Industry Standards and Regulation – Richard Aitch

Does the EP industry need more regulation or less regulation? Today we are directing our focus on the current state of regulation in the CP/EP industry. We’re going to be looking at licensing, how it’s been implemented in the UK by the SIA, whether it’s working and where further improvements are required.

This is a big subject, a hot topic and a fantastic deep dive interview with one of the most passionate voices on the subject. Today, we welcome Richard Aitch, industry author and CEO of Mobius International to help us unpack this fiercely debated topic.

Quite simply, the regulation that’s in place, doesn’t raise standards to the level at which most professionals in the industry would like them to be. As an industry, where do we go from here?

In this week’s podcast, we’ll be discussing…

  • Regulation and Licensing: What is wrong with the current Landscape. What problems need solving?
  • Regulation in the UK: What’s been positive? What has the SIA got right? Are they doing anything right?
  • Licensing in the US: Is the UK system a baseline model for the US and the rest of the world? What can the US learn from mistakes across the pond?
  • Operational parameters: Should a governing body set minimum requirements in place such as age, experience or standard of training.
  • Business Licensing: Would the mooted regulation of security businesses be a realistic route to raising standards? Is it even feasible?

More about Richard:

Richard is the Director of Operations of Mobius International Ltd, which has extensive experience in high-risk operational appointments worldwide. Richard has experience managing and leading Close Protection, Protective Surveillance, Surveillance and Counter Surveillance operations continuously throughout 25 years in over 60 countries across 6 continents at the highest levels of corporate protective security provision.

Richard is also the author of the industry’s international best seller; ‘Close Protection – A Closer Observation of the Protection Equation’ – ‘Protection Operations Tactical Doctrine for the Commercial Environment’.

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Mobius International

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The Circuit team is:

  • Elijah Shaw
  • Jon Moss
  • Shaun West
  • Phelim Rowe

 

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Transcript
Rich Aitch:

Yes. I a regulate the industry. In hindsight, they rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic when it should be stared properly, the whole process is wrong.

Intro:

welcome to the Circuit Magazine. The number one source for information on protection matters. The industry leading magazine for all security professionals who want to stay ahead of the game.

Phelim:

does the EP industry need more regulation or less regulation? The SIA has made an interesting start on this very endeavor. And today we are going to be talking to Richard Aitch CEO of Mobius. As I say very often, great friend of the industry to look at where perhaps it has shortcomings and where perhaps it has laid a foundation. I'm here with John Moss and together we're going to tackle this topic. John, it is quite controversial, isn't it? Because it's not often that businesses ask for more regulation.

Jon:

I don't know. if it's fair to say it's controversial, it is, but maybe it's better to say it's a hot topic. It's definitely something that everyone likes to debate on. Have that two Pence worth clearly the regulation that's in place, doesn't raise standards to the level at which most people, most professionals in the industry would like them to be. And I think that is the crux of it. Right.

Phelim:

Okay, so regulations and standardization. Um, I think it is not the same thing in this context. So are we asking the SIA or another body to set in place some minimum age requirement or some minimum length of CP course or even some minimum background before you embark on CP? Is that what we're sort of looking at them to do? Well, I

Jon:

think it's a, it's an option. It's also a dangerous path. It's I wouldn't be quick to run to embrace that because I think when you leave it to people outside of the industry to make big calls like that, that prohibit certain people from working based on generalizations. I, you know, somebody of a certain age or below a certain age is not equipped to do the job yet. Somebody. Can come in with no prior background or experience who's older and that automatically gives them the right. I mean, yeah. As a generalization, that might be true more often than not, but leaving it to people outside of the industry to make those decisions, isn't always the best way. And I know a lot of people would say, well, bring in people from inside the industry, but even then, you know, there's such a wide array of opinion on how to do it, who should do it, and how we all come together in a harmonious way to achieve something that is for the greater good and have a single vision for the whole. I

Phelim:

mean, some might say it's actually good that, you know, people have a piece of plastic that says you have your CP license. Uh, if, if you look at the states, there's no one single regulatory authority. Um, everything is as you know, state by state. So are we are, we may be the baseline envy of the world. Um, I, that doesn't even matter. And then, and then I guess one of the other topics that we can look at in today's, uh, you know, podcasts, what happens when you have a UK CP license, but you have to operate abroad, especially in a hot environment or a dangerous environment. There are certain skills and certain capabilities you just won't have learnt about. So is it, is it the baseline envy of the world or is it irrelevant?

Jon:

I kind of think it's a little like the NHS. So the national health service here in the UK, Most people inside the UK who rely on depend upon the NHS outside of a pandemic pre pandemic, before we suddenly started blowing the trumpet of care workers, most people would only criticize and a half issue take umbrage with the NHS. However, when you compare it to a lot of other models, commercial models, and of course looking at the U S has, a prime example of that. And I think a lot of people would look at the NHS and they would shake their heads and disbelief that a service can provide so much for free. Right. However, when you compare the standard of service. That you receive? In the commercial world, in the us, it's pushed higher because we have this standardization here in the UK. That means, okay, you can expect as a bare minimum, all of this, but beyond that, you're not going to get much more than that in a lot of cases. And I think it's very true of the SIA. So the SIA came and established a bar and that bar immediately cut out a lot of people, but these are people who had no business being in the industry in the first place. And then that bar hasn't really raised. Since it was first put in place and that's where a lot of people are upset.

Phelim:

And I guess you could say let the market decide, but there isn't a, you know, a large complaint that people will just do a race to the bottom because sometimes they use EP as a tick box exercise. Not always, of course, but sadly there are some tick boxes out there. So if you let them market the side, maybe they will take the person with zero experience. And then conversely, let's imagine we do raise the bar and say, right, everyone needs some years tuition and exam in CP. Well then what do you do with the industry leaders? Do you grandfather, the men do allow them to just say, well, I've had this many years experience, so I automatically get a diploma in EP. And then we're where does that stop? Anyway, these are big questions and this is a big interview. Uh, so, so I don't really want to get too much ahead of it, but, but, but I think we can. Well, shed a light on it for the, for the people that are new in the industry, they'll probably say, oh, what's all this about. And then, uh, peak the interest of a lot of people who are continually talking about this debate because it is a hot topic. I said controversial, but you are right, John. It is hot and people do like to debate it. So let's hear from Richard CEo of Mobius and we will discuss standardization regulation in the UK of the CP industry.

Intro:

and now let's meet one of the contributors to the circuit magazine. The

Phelim:

current state of the UK CP/EP industry. We're here with Richard Aitch we're going to be looking at licensing. We're going to be looking at the current regime in the UK, the context and everything to do with CP in this country. I'm here with Sean West and together. We're going to explore this topic Richard. It's it's a great pleasure to have you on how are you

Rich Aitch:

doing good afternoon, Sean? Yes. Thank

Phelim:

you. Fantastic. Well, lovely to hear you here. I know, I know. You're, you're, you're very prolific. Um, you're, you're, you're, you're a published author and, uh, and a great friend of the industry. So let's start with three quick fire questions. What do you think is sort of wrong with the current. Landscape. What, what problem do you think needs to be solved?

Rich Aitch:

That question I could, I could answer. Oh, how long have you got really, basically is the answer to that one. I could it on and bore you to tears for eternity, the industry as a whole, I think in order to look at the future, you need to look at the past, um, specifically in the last week decades. Um, and that is really where close protection, uh, interest and involvement for me actually begun. So when we look back to the early nineties, I attended two commercial CP courses. Um, and don't forget, this is a regulated industry at the time. And the courses were, one of them was held within the garage and the bottom of a garden. The other one was more properly designed, um, within a purpose. Uh, location. So have a house to conduct residential security. Uh, there's no limit to vehicles, counter surveillance, and a whole host of subject matter. Um, the over delivery of which wasn't actually that bad considering the period of the industry in itself. Um, I conducted those with a view to leaving the forces that I was presently employed in and having conducted those two courses, I then fired off my CV to all and sundry companies, um, in a naivety that it was at the time, I assume realized that. Obviously you're in a catch 22 situation. Do you need experience? Um, and the companies out there at the time close protection, wasn't really a huge, uh, industry sector. Um, it was fairly niche, boutique style, um, and very specific according to clients, I mean, when a comparison to, to today's environment, um, the industry is, is a bam off now, um, is, is huge on the global scale. Uh, it was very niche in those days and, uh, experience was really the catch 22. So that's the reason why I transferred, um, within the forces to gain that course training, um, and the experience to then with a view to leave. So that started in 1996 for me, um, the training and first deployment in close protection. When I then left the forces some six years later, um, You're coming into an industry where I was absolutely shocked at the standards on display, um, standards in terms of training standards in operationally. Um, um, although I'd gone into a permanent role, um, I was surrounded by people with a similar background. So, um, for the majority of which, um, those people with that didn't have our background, you could easily, uh, tell the difference in standards on the ground and the way they spoke about CP in general. So when you actually consider where the industry is going, where it's been and the implementation of the SIA imposing their standards for the UK, um, you have to accept the fact that. In answering the question, is the industry in a better place now than what it was pre SIA? The answer has to be, yes, it is. And the answer is yes, because, um, the two limits of the SIA one was to remove the criminality of the industry. And the second was to raise standards. Now argumentatively the, the second, uh, aspect for what they've done. Um, to my mind, they just haven't done whatsoever is, uh, um, Vic service, token gesture, um, and the bottom line with the standards out there, it's probably watered down. Um, and here we are talking about, um, the level of the industry right now. Um, but one has to bottom line, except that the industry is actually off to a better start point. The, it was three decades ago, it's in a much better place, but comparatively speaking, it's a much larger industry as well. So in terms of answering your question, um, I mean the industry is annoying to me. It is, it actually gets me frustrated because, um, the various, uh, excuses now concerning the level of the training, there's, there's a certain level of acceptance that this is our lot in life. We have to deal with it and get on with it. Stop the negativity, stop whinging about the training. Stop whinging about, um, the standards Alba. And yet if we don't whinge, nothing will happen. Now before the advent of Facebook, um, the, uh, the increase in social media, the, the actual presence of the internet has benefited both training and operations. Um, views of the industry as a whole. Um, there are positives, I'm a huge number of negatives to it. And generally, genuinely that we're following. Um, that was, uh, the thrust of the, of which was, uh, actually a good idea. Uh, it was, uh, a basis to discuss aspects of the industry where people come together, um, and know more about the industry to learn from each other. And yet there was a section of that industry of the forums where there'd be arguments involved and there'd be parts of the forums, or there'd be, uh, boxing, uh, elements of it for people to go and argue. And it was, this is the part of the industry really that you start to have to stand back and say, what is going wrong with this? Why are people arguing? Why is there a general attitude of this? And the thing is one has to now with a back to the SIA, because what they have imposed to the industry is an open door policy to all and sundry. Anyone can enter the industry you don't, regardless of. You don't need any previous experience, previous training, um, to actually enter the security industry as a start point. Um, there's no minimum age, there's no minimum medical. I mean, I, I can wish the boy too much, but I can run through a list of, um, a list of aspects, the attachment to affecting in close protection, operational performance. Um, so we have the four main subjects. We have poor components of a CP training, Canada, Paul components of a CPE training course, Paul components of a CP training provider, poor components of a CP service provider. And then on top of all of that, you have the imposition of poor standards by government organizations and authorities. Um, the SIA, for example, and then on top of that, another layer, they are safety operations that detrimentally affected by the laws. So in terms of, um, for example, when you do a comparison between a commercial CP operation and that within the government nature, like government CP observation, they've got the full powers of law on their side. So where, for example, without doing a move with a principal, when I go into a location, they can control the traffic flow, they can close lows, they can, they can go whatever speed they like. Um, when they get to the venue, they can have cordons, they can control unknowns, they can control crowds and so on. They can have a star on environment from a to B and throughout the move for me to be. Um, so in terms of where we are with the industry, Um, yes, we're in a better place, but is the actually fit for purpose? And the answer is no, it's not, and it's not fit for purpose because anyone can enter the industry. The training is poor and there's no oversight. And so the end user and the client, if they could have a serious reason for that buying of the service, the selling of the service is done by the full scope of business aspects and everything detriment because of a business. Again, if we were to make a comparison between the commercial sector and the government sector, the commercial sector is, um, detrimentally influenced by everything associated with business. So when someone says, um, what is sport is the business of close protection? So a company owner, or first and foremost at the top of his list is to make a profit. And there are detrimental aspects of profit making within a CP operation. But the reasons for that CP operation for that principal may be exactly the same for that point a sector, as it is in the government sector, they may have, um, uh, some specific targeted threat. And yet within a point or a sector is detrimentally affected because, um, the way a company sells it services, the way it provides it services and then a knock on effect for everything. So when you actually look at the business as a whole, the, um, the company is affected possibly by, um, the way, the fact that it's incorporated by someone who may not even have any knowledge or training experience within that service, they're delivering. Um, the management may not have any experience or knowledge. Um, the people they put on the ground are, um, recipients, so very poor training. Um, and so the end user, after, after you've actually gone through this entire process, the end user is they use a very watered down, um, service in terms of operational effectiveness, the actual underlying fact, or the underlying point with the whole of this, the whole of this topic. And the reason why we are where we are is to my mind solely based on the very fact of the lack of any incidents that could be directly attributed to the pull function of a CPO on the ground. Now, what I mean by that is. When you think about the many CPU operations out there in the private sector, how many times do you see videos or hear of something going terribly wrong, where the principal has been injured or killed as a result of the poor effectiveness on the ground, by the security providing? Um, because of the lack of, um, uh, occurrences, nothing could be attributed to actually spike a, uh, an, a famous that actually, yes, the training is that poor. That's why that's happened. And that's why that principal has been injured or killed. And because it's post protection in the private sector for the majority of reasons is, is conducted because of a life smoother, this performative, because of a, what if, um, in case of, as opposed to I have a specific threat I'm coming to London, I need security without. Yes. Um, it's a, it's a can of worms question that you've asked better and, and there were so many effecting factors, so many influences that affect the end result, um, for, for any, for any client. Um, it's a whole host of manifestations that have been imposed by the SIA. Um, as a, as I say, I mean, I could talk to, I could talk for ages about it. Um, but I mean, I've gone shopping, I'm shopping from one end to another, I'm missing a whole load out. Um, there's a whole load of texts that I could walk along about forever more, but the, the actual, the thing, I mean, close protection, as in many, for many of us, there's a passion of mine and it has been for decades. And it's just so sad to say that we have a government regulator who, uh, falls to the bottom line, um, in a minimalistic approach. But the thing is in their defense and the SIS. It's not really their fault because when one looks at the wording of the private security industry act 2001, the wording is written to such that the body needs to be formed to work on behalf of the home office. Now the home office has got their own limit in so far as reducing unemployment, increasing employment that they're focusing on statistics. Of course, the private security industry, as we know is a, is a booming industry. The tax revenue is huge. There are thousands and thousands of people employed in it. And so it's very important that the SIA have, uh, have an approach where the rationale, um, is, um, is equal to both sides of the selling and buying of the market. So if they're to impose a, a stringent regulation that affecting the one or the other, of course, the ad, the end result for the home office has got to be such that the revenue is going to be fine. So when the SIA working on behalf of the home office, but the home office have their own limit, the SIA can't be seen to be working in cotton, um, uh, contrary to that, they can't be seen to be placing barriers to employment. So hence what we, what we can't have is a, a system and process whereby we are setting hurdles for anyone entering, entering the industry. We can't be seen to be setting hurdles for, um, a minimum age, for example, um, uh, fit fit for purpose medic medically, uh, physically fit, mentally fit, even for joining the industry. Um, the SIA, cause it can't be seen to be, um, to be so difficult for someone to fail. It has to be an open door policy. If people have to be accepted into the industry, you have to be accepted and help through the course. And there you go out to. To provide a serious service for a client who may have a serious reason for that service. So what we have, we have a lot of aspects affecting the end user forum, um, uh, from the standard of candidate for training. So the training course, um, and the whole host of, uh, detrimental reasons from a business perspective in the private sector to all affected by the overall limit of the home office. And so what, where where's the industry left with the industry is left with a watered down service that is for the most part unfit for purpose for the end user, who is acquiring that service. That may be serious.

Shaun:

Yeah. The passion coming up with your voice, you know, it really frustrates you, the SIA, how it's all being rolled out, flipping back, what do you thinks been positive? What have they done? Right? Are they done anything right? That you think you, you mentioned? I think one positive was getting rid of the criminal. From many years ago. So that was a positive thing. Bringing in licensing. What else do you think the SIA has done? Right. If anything in your eyes,

Rich Aitch:

nothing, they haven't done anything like that. The criminality is just a tick box and that's easily done through these DBS checks in terms of actually there are other limits of raising standards, um, when you have to actually ask them, um, but I've written off to them numerous times and their responses are totally, but we're doing so when, for example, you're saying why isn't that a minimum age that will apply a stain? There is a minimum, age is 18 years old, but 18 years old minimum age is a standard default setting for any industry. It's, it's, it's a, uh, it's not a minimum age because the SIA imposed it is that it's a default setting in minimum age. When you say to them. Why can't you impose a minimum medical and health checks and so on. So I'll turn around and say, well, that's down for the employer to decide there's a slight, there's an element of, um, the minimalistic approach to the essay I've conducted and on challenging that level, they all have sloppy shoulders and say that, um, that's my lovely remit. That's the responsibility of the employer.

Shaun:

So they they're allowing a relationship to take place at the minimum standard. And then the pushing the book to the employer.

Rich Aitch:

Absolutely. So SIA, why isn't there to have your license required. You're basically telling me that a school leaver without a driver's license who is half blind, half deaf, who gets out of breath, walking up a couple of flights of stairs can attend a two week course and performing. Service serious service to an end user who actually may have, let's say respect to life. They then when you actually, when you actually consider the ramifications of what an industry regulator, as opposed to an end result of what is being received by the client, it is actually mind baffling. And the thing is we can, um, uh, we can, uh, ask the industry, um, is close, protectionists, serious business. This is a serious service. Everyone will provide you with a resounding yes, it is. Well, if it's so serious, why aren't we now providing a serious opposed to training because the end user could have a seamless reason for that service. The whole thing is a ridiculous. Um, set of cards that have fallen because of a poor approach. Now, if we were to rewind to 23, 20 12, when I, when I published our first book, I had written off to the SIA several times, um, asking them a whole host of questions. Um, and based there the basis for these questions was trying to gain an understanding of how they came across, how they came across their decision-making processes with regards to the standards though, he ended up and the question was, did you consult with members of the met police SES warmers, you please close protection to provide advice and guidance on the standards. And then you returned to say, yes, we did, but a little more digging. They didn't. So what they did do was they consulted with former members of those units who then had commercial interest. And of course the commercial aspect is, um, it's Sofar is close protection training is concerned, is to, uh, rely on footfall. So if they want a shorter course and increase the number of footfall through those courses, as opposed to a far longer course, um, without with fear of footfall. Now, of course, that's one, another, one of the reasons why the SIA have, have, um, uh, insisted on a short course, because to increase the course, uh, the jubilation of the course, while there were increased costs and it would increase the amount of time obviously to attend the course. So when you consider from what the home office remit is to get people back to work or, um, to, to change their career. And so on, it's a case of. That that student now needs to find so two or three or four times more costs, uh, funding to attend that course, which could take three foot three, two or three, four more times to, uh, to pass. So the whole thing works against the remit of the home office. You see? So where, where does this leave? So this bottom line, the thing is we can stand back from this and think, do you know what in United Kingdom have got a security industry, regulator that impose a specific set of margins for close protection? When you actually look at other countries, whether you agree with the SIA level or not, and you look at other countries, let's take the us, for example. So making a comparison between the SIA and the us, there's almost an argument of saying there isn't a company. Yes. I ate a lot up here. The U S the down here, and that's basic that's basically, um, because yes I have is a government body. The U S doesn't have long. There's nothing at federal federal level that impose a set of standards. Some states don't even recognize close protection. Some states say all you need is a concealed carry weapons permit. Some states actually impose, uh, I think it is, um, uh, Vegas or maybe incorrect impose a minimum standard of a, uh, personal protection specialist. I think they call it, but we, I think we're talking two states out of the over 50 states that have a set of standards they need to pass, but those standards are still very low. What's the private sector do about that in the United States? Well, I mean this whole discussion thing that the industry on a global scale now is fantastic. People are talking about close protection. People are talking about, uh, how to raise standards out there. But for me, it's what, what is the end result of this talk is talk. Yes, there are seminars, there are courses and so on and all the rest of it, but there's no, there's nothing that imposes that bottom line standard. The client in the U S doesn't know what he's going to get when it's likewise that's argument argumentative. Leave the same for the, for the UK as well, because stood by style. You could have someone who's not trained such as in a two week SIA course and someone who is trained stood side by side, wearing the same. And yet the client doesn't know until something's happened. And by then, it's too late. You say, so

Shaun:

it's exactly what I want you just seeing when I joined the industry, not the Michaels, you know, you get, I think you've got two different kinds of people. You've got people who are looking for. A bargain basement costs and say, I want to spend 800 pound a thousand pounds because I want to get the cheapest course because in the UK, now everyone has to see a body. Whether you spend six pound on a course or 1000. And I went out with my course in South Africa at the time, great cost, really enjoyed everything about it. I enjoyed the training, I enjoyed the experience. And when I joined the industry, it might have what your background was and it mattered what course you've done. You know, people looked at you with the, the provider you're trained with, and you've got a bit of kudos because you invested in yourself and you'd went to this provider to do that course. And I think that's been lost now with the rollout of the SIA and the license requirement because now absolutely tick box or entering the industry. So, you know, you will get your, you know, you could guys and girls who think, yes, I would invest in myself as, as a career. I'm going to go and get the best training and spend five, 6,000. But whatever, it may be on a course, but on the whole, you will get a lot of people that will spend, you know, a small amount. And it's like you said, you know, someone flies up in the UK, they need security and they don't know whether, you know, what do you value? It could be government level trends, whatever you've done, where it could be. One of the other guys who spent a thousand pound on a course and enough client may not actually know. He's just got. That security operator next to them that it's like insurance, you know, until, like you said, until something goes wrong, you you've got to hope what you're paying for that it's going

Rich Aitch:

to pay us. That's the bottom line shown because let's face it. How often do things go wrong? When, when things, when things go wrong and CP operations, uh, we're not talking about, um, uh, an attack on principle. We're talking about things of, um, why haven't you posted that letter? The principal asks you to post. Why haven't you, um, why don't you fill the car up for next day? Why don't you wash the car? Why haven't you done this? Why haven't you done that? These are all things that don't get out into the media and likely started because they're boring. They're not interested. The public doesn't need to know about it. Well, the public needs to know is the fact that the UK government has imposed a set of March. For training, uh, of a, um, close protection, operative, serious profession whereby um, uh, the end result could be very serious. That is the bottom line. And what you just said as well, in terms of you can pay this and get that where you can pay us, pay this and get that the bottom end result is that, that piece of plastic. So you can pay 800 pounds on the course, or you can pay 5,000. You're still going to end up with that piece of plastic. Um, and at the end of the day, that's the ticket. You need to work in the industry. So it's, it's, unfortunately you can have people that will actually go out their way and look for that best trading possible and spend longer on the trading, spend more of that harder and money on the training and end up with exactly the same license as someone else. And it brings that brings up the question. Should we have a tier, a colored card? License based on experience, but the SIA is simply not going to entertain that because it's a barrier to employment. People have to start somewhere. Of course, and you can't have a set of training courses where the delivery of a certain course provides you with a green license and the other one provides you with an Amber one. It just, the whole situation I'm workable. But at the end of the day, someone with a good background, a good course trailing isn't recognized on the street because they, because Tommy is exactly the same as Derek. Who's exactly the same as Holly.

Shaun:

The one thing I've always found crazy about the SIA and the CP sector from the very first license I obtained last three years, you reapply, you get it again. Three years ago. You apply again. You get it again. There's no. Refresh after trading. There's no nothing, you know, and I know that, you know, the many people who've worked in the industry and renewed their license every three years, they haven't been in full-time employment. Some of them have done very little employment and they've stepped away because they couldn't get work, but their license will get renewed every single time. And there's no barrier to that. You know, there's no checks. Um, yeah, I just, I find that crazy stuff, 12 years down the line, you can reapply and you're going to get the same license without any checks that you've beat an employment or you know, that any further refresh, refresh our training to develop yourself. It's it's crazy.

Phelim:

What if, what if I try and find some positive in all of this? Just as a little positive with the drawdown, people are assuming this is going to get a lot worse because there'll be a lot more people looking for the same amount of work. If not less work. But could we not see that as an opportunity that the client will have a greater selection of experience? Um, is that maybe a possible positive to look forward to? No,

Rich Aitch:

no, no, not at all Pelham though. Unfortunately in interest just doesn't work like that because, um, there's, there is one fantastic analogy about the economic economics of things. It goes like this. Um, and we're talking about the economic rationale is developed by some sort of eco economist somewhere. And the, and the thing goes about, um, there are 98 dogs and there's a 900 dogs in a room and there's only 95 bones. So they send a hundred dogs into the room to grab a bone. And of course, five dogs come back, come back without any bones. So they get, they come together and they say, how can we fix the problem? And they sent the five dogs. To train it, how to find bones. They conduct the test. Again, they send a hundred dogs in to get 95 bones, but of course the five dogs they trained, they ended up getting bones. But of course there's still going to be five dogs without the bones. When, when you're talking about an industry where you have X number of opportunities and Y number of trained operatives, I mean, I don't know how many thousands there are CP opposites. Now we'll also look there's over 7,000, but out have 7,000 in the UK. They, um, you can guarantee, I mean, sure, sure. Guaranteed. It's only a small fraction of that are actually, uh, doing the industry circuit as you call and even a smaller fraction of that are involved on permanent. And we're not talking to permanent vest jobs, we're talking permanent CP jobs that go on that public come to contract it till you're 65 years old or whatever. These are very small diamond dust opportunities to everyone is after you say so what's just happened in Afghanistan. You have a, an awful lot of, um, SIA trained, uh, CP operatives, majority of which are former military. They've gone out there conducted PSD PSD style operations, Afghanistan closes down. They come back to the UK looking for CP work. And of course, uh, hitting a, uh, an industry sector is that, um, this badly be hit by COVID. Uh, but even if they came back to the end of the year, came back to the country and COVID wasn't around. They still wouldn't be able to fall slot back into a CP job that easily. Yes. The major security companies out there, the global, the global organizations, they will have fingers in pies and a lot of countries, and there'll be opportunities out there, but you'll find that most of these opportunities actually require a whole different set of, um, uh, qualifications. Uh, and those that we'll, we'll talk about that. We'll be talking about the qualification size later on in terms of the SIAC CP. Um, the general industry, um, approach now, um, w which is pretty, that's a fair, um, they, they will provide, um, credence to therapies that, um, students cannot be expected to take more time off work. There is no evidence that an eight week course is better than a two week course. Uh, no course makes anyone an expert. Uh, you learn on the job. The course is only a starting point, uh, and a good course can be delivered in two weeks. And these are already excuses where they're falling down to the acceptance line of. This is what we been given. This is our lot in life, crack on and deal with it. Do your course, get out into the industry, learn the job, and then you can carry on with your career. And this mindset, this mindset is totally wrong, is totally wrong. You don't find doctors do not police police officers straight out of college. They have a two year probation. There's no mechanisms in place to ensure that when someone leaves a two year, a two week course that, um, they are then, uh, mentored they're supervised when they, when they go into a job.

Shaun:

So, yeah. Yeah. As we're talking about the drawdown from Afghanistan, you know, already, before the drawdown in the UK, there's a lot more problems. The more there is seats. So it's you, you're dead. Right? You're coming back from Afghanistan as well. The guys who operated over there for a number of years, they have a different set of skills to what's required in a corporate or within a family office, working for someone within the UK. It's whilst you have a fantastic set of skills. You know, some principals don't want to employ someone who who's come straight spending five, six years in Afghanistan because they think maybe they haven't been checked out. I'm not the stop gap, the brick to free themselves from that. Do you know that they'd been in a hostile environment where to them, all they see is the news what's going on and they come through with nothing, but to them, they don't know that. So for them guys who would just come back from Afghanistan, so it's very tough to, to break down. But on the flip side, the guys who have spent a small amount on a course or, and just on the bare minimum talk and effort to get work are already in the UK. Surely if you're wanting one of these guys or girls, you'd be like, There's a vacuum of people coming back to the UK, you've got to think I'm going to have to invest in myself and do something more. I only got a first day at work from this course. I get to get fret three or fretful to improve my medical skills. Or when do you need to do something to kind of pull yourself up that list, the operators who are coming apart from these places, we are stepping back from individual licensing. What was your thoughts on business licenses? We've spoke about. Anyone can join the UK. So you've been in industry with no background whatsoever, no military background, no police background. You can come from school, going to St. Pecos and get a license. And we've spoke about yours is on companies to vet the guys and girls. What's it done? Of course. So what's your thoughts on sort of business license as a, as a second stock cup and quality control. Do you think it would

Rich Aitch:

benefit the industry or to be honest, you're just showing up. I don't know too much about the business licensing aspects. Um, I do have something actually I could lead out, um, because I did ask the SIA about them. Um, give me two seconds.

Shaun:

Uh, w what was your search for that? I mean, it was spoken about wasn't it a few years ago, and I actually thought it would be a really positive thing, because there were so many fly by night companies and, you know, the undercutting of price across all of these businesses. And if you, you know, you've got your guys and girls who are licensed, and then if you've got that second call, you check with the companies, you haven't got so many companies going for the same jobs, they are held accountable for what they're providing and. I think it would be a positive step, but it just needs to be rolled out correctly. And not just as a check box, like maybe the individual license and was, but I do think it could be a good,

Rich Aitch:

um, what I'll have in 2019, the honorable Nick heard MP who was the minister of state for policing in the fire services time responded to the outstanding recommendation. So the view of the Sol. The minister reported the government's position that that review had produced insufficient evidence for extending the current licensing regime under new ingenue legislation. Therefore the government would not be pursuing changes such as business licensing or replacing individual licensing with a compulsory approved contractor scheme, the additional regulatory burden cost and complexity of introducing business licensing, IE while simultaneously phasing out individual licensing to prevent double regulation without a substansive business case was a key factor in the government's decision business licensing for fall will not be going ahead. And to be honest with you, uh, uh, from what I know about business licensing, I don't really agree with it anyway. It needs to be an injured individual basis. Yeah, no,

Shaun:

I, I, I get that book. Do you not think if. Businesses where licensee your company. Morbius my company and all the other companies that it would get rid of. A lot of, I don't know, maybe Jeff companies are just set up, check on things and, you know, draw the price down if you're the company's relations as well. I mean, I can't sing any negatives to it if it's rolled out correctly. Um, I think it would be a good thing, but it's like you said, it's gotta, it's gotta be rolled out in the correct manner and some thought given to it. Um, otherwise we have the same situation, which you've mentioned. Anyone can set up a company and you have to bid on anything and you get these contracts and you put whoever they want on these jobs. And there's no real quality check. If the quality check is from the company, why isn't the company quality checks.

Rich Aitch:

Well, th the thing is there's, there's, there's several points w what she mentioned, and I do agree with you. Um, however, um, though the way the industry as well, um, is the fact that people, uh, it's an individual career, people are very rarely permanently employed, and when they are employed, um, it's usually done through a company set up for the, for the basis of, uh, finance and administration, as opposed to a, a major core security company. And we're talking about private family office there. So in effect you would be termed as directly employed, but for the benefits of finance and admin, you actually come under a company, uh, that pays your wages, deals with expenses and so on. Um, but in, in effect, they're not actually a security company that provides services to anyone else that is solely for the team. So, in addition to that, if you were to change something about a security industry, Business, um, um, w what I'd like to see change would be a case of, okay, you delivering the service, you need to prove, uh, you need to provide evidence of your own training and knowledge and the delivery of that service, so that you can provide a set up a company delivering that service, as opposed to what happens. Now, you only one can incorporate a company without any knowledge or training. Um, yes. I mean, if they could do that then great, but of course they can't just do that to one industry and not to any other industry. So now we come back to the home office as well on a statistical concern. You, you, they want people to be in employment. And if you were to set barriers like that, they are in the fact barriers to employment. You want people to create business, to create work, to employ people, then not really care. They don't care about the standard and advise the person that cares about the standards is the end user, which is a ridiculous notion because. Yeah. The people who are setting the standards, they're the people who are regulating and licensing. The standards these standards have imposing on industry is this, and yet what are we left with? What's the end user left with they're left with an empty suit on the streets and harsh his own. That may say, yeah, that is reality. That really is the thrust of the issue here. And people in the industry, they can cop on about saying, oh, well this is, I've got this background. I can do this. I can do that. What you're saying is really important. It's never going to happen. I mean, don't forget the UK SIA is solely for the UK environment. So there's a whole list of, uh, aspects concerning close protection that the SIA doesn't even include by debt, by default setting. There's no high risk environment training whatsoever. So when you have someone attending a two week SIA course, and they turn around to you and you question them and say, oh, but, um, you know, I'm trying in five arms, you're not trained in anti ambush drills. Well, what good are you? Oh, yes, but I don't, I don't, I only want to work in UK. You can go and see that if you had a businessman approached them and say, I want to employ you in a few countries in south America, I'll pay you this. Are they really going to turn it down? And it makes them, I'm sorry. So I'm not trained in, or the whole host of skill sets that I've acquired for that environment. The whole thing is, uh, is, um, then are say it's it's, uh, the whole thing is shrouded in a, uh, a smoke and mirrors effect where, um, you have training providers and operational companies. Providing a service, the training or place or service done under the banner of, um, we provide the highest standards we go above and beyond the SIA. We, we know what you need. We can provide it in reality as far from the truth. Um, companies will say we've got strategic partners in reality, they don't. And, uh, I've, I've, I've, I've, I've proven that to myself. I mean, I've only, I've seen both sides of the fence. Um, so only up until five years ago, uh, I was just solely, um, providing the service on the ground. Now I'm on the other side of the fence where I'm actually doing business, the businesses. And when you come to interact with other companies and you know, that they've evolved in the same sort of tendering process because you have, end-users approaching various companies for quotes, you know, for a fact that the company is, they're not actually true to the word on their, on their website. And let's not forget in the UK, you have a pool of operatives, the majority of which it's on a two week course. So that's your pool of operators and they're out there. They are ready to work. They follow their CVS off to all these companies. You go on one company website and they will claim this. You go into another one and they'll claim this. You go on to another, and now claim this at the end of the day, they're using the same pool of operatives. So the end result on the ground in terms of operational performance is exactly this, that. A company can stay blur, blur, blurb on their website. But yes, that may be in accordance with BSI standards ISO's and so on. Take boxes for the office, but that doesn't affect operational performance on the ground by the individual. So this is ultimately the most important factor of it. What is an end-user a client actually receiving on the ground and when someone says, oh, I've got 10 years experience in close protection, what exactly does that experience involve? I can be following someone. I can be following someone around. I can be starting vehicles sat in hotel lobbies for 10 years. Is that the experience is that really experienced of close protection? Now it's not, anyone can follow someone around. Anyone can, can be sat in the car or hotel lobby, but it's actually what you're doing with your head. What are you actually looking out for? Are you being proactive in your, uh, threatened risk mitigate. It's the client actually receiving a service. He thinks he has bought from a company. I mean, you have a whole host of things of a company oversight on an operation. So you can have, um, a client, a client approaches a, a company, um, uh, for, for a close protection service. And the company says, yes, we can provide us. And now then file out on social media. We need five CPO's and three vehicles. First to the second of first, 1st of September, to the 2nd of October, they get all these TVs in. There you go. There's a job order sent out. They'll put a post up on a WhatsApp group. There you go. Bang, there's your job. Don't leave it to a team leader to sort it out. There's, there's lack of concern with our client, his needs, that he actually sat down with a client and they understand the reasons for the provision of service. Do they actually form a proper effective risk assessment for him? Did they actually select the CVS according to mitigation of that risk? Do they actually provide that service that the client wants and needs? It's a, it's very much a, uh, uh, uh, bums on seats, footfall

Phelim:

slap

Rich Aitch:

dash. That's a fair attitude to the whole process. And one box the SIA to in 2005 or 2004, I gave them a list of everything. A CP course should contain most of it. They didn't include. 15 years down the line, we see them consider physical intervention for coastal protection. I told them about this 15 years ago, the SIA regulate the industry. In hindsight, they rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic when it should be stared properly, the whole process is wrong. The industry, I mean the good things. Going back to your question Pelham, there are digressing slightly. Yes. There are huge positives taken from the industry. The industry has, um, increased. For the better over the years, without a doubt, it has, but let's not forget what was the start point to start pointing with? So low, you're talking about courses and gouges at the bottom of a garden to now you have a, a licensed post-tests. You have a somewhat vetted process in terms of criminality, you have a proper regulated and licensed industry. You have an imposed set of standards for a course, and you have an industry where more knowledge about the service is now present than it was decades ago, but it should be actually stay there. Should we actually say wow, pat ourselves on the back, we've done a great job. No.

Phelim:

Well, as long as long as people like yourself, uh, there, uh, you know, banging a drum, hopefully somebody will listen at some stage. Um, I have some experience with bureau bureaucrats having worked as a bureaucrat. Um, so I can appreciate, uh, the context, um, and, uh, some, some, some of the difficulties, um, it's often it's often said, you know, don't, don't, uh, commissioner, uh, report into something that you don't know the outcome, uh, already off, actually it's often said that it's probably something from yes, minister. Um, but, but, but, but there's certainly room for improvement. Um, so many different places we could go, but I think this is a very useful tool to force and sort of snapshots about now about what you're doing and about what the industry could, uh, help you champion. Um, if, if they, there are useful is listening to this, for example. Um, but we, we do have to end it somewhere. From Sean and myself, Richard, this has been an excellent, uh, expos, a, uh, a, you know, snapshot and, and I really hope this will energize at least some people with influence, but if not people with influence than people, uh, you know, as the industry, as a whole that's, that's

Jon:

my wish. Thank you very much for having me

Phelim:

a hot topic. Indeed. Should we leave it to the market? Should we leave it to government to decide what standards we should or should not have Richard Aitch as always a very, very passionate speaker. Um, John, what do you think we can take away from today?

Jon:

Well, I think, you know, when you get somebody on like rich, who. Spends a lot of time in this area, you know, I mean, Rich's literally wrote the book on it. Um, you know, deep thinker on standards and definitely has a very strong opinion on regular regulation. And I think one thing that is evident is that it's a powerful force. It's something that we might have to consider as a necessary evil that we need to learn to work with and not spend all our time fighting. Yes. You know, let's fight to make change where it's possible, but also understand that it's here. We have accept accepted. And we have to find, in addition to working with the, the board, the SIA board, we have to find other ways in which we can promote standards, you know, and that's what the circuit magazine was created for. It was born out of this. We created the circuit magazine and the two associations over 13 years ago at a time when the SIA was just being conceived and there was very little in terms of standard and there was a huge influx into the industry. So it was important that there were voices at that stage and, you know, support it. A lot of people who make this is my belief. Anyway. Decisions, but operating calls in the industry do so a lot of the time out of ignorance or because they were, they were influenced by others and they didn't already come in with that institutionalized standardization and, you know, that's so that's, that's what we exist for. And that's what we've been doing for well over a decade.

Phelim:

And as much as maybe we can say that we need to raise standards and, and yes, maybe they SIA are more concerned with, uh, other badges that one can have apart from CP that are perhaps, um, you know, more, um, day to day. Um, at least it is a. Um, not the case in other countries, uh, for example, the states have been grappling with this. Um, of course individual states have their own requirements, but for a national standard, I know ACS have been looking at it. And, uh, you know, even more recently, uh, the newly formed board of executive protection professionals, um, with, uh, James Cameron and other colleagues like to Bonilla, uh, you know, th th th they're looking at getting that standard up, um, across the board. But I do wonder if it's not a federal requirement. Um, and I don't think that federal requirements are quite popular. Um, I w you know, I wonder how they're going to do

Jon:

it really interesting to watch, because if they are able to conceive of something that. Does set a standard that people adhere to, and it doesn't just become the low bar to entry that many people consider the SIA to be. Then it could be, you know, good work and model for everyone else to look at. So I'm, you know, for one, I'm really excited about this really looking forward to. How, uh, how this goes and it's you look at the people who are on the board and you certainly know that if they, if they don't achieve that rain, it won't be for the want of trying

Phelim:

not, that is an excellent way to look at it. So shout out to our us friends. We, we definitely want to, uh, talk to you on one of the episodes of the Circuit magazine and, and, and definitely want to get some articles in, uh, on that, on that topic as well, because, you know, obviously, uh, what happens in the states reverberates around the world. Uh, as, as we all know, um, but talking about articles, um, I know that we are very keen for some new contributors to this next edition. Um, what, uh, what kind of, what kind of topics do you think would go down? Well, I know last time we had some very interesting ones on etiquette, uh, uh, Sudan, uh, uh, you know, they kind of, uh, put something in what, what could people, uh, come to us with in terms of contributions for the next magazine? Well,

Jon:

you know, Pelham rather than talk about specific areas of contribution, we've, we've spoke about this, you know, at the end of the podcast for a few weeks now, and you know, what, what I don't want is it to become just white noise that everyone tunes out. Uh, I think I'd really like to just take a moment to reflect. On what we mean by contribution and the different forms that can take. Now, we've got a large community, both in the associations, readers and listeners to the podcast. And there's so many different ways in which you can contribute. And it's not just about, you know, putting words on paper could be as simple as Sharon, this podcast, you know, with, with a friend or, or colleague. And it really helps spread the word. It gets more people into the community. It gets more people talking and therefore contributing to this bigger message. And you know, th this is, this is not a call to action from a commercial point of view. This is a gain building into the whole standards of the industry, because. I like to think that our communities are really built on solid foundations of a hard core of professionals. You know, many people in our communities have been with us since day one. And, and that is created this really strong spine. And we, you know, we have some fantastic discussions. There's good discussions going on right now in the ops. You know, uh, there's a, there's a great conversation that I, I put out there in the BBA app about, uh, drivers and relationship building and to see the responses that, that God, you know, is really encouraging. And this is what we want to do just, uh, throughout all the platforms. So listen, whatever suits you best, whether it's the newsletter, whether it's the podcast and magazine, one of our events, you know, just, just ask yourself, can I do one more thing? You know, whether that's leave a comment, whether that's write an article, whether that is tell a friend, you know, and let's, let's try to, to grow this and expand it and see what, uh, discussions we can have with.

Phelim:

Well, then that is an excellent place to leave it to. I know it's not a, uh, been a call to action, but let me make it a call to action, please like subscribe, write an article and share this podcast, uh, to at least one other, uh, you know, you can share it on LinkedIn. That's obviously somewhere you can, you can really get good traction. Uh, but of course, everywhere is available as well. Um, Many thanks to rich H C O Moebius on the topic of standards and regulation, especially in the UK for the CP industry. This has been a big and important episode of the circuit magazine podcast.

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