Category Archives: Watchword Security

Watchword progress – The SIA Approved Contractor Scheme

When I left the military, I had an ambition to start a new venture and one year later we established Watchword Security. Why? Because I saw some of the challenges in the industry, met some security officers who I believed in and most importantly I enjoy building teams, delivering to expectation, and continuous improvement.

Nearly three years later and the business is in a strong position with trusted staff who do not let our clients (or each other) down.

Watchword Security now holds four varieties of accreditation/award:

  1. The Security Industry Authority ‘Approved Contractor Scheme’ (SIA ACS) award.
  2. The National Security Inspectorate Silver award for manned security and screening of staff.
  3. Alcumus Safe Contractor and PQQ.
  4. The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Bronze award.

The SIA ACS is perhaps the leading certification for manned security services in the UK. We are delighted to now hold this.

Contractors with the Alcumus health and safety focused ‘SafeContractor’ accreditation are eligible for SafePQQ. This requires proof that the business is a safe, ethical and sustainable company. The SafePQQ assessment verifies information covering finance, anti-bribery, environment, GDPR, quality management, right to work, equality, modern slavery, and external references.

The National Security Inspectorate Silver accreditation for manned security services involved an audit of our operation in line with the relevant British Standards for both manned guarding (BS7499) and security screening (BS7858).

We signed the Armed Forces Covenant and then achieved the employer Bronze award because we are passionate about supporting those who serve their communities and the country.

As the director of the business, I have been heavily involved in the process to achieve these standards, it has not been easy, but hugely rewarding as we make measurable progress toward our goal of being the most professional security company possible.

Mark Thomson

If you use a security team or security services and need a company you can rely on, consider Watchword. Call us on 08007720117 or email

Building a cohesive security team

In our previous blog we talked about the importance of values in sourcing and maintaining a reliable security team – if the values of the business being are not aligned with those of the security team, we would not be pulling in the same direction. Therefore, we have ‘family’ as one of our values, a vast majority of us work for our family first.

Our aim is to build reliable security teams to service each of our clients, integrating with the Facilities Management team and adding value wherever we can. Security should be more than just a person in a uniform, our security officers aim to make your job easier.

The feedback we get from clients is consistent, our security officers are reliable and communicate effectively. This is a result of our approach to internal communication, each team member is trained in the Watchword Security way – communication is critical to our success. From their first day with the company, the team are encouraged to over communicate with the security management team.

Watchword take care of your security, leaving you to focus on what is important.

We use technology to ensure instant and secure communication from control room to site, security officers check in with the control room before their shift starts, on the hour whilst on site and when they leave the site. Missed check calls are highlighted and rectified, performance issues in the security industry and largely down to below par leadership, management and communication. One of the first steps in avoiding this is to ensure regular communication with the team on site.

We want our security teams to be professional, reliable, and confident in their position. Initially, once they have had their induction and started on site, we achieve this by asking them to direct any questions about the site and their role to the 24/7 security management team. This model leads to the shortest, steepest learning curve possible and ensures that security officers get up to speed faster than they might do in a less proactive company. This also minimises unnecessary questions to the client.

If you would like to talk about high quality security in the south east then call us on 08007720117 or email

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

The Watchword team: Basanta Tamang

Having served the U.K. for seventeen years as a soldier in the Royal Gurkha Rifles, Basanata Tamang has been working in the security industry since his departure from the Army in 2014. Basanta manages teams of officers and takes responsibility for site security as part of his supervisory role.

What roles have you had in the security industry?

I have worked in the U.K. and overseas performing a variety of roles, initially working as a close protection officer for individuals, sometimes in Europe or further afield in Dubai for example. More recently I have been leading teams of officers in a variety of locations, from customer facing roles such as the Henley Regatta, to working at larger facilities supporting estates management.

What skills do you need to succeed in the security industry?

You must be adaptable and focus on the customer’s needs, the requirements of clients can change quickly, it is our job to respond accordingly. I have performed a wide range of tasks as a security team leader whilst also being responsible for security, from helping with events organisation to supervising cleaning teams. Working with Watchword, we focus on the customer experience, this is the most important thing, so being on time, smartly dressed, being polite and taking an interest in the client’s organisation are the basics we must get right intially.

What security qualifications do you have? 

Quite a few! My role now is more focused management, but some of my specific security qualifications are: Close Protection Level 3 (SIA License), CCTV Operator, First Aid level 2 (FPOS), Protective Driver & Managing Conflict.

Which places did you go in the Army and what were your favourite jobs? 

Australia, Kenya, Malawi, Brunei, Macedonian, East Timor, Belize, Afghanistan and Wales! I enjoyed all of my jobs in the Army, it is good fun for a young man, but I am now more focused on having a stable home life in Berkshire with my friends and family.

Watchword Security provide security services to commercial & residential property owners and managers in the Thames Valley and South East of England. If you need a security team you can rely on, we can help.

The importance of values

In 2017 we decided what we wanted to achieve with Watchword Security, we looked back at the principles instilled in us during our time in the military and some of the most valuable lessons. The Army has had a strong focus on the concept of ‘values’ for many years. Values drive behaviour and therefore decision making, the results of daily situations are dictated by the individual ‘on the ground’ influencing the outcome, which may lead to success or failure in his or her individual area of responsibility and perhaps beyond.

The Watchword Security values:
Respect for our customers and our employees.
Trusted staff with the integrity to do the right thing every day.
Working practices which promote self-discipline and the highest standards.
Loyalty – we are loyal to one another, our customers and our partners.

Our aim at Watchword is perfection in our service, and in some respects, we are getting there.

For example, one of our team who has been working on his site for nine months has never been late or ill during that time and says he never will be. Aside from making him a pleasure to work with and making us proud of the organisation, this is unusual in the security industry.

This principle applies universally, the military were (arguably) relatively quick to realise this due to the consequences of getting it wrong, but the same applies to other organisations and teams.

So why would someone be so adamant about never being late (or ill!)? The answer is his values, his personal values are aligned with the organisations, our aims and objectives follow suit. The result is a level of customer service that exceeds expectations. Our team member takes pride in knowing the security of the site is his responsibility.

When considering how to achieve this alignment in values, there are perhaps two options:

Hire people who hold personal values aligned to yours and those of the organisation.
Share the vision of the organisation you aspire to be and support the individual to understand the importance of the values in their role.

We firmly believe in option two in the absence of option one, whilst some people might not spend time considering values, most people want similar things from their professional life:

A sense of belonging – meaningful teamwork.
– ownership of their area and to be trusted.
– to be equipped for the task and have opportunity to develop.

Provided the three points above can be achieved and a meaningful conversation held about the related values, our goals should be mutual. If the result is our team members never being late, then the first step in delivering excellent customer service is achieved.

Security is our Watchword

After seven years serving as an officer in the Army and several years in industry, I am now working full time as a Director of the company I started in 2018, Watchword Security. This has been an aspiration of mine for over 10 years and it is exciting to be in this position.

Watchword provide security services to commercial and private clients who need a team they can rely on. We provide a high-quality service; we are an organised and values driven team who take pride in our exemplary customer experience. We are accredited by the National Security Inspectorate for ‘manned guarding’ and recipients of the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Bronze award.

All organisations need similar characteristics in order to succeed. Perhaps some of these characteristics could be defined as values – determination, loyalty, teamwork, leadership, effective communication and problem solving to name a few. Having left the military to work in industry, the similarities between success ‘on the battlefield’ vs succeeding in a competitive marketplace are remarkable.

Our aim is to make security one less thing for you to think about. Connect with us by following the Watchword Security business page on LinkedIn.