Working alongside the International Professional Security Association (IPSA), the SBN is a group of security companies and professionals focused on the improvements of the sector as a whole. The network lobbies both members and the government on the issues affecting the security industry as well as methods to respond to and overcome them.
In celebration of its 10th anniversary the SBN is highlighting the challenges of licensing all security providers and the need for professionalisation across the industry.
“We face a grave challenge as an industry,” comments Abbey Petkar, Press Officer for the SBN and Managing Director of Magenta Security Services. “The ACS is a great scheme, but it is voluntary, which means that approximately 20% of UK based security companies are currently being audited. This means we have a two-tier system. At the top are those voluntarily undergoing rigorous assessments of their business practices. They are not just professional, but they are willing to demonstrate that professionalism through third party checks. At the other end of the scale are the rogue operators – uninsured, paying less than minimum wage, not meeting pension requirements – the list goes on.”
With approximately 80% of security providers not committing to the ACS, the SBN is quick to point out that not all those organisations are unprofessional. However, it is campaigning for alternative systems that will allow for more organisations to undergo audits and business checks. “We are currently investigating an alternative to the full ACS,” says Abbey. “Perhaps lower cost of entry and a less burdensome audit – but still a clear demonstration that the company in question is committed to professionalism and expects to become fully ACS audited in due course.”
The SBN believes that buyers of security services have an obligation to check the quality of their suppliers and sees part of their role as the education of businesses to achieve this. “You wouldn’t hire a lawyer or accountant without checking their credentials, the same should be true of a security company,” concludes Abbey on the SNB’s campaign to improve industry licencing.