New IPSA Chair promises radical new approach for front-line security staff

New IPSA Chair promises radical new approach for front-line security staff

Frontline security and technical workers in the UK are to be offered free membership of the International Professional Security Association (IPSA) as part of a radical shake-up.

The move is just one of a raft of changes aimed at revolutionising the UK’s longest established security association and was agreed at this year’s AGM on Wednesday 21 October.

Other plans include a new website, an exciting new app and broadening representation to include systems and fire sector technicians who support the industry and frontline officers – some of whom have been identified as “Essential Workers” during the Coronavirus pandemic.

IPSA Board member, Simon Pears, first came up with the proposals in July, after his predecessor, Jane Farrell, announced her decision to step down as Chair. He won the backing of the Board to drive them through after being elected as Chair at the AGM. He will be supported by a new Chief Executive, Una Riley, and a strengthened and re-organised Board of Directors.

“This vision is inspired by the hard work and commitment that front-line services offer the public to help keep them safe and secure.  The free membership of IPSA is our ‘thank you’ to them.  We want to become the voice of security front-line workers,” Simon said.

Key to the success of IPSA’s new plans is that members will be gained through signing up for a free app.  This will include all the benefits, certification that past executive members have benefitted from – and the right to include the post nominal after their name.  IPSA will be on the phone of every member.  The app will provide information and guidance, welfare, training modules and a network of approved suppliers that support the industry. Crucially, a ‘One-Voice’ link on behalf of security front-line members will include capturing data and trends about unreported incidents, mental well-being, injuries, diversity and disability – all of which, for the first time, will allow for an accurate picture of incidents affecting front-line security officers and the wider community, along with the impact on businesses.                                                                      

IPSA is recognised worldwide as a professional security organisation, and whilst the app will launch initially in the UK, it will be quickly rolled out to other countries with the USA being the next scheduled release.

“This will be first-hand anonymised data which will allow us to be vocal within the industry and to government. We hope that in turn, corporate companies will want to be part of us to help improve security and how to meet the needs of frontline staff.” Simon explained.

Another innovation is that there will be frontline security worker representation on the Board. To avoid being London-centric, IPSA began their search in Scotland, and the Board was delighted when Deborah Stewart was nominated by her employer, Securigroup.  A mentor is already lined up to support her. Each term will last six months, during which time they will take part in a Board meeting and Chair their own ‘Front-line Forum’. The Chair will then report back to the Board to ensure focus on the front-line members and to provide insight and the voice of key issues impacting front line workers.

Simon admits the proposals are radical and a gamble but is excited at the opportunities they offer: ““IPSA was the first security trade association and it will be the first to revolutionise and recognise front-line workers in this way,” stated Simon.

Welcoming the new vision, Una stated: “I am confident that Simon and the restructured board will ensure that IPSA rapidly evolves to becoming the largest digital trade association of its type.  Security is a credible and professional career path but, sadly, it is so often misrepresented by some organisations and the broader media. We want to welcome members who are interested in personal and career development. We want IPSA to be driven by their needs…their voice…their association.”

Simon paid tribute to the outgoing Chair, Jane Farrell.  “Jane has been fundamental in stabilising IPSA over the last three years and has driven the organisation with a passion and determination that have allowed IPSA to continue the next part of its revitalisation. As Jane was the first woman to Chair IPSA in its more than 50-year history, she can be proud of what she achieved both personally and professionally. IPSA has a renowned global reputation, and I am proud and honoured to be continuing the journey to make IPSA accessible to all who work so hard in this fantastic industry.”