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University accolades

The Association of University Security Officers (AUCSO) marked the achievements of their institutions’ staff at their annual conference. For Easter 2017 they were guests of Ghent University in Belgium. Choosing winners from all the nominations is always a difficult task and this year the standard of entries was higher than ever, association organisers said. The Executive Committee selected winners for three categories.

‘Security Officer of the Year’ went to David Porter, Security Support Assistant of the University of Sunderland.

David has worked at Sunderland as a Security Support Assistant (Mobile Patrolling) for over 13 years. His uni described him as an exemplary member of staff who represents the university and Security Services in a positive and professional manner whilst also displaying empathy and support for students and staff. David has been involved in a number of incidents this year where his contribution has been invaluable.

In May 2016 a student at one of the halls of residence set fire to himself and then attempted suicide by jumping out a window. David attended and took responsibility for coordinating the emergency services as well as ensuring the well-being of the other students evacuated from the block. This distressing incident for all resulted in a residential block being uninhabitable and a number of students requiring support and counselling. The quick response and actions by David and the other security staff ultimately contributed to the student’s survival.

Also in May 2016 (busy month!) David was completing a routine patrol when he heard glass breaking and loud voices nearby. He investigated and observed four youths trying door handles of cars in a nearby street and ultimately gaining access to one of them. Information and descriptions were relayed to the university control room (that obtained evidential images via CCTV) and subsequently the police. A further review of CCTV showed other criminal damage being committed by these youths at a nearby hotel.

At 4am one day in August 2016, David reported to the university control room seeing a female on the wrong side of the railings on the Wearmouth Bridge (large bridge over the River Wear in Sunderland city centre). Police were contacted. However whilst waiting for the police to arrive, the female made a move to jump so David went to her aid and caught her arm preventing her from falling. A member of the public came to David’s assistance and they both held onto her hanging from the bridge until police arrived five minutes later. To complicate matters, another member of the public, who was obviously under the influence of alcohol, also came to help David and actually climbed over the railings to assist the female. This was more of hindrance than help and he was obviously at risk from falling himself. When police arrived, the female had to be handcuffed to the bridge until she could be persuaded to return to the correct side of the railings. David received a letter of thanks from police for his involvement in this incident as he undoubtedly saved the lady’s life.

University of Sunderland Security Manager, Andrea Dobson, said: “These incidents are just a snapshot of David’s contribution to the university and the city in general. The university plays a key role within the city of Sunderland and David understands the civic responsibility that comes with this. The incident from the bridge was not university-related but David still went out of his way to assist. It is the dedication of staff like David that allows the University to positively contribute to safety within the city and ultimately the well being of students.”

‘Security Team of the Year’ was awarded to Robert Workman and Naveen Kaushal of Royal Holloway University of London (RHUL) for their tackling of multiple fires in December 2016. Simon Davis, Head of Security at RHUL, gave the sequence of events to judges. Simon Davis said: “This incident typifies the excellent work of Naveen and Robert throughout the last year.”

Pictured left to right are Mark Sutton (of Aston University, AUCSO chair), Peter Brinkley (of the University of Surrey, South East Region AUCSO rep), Robert Workman, Naveen Kaushal, Wayne Kynaston of Traka (award sponsor) and Simon Davis.

‘Security Initiative of the Year’ was presented to Simon Ramsden, Security Operations Manager at the University of Bristol.

David Tonkin, Head of Facilities at Bristol, nominated Simon for the award. In May 2016, Simon identified the requirement to manage the performance of the security services team more effectively. Using his experience of managing large security teams in other industries, he met with various stakeholders to identify and understand the key drivers of security performance at higher education facilities. After listening to other university heads of security and taking the views of stakeholders into consideration, he devised a security services performance system which incorporated a number of reports including monthly reports on drugs, budgets, sickness, crime, police activity, welfare and security vehicle usage. Underpinning the holistic system he devised a performance scorecard with performance targets on range of key performance indicators including reduction targets for each. The key measures were divided among five headings: People, Performance, Finance, Customer/Shareholder and Transformation.

Every element of the scorecard is tracked on a monthly, year to date and full year forecast basis using a RAG system to identify areas of improvement. The RAG system is categorised as Green = on track versus target. Amber = 10pc deviation from target, Red = More than 10pc off target. Each element’s target was established using historical data with a stretching performance target applied.

Senior managers viewing the scorecard and associated reports have a clear set of definitions outlining what’s measured, why it’s measured and the targets for each element. An executive summary supports the performance system outlining areas of good/poor performance and the activity to mitigate poor performance in future.

The impact of introducing the scorecard and associated reports has been significant from a management perspective, Bristol says. The scorecard, with the suite of reports, has enabled security management to monitor performance and drive activity in the areas where poor performance has been identified. The scorecard allows the team to concentrate on the key indicators and devise appropriate plans and actions to mitigate poor performance. It has also helped to focus and drive performance at managerial level. Also, it allows the team to celebrate and reward good performance and has led to the introduction of a monthly officer achievement award, which has boosted morale. Sick absence has also dropped from over 10 per cent to below 5pc year to date. Total burglaries also dropped from nine during 2015/16 to one in the year to date during 2016/17.


It is the gift of the AUCSO Executive Committee to grant the award of ‘AUCSO Fellow’ in recognition of someone who has made an outstanding contribution towards the association. Only four Fellowships have been granted since 2012; this year the Executive Team granted the fifth award to Brian Schofield, Head of Security Services at the University of Bath. Brian has been at Bath since 2005, and a firm supporter of AUCSO. He has been a member of their Training Group, the Information Technology Group and the South West region representative until he took over the role of Treasurer in 2015.

Prior to joining the University of Bath, Brian was employed for three years by Sainsbury as a Regional Security Manager covering the south west of England and South Wales. Earlier Brian served 30 years with Avon and Somerset Constabulary completing his service as the Head of Operational Training, which included driver, first aid, firearms, public order and other areas of training.

As well as his full time role, Brian has his own training and security consultancy business, managing security and security control rooms at major events including the Glastonbury Festival, Leeds and Reading Festivals. He still takes a keen interest in the AUCSO training group, which has gained enormously from Brian’s experience.

Since 2005 Brian has also been a Justice of the Peace serving on the Bristol Bench where he acts as both a chair of the bench and magistrates’ appraiser.

The University of Bath was ranked ‘First for Security’ in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey in 2015. Successful initiatives have led to low crime on campus and the university has been awarded the official police-backed Secured Environments and Park Mark Safer Parking schemes.

In his spare time (!) Brian enjoys an adventurous life and in the last few years his exploits have included climbing Kilimanjaro, climbing to the Everest base camp and driving his Land Rover through the Moroccan Atlas Mountains and across the Sahara desert into Syria.


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