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The University of Bedfordshire dates from 2006, after the merger of the University of Luton, and De Montfort University’s Bedford campus. With campuses in Luton, Bedford, Milton Keynes and Aylesbury, the university has over 20,000 students from 120 countries, and a teaching staff of 1800.
The uni was looking to maintain an open and welcoming site while protecting people, buildings and assets at the Bedford and Luton campuses. The contract security company Securitas assessed service delivery, using a risk analysis approach, to identify what would enhance security and the student experience, while achieving cost efficiencies for Bedfordshire. In October 2010, after an extensive tender process, Securitas was appointed to deliver protective security services.
In 2017, the uni went out to tender, and Securitas was awarded a ten-year contract to provide the full range of protective services. The security firm says that it layers on-site, mobile, electronic and remote security. Some 43 SIA-licensed Securitas officers at Bedford and Luton campuses are offering round-the-clock protection to students, teaching staff and visitors. On-site officers carry out daily, routine ID checks to see that unregistered visitors or members of the public do not access the campus unchallenged.
Besides the physical presence of officers, a CCTV control room, on campus, is run by Securitas. Due to the size of the campus, CCTV allows for 24/7 monitoring to prevent and capture any incidents relating to property damage, loss or harm. The contractor says it has helped the university by introducing and managing access control systems and advising if certain parts of the campus should be access-restricted.
The officers also have STARS training (Security Trained Assistance and Reception Services) which allows them to offer reception services during out-of-office hours. They are the first point of contact and act as key brand ambassadors for the university, which is particularly important in the campus libraries (pictured) which are open 24/7.
From a fire and safety perspective, Securitas officers carry out fire tests across the Luton campus. Securitas also plays its part in escalating any critical on-site incidents to the university’s Critical Incident Response Team. At any uni, it’s imperative that students feel safe and secure, so they can do well. Hence Securitas has introduced awareness training for officers, to enable them to identify and support anyone suffering from mental wellbeing issues. The security company sits on the university’s student safety forum that looks at student welfare and safety issues. And the contractor works with the uni’s events manager, supporting her team with the planning and risk assessments for graduations, exams, registrations and other campus based events.
The firm points to the relationship between Securitas Manager Rhoni Ikhide and university stakeholders, the Head of Campus Services, in particular, for the security firm to support the direction the university is taking. Monthly review meetings provide a chance to report against KPIs and raise any concerns. Securitas uses a bespoke risk analysis tool to make regular risk assessments. The results are shared with the university and used to highlight emerging risks. To date, Securitas has identified savings of over £1.5m and also proposed to spend £300,000 on security systems.
What client says
Anna Brennan, Head of Campus Services at the University of Bedfordshire said: “The Securitas team on site, and through the regional structure, has always provided a collaborative approach to the contract and hence the successful partnership between Securitas and the University of Bedfordshire is set to continue into the next 10 years. Their proactive approach to the security of the campus and its occupants is great, whilst having the flexibility to deal with intermittent challenges which inevitably arise.”
Securitas has protective service contracts with other universities: Hertfordshire, Gloucestershire, Southampton, Cranfield, Leeds Metropolitan and the University of West Scotland.