Home > Uncategorized > The BSIA Briefing: November 2011

The BSIA Briefing: November 2011

In this month’s BSIA Briefing, Amanda Beesley focuses on the topical issues of metal theft (and how to prevent it), the destruction of confidential information and Best Practice in the lone working environment.

By Amanda Beesley

ByAmanda Beesley

With an estimated cost to the UK economy of around £770 million per annum, the issue of metal theft – and how to prevent it – is at the top of the current agenda for many sections of the BSIA’s membership, whose customers are increasingly seeking effective security measures to protect valuable metals such as copper and lead from being targeted by thieves.

The sudden increase in this type of criminal activity has been associated with the rise in price of copper and metal and further compounded, of course, by the impact of the recession.

Cables are frequently being stolen direct from their position underground and also when stored in compounds, with the financial and logistical repercussions of such incidents becoming considerably more onerous as the level of criminality increases.

According to the BBC, in the transport sector alone cable theft increased by about 52% in the last financial year, in turn costing Network Rail £16.5 million to replace stolen cable and compensate train operators for lost service.

Cable theft is a growing concern for many industry sectors as well as transport. The telecommunications sector is heavily targeted as well, with the high value of fibre optic cables making them attractive to thieves.

In January last year, the customers of a global media and telecommunications provider were left without broadband when thieves stole a mile’s worth of fibre cables. Criminals dug two holes in the ground in Sutton, Greater London and, according to the Sutton Guardian, around 1,500 metres of fibre optic cable was taken. This disrupted broadband, telephone and television services for up to 48 hours.

For many victims of metal theft, the solution has come in the form of integrated security measures including a variety of deterrents from physical security through to CCTV and intruder alarms.

One heritage building in London’s Tottenham area employed a mixture of anti-climb razor roll-bars, CCTV and an intruder alarm system with motion detectors supplied by a BSIA member after lead flashing and pipe had been illegally removed from the roof.

Members of the BSIA’s Security Guarding, Physical Security, Cash and Property Marking and CCTV Sections have all seen an increased demand for their products and services by customers hoping to tackle the growing issue of metal theft.

A spokesperson representing the Trade Association’s Security Guarding Section commented: “Our security team is deployed to a number of high-risk sites around the UK in order to combat the theft of valuable materials including metals, and to prevent instances where businesses and transport companies are unable to operate due to the mindless acts of criminals.”

The spokesperson continued: “We cannot underestimate the effect that metal theft has, not just on those who own and use the materials but also on those who rely on the goods or services they provide as a result. It’s vital that the UK’s security firms hone the service they provide to targeted sites, including giving clients a comprehensive assessment of where the risks lie and how to overcome them.”

For more information on the security measures provided by BSIA member organisations visit the main BSIA Internet site.


BSIA to share essential guidance on information destruction


The BSIA has been invited to share information destruction Best Practice advice with other industry sectors at the Trade Association Forum’s Best Practice Exchange event later this month.

Leading a discussion group entitled ‘Protecting Your Organisation and Reducing ID Theft’, the BSIA’s session aims to provide Trade Associations from a wide range of industries with the information they need to educate their members on their responsibilities under the Data Protection Act.

Representatives from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) will also be on hand alongside the BSIA’s team members to provide advice and guidance on legal compliance.

Raising awareness among all business sectors of the importance of secure data destruction is of key importance to the BSIA’s Information Destruction Section, whose members offer secure destruction of a range of confidential information that’s paper-based, contained on DVDs and/or computer hard-drives.

Recent research conducted by the BSIA shows that 41% of companies are still unaware of the ability of the ICO to issue penalty fines of up to £500,000 to those who fail to fulfill their obligations under the Data Protection Act.

Russell Harris, chairman of the BSIA’s Information Destruction Section, explained: “Our research shows that much more needs to be done by organisations to protect themselves against the threat of data breaches and the potential for the loss of commercially sensitive information or details which could lead to identify fraud.”

Harris continued: “We also need to ensure that organisations understand the measures which can be taken against them – such as fines – if they don’t comply with the requirements of the Data Protection Act.”

According to the Act, every Data Controller using an information destruction company is required to choose a supplier that provides sufficient guarantees of security measures, including destruction being carried out under contract and evidenced in writing.

However, a worrying proportion still fail to understand the consequences of non-compliance: a concern that will be addressed thanks to representatives of a variety of at-risk industry sectors being involved in the BSIA’s discussion at the Trade Association Forum.

To find out more about the BSIA’s Information Destruction Section take a look here.


The Big Issue: protecting lone workers during hours of darkness


More than six million people in the UK work either in isolation or without direct supervision, often in places or circumstances that place them at potential risk.

A wide variety of organisations employ people whose jobs require them to work or operate alone, either regularly or occasionally.

Almost by definition, this kind of employment can be both intimidating and at times dangerous, particularly now that the nights are drawing in.

As such, the protection of lone workers involves a two-fold approach, not only aimed at providing safeguards but also to offer reassurance for the people involved.

To address these important issues, the security industry has worked with the police and end users to develop a combination of practice, technology and standards capable of providing an effective – and cost-conscious – solution to the risks.

The development of technology and practice in the field has focused on encouraging and enabling lone workers to assess the risks they might be facing, and then provide them with the means both to summon aid in an emergency and collect information that can be used in evidence (if necessary).

This has led to the creation of lone worker devices equipped with mobile phone technology that connect employees quickly and discreetly with an emergency response system that has direct links to the police.

A number of products are commercially available from BSIA member companies, including miniature devices that resemble ID holders.

A key element of all this work has been the development of British Standard BS 8484, a Code of Practice for the Provision of Lone Worker Services, which is employed by all BSIA members in the field and forms the basis for police response to lone worker systems.

The BSIA has also published an associated guide affording employers easy-to-follow advice about what to look for when sourcing a supplier. The guide covers the employers’ responsibilities to its lone workers, as well as specific criteria for selecting technology, monitoring services and providers (including the possession of quality management systems such as ISO 9001 and the delivery of appropriate training).

‘Lone Workers: An Employers Guide’ can be downloaded free by visiting www.bsia.co.uk/publications and searching for form number 288.

Alex Carmichael, technical director at the BSIA, commented: “This guide recognises the importance of keeping lone workers safe and secure. Responsible employers will consider the Health and Safety of their lone workers as a top priority, and the use of lone worker devices can help by connecting such employees with an emergency response system that has direct links to the police.”

Carmichael added: “BS 8484 is the basis on which the police responds to lone worker systems, so it’s important for employers to choose a supplier who works to these standards.”

For employees whose role requires them to work alone, the BSIA has produced a separate guide which can be downloaded free by visiting the website above and searching for form number 284.

Amanda Beesley is PR and communications manager at the British Security Industry Association

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