The security industry is a critical resource for the pandemic

Issue 3 2021 News & Events

The CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear warfare) sector is mostly made up of academics and professional practitioners that research and consider the above-mentioned threats.

For natural disasters, the governmental-related body has their academics and manpower that take full responsibility for servicing security, medical and feeding and housing the population because they are paid for it through taxes.

For biological threats, the governments, for specific reasons, use the military and police function on a macro level in managing specific protocols on the ground. However, it is the private security industry which is much larger than the military and police in some countries, that will play its part on the ground.

Actually, the two bodies that play an important role are the health community that set protocols (infection testing, social interactions and hygiene) for biological threats and the security industry that rolls the health protocols out and manages the implementation on the ground.

Boots on the infected ground

However, the security industry does more. The security industry adds security protocols to the mix because there are issues relating to tools (technology and equipment) that are used, the behaviour of the people and the crime related to the threats, being the threat itself and the outcome of the threat being the economic meltdown.

It is virtually impossible for the military and police to manage the health protocols, investigate the amount of and type of new crime in this scenario besides managing the numbers of people involved.

The CBRN community comprehend the fact that there are millions of private security practitioners on the ground that are actually doing the job of taking temperatures, managing the flow of people and ensuring hygiene criteria are met. Therefore, they realise that it is the private security industry, the largest force on the ground, that limit the collateral damage, as it is and that also has the equipment and skilled manpower to do so.

This current mutating biological threat has taught some lessons to some that bothered to be present and relevant and the flip side is that some in the security industry do not realise that they are actually doing biological threat security.

Now, based on the recent experiences, the private security industry has researched the issues related to this pandemic and thoroughly investigated specifics taking into consideration various issues.

When 911 happened, the security exhibitions grew in size because of two primary reasons. Firstly, at the same time IP (Internet Protocol) technology began to display their wares and all technologies entered the market with their solutions, be it biometrics, IP access control and IP driven CCTV, etc., which was mostly geared towards counter terrorism.

When COVID-19 began, once again the manufacturers entered the market with thermal imaging technologies, of which some did not comply with the Department of Health criteria. The health community have protocols relating to taking the temperature of people and have also explored the criteria for using thermal imaging. Unfortunately, there are brands that do not conform to the standards out of ignorance to the factual criteria and also there are some that provide misinformation about their capabilities.

It is the security industry that went through this scenario during 911 which brought about laboratories to test brand performance of emerging technologies and equipment. This means that the protocols for managing a biological threat and using technology or equipment must conform to the Health Department, besides labs that check brand performance.

Health protocols in public spaces

The health community has set protocols for social distancing but has not realised that the population are not sheep. The security industry knows that the behaviour of people can be extremely aggressive and volatile. Having said such, there are security practitioners that themselves have not acknowledged that their team on the ground are on ground zero where the staff are more at risk than medical teams such as nurses or doctors.

In a hospital the medical teams know who is infected and who is not. They then have protocols to dress according to the threat and apply the 'dress-code' using specific protocols. They have been trained in such. On the ground, the security practitioners have no idea of who is infected and who is not infected. They handle people that are shouting and perhaps pushing others around without out any form of medical grade protection or the full complement of protection gear that is used by ICU wards.

The protocols for managing people in security is by layering specific staff with certain character traits or skillsets to ensure a safe environment for the public and themselves. Security companies that are not using protocols place their client's customers at risk, besides their own staff. When customers avoid going to a site, the client loses revenue. This is not about loss prevention but more so profit protection. Furthermore, new crime and increased numbers of criminals erode and impact the profits of a site.

The CBRN teams may suggest certain steps to take, but at the end of the day it will be the private security industry that will roll it out and manage it on the ground.

If the security industry does not stand together and use the same protocols that fit standards and compliance criteria, then it will not be able to limit the level of collateral damage as it should with a mutating biological threat.

When the security industry does take action then it will earn the trust and respect from the CBRN community, the health community and the public at large.

The International Security Industry Organisation (ISIO) and the Central Association of Private Security Industry (CAPSI), representing +7 million practitioners, call on all stakeholders to participate alongside on this mission.

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