The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) is calling on the Government to clarify the status of its members in light of the possibility of a lockdown and the closure of UK schools.
BSIA members cover a wide range of security services, from manpower and key holding services, security guarding personnel, cash couriers, technology centre monitoring and alarm critical management, fire and systems category 1 response, CCTV operators and security systems installation and operators, all of which contribute to the safe and secure day-to-day running of British business as well as public spaces and institutions.
BSIA member companies members employ a significant number of personnel in these critical roles and the Association believes these roles fall within the ‘critical workers’ classification.
The BSIA is therefore calling first for clarification on the following:
Whether workers who have school aged children in mainstream education from security services such as cash couriers and ATM providers, security guarding companies, security systems and CCTV operators can be classed as critical workers and therefore able to operate on a ‘business as usual’ case – meaning their key workers are exempt from their children being sent home.
Whether security companies who provide services such as cash couriers and ATM providers, security guarding companies, security systems and CCTV operators can be classed as critical services under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and be exempt from any relevant restrictions placed upon transport and travelling, office working and property guarding, remotely and physically.
Mike Reddington, Chief Executive, BSIA, said: “Our members provide security services critical to the UK infrastructure on a day to day basis, and in the current climate, these services become even more essential. It is vital that these organisations continue to have access to their critical teams and infrastructure to support the wider variety of clients, including the Police, schools, banks, supermarkets, pharmacies, and critical supply chains.
“We are therefore calling on the Government to urgently clarify the status of our industry members as critical services and the status of their employees as critical workers.”
“The City Security Council has been working closely with key stakeholders in the City of London to gain London based security officers essential worker status, which will ensure they can continue to serve and support the City during the coronavirus crisis.
“Essential worker status is currently not granted to security officers however, if there were a lockdown of the City of London, or the wider London area, there would be an urgent need for this to be readdressed. Giving security officers essential worker status would mean that they would be able to continue to work, providing security to many of the key financial and iconic buildings within the City.
“Essential worker status would allow school attendance for the children of the security officers ensuring that sites were fully staffed where possible, likewise the status would allow authorised travel within London if any areas became restricted or locked down. “This would avoid buildings being left vulnerable and ensure building management systems and fire and intruder alarms could continue to be monitored and responded to in the event of an activation. With so many businesses reliant on home working at this current time it is essential that their building hubs are kept in a safe good working order.
“In the City of London alone it is estimated that there are in the region of 10,000 security related staff operating through a weekly cycle, and it is imperative that as many of these officers as possible continue to be deployed in one form or another, subject of course to the impact of the virus.
“The continued presence of this robust, well trained and experienced guard force would allow the police and other emergency services to deal with far more important matters safe in the knowledge that alarm activations are being managed, and emergency calls are only made after visual verification of an incident or crime in progress. Most major incidents in the City in recent years have had security staff involved as first responders, providing support and first aid, and if they were essential at this time then surely, they are essential now.
“Members of the public and vulnerable people in the City could turn to the security officer nearest to them for assistance rather than calling upon the emergency services, and for those carrying out hostile reconnaissance to know that their every move is being followed and recorded by security teams through the City, as it would be every other day of the year, can only be a good thing.
“There would be no cost to grant essential worker status, each licensed officer carries an SIA Badge which could be used for identification purposes, and I am sure that the whole UK wide workforce of around 360,000 security officers are keen and willing to be able to carry on doing the job they do day in and day out, 366 days of the year in all weathers if essential worker status is granted to our industry.
“We are very grateful for the support received from the Corporation of London in getting this matter raised at the highest level for us and we look forward to a positive outcome in due course.”