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David McKelvey, pictured, is the new chair of the association EPIC (Ex-Police in Industry and Commerce). He spoke to Mark Rowe this morning on a Zoom call.
All along – and EPIC began in 1979 – the idea or selling point if you like of the group has been two-fold, internal and external. To the public, you can be sure of who you are employing in a former police officer (and EPIC does checks, as it won’t let in someone who’s been drummed out). That person will be, as David says, someone who turns up on time, is hard working and dedicated; in a word, someone you can rely on. That same trust serves internally; members can talk knowing that they share the same background, whether they want to ask about some personal matter or something to do with business. Their working lives after the police may not necessarily be in private security, though many are; ex-cops may become gardeners or chauffeurs, or anything; but to use the EPIC slogan, whatever the slogan, they come with ‘integrity assured’.
David recalls – he left the Met Police as a DCI in 2010 – that while serving you can feel as if cocooned; or rather, once you leave, you realise, whether you were a constable or of senior rank, quite how big the support mechanisms around you were; ‘when you leave, you are out there on your own’. That can make setting up your own business daunting. He recalls that he started in a room above his garage; the two arms of his business, that separately cover private prosecutions of counterfeits, and business and residential district patrols (My Local Bobby) now employ over 130. People ask David, as they can ask other EPIC members, such questions as: how do I handle tax? how do I market myself, how to set up a website? Or even more basic; how to set up a company? Join EPIC and ask.
David wants to build EPIC back to where it once was, with in-person events with exhibitors and sponsors; to get the website rebuilt. As so much searching for a supplier is done online, that would be the place for EPIC members to place their CVs, if a fellow member or indeed any of the public sought someone to carry out surveillance, or to investigate fraud, or give training in fraud (to name only three specialisms).
David is also intending to run more regular online meetings for members, with speakers to inform those who have yet or already have left the police. As for where life after the police can take you (apart from the cottage in Cornwall, golf course, bowling green or following the England cricket team?!), David says: “I am busier now than I ever was in the police, and I was busy then. There is life after the police, basically.”
For more about David? He’s the MD of TM Eye Limited. Visit https://tm-eye.co.uk/who-we-are/.
More of the interview in the June print edition of Professional Security magazine.