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Les Allan at ST19 Glasgow

The next Security TWENTY 19 event, ST19 Glasgow at the Hilton in William Street in downtown Glasgow, on Tuesday, April 30, has a local flavour to its conference speakers. Last year, at ST18 Glasgow, speakers included Gordon MacKenzie, head of security at Strathclyde University; this year we have another uni security man, Les Allan, Director of SafeGuarding and Logistics Services at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. He’s a former police officer with 30 years’ experience in the tertiary education sector.

Les, pictured, has been with Heriot-Watt since 2012 with a brief to restructure systems and modernise services. His remit takes in security, health and safety, fire safety, crisis management, transport and distribution, mail and portering. His remit at the university is global which has made him a frequent traveller between their international campuses (in Dubai and Kuala Lumpur). Les is regional chair of the Association of University Chief Security Officers (Aucso) in Scotland.

For eight years he was co-ordinating the Scottish Government’s CHASTE Project, short for Coordinating Health and Safety in Tertiary Education, evaluating the security and safety systems in every university and college in Scotland. He has a background in creating strategic alliances and supporting large institutional mergers and campus relocations. Les reports that he’s a firm believer in succession planning and ensures that the structures he develops are sustainable by career development of young ‘in house’ talent.

Whether you are interested in campus security or are simply a parent with offspring at a uni or about to go, you can hear and ask Les about the trends in campus security. As his job title suggests, and Professional Security print issue magazine features over the years have suggested, and as Gordon MacKenzie set out at ST18 Glasgow last May, the work of Security at a university has expanded beyond a guard carrying a huge bunch of keys and unlocking doors in the morning, and locking them in the evening.

For one thing, typically doors are now card-controlled, issued from the Security office, an example of how Security has had to become IT-literate; and for another, Security is often the first out of hours response to incidents. Heriot-Watt’s SafeGuarding Officers (note that they are not termed security) are first aid, and mental health first aid, trained; and will respond to all SafeZone activations on campus. Heriot-Watt is among the users of that app based product from Australian developer CriticalArc, for gathering and sending out safety and other alerts.

Visit the ST19 Glasgow conference, then, to hear how the ever-more 24-365 campus demands security in its widest sense, looking after the well-being of tens of thousands of students (many international students, far from home perhaps for the first time, making safeguarding yet more necessary), besides protecting thousands of staff and visitors, besides assets such as research and other intellectual property.

For more about ST19 Glasgow and to register online to attend – it’s free, whether you’re an installer, security manager, consultant or specifier, or just someone interested in staying up to date on the private security industry – visit Attenders can enjoy bacon butties (for the earliest arrivals – doors open around 8.30am), mid-morning tea and coffee, and a hot buffet lunch (pictured are the cakes for afters, last year; they were as good at they look!). The exhibition typically has more than 80 exhibitors, varying from physical, electronic and networked security and related products to training and recruiting companies, to industry bodies such as the Security Institute, the Association of Security Consultants, the UK chapter of ASIS, and the UK regulator, the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

After Glasgow, the next stops in 2019 for ST are Manchester (Tuesday, July 2) then Belfast and Dublin on the Tuesday and Thursday of the same week (September 3 and 5) and as ever the last of the year is at Heathrow, on Thursday, November 7. Details at


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