How has commercial security changed in the last 15 years?

Venture Security was founded back in 2006 and from humble beginnings has grown to become one of the top ranked security companies in the UK.

As we embark on the next stage in our development – expanding into new areas and growing our team and customer base - we thought we’d take a look back at how the security industry has changed in that time. In particular, the transformation that has taken place within commercial security.

 

Commercial security

Over the last 15 years, a lot has changed in the security industry, with many of those changes impacting positively on service delivery and transparency.

Technology has been a key enabler and driving factor in this; from the security measures available for use on commercial premises, to the systems being utilised by security teams on an operational level.

Here are some of the biggest changes and what they have meant for security companies, their teams and end customers.

 

  1. CCTV

CCTV systems have long been one of the most popular security measures available and the technology of modern systems has improved a great deal; from the quality of the recordings made, to the cameras’ ability to function in low light (still in colour), or even no light (in black and white) without losing any definition or smart analytics.

The systems have also become far more sophisticated in being able to prevent false alerts. For example, modern cameras can be set to monitor only for human movement within set parameters - so excluding movement caused by animals, trees and even clouds – all of which would have resulted in time wasting alerts five years ago.

The introduction of affordable thermal imagers and reliable facial recognition systems has lifted the industry yet further. While heat and fire detection and long-range perimeter protection industries (used by boarder agencies and energy infrastructure for example) are helping lower costs and paving the way for further developments.

 

  1. Intruder Alarm Systems

Intruder alarm technology has seen huge improvements during the past ten years. The greatest gains being made in the way alarm signals are communicated. This includes via internet connections and over traditional GSM lines (mobile networks). Along with the use of app technology, which has enabled remote management of alarms and instant alerts for activations and faults, etc.

The introduction of various detection capabilities has helped reduce the risk of false alarms. For example, in residential properties pets can roam without the risk of unwanted activations and false activations caused by insects and other welcome visitors on commercial premises have been reduced.

Improved integration between CCTV systems and access control is also helping by keeping everything ‘under one roof’. You are now able to access all measures and information via the same app, making an easier and more controlled process for the end user and support companies.

 

  1. Access Control Systems

Access control is another area where technology has come on leaps and bounds. Ten years ago, companies may typically have invested in controlled access points using company ID cards, fobs and other forms of RFID (remote field ID). A small number may even have had thumb print readers or mobile phone driven ID via Bluetooth.

While these types of systems are still popular and widely used today, advances in biotech mean we now have technology capable of far more sophisticated control and monitoring. This includes facial recognition, retinal scans and even capillary scans that can recognise the unique patterns of veins people have in their hands. These developments have been made possible by the evolution of sharper and better integrated CCTV cameras and lasers, and the ability to capture and process information faster.

 

  1. Security drones

Drones are a relatively new innovation that has gained a lot of attention in recent years. While there are a number of limitations on their use they can be a very useful tool for security teams.

Police forces across the world are using them for a variety of different purposes, including assisting with missing person searches, crime scene photography and responding to major road traffic incidents. And for security teams, they can be helpful in many ways too, such as for checking a large estate or and rural area very quickly, particularly when combined with thermal imaging. 

 

  1. Transparency of reporting

From an operational viewpoint, security providers now have access to numerous, highly intuitive systems and processes that can aid both efficiency and transparency.

For example, at Venture we have invested in V-Secure, a state-of-the-art monitoring and reporting system, meaning we can provide real-time, auditable and secure activity reports to our customers.

Using a special portal, our customers can login around the clock to see in real-time what is happening on their site, as well as to access any information they may need. This level of transparency is something that could never have been achieved before. It is also a far quicker, more efficient and more user-friendly system than the one used 10 years ago, which involved officers keeping a handwritten daily logbook of their observations and actions.

 

  1. Telematics and officer safety

Our mobile patrol officers are on the road 365 days a year and typically work alone. With modern telematics (vehicle monitoring), we now have an added layer of safety and protection in place.

We are able to monitor their movements, with remote viewable dashcams which allow us to view both the road andinside the cabin, at any time. In line with our environmental policy, we can also use the telematics to check that our officers are driving efficiently and safely.

This level of visibility would have been unheard of 10 years ago, with telematics only really starting to come into play around 2014 onwards and with nowhere near this level of sophistication.

 

  1. Body worn cameras

The use of body worn cameras has exploded in recent years – not just amongst security teams but with such cameras also being provided for retail staff and those in other public-facing roles.

At Venture, we first introduced body worn cameras in 2017 and they proved so successful that we have since rolled them out to all our public facing security officers, as well as officers who are looking after temporary accommodation, our Stonehenge security team and our mobile patrol team. Plus, we provide them for individuals in our event security team who hold certain roles.

Modern body worn cameras are capable of recording in HD and with audio. The footage is encrypted, meaning it can also be used as evidence by customers and the Police, helping with prosecutions.

 

  1. Security assignments

The types of security assignment that our officers take on has also evolved in the last decade. One of the biggest changes here at Venture has been the introduction of our town and city centre security team.

Working with councils and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), our award-winning officers are helping tackle anti-social behaviour in key areas across the region. Their presence acts as a visible deterrent, while offering reassurance to visitors, retailers and local residents and their role sits at the heart of a partnership model.

In the last 10 years we have also seen an increase in interest for our key holding services, with concerns over lone worker safety being a driving factor, and we’re being asked to respond to more monitored CCTV.

 

  1. Professionalisation

And lastly, one change we are very glad to be seeing is a gradual shift in mindset towards security as a profession. It’s complexity, skill and value being more broadly recognised.

At Venture, we have long pushed for the professionalisation of the industry and for security to be seen as a fulfilling career choice, with opportunities for progression and development. We want to replace the outdated stereotypes of what a security officer is and does with a more accurate representation of the individuals who are out there, every day, giving 100% in even the most challenging of conditions.

 

In conclusion

When we founded Venture Security all those years ago, the UK security industry was a very different place. While some key market challenges remain, big improvements have been made in many areas and I expect we will see even more significant changes in the coming 5-10 years. For example, with the growth of AI and biotech.

We also continue to see progress being made in relation to the professionalisation of the industry, as well as in the areas of diversity and inclusion, which is hugely important and something we’re very proud to be championing at Venture.

While there will always be a minority within any industry who choose to play outside the rules, most customers recognise that choosing a reputable provider will ultimately be far more valuable for them. And that comes down to working with an experienced provider, with well-trained officers, supported by industry-leading systems and process.

 

Interested in security for your business?

At Venture, we work with businesses based across Andover, Salisbury, Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton and Fareham, providing a range of professional security services.

Whether you’re looking for static guarding, mobile patrols, key holding and alarm response, or support with the locking and unlocking of your premises, we can help. 

To find out more about or for a quote, please call us 01264 391538 or email office@venturesec.co.uk