9/11 - Has the industry learnt its lesson?

September 2002 News

This month marks the one year anniversary of the calamitous events of 9/11 - a day that changed the manner in which the United States and the rest of the world views security. Or has it?

The initial knee-jerk reaction to 9/11 was one of adopting what was deemed as extreme, yet necessary, security methodologies, particularly. For instance, the United States government implemented stricter border control, heightened airport security and introduced new air travel policies. The government even went so far as to ensure that all airport scanners were appointed federal employees and had their salaries increased substantially with the view of getting a better level of employee. Yes, the American government has stepped up its security measures, but what of the rest of the industry.

A recent PRNewswire article indicates that lax security procedures persist almost a year after 9/11 with four in 10 private security officers reporting no new security procedures at their buildings since 11 September. A further seven in 10 security officers report that bomb-threat drills or natural disaster drills are never conducted at their buildings.

Key findings of research done in three of the largest US states also indicates:

* One in five security officers have received no training at all from their employer.

* Four in 10 security officers received no pre-hire training from their employer.

* A majority of security officers received no training in evacuation or emergency response prior to being hired.

The report recommends that there is a strong need to professionalise and stabilise the security workforce in order to improve the quality of security provided to clients. "It takes a professional, stable workforce to provide world-class security," the reports states. In response to the findings, the report called for new cooperative efforts among security companies, clients and security officers unions to raise industry standards - a statement that also has bearing on the South African security industry.

Unlike our American counterparts, where much impetus is placed on standards and regulations, our local industry appears to be more lax due to - for the most part - a lack of proper standards. It is therefore refreshing to know that associations such as ESDA and the FDIA are taking steps towards the creation of a governed industry. For example, the FDIA has subsidised the creation of a third party inspectorate to eradicate shoddy workmanship in fire detection installations, while ESDA, along with other associations, have urged the government to re-evaluate the new SIRA legislation. Hi-Tech Security Solutions applauds such associations and is also committed to ensuring a regulated industry through cooperation between industry players and government.

Till next month

Gerard Peter - Editor

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