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Interviews

Alison Wakefield’s new book

A webinar by the Security Institute hosted by Institute chief exec Rick Mounfield was to launch past chair Prof Alison Wakefield’s new book – in a nice touch, he began by recalling how she was one of those who influenced him into joining the Institute, and taking a degree; an indication of how in security management everything is of a piece, the taking of qualifications, making personal connections, and becoming more professional.

Likewise; the webinar brought out how she has shown the links between the security of a nation, a business, and the individual – each one of us, writes Mark Rowe.

Officially the book is published by Sage next week.

As she said early on, the book did become ‘quite a painful experience in the end’ – and not only because she was having to write it besides her day job as an academic criminologist at the University of West London. Appropriately for a book with the sub-title ‘Converging Perspectives on a Complex World’, she kept finding that events, the convergence of the physical and the virtual-digital world, and the ever more complex world, meant new and important things to try to fit into her work.

From the start of her career she has been one of the few to treat seriously the private security industry, and so it is with her latest book, Security and Crime, aimed, she said, at the final year undergraduate student ‘and upwards’, but also the security practitioner, and the policy-maker. She described the book as taking ‘a step back’, to look at ‘the broader dynamics’ affecting the western world, that the security practitioner and student has to be aware of – for one thing, the new technologies of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ bring new vulnerabilities such as cyber-crime and hacking. The business that can better manage those enterprise risks, and be resilient – in the sense not only of surviving, but ‘bouncing back’, ideally even stronger – will do better than competitors.

Alison, pictured, talked also of wider, enterprise risk management. While the United States set up the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) after the 9-11 terror attacks, the UK has kept to a ‘lead department’ model, whereby if there is a health emergency like the covid pandemic, the government response is led by the relevant department, in the case of coronavirus the Department of Health. While the UK did have a national risk register before covid, Alison pointed to its deficiency, namely that it treats each risk – flood, cyber-crash, electrical failures – as separate and not cascading and affecting one another.

As Alison said in the webinar and as set out in her book, she has stressed how economics, technology, social trends, and history and international relations and sustainable development – among other things – affect security, risk and resilience.

More in the August 2021 print edition of Professional Security magazine.

About the author

Prof Alison Wakefield is a Chartered Security Professional (CSyP) and was chair of the Security Institute from 2018 to 2020. An academic criminologist at Leicester then Portsmouth (and in New South Wales, Australia), she joined the University of West London in January 2020. Her first book, Selling Security, remains one of the few studies of the guarding sector.

About the book

Security and Crime: Converging Perspectives on a Complex World is published by Sage, 256 pages. It’s for sale as a paperback, hardback and in electronic format. Visit sagepub.com.


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