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September, after the holiday month of August, has been a back to work month, and besides the normal return to school, college and university for the start of the academic year, for some it’s been a watershed month of a return to something like normality after covid. Professional Security magazine has taken the chance to get out and about and meet people, and feature their stories, whether through our ST events or elsewhere.

If lockdown meant that some had time on their hands, that was if anything a boon for Prof Martin Gill, whose consultancy Perpetuity besides doing research is behind the OSPAs awards internationally. He put lockdown to use by running twice-weekly ‘thought leadership’ webinars which this month had reached the remarkable total of 137. They’re now ‘only’ going to run weekly. Tomorrow’s sees the launch of a report on the pros and cons of mandatory reporting of fraud, a past topic for an OSPAs webinar. Further webinars and their topics have been fixed for the weeks ahead.

And criminologist Martin has been able to edit the 45-chapter third edition of the Handbook of Security, which is with publisher Palgrave and is due to come out in spring 2022. Now while it’s unwise to say that anything is the number one in anything – it’ll only annoy others – it’s fair to say that the Handbook is the go-to book if you want to read authoritatively about private security. Other books do explain the private security sector and how it relates to business and other fields more generally – notably Prof Alison Wakefield’s new book Security and Crime, published by Sage, featured in the August print edition of Professional Security magazine.

Martin Gill’s Handbook scores because of its sheer door-stopper size – it is not something, even in paperback, that you want to drop on your toes – and because of how many bases it covers: from the security officer, and professionalisation, to retail loss prevention (the 2014 edition chapter by Adrian Beck) to designing out crime (the 2014 chapter by Paul Ekblom), and various crimes, whether terrorism, violence in the workplace, or identity theft. If the cost of the entire book is prohibitive for you, you can always buy the chapter you want electronically.

As Martin says, each chapter is by experts in their field, written in an accessible style, as an update to the body of knowledge. That each edition is coming out after eight years – the first was published in 2006 – shows how fast private security is changing, and how scholarship is keeping up. The topics are also a barometer of the industry. The traditional crimes such as burglary are still there; new chapters cover the likes of ‘carbon footprint’ in security, and wildlife, and the environment; ‘informal security’, and forensics. Two new sections go into what Martin has long focused on – the impact of security (does it work?), and ‘towards a better security’. That ties in with the point of Martin’s webinars, that he sets out at the start of each one; that they are done to critique security; to pose questions and find better ways of working.

More people in the October print edition of Professional Security magazine.


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