A post-pandemic shortage of quality security staff is coming.

Crown Security Solutions on the predicted shortage of quality security personnel post-pandemic – and why there’s more to the story than is being reported

Strategies for big events

This week the UK Door Security Association (UKDSA) has raised concerns over the number of licensed security available for when late-night businesses reopen under the four-stage roadmap out of lockdown announced by prime minister Boris Johnson.

As a result of the Covid pandemic and the extended period of restrictions on licensed premises and events, the trade body fears that six in every 10 late night venue, pub, bar and club door supervisor positions are at risk of not being filled on reopening this year.

They also say that the situation is set to become more acute, with upcoming changes from regulators that would see the costs to become a licensed door supervisor increase due to extended training requirements. The government’s regulatory body for the industry, the SIA, has said that from 1 April security staff must have first aid qualifications before taking the training required to be a door supervisor, plus additional training to deal with terror threats and other emergencies.

The UKDSA said it supported the additional elements in the new training regime but said it was “deeply concerned about the timing of these changes and the impact on front-line staffing levels.”

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, said, “We rely heavily on licensed door supervisors to keep staff and customers safe. With the additional responsibility of public health… it is even more important that we remove barriers to ensure that we are able to fulfil the resource requirement. This will need a government intervention to ensure that the industry has the ability to provide enough staff. While the training is welcomed, it is not timely given the current economic situation across most of the sector, and consideration needs to be given to it being pushed back to 2022.”

Clint Duggan of Crown Security Solutions in Plymouth said, “It’s true that we certainly do have an issue with recruitment of decent security personnel, and this will be put under added pressure by the extra qualifications needed and the timeframe of the planned re-opening of these sorts of venues. But there are greater issues affecting the situation too.”

He said, “We do agree that the government needs to delay these new qualifications because it’s increasing the training time. But far more emphasis needs to be put on the companies, rather than the individuals, for standards and training. The difficulty is that to do that, you need to regulate companies to a minimum standard. Considering that the market is so poor, why would anyone want to come into the industry when they can earn more elsewhere? That’s half the problem.”

He added, “If the SIA and the government were to regulate companies, as they do individuals, then we can increase the standards and attract the quality of personnel we need. The numbers in the industry are reducing because pay rates are so, so poor and pay rates will never increase while we’ve got rogue businesses out there doing absolutely everything they can to undercut everybody and not run a service to a standard. And that’s what’s happening and that’s the bottom line of it all. And I’m sure that 90% of security companies in the country would agree.”

If any business is looking for security in the coming months then Crown Security Solutions advises that they should be looking at standards and accreditation such as International Standard 9001 (a quality management system), SIA ACS accreditations, and health and safety qualifications. But they warn that it’s just as important to consider what the companies are doing for their staff in the way of CPD and support.

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