We talk with Ricky Gardezi – Managing Director of Total Security Services (TSS) about the challenges of the security industry in the UK, key trends, the consequences that Brexit will bring to the industry and about the future of its company.
GLOBAL SECURALLIANCE : TSS is known in UK market as an expert in retail segment. But the company has very vide portfolio of clients. Could you indicate the most important focus areas for TSS ?
RICKY GARDEZI : TSS (Total Security Services) Ltd is a family owned business established in 1989. We are now the largest privately-owned security firm in the UK – employing over 5000 officers, operating in the retail, distribution, logistics, corporate, and public sectors. With offices in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow and Belfast TSS is recognised as a specialist supplier of security services within the UK (static and mobile security). Our focus is about delivering industry leading security solutions to any assignment we undertake in whatever segment. It’s that total commitment to service delivery that sets us apart from our competitors.
GSA : Where do you see TSS in the next 5 years?
R.G : TSS continues to dominate particularly in the retail security market across the UK. There are still some large retailers who do not use our services and in 5 years I expect TSS to have grown by approximately 50% as the demand for services is increasing and there are few other suppliers with either the capacity or experience to deliver well.
GSA : Security market is facing a lot of changes. Main focus in moving to the technological solutions, protection from cyberattacks becoming are more and more important ect. In what way this changes affects British security market and how is changing the role of security guards?
R.G : Ever emerging new and exciting technologies are being applied by security companies to protect their clients. At a basic level a Smart phone / body camera / lone working devises are commonly used. Technology provides fast time intelligence and analytics of information – which can be communicated to officers via electronic notifications. Facial recognition technology is improving all the time as are biometric devises used for entry and egress of buildings. Officers need to understand these approaches and how they respond and work with the technology. The fundamental roles of the officers will always be the same however it’s the incisive mix of the physical (officers) and technical solutions which is changing, and shifting more towards a response / flexible type or service following electronic activations or remote monitoring.
GSA : There is a lot of discussions about the Brexit. What kind of opportunities and threats you see in context of Brexit from the perspective of the security market?
R.G : A hard Brexit (no deal) would probably result in an increase in the need for security across the UK. Potential Civil unrest, panic buying, and greater criminality may increase demand – in the short term. Whatever the outcome of Brexit there will be a need for security. The main threat is that larger existing clients go out of business or relocate as a consequence of a weakened economy, and unavoidable increases to import and export costs. We have also noticed that Brexit is having a negative impact on the labour pool with our sector. UK net migration continues to fall (halved since the referendum) and although only 14.5% of our employees are EEA citizens we envisage this percentage falling further and we will need to increase recruitment.
GSA : Except for those mentioned what kind of changes are crucial today on British security market?
R.G : At TSS we are constantly seeking to further professionalise what has sadly been considered a role akin to low level ‘man power services’. Security is a professional and important job however the companies that can operate in the sector are not subject to any mandatory regulation. There is ACS (approved contractor scheme) registration and this is the regulatory element of what is in effect a voluntary scheme. NSI Guarding Gold is a standard which demonstrates the company has achieved a defined benchmark of quality. The ACS is a probing look at all facets of the company across a whole variety of issues and is useful in the improvement process. The industry needs to be better regulated with mandatory company licensing. With regard to officers there needs to be clear career paths and vocational and professional qualifications available – beyond simple SIA licensing.
GSA : You are one of the founder of the Global Securalliance. What are the main goal for GSA from your perspective?
R.G : The GSA is a Global network of security companies which each provide a best in class service for their clients in their own territories. The GSA is the glue that pulls together excellent service for clients who require a joined up service across countries. We can share best practice and learn about new and innovative approaches in other countries. We are a true alliance with global reach and expertise.