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AUCSO looks to go global

The Association of University Chief Security Officers (AUCSO) has announced plans to increase its global reach, and to add to services and benefits for members. The association, whose membership already includes security staff at 228 higher education institutions worldwide, is looking at the Americas, the Middle East, and South East Asia.

Meanwhile from the 2021 AGM, Les Allan, Director of Safeguarding Services at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, pictured, takes over as the chairman from Trevor Jones, and Ollie Curran becomes Vice-Chairman. The newly appointed leaders say they want to aid more sharing of best practice internationally to help drive up standards of safety, security and protection for students, academics, and staff, including those on placement or travelling overseas.

Les Allan said: “The higher education sector is a vitally important global community, one which benefits from co-operation across borders and across continents. This collaboration must extend to security and safety services too. AUCSO is already playing a vital role in making this happen and we will now be building on that work.”

AUCSO also hopes to run more events and online activities, including a series of webinars to be streamed live and archived for members-only access. A first session on the pandemic will look at how the association’s international groups have coped with the crisis, with speakers from Dublin, Belgium and Australia. Later will come counterterrorism and the threats posed by organised crime, with further topics to be confirmed.

As Les Allan told the Security TWENTY 19 conference at Glasgow as an ST speaker, security at Heriot-Watt has to take in five international campuses. In this role he has championed the use of tech, such as the communications and alerting software SafeZone, from CriticalArc. He has gained multiple security industry awards and recognition (Security & Fire Excellence Awards winners 2018 and 2019; OSPAs Winner 2019; THE Awards Asia 2020 finalists).

Oliver Curran (BSc Hons) is the Deputy Security Manager at University College London (UCL), and has represented AUCSO in the Security Commonwealth (SyCom) since 2019 and became a board member of that UK security umbrella body in April 2020.

Les Allan said: “There is little doubt that security teams in our sector have faced significant, unforeseen challenges and have delivered exemplary front-line services to our respective institutions over this past year. We all need to build on that experience, sharing best practice, to ensure that security continues to become more professional and to evolve at pace, to support our institutions. I am particularly delighted to have Oliver Curran as our new Vice-Chairman. Oliver brings a very varied skill set and vast experience to our team. Together with our Executive Committee and our wider membership we aim to enhance our association for the benefit of all.”


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