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Support for university scheme launch

A reception to mark the founder of the ProtectED accreditation scheme for student security, safety and well-being enjoyed cross-party support at the House of Lords on Monday evening.

The Labour working peer and retired academic historian Baroness Henig opened the event, and introduced a wide-ranging talk by crossbench peer and Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea; who came away from the EU withdrawal debate in the Lords to share some of his life experiences in support of ProtectED. Among those present were the Conservative MP for Cheadle Mary Robinson, the PPS (Parliamentary Private Secretary) to universities minister Sam Gyimah.

Pictured left to right are Mary Robinson; Dr Alison Wakefield, chairman of the Security Institute; Baroness Henig; and Jane Farrell, chairman of private security association IPSA. Other security industry figures there were Trevor Jones, head of security and community support at the University of Salford, who’s due to become the next chairman of university heads of security association AUCSO at their annual Easter conference in Southampton, taking over from Mark Sutton of Aston; Alan Cain, head of security and business continuity at neighbour Manchester Metropolitan University; and Dave Humphries, Director of Partnerships and Interventions at the UK private security regulator, the Security Industry Authority (SIA). As an advisory board member of ProtectED he was among the speakers as the SIA’s approved contractor scheme model was drawn on by organisers of ProtectED. Other speakers who gave details of the scheme and reasons for it were Andrew Wooton, director of ProtectED; Hannah Price, founder of the charity Revolt; and Helen Clews, of the British Council.

As organisers of the ProtectED standard, the University of Salford’s Prof Allan Walker, dean, school of arts and media, accepted the certificate. The scheme is now seeking early adopters.

As the event heard, UK universities are a success story – drawing in hundreds of thousands of overseas students, with economic and wider cultural benefits to the UK; besides domestic students, to some 150 higher education institutions. However the UK is competing with other nations for students – notably the United States and Canada, Australia and New Zealand; also the likes of France and Germany. Safety is a concern – for the students themselves, let alone for the anxious parents. As some speakers pointed out, much work is already done by unis, so students perhaps away from home for the first time at 18 are helped to navigate the ‘student experience’. It matters too for the universities, given that a student who’s a victim of crime or simply homesick and unhappy may be more likely to cut short their course – causing a financial and reputational loss to the uni. Hence ProtectED, as a code of practice that an institution can work to and be held to; and not only to protect students from crimes, such as sexual assault and harassment. Should someone be a victim, or be in difficulties, their voice should be heard and acted on consistently by the institution.

More in the May 2018 print issue of Professional Security magazine.

For background on ProtectED visit https://www.protect-ed.org/news-and-comment.

Separately, among the topics at the annual conference of Hebcon (the High Education Business Continuity Network) at York University from March 21 to 23 is the Campus and Higher Education Security Standard (CHESS) for which Dr Mils Hills, Associate Professor in Risk, Resilience and Corporate Security at the University of Northampton Business School, and Nick Allen of the University of Northampton won funding from the Home Office. The CHESS project is designed to co-ordinate a series of security and resilience standards against which colleges and higher education can assess their arrangements.


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