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Interviews

Troy Hewitt Q&A

While an international guarding company, Allied Universal with offices in London is a UK security company with CSAS (community safety accreditation scheme).

In recent months Professional Security Magazine has been featuring guarding firms with such delegated police powers. We sat down with Troy Hewitt, Managing Director, Allied Universal Europe to learn more about his role and about the security sector in the UK:

1) Tell us about your background. How did you become interested in the physical security sector?

I think it stems from when I was quite young. I’ve always been a protective person of those around me. I can vividly remember confronting bullies at school and on the football pitch who would pick on my friends in school. In 1995, I came over to the UK from Australia for a working holiday and by chance I came across a vacancy for a door supervisor at a nightclub in London. I’ve always been good at talking to people, so this job seemed ideal for me. When I moved over to the UK permanently, I went into the job full time, building up strong relationships which then resulted in me starting my own security company, Entourage in 2007.

2) Tell us about the private security sector in the UK. How competitive a sector is it, and who are the leading companies in the UK/Europe?

The UK security industry is a densely populated market and it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand out in an industry so saturated. As with any industry, it is important to have clear point of difference, our marketing strategy for 2020 is to increase brand awareness and elevate brand perception for Allied Universal to differentiate amongst a sea of competitors.

3) What sectors of clients does Allied Universal serve in the UK/Europe?

One of the things I love about Allied Universal is that our portfolio and type of client is so varied. From banking and property management such as JP Morgan and 22 Bishopsgate through to multi-use developments such as Kings Cross Estate or Battersea Power Station, we have an eclectic mix of globally known brands that are leaders in their own industries. This is one of the key synergies that we are fortunate enough to have as a global leader ourselves.

4) What type of growth do you anticipate for the UK and general European market with Allied Universal over the next year, the next five years?

There are some immensely exciting opportunities on the horizon, not just for our UK business but across Europe. Even though, we are the market leader in the United States, we are still relatively unknown in some parts of our industry in Europe. As well as this, it is imperative that we retain our current clients by continuing to deliver a service focused on quality and offering that personal touch that we have always been known for. Allied Universal’s technology definitely differentiates us from our competitors. Our proprietary HELIAUS platform is smart technology that moves beyond responsive and reactive modes of risk aversion, to an adaptable, preemptive and solutions-model of protection.

Looking ahead, we will become a well-established market leader in Europe known for our forward-thinking partnership approach that sits us at the top of the table.

5) Are there any differences, major or minor, between how America approaches physical security versus the UK?

Aside from minor things such as terminology used, I believe the biggest difference would be the fact that security professionals can be armed in the United States.
Obviously, this is a cultural difference between the US and UK, and I am happy that this is something we don’t have in place here. We absolutely have to focus our training on robust conflict management, behavioural detection and situational awareness. By giving our security professionals these skills, I believe we are able to manage most situations without the need for further escalation.

6) Is recruiting for security professionals different in Europe versus North America? If so, how?

In North America and other places across the globe such as Scandinavia, being a security professional is seen as a career that you aspire to. Unfortunately, I think in the UK, we’re still quite a way off viewing it in the same way. We are doing so much at Allied Universal to change this perception of working in security, some of examples of this are our Leadership and Development Programme that was launched in 2019. We are also rolling out Allied Universal EDGE, our online learning management system which contains more than 1,000 assets including training modules, webinars, videos and learning tools.

Another area of focus for us in 2020 is where we target our recruitment campaigns, all too often it’s easy to recruit purely based on an individual holding an SIA license. This is not how we recruit; we are looking outside of our industry to attract those that possess the skills that will provide our clients with the world class service they expect from us. Think of the level of customer service you receive in an Apple store for example. You may go into the store with an issue with your mobile and be quite unhappy but I can almost guarantee that you will leave there with a smile on your face after the experience you’ve just had. That’s exactly the type of individual we want in our business. Once we have those people, we can then give them the training, skills and tools needed to do the job.

7) Describe the general activities of a typical work day for you; from the time you wake up to when you retire at night.

I normally get up at around 6am and head to the gym. I find by doing my workouts in the morning, it sets me up with a positive mindset for the day. I’ll review any urgent emails on my way into the office and respond accordingly. I like to speak with my senior management team as soon as I get into the office so I can understand what the day/week looks like, what we’re all working on and if there’s anything we can do to help each other. After this, I’ll head out for the day for any scheduled meetings. When I have clear space in the diary, I will visit some of our sites to catch up with our teams and have coffee with our clients. This is my favorite thing to do. I love being out with my employees and hearing what our people are up to and even better, getting the great feedback from our clients. Once or twice a week there might be evening events/dinners I attend. If I’m free when I get home, I will catch up on a few emails missed in the day and then have dinner with my family. I try to get to bed for around 10pm, as long as my kids have cooperated and gone to bed first that is.

About Allied Universal

The firm has ISO 9001:2008, 14001, 18001 certifications for quality management at its headquarters in the UK and its field offices. Visit https://www.aus.uk.com/offices.


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