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Mark Rowe writes after the Security Institute’s launch of its manifesto for the UK security industry.
What was striking about the launch of the manifesto, at the Churchill War Rooms under Whitehall, was not only the broad sweep and the ambition of Emma Shaw’s speech and the manifesto document – seeking to engage with the public, opinion formers, and everyone from exam awarding bodies to career advisers in schools. Also heartening was the ready conversation and goodwill between the 150 or more security people present. That may be something taken for granted, but security management is evidently a body of people with common experiences and backgrounds. And has been for some time; hence the 15th anniversary of the institute, that the event was also marking.
As in other occupations, a relatively few people do the unsung work of committee meetings, emails and event arranging, necessary for anything to happen for the overall good of a profession. Hence it was proper for Emma Shaw to mention some of them – the founding chairman Geoff Whitfield, and the past chairman she took over from a year ago, Mike Bluestone.
Also noteworthy was the sheer range of people in the same room, under HM Treasury, in the Churchill War Rooms, where wartime prime minister Winston Churchill met his cabinet to avoid enemy air raids, and did business with his generals and staff. While Emma Shaw ended her speech with a quotation from Churchill, another inspirational political leader came to mind: John F Kennedy, who asked Americans what they could do for their country, not what it could do for them. In this case, Emma Shaw was making an appeal to security people to look beyond their own paid work, or even their sector, to put in work for the public good and the professional goals of security management.
As for who was there, they were institute members and fellows, naturally. Several were Chartered Security Professionals, wearing their lapel badge (such as Jerry Woods of London Met University and Peter Finch of Coventry Building Society) or tie. The consultant Bob Martin excelled by wearing his CSyP tie, having that morning worn an Association of Security Consultants tie to the ASC’s business group meeting.
To name a few of those attending, they came from business: Mike Maguire of clothing retailer Gap; Tim Brooks of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation; and Eric Dench, head of security at the London Eye, on the other side of the Thames. From academia: Prof Martin Gill; Phil Wood at Bucks New University; Alison Wakefield from Portsmouth University. From public space CCTV: Alan Gardner of the London borough of Enfield. From consultancy: Brett Lovegrove, and Nigel Churton. From other associations: Trevor Elliott of the BSIA, Roger Morgan, security manager of the University of Sussex, the chair of the uni security management body AUCSO. From regulators and government: Bill Butler and Stephen McCormick, chief exec and director of service delivery respectively at the SIA; and Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones.
Whoever they were, they came and went by walking through the – to the casual visitor – maze of underground corridors. A glass window gave a view of the cabinet room, pictured, laid out with a map of the world (with plenty of British Empire red on) and tables and chairs for the political leaders. Churchill as chairman had a better chair than the rest. The night’s attenders coming, or going, may have reflected that after the excellent food and drink and hospitality, it is now that the hard work begins, of turning the aims of the manifesto into reality, by winning over the rest of the security industry, let alone wider society.
To download the 22-page manifesto, visit the Security Institute website.