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If You Had £1000 Would You Keep Your Door Open



In a perfect world security would be provided by good faith and words but reality shows sometimes security needs a more accountable presence.

What does that initial line mean?

It means it would be wonderful for us to be able to leave  £1000 on our front room table with the windows and doors open and know that the £1000 on our desk is safe simply because of mutual respect between us and our neighbours.
But this is not a perfect world!
In reality what we can say is that the world is perfectly imperfect!

Social imbalances mean that in times of desperation even the most respectable person may be driven to take something which does not belong to them. A factor that is beyond our reach in resolving.

So in the meantime security is something that we cannot take lightly!

It means if were walking through a crowded street which is known for pick pocketing abuse, that ladies should automatically put their handbags in front of them so they have a clear view of it, and men should move their wallets from their back pocket into their front pocket and push their hands deep into these pockets.

Does it mean that your suspecting the whole world of being criminals?

What this means is that you have enough sense to know that not everyone has the same morals as you and will, if given the opportunity, take advantage of any lapses in security. CCTV is good at catching criminals after the event but like the timeless saying goes 'prevention is better than cure'! If you have your iPhone swiped, local police may catch the criminal through use of CCTV but you may go a month with out having access to your phone and potentially no access to loved ones. For some this may be devastating while a few of us may find this a welcomed relief ;-), but the loss will hurt.

When online we are all told that we should regularly change our passwords and always log out of an account, but how many of us actually do that?
The only time we care is when were hit by things such as a friend telling us they received a very suspect email from us, or worse when we look into our bank accounts and find out where there should by a few hundred pounds all that's left is an overdraft facility that says minus £300 and our council tax is due tomorrow...

But in all seriousness safety and security is something we should not be lax with, as there may come a time when tragedy strikes - the choice is yours...

To find out more about the security services we provide such as; CCTV installation, Security officers and training, or to utilise our cleaning services please contact us on 0208 514 0861 or email us on info@aasecurity.co.uk

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In Defence of the realm

AA Security has provided security solutions for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) across the last three years now, including protection regimes for the North Luffenham and Abingdon Barracks.

We seem to have done pretty well, too, if this quote from Major K D Radwell (Second in Command, 16th Regiment RA) is anything to go by… “AA Security has continued to meet the stringent requirements of its current MoD contract in North Luffenham. The fact that we selected the company over and above a strong field of competitors was proof of its flexibility to adapt and willingness to improve. The staff are highly motivated and, with the support of the company, keen to further their professional and personal development.”

Major Radwell continued: “At all levels of management there’s open and honest dialogue resulting in speedy conflict resolution and a proactive response to feedback. Based upon the company’s performance to date, I would have no hesitation in recommending them for further work in this field.

The most difficult of public sector contracts to secure

Contracts of this type are among the most difficult to secure within the public sector, as the MoD branch responsible for the tender process ‘Commercial: In Confidence’ undertakes a very stringent investigative analysis of all who approach the organisation for contracts.

The mandatory finance audits, quality assurance testing and Health and Safety analyses required for most public sector contracts are only part of a process that’s elongated by specific requirements and meticulous in terms of detail.

For instance, when service providers come to complete the tender documentation for these contracts, the MoD makes it compulsory that organisations endorse a commitment to professionally develop all potential employees to be deployed on site to a full NVQ Level 2 standard.

Some might say that’s no real landmark. However, this learning stipulation surpasses many other commercial and public sector organisations, and sets a rather refreshing precedent (something that I have been championing for our industry in its entirety).

Moreover, it could be argued that an opportunity to incorporate this training practice in the first cycle of re-licensing has been overlooked by our industry Regulator, the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

Environmental and CSR credentials

The contract also required organisations to demonstrate their environmental, innovation and technology and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices. This recognition of the need to reduce the collective carbon footprint is an element of the MoD’s tendering process that’s worthy of some accolade. This from an organisation not conventionally expected to be concerned with miasma.

The MoD is taking a lead role in filtering out insouciant companies and cascading a message of responsibility.

This need for commercial accountability is echoed in the MoD’s elucidation of organisations with a strong CSR ethic, and quite commensurate with the strong local focus that has made MoD units participative – if not to say intrinsic – to large community events, while at the same time emitting a palpable charitable presence.

AA Security is also an organisation with a tangible community image. We organise the local Redbridge Carnival, and our management team is now indispensable to many local police, Council and community initiatives. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why we won the ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ category at the 2007 Docklands Business Club Awards.

With regard to innovation and technology, private sector security companies now find themselves in a position whereby they must be able to provide integrated security solutions if they are to survive. Many are now also using GPS tracking systems functioning through mobile telephones or real-time patrol manager systems, workable through online Control Centre software that’s accessible to clients by way of pass-coded secure access.

Yes, these technologies and systems empower clients and contractors alike. However, few if any other companies other than ourselves have installed photovoltaics (otherwise known as solar panels) that provide 75% of their annual general electricity consumption and are all linked to a UPS. Is this unique in the industry? It’s certainly a reflection of our organisation’s ethical green stance, and a commitment to long term strategy and contingency planning.

Environmental and CSR factors have become a stronger and more welcome focal point within the much improved and continuously enhanced SIA Approved Contractor Scheme. This is, however, a voluntary accreditation, and our industry practitioners are still unclear in respect of the term CSR.

At a recent SIA public meeting, I remember an officer from a leading security organisation talking of supervisory visits, internal audits and BS EN IS0 9001 when he was asked to present on the subject. I have offered my services to the SIA, and hope the Regulator will give me an opportunity to readdress and highlight the more advanced concepts of ‘sustainable development’ practice.

In the meantime, we’ll rely on organisations such as the MoD and a number of local councils to push forward the agenda to our industry in a more forcible manner by dint of setting a ‘Good Practice Demonstration’ criteria for tendering companies.

Counter-terrorism checks and Baseline vetting

One other important factor relating to MoD tendering is the need to undergo counter-terrorism checks and Baseline vetting for all employees. This is an involved and rather detailed process that’s undertaken by the MoD and throws many hurdles in the pathway of potential contractors.

The Baseline application researches immigration status, Right to Work and three personal references. Two of the references can be from anyone who doesn’t reside at the same address, while one must be a professional reference from either an educational establishment or an employer.

There’s a catch, however. The applicant must have been residing in the UK for at least three years. This process is to be facilitated by the awarded security contractor, irrespective of screening practices deployed within the requirement for BS 7858:2006 and BS 7499:2007, and must be approved by an authorised MoD on-site representative.

The CTC application is significantly more stringent than the Baseline checks, and requires a history check on relatives of potential recruits (ie parents and children, etc). It limits certain travelling (ie to countries with a proclivity for terrorism) and also incorporates a deeper financial analysis.

The process is very intensive, and security contractors that have been through it will be well aware of the logistical burdens placed on their Human Resources function. If you think the SIA requirements are tough you really will find this too much to take, and should probably steer clear of a process that could become unfruitful.

This process is undertaken by the Defence Vetting Agency and its decision is final without recourse to appeal. It can take up to two months, and late rejections may cause serious recruitment burden. Hence, it would be advantageous and rather astute to ensure that the potential candidates for deployment are in excess of logistical need and that an approved reserve force to cater for unforeseen and planned absences is calibrated from the outset.

Lifelong training and the MoD

Finally, I should remark on the extremely laudable lifelong training practices undertaken by the MoD. We are aware that its military staff are frequently up-skilled and have access to a wide range of courses external to the organisation. If the MoD decided to hire out its security services to the commercial sector, many organisations in our sector would not have a chance!

Too many of our lead protagonists have a ‘minimise costs’ perspective rather than a more encompassing focus on training. As I say, we’ve been working in tandem with the MoD, and ensured that our staff have been rostered in a manner that compliments cross-pollination training. This flexibility has resulted in several military-specific training courses in searching and operational practices, culminating in a more integrated and collaborative effort to reduce breaches of security

The SIA definitely missed a trick when it came to the recent re-licensing of security operatives and management. Although the Regulator has covered some ground in the potential physical intervention requirement for door supervisors in the third round of licensing (with the potential for panic ensuing before the Olympics?!), it has still to set any new targets for other security disciplines.

Personally, I hope the modular training routes proposed at various SIA meetings will come to fruition as I can see no better way to proceed with the future training remit for our industry.

The Institute of Leadership and Management

In the meanwhile, as an organisation we have now attained Institute of Leadership and Management status to provide leadership and management training for our potential and deployed supervisors and members of the holistic senior management team. I know for a fact that this development impressed the MoD at tender stage. We are also unique in the security sector in terms of our attainment of a Leadership and Management Accreditation hosted by Investors in People.

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More Than Security: Wilson's Way: Our Measures For Security Guards

Video Transcript (Sic)

David: So Mr Chowdhry how do you ensure that your guards are always on site

Mr Chowdhry: It all begins with our control center staff were very careful as a company because we understand that one of the most important things for our clients is punctuality, and the other factor is going to be that there duties undertaken on site whilst on duty are correctly and accurately carried out.  Our control center staff will ensure that shift rotas are given to officers as early as possible and that they are advised early enough for changes to be made should they be required to do so. Officers have a very strict disciplinary code that they understand this code ensures that any emergency changes are brought to our attention as soon as possible preventing any lapse in shift cover. We always have an emergency supply of officers meaning that any emergency changes are easily recruited for and this is done through our control center software. Which operates in real time and flags up existing emergency officers ready to cover shifts that may be missed. But more to the point as well that control center software most importantly acts as a record of an officer’s attendance. On duty they will call 15 minutes before their duty shift starts confirming they are on site. If they are late to do that a red warning flags up allowing us ample time to find out where they are and to than advise our clients.

Once they are on sight they are than required to call the control center every hour any missed calls are flagged up enabling our control center staff to check that they are still healthy that they are still safe and that they are still attending on the site by calling back on the site telephone number that will be listed within that control center package. Our package works in real time and our clients also have passcoded access to that service also meaning that if they wanted to they could confirm that the evidence that we provide is correct and accurate.


Continuing post security guard incidents.

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More Than Security: Wilson's Way: A.A. Security Accreditation


Video Transcript (Sic)

David: So Mr Chowdhry I’ve noticed you got a lot of accreditation's for the security company A.A. Security. So what does having so much accreditation’s mean for not only you but the security industry.


Wilson: Well for me personally I gain a sense of pride in the achievement of our company. I mean we’ve now been around for 20 years, which is a feat in its self. But I think you know for clients in particular when we were able to show them our lists of awards and accreditation's they recognise that were a company focused on quality.

I mean some of these are very hard to come by; we stand unique in the industry for several of our accreditation's.  I believe we are still the only company in the security sector to have the positive about disability logo and the accreditation and we were the first in the sector to attain it. Again with Investors In People Gold I’m definite we are the only security company to of achieved that. So what were saying to people is, that yes we invest in our people but we go beyond the norm and way beyond. The Gold award is very very hard to achieve. Previously we had the Investors In People leadership and management award while that still existed. So we’ve always had this strong focus just ensuring clients understood that our first thought and care was how the service impacts on them.

We’ve won community service awards, were one of the few companies that has a direct input into its local community. We allow use of our building for neighborhood watch meetings, we allow use of our building for the police to distribute crime prevention devices and our back academy has now become a community center we couldn’t have a stronger focus for people for the community.

As time proceeds we intend to continue with obtaining these particularly awards because it brings us in touch with other professionals those that really do care about how they operate and that’s the way we want to go forward.

So I hope that’s been interesting but feel free to ask me more questions in your musings around the office.

Thanks Dave


 By Wilson Chowhdry

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