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Safe as houses: Ensuring the security of your home

PUBLISHED: 10:09 10 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:09 10 October 2017

George R Foster

George R Foster

Archant

To coincide with National Home Security Month, George R Foster offers advice on how to ‘be alert, but not alarmed’

“The best form of protection is anonymity. However, for some, that’s simply not always possible...”

In 2015, it was reported that within the Gloucestershire area, 92% of burglaries went unsolved. Unfortunately, not only is there the possibility of this horrendous act occurring but, apparently, it seems it’s very difficult to hold anyone accountable and bring them to justice.

For some time now, I’ve been heavily involved in providing close protection for those in the public eye and the wealthy, as well as writing security strategies and conducting security surveys. Glamorous work, some may say, but in reality it can be quite frustrating.

There are two main reasons for this frustration. The first is the overzealous security company that simply wants your money; those firms that harangue you with never-ending sales emails that promise the world and, unfortunately, more often than not, deliver a substandard service. The second frustration revolves around those naïve enough to believe it will never happen to them.

When advising people, and indeed businesses, on their security arrangements, I’ve always been as realistic as possible with my advice. As much as I want them to be aware of the very real dangers that exist, in the grand scheme of things the risk percentages are still relatively low – unless of course there has been a specific threat made, or breach attempted. Most of the time my advice is: “be alert, but not alarmed”.

I would always advise against just simply throwing your money at the latest technological gadget. While this may act as a deterrent initially, there remain many ways to defeat these gadgets. With statistics very much favouring the prospective perpetrator, physical security would always be my first recommendation. Technology, I would suggest, should always be used in support of physical security. Systems such as CCTV are only as good as the people operating them and, unfortunately, most of the time that’s no one.

So, what can we do?

There are several options to look at beyond the basic considerations, such as locking away ladders, ensuring valuables are secured in the safe, upgrading your alarm system, and maintaining systems for gated premises.

If you are someone of considerable wealth, or you value the wellbeing of your loved ones so much so that you simply must ensure their safety at all costs, a Residential Security Team (RST) is by far the best option. A good RST will have comprehensive plans in place to counter every foreseeable safety and security breach or threat.

Another consideration is: what do your insurers actually say? There may be a requirement from your insurance company, depending on what is being insured of course, to have these sorts of control measures in place to validate your policy. It’s always worthwhile taking your time with insurance, for obvious reasons.

What does a RST do exactly?

Prior to a RST coming on board, an in-depth ‘Security Survey’ and a watertight ‘Threat, Risk and Vulnerability Assessment’ should be undertaken, with detailed and robust actions listed on how the team will overcome and control any identified vulnerabilities and systemic deficiencies pertaining to the actual residential grounds. It should have first-aid, paediatric first-aid and/or trauma kits available where appropriate. The team should be qualified and competent in the use of first-aid equipment, and must be licenced to carry out this type of work in accordance with the Security Industry Authority (SIA) and the Private Security Industry Act 2001.

Unfortunately, there are a worrying number of security companies out there that will argue it is not a requirement to be close protection licenced to carry out this work. The truth is, the aforementioned legislation can be, at times, as woolly as a mammoth. Despite that, I would always insist that our team was licenced in close protection, which remains very much a specialism within the security industry. Yes, of course, employing a team of door supervisor licence holders may be cheaper, but close protection teams, generally speaking, are far better equipped and trained to manage and mitigate the level of risk that may be involved.

One final thought: our group of companies has been doing this sort of specialist work for many years. Make sure you do your own thorough due diligence on all potential providers, should you choose to take this route, because this business is very much a personal one.

George R Foster is managing director of Intelligent Protection International Limited. Visit the website here.

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