Author Archives: Mark

How to find a reliable security team

Finding a reliable security team in the UK can be something of a minefield. There is often a lack of service quality for a number of reasons, smaller organisations are more personal but often unreliable. Larger organisations will only enter the market at a certain value and often suffer from similar quality issues. This affects the reputation of the industry.

This simple situation is the reason that Watchword exists – we are a high quality security service provider. But what does this mean? ‘High quality security service’ is a claim that many organisations make, so how do we prove it? We are writing a series of short blogs outlining how we operate.

Finding a reliable security team can be a challenge.
  • Values
    Many organisations have values and we are no exception. Our company values have been updated after consultation with our security team to include ‘family’.

    Our values are: family, respectintegrityself-discipline and loyalty.

    This change stems from the fact that the vast majority of our security team work for one thing above all else – their family. Therefore, we need to align our operation to support them in achieving their aim. This means we are slightly more flexible in supporting colleagues who have family commitments than other security companies might be. Too often, people are treated as a commodity in the security industry.

    We can only achieve this flexibility because our team believe in it and take ownership, last minute client emergencies are dealt with in the same fashion as home related issues for our team – we work hard for one another and as a result, our clients get a more reliable security service.

    Delivering this isn’t easy to begin with and relies heavily on effective communication between teams and strong personal relationships, which are topics we will discuss in future posts.

    We are going to be writing a few more short blogs on how to deliver a high quality security service. It isn’t rocket science, but it makes a big difference to organisations who need it.

    If you would like to talk about high quality security services then call us on 08007720117 or email info@watchwordsecurity.co.uk

“We need security guards, today…”

Recently, one of our clients had an issue with their intruder alarm, which had been triggered twice in the middle of the night, on both occasions our team responded within 30 mins as we are the key holders for the buildings, we then communicated with the engineers to try and resolve the issue.

The result unfortunately is that the intruder alarm needs replacing, something the client already has plans for. In the short term however, they had an issue, business insurance can be deemed void if there is no intruder alarm or security presence in the building or on the premises.

The client asked us to arrange security on an enduring basis until the alarm was fixed, so initially 24-hour security to cover the weekend, with the start time being 90 mins away as their team were due to finish work.

During that 90-minute period we arranged the initial 24 hour coverage and subsequent shifts for two weeks covering all hours during which the buildings were going to be unoccupied.

How? One of the fundamental principles we run our business by is that we don’t like letting people down, which leads us to have a strong team. We don’t like letting each other down and we don’t like letting our clients down, in fact we hate it. We value our client’s choice to work with us and make ourselves available 24 hours a day to support.

One of the benefits of being a small, local security company in Reading/Berkshire is that we can be flexible in our ability to support clients.

If you need a security team you can rely on 24 hours a day with people you will get to know more than just saying hello, call us on 0800 772 0117.

A security team prepared for the ‘new normal’, security in the COVID-19 era.

The last few months have been quite an experience for all working in security in the UK. Our team has reacted with speed and professionalism to protect our staff, meet our client needs and support the country however we can.

Several of our staff have served in the military and immediately took the opportunity to volunteer to assist with the Army Reserve, supporting COVID testing and local authorities during the crisis. Our team have been working with the NHS & Police to help keep the public safe. As a business this is something we are more than willing to support – service is at the heart of what we do.

As a result of our action, we have gained more experience working in high risk areas but have not had any cases of COVID-19 within our workforce, why is this? The first and most important reason is professionalism. Direction on how to ensure the safety of your workforce is clear, we have adopted protocols which minimise the risk in the same way the military have done when running testing sites. PPE and control measures work when applied correctly.

The feedback from our clients is consistent – we communicate more effectively than competitors, we are more flexible and responsive. This pandemic has been an opportunity to step up and deliver more than the average and we have achieved it.

Any organisation looking to source a security team who are experienced in operating safely during COVID-19 whilst enabling the return to work please do give us a call. We can provide temperature screening of staff as they arrive and access control in a safe, friendly manner. The safety of your staff and ours is always the priority.

Watchword Security – Using military skills to support during the COVID-19 pandemic

Our blog activity has reduced in recent times due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Demand for security services has shifted to primarily patrol based activities and an increased focus on vacant property management, for example. We have reacted accordingly and continue to operate within the boundaries of government direction.

The safety of our staff and clients is our number one priority and we have taken the necessary steps to minimise the risk to both. We have a committed team and strong commercial relationships which will endure.

In addition to this, I have been working with the Army Reserve as part of the COVID Support Force (CSF) which exists to support authorities such as the NHS, Police, Fire Service and local councils as they work tirelessly to help communities. The role of the military varies depending on the location and the situation is rapidly changing of course.

Watchword has a great team – we have team members with decades of experience in the security industry and some with extensive military experience, as a result I am able to work temporarily with the military to try and contribute during this challenging time whilst continuing to communicate with our team.

Military Assistance to Civil Authorities (MACA) covers a wide range of tasks that is likely to evolve as the situation develops, it is reminiscent of similar operations I have been involved with before in the UK such as assistance to communities during floods. The key difference on this occasion is the risk and the scale, but it seems those on the front line in the NHS are beginning to win with the assistance of all adhering the Government direction. – Mark Thomson

Vacant Property Management – Security in uncertain times

Combining the increase in the number of vacant properties with the stretched emergency services and possible civil unrest that has been mentioned, premises could be vulnerable to damage or interference from vandals, thieves and burglars. Consider vacant property management to reduce this risk, whether key holding and alarm response, regular patrols or 24-hour building protection. We are here to support.

Events such as the ongoing Coronavirus lead you take stock of what is important in life – family, friends & looking after those who need your help. It does lead to reflection too about how society functions and some of the vulnerabilities that lie just beneath the surface of the systems we have created. We enjoy providing security because it comes naturally and is (relatively speaking) black and white. We want your people, assets and premises to be secure and are confident in delivering that.

With many businesses enforcing home working for as many staff as possible due to the ongoing Coronavirus situation and others closing their doors to customers, those responsible for Facilities, Property, Building or Estate Management are often left to ensure that the premises remain secure in the absence of any staff on site.  

In what is a rather unprecedented time for society, pragmatism is required when providing security to an organisation’s property and assets.

Due to the nature of a spreading virus, those working in the emergency services are just as likely (if not more) likely to contract the disease than the wider population, in addition to the greater strain already placed on them. As a result, we see proactive measures taken such as the mobilisation of the military to support the emergency services and the inevitable information that the chief function of the emergency services will be to ‘provide essential services’ to society. Vacant properties and a depleted police force present an opportunity to potential criminals, as with most things, prevention is better than cure.

The Watchword Podcast

In addition to providing security services in Berkshire, Hampshire and across the south east, we have launched a podcast in which we speak to interesting people about their background, experience and why they made the decisions they did.

The Watchword Podcast tells the stories of challenge and success.
Reflecting on life’s big decisions and the factors behind them so that you are better informed when planning your own path. The introduction to the podcast is below:

Episode 1: Jimmy Clark joined the Army after deciding to leave his corporate graduate job just 3 months after starting it. In this interview he reflects on some of life’s big decisions and the factors behind them. What took him from a child who liked amateur dramatics and science fiction to fighting in one of the worst parts of Afghanistan? Jimmy has provided security to locations all over the world and is aligned with the values we have as a company.