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Rising manpower costs make a case for remote security

The recent Budget reminded us that - from April – National Insurance rates for employees and employers will rise, and so will the Living Wage. These increases in the price of labour mean now is a good time to consider electronic and remote security solutions as a long term flexible and often a considerably cheaper alternative to man-guarding.

Inflation in the supply chain and the increase in average earnings are impacting the bottom line for many businesses. Next April, these higher costs will be compounded by a 1.25% rise in NI rates.

“But how does this relate to security?” you ask. Well, for those employing security officers on the current minimum wage, the combined impact of the rise in Living Wage and NI rate could amount to a potential 10% increase in the total costs associated in the employment of man-guarding services.

Make no mistake, we’re the first to recognise that, whether hired internally or outsourced, the presence of trained security officers can provide safety on site with skill, commitment and compassion. However, there are many locations and circumstances when the use of a remote security solution as an alternative can lower an organisation’s overall security costs while also mitigating against risk more effectively.

Alert and responsive security services 24/7

Reducing costs doesn’t mean reducing cover or quality. In fact, it could be quite the opposite. Previously, certain monitoring services could only be carried out on-site but advances in technology mean they can now be monitored and managed remotely, around the clock. With alarms and cameras connected to a security operations centre (SOC), highly trained and qualified operatives can carry out multiple security checks from one central location. These checks can include ‘remote’ patrolling of sites and vulnerable spots at designated times, using pre-determined camera spots.

If an intruder or fire alarm on-site is triggered, remote monitoring can identify what is happening and whether it’s a false alarm or something that requires investigation. If it’s the latter, the operative can promptly despatch mobile patrol officers or direct the emergency services to the scene. Some remote guarding systems also have a public address-style feature which enables the SOC operative to ‘surprise’ any would-be intruder with an audio warning – discovering that they are being watched and recorded encourages most perpetrators to make a hasty exit! And if they don’t? Well, the digital recordings can provide evidence for potential prosecution. Recorded footage can also capture hazards causing accidental damage, such as fire or flood, for use as proof for insurance claims.

At Securitas’ own SOC in Milton Keynes, we also support access control at sites where verification is required to ensure only authorised personnel enter or exit the premises. While this may not sound as welcoming as a cheery ‘hi’ or ‘bye’ from an on-site security officer, SOC operatives are human too and they act with the same friendly courtesy.

Remote security solutions that deliver long term ROI

You may already have CCTV and/or alarm systems in place but, if they are old, they may not support remote monitoring and response services. However, upgrading to the new digital-led equipment could cost less than you think. You can choose to buy the equipment outright or let us make the up-front investment on your behalf, in which case you just pay a single monthly fee for all the protective services you need – technology, monitoring, response, intelligence and so on. Once installed, an up-to-date electronic surveillance and alarm system will continue to deliver a return on investment for many years to come.

There will always be circumstances for which man-guarding is the best approach, and we are outspoken in our belief that trained security officers are ‘essential workers’ who should be valued and rewarded as such. However, we also know that today’s technologies, combined with remote monitoring and mobile guarding, can drastically reduce overheads while improving security standards. With labour costs currently increasing, the case for exploring remote alternatives is strong.

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