- Security TWENTY
- Women in Security
Last year we spoke to Simon Pears remotely on becoming the chair of IPSA; this morning we made another call, to hear the latest on the association’s revamp. IPSA is determined to be the voice of the front line officer, he said.
Simon, pictured, began by saying: “For me it was very important that we didn’t fall into the trap of just having a board of directors that all think they were going down the right line and of patting ourselves on the back as the industry does, but drifting further and further away from reality.”
Hence IPSA now has a front-line person on the board, for two reasons, he went on. “One, to absolutely keep us honest and true to our word that what we are doing as a relevance and will make a difference to somebody working on the front line; but also for us to develop that individual so that they get exposure of the governance structure of a trade association. What we wanted was for this to be a rotational position, so every six months this chair of the front line forum would rotate, so that other people get that opportunity.”
Simon thanked Russell Ker, the MD of the Glasgow-based guarding company Securigroup, for nominating Deborah Stewart, as featured in the January print edition of Professional Security magazine, as IPSA’s first chair of the front line forum: “And it was just fantastic, because Deborah works as a front line officer in a corporate environment, has never been exposed to this type of activity, and we paired her up with a mentor to guide her, to show her the etiquette of operating as a chair on a board structure. I have been on three calls with her now and we have seen her go to somebody now very confident in talking; challenging; and not afraid to speak their mind, in front of 12 ISPA directors, which is absolutely what this was about.”
Also the forum has been joined by Kyle Ashton from Chubb, to represent the fire safety installation sector; and Matt Card of Acctive Systems, for the electronic security side. As for what they have put forward, it’s been working conditions; such as PPE supplies during the pandemic, and safe ways of working. Simon said: “I don’t want to belittle some of the other associations and what they are working on but what is relevant to a front line person is the real issue that affects their day to day work. What IPSA gets from that is an insight to those issues, then we have an internal discussion and we look at how we can try and resolve and fix that.”
Besides PPE, disinfection has arisen from the forum as a concern; as the UK comes out of lockdown and (we hope) returns to normal, albeit with covid-safety rules, IPSA has created some pandemic safety reminders for security officers: advising them not to become complacent, to make sure that they wash their hands, and use PPE and disinfectant.
Simon paid tribute to the forum members for what they’ve raised so far. “It isn’t easy for those front line people to feel confident in speaking their mind.” Simon praised also Securigroup, Chubb and Acctive Systems for their commitment.
IPSA has just launched its app; expect version two in a few weeks; and the association plans also a version three and four. Feed-back so far has been fantastic, Simon said. “This is just the start,” he said. He had some bullish things to say about how industry comment that IPSA was dead last year spurred him on to show that there is a space for IPSA. “If it wasn’t for the front line, not a single person would exist in security management, so the starting point has to be the front line.”
More in the June print edition of Professional Security magazine.