Upstream - The Newsletter of Incentive FM Group

Understanding the true value of Your Security Staff

Craig Pickard - Incentive Lynx Security

With security staff performing a wider range of crucial roles for their customers than ever before, I find it both disappointing and worrying that many manned guarding purchasing decisions are based on price not quality.

Margins within the contract security industry have been significantly eroded over the past five years as organisations increasingly look for the cheapest hourly rate rather than the best security solution. The situation is unsustainable for most businesses and is likely to have a detrimental affect on the safety of our buildings. Perhaps more importantly, neither does it recognise the vital role these men and women play in business and everyday life.

Incentive Lynx SecurityOn a daily basis security personnel may be called upon to provide urgent medical assistance, offer to help those with disabilities, deal with varied and complex estates and handle emergency situations – and that is as well as their core function. In addition, guards are often the public face of the brand or organisation they are contracted to as they are frontline.

This all means that guards are far more than just a person in uniform. At Incentive Lynx Security we recognise this and have
invested heavily in training over the years to provide a workforce of versatile professionals who will take the initiative when situations arise on the ground. Unlike some of our competitors, we do not regard training as a luxury or a ‘nice to have’ but it is at the core of our offering. We accept that, given the current view of security professionals, we have to absorb the cost of training internally within the business. However we are not going to compromise on our drive to provide fully trained staff as their skills have proved to be life saving.

This was vividly illustrated recently at London’s King’s Cross, where we are providing security guarding services for Broadgate Estates. A man had suffered a heart attack and our guard was first on the scene. Thanks to having recently had defibrillator training and being brave enough to step up and take action, the Incentive Lynx guard was able to save the individual’s life. The Kings Cross Estate is also a useful example of the diverse challenges that guards face, as it is a hugely varied 67-acre site, much of which is being redeveloped into offices and homes. In addition, it sees large numbers of tourists arriving into London every day via St Pancras International station. As well as ensuring workers and residents are safe, Incentive Lynx staff have to act as ambassadors for London and the UK, which requires specific skills and training.

Also in London, this time by the River Thames, one of our guards employed his communication skills and common sense to persuade a potential suicide to stop their attempt. Training was again an essential factor in helping this member of Incentive Lynx staff have the confidence to undertake such a difficult task.

Many users of the facilities that we guard, such as shopping centres, have specific needs and we work hard to address these. A great recent example of this is the training we have given staff at three shopping centres in Hull, Sheffield and Hartlepool, in partnership with Guide Dogs, to help our staff understand the challenges faced by blind and partially sighted people. This sort of complex user need cannot be served by simply putting a man by the automatic doors, it requires investment of both time and money.

The training we offer staff in dealing with potential scenarios has also been invaluable in other ways. Our team working at a major office development in London faced the challenge of a large convoy of travellers trying to enter the site. Working with the Police and building owners they successfully prevented any access and provided vital information to the client.

The same was true at another site, where a Land Rover smashed through gates in an attempted robbery but this was foiled thanks to the bravery and professionalism of our staff.

These varied cases show how Incentive Lynx staff have harnessed the training they have received to bring true value for our customers. It highlights that we as an industry need to place more value on these security professionals and on their training, to ensure they are well prepared for the varied challenges of the job.

Craig Pickard
Managing Director
Incentive Lynx Security