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Welsh security expert shares best practice in Parliamentary Review

A LEADING WELSH security company has had its inaugural article published in the Parliamentary Review, outlining best business practices for growing businesses and explaining its sector-leading reputation.

Specialist Security, a family-run company that now turns over £4million a year, had the article endorsed by Lord David Blunkett and Lord Eric Pickles in the British journal which sees 500,000 copies distributed annually.

Speaking in the article about the company’s foundation in 2001 to its hugely successful operations today, Specialist Security Managing Director, Rachel Fleri, said: “Our organisation is driven by employee wellbeing and integrity. We employ 150 members of staff and understand and appreciate each has their own culture and circumstances. Many of our team members have families to support and additional commitments and we will always take this into account and consider the best fit for both them and our clients. We work with big names including Willmott Dixon and Balfour Beatty Rail and ensure all clients are supplied with suitable operatives based on ability, experience and merit.”

Speaking about the change in legislation that came into force in 2001 and the birth of the industry’s statutory body, Rachel said: “The introduction of the SIA certainly raised standards in the sector, most notably the introduction of a personal licence scheme and ACS. However,  while licensing is statutory for individuals, it is not for companies, and we have sadly witnessed others in the sector hiring self-employed, unlicensed workers to keep costs down. I am a keen advocate of a business licensing scheme to prevent this and level out the industry.”

Rachel also talks about exciting future plans for the self-built company. She said: “We will focus our growth around large infrastructure projects and corporate front-of-house security. The greater number of large projects we can tender, the more we are able to grow overall.”

Based in Cardiff, Specialist Security provides professional, quality security services to the private and public sector, including installing, monitoring and responding to alarm and CCTV systems as well as deploying managed security officers and mobile patrols.

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How to protect vacant commercial property during the Covid-19 epidemic

As many businesses adapt to working remotely, hundreds of thousands of commercial properties are being left vacant.

During this time, it is important for business owners and building managers to ensure all commercial property is appropriately secured.

Failing to secure a commercial property properly can lead to it being broken into, vandalised or its contents, including stock and essential equipment, damaged. Not only does this have the potential to further delay the business being able to return to operate from the property but could also cost the business more money, and impact on insurance costs.

Specialist Security managing director Rachel Fleri has outlined how businesses can protect commercial property left vacant by taking the following steps:

Where possible remove high value goods to a more secure location

This step can help remove temptation to break into the property and reduce the risk of damage to its contents. Important documentation should also be removed from the premises.

Consider physical security measures

Physical security measures will offer a barrier to entry. Ensure that windows and doors are locked. If your commercial property does not already have shutters or grates this may be something to consider in order to protect vulnerable entry points.

Ensure your alarm system and CCTV is in good working order

This is the least costly option for vacant premises but will only be of benefit if the response to an activation is timely and reliable. If your premises doesn’t already have an alarm fitted this is something that should be considered. Good alarm installation companies are accredited by companies like the NSI (National Security Inspectorate) or SSAIB (Security Systems and Alarms Inspection Board). If you already have an alarm and/or CCTV installed, you should check it is in good working order. Your installation company will do this and the checks may be a part of your maintenance contract.

Once an alarm is installed, get to know the keyholders

The response to activations is unlikely to be conducted by the installer. They will have been contracted a keyholding company to attend should the alarm be activated. Before assigning your keys to a security company check their credentials.  Security companies that hold keys and respond to alarms will also likely provide security officers to guard your property. Like the installation companies, good businesses that provide officers will be accredited and regularly audited. These companies should operate to British Standards like BS 7499 and BS7984. They will likely be a member of the SIA (Security Industry Authority) Approved Contracted Scheme (ACS) and will be able to show you their up to date certificate.

Consider using a Security Officer

Having your property alarmed and a suitable company to respond is a good first step to securing your property. However, the best way to secure premises is to use a security officer. The officer should hold an SIA license and be screened to BS 7858. They should be a direct employee on PAYE and not self-employed. Deploying security operatives is not cheap and you should be careful to consider that from April 1, the National Minimum Wage will be £8.72 per house. Companies are required to pay Employers’ NIC, pension contribution, and holiday pay on top of the officer’s rate of pay, so be wary of inflated quotations. However, a noticeably low cost may also indicate that the operative is not directly employed and therefore may not be adequately insured.

Consider the additional needs of your property

Many guards will carry out additional services for you. You may have mail that requires sorting or temperatures monitored to prevent stock spoiling. Most companies will be more than happy to assist you.

For many, this will be the first time they have left their commercial property vacant for a considerable amount of time and its easy to overlook the potential damage that could be done in their absence.

It’s really important businesses take the extra steps to ensure their property is secured. We urge anyone who has concerns about their security to get in contact with us, and we can offer advice and recommendations at this uncertain time.

Give us a call if you have any questions or are concerned about leaving your property vacant for a period of time – 0800 032 3773.


Cheaper Security?

There is a new trend of businesses choosing security companies who are offering ‘cheap’ services. Purchasing a security service on price alone can be a risk. If a security company is charging £7.00 an hour for a security guard, you have to question what they are actually paying the guard to do the job. UK minimum wage for a person aged 21 and over is currently £6.70.

Buying ‘cheap security’ could result in you ending up with security guards who are very poorly paid and have no interest in their job. The security companies who are advertising these cheap services usually operate on a low budget, which means that they have no back up guards, no way to check on their guards and no control centre. You have to ask yourself would you want your property protected by a security company that operates this way?

Specialist Security ensures a fully SIA licenced guard who is ISO9001:2008, BSIA and CHAS accredited. Each guard is credit checked and listed on SIA’s register of approved contractors. We ensure that our security guards are paid minimum wage or above. At Specialist Security we use TimeGate, a system, which ensures our guards log in and out of their shift and we ensure an hourly check call from the site to ensure that they are on the site.

We operate a 24-hour manned control room. Each guard undertakes a minimum of 1 patrol per hour under the direction of a patrol supervisor. We also ensure that each guard is wearing the correct personal protective equipment. In addition to all the services that we advertise, we offer bespoke service tailoring to the needs of our clients.

It is better to utilise the services of a professional company that pay their guards a minimum wage or above and have the resources to monitor their guards’ movements and activities, and have the back up to respond to any situation that occurs.

This may cost clients more than what the cheap companies are offering but the price ensures peace of mind that your property is secured.

When it comes to security companies you get what you pay for, so wouldn’t you be more satisfied paying a little more than what the cheap security companies are offering knowing that when you return to your property it will be properly secured, present and intact.


Terrorism Threat Levels

The current terrorism threat to the UK from international terrorism is assessed as severe.

At Specialist Security, in response to recent events in France, Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan, Nigeria, Thailand, Kenya and the US. We wanted to reinforce the key messages of the Government’s ‘Prevent Strategy’.

Prevent Strategy is part of HM Government’s counter-terrorism strategy.  We have reinforced the key messages of the Prevent Strategy and emphasised the importance of vigilance and reporting any concerns to the anti-terrorism hotline. Read more