevant for the diverse environment we now live and work in?
I would even go so far as to pose the question:
· Are security officers as we know them still relevant and/or still needed?
If the answer to the last question is YES, then we must consider:
· How do we deliver this service in a more contemporary, innovative, professional, and relatable way?
· Should we be lobbying the Government and Security Associations to introduce a clear set of industry appropriate standards to ensure we get the right people, with the right skills, with accredited training linked to continuous professional development?
· How do we set high standards of delivery, and raise customer expectations to finally redress the ‘tender weighting’ away from cost and onto quality outputs and return on investment?
· How do we sell what we do in a way that resonates and articulates the value Security Services bring to an organization to attract further investment?
· How do we encourage a greater number of successful and experienced security professionals to give back to the industry to help it move on and evolve?
· How do we showcase the Security Officer role and the sector at large as an industry of choice in order to recruit and retain new and young talent?
Many of us know and accept that there are many barriers to transforming and diversifying the Security Industry and the role of the Security Officer. Not least cost and a lack of industry relevant and accredited training and standards. There is a need for us all to be brave and callout and remove ‘rogue traders’ who accept and in some cases perpetuate the legacy view of the security officer.
But nobody said it would be easy, that there was not going to be some heavy lifting needed. Indeed, it is the size and the scale of the challenge that makes it more of an attractive proposition.
Is it just me or is this worth at least some debate?
I know providing answers to these questions is not an easy task! Yet with help along the way from some innovative and leading industry experts I am going to try to answer these questions with logic, competence and hopefully innovative answers that might just get this ball rolling. Every month I will be taking one of these topics and hopefully stimulating a debate and who knows perhaps posing some workable solutions to these ‘wicked’ problems - I would welcome your thoughts, support and input along the way……visit me at Nuxform and WSS for more information or ‘Follow’ me and WSS on LinkedIn and reach out to provide your constructive thoughts and views on the questions posed.
- Safe; is a transformation change consultancy striving to help deliver a culture of excellence, resilience and inclusivity for security companies, teams, and workspaces.