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John Edwards

Safety special: Schools save with smart security

John Edwards discusses the growing trend for security personnel to support pupils and staff, as well as manage buildings under construction

Posted by Hannah Oakman | July 07, 2016 | Security & safety

Schools, colleges and universities do not traditionally spring to mind when people think of sites that require security operatives. But, there has been a sharp rise in the number of educational establishments employing security providers over the last few years. This might initially seem alarming, however having a presence from security staff onsite does not necessarily mean these organisations foresee trouble from their students.

The duties of security operatives are much wider than simply ensuring students behave appropriately. The rise in the number of security operatives employed in education roles has come as the scope of their role has been transformed.

In addition to liaising with and safeguarding students across a site, security operatives’ duties can now include supporting and assisting with queries from visitors and helping with the management of events such as open days and presentation ceremonies. 

Officers are often responsible for providing light mechanical and electrical support, including changing lightbulbs and moving equipment. 

A security operative is a constant visual presence. They can be reassuring and they are also the eyes and ears of the establishment. They are regularly the first to notice any welfare issues or first aid incidents as they are mobilised across sites throughout the day.  

As the role of a security guard in an education establishment grows, so too does the number, with increasing numbers of schools, colleges and universities recognising the vital role they can play not just in keeping people safe, but also in ensuring the smooth running of the site throughout the day.

Significant economies

We work in partnership with a range of education providers including Wigan & Leigh College, Manchester Metropolitan University, the Education Funding Agency and City Lit College in London to keep students safe on campuses, as well as to provide secondary information, guidance and resource optimisation functions.

Our integrated security teams can provide an innovative, concierge service, combining all the duties outlined above. 

The operatives work smart to undertake a range of duties specifically tailored to education customers’ needs. Oltec FM security operatives at education sites utilise numerous electronic solutions to assist them with their duties. Our bespoke app allows security operatives to access a range of functions including maintenance reporting, staff management as well as GPS tracking and geotagging. The system has been specifically designed to use in environments that require a high level of customer care such as schools, colleges and universities. 

Empty sites

Another role that security operatives are increasingly fulfilling at education sites is perimeter security for new locations that are under construction and older ones undergoing refurbishment. 

Security operatives can patrol the perimeter, enforce building site regulations, monitor visitor’s access, and record the details of activity on a site.

They’re essential to the smooth running of a building project, something that is especially important in the education sector given the finality of deadlines and requirements that work be undertaken wholly or in a large part during holiday periods.

Added value

As education providers have come to appreciate the value of security operatives, their prominence at sites across the UK has increased. In part, this is in recognition of a changing security climate, however, it’s also largely down to the value they can add to the running of a successful educational site.

The savings and benefits of a security team can be significant.

John Edwards is Facilities Management Director at Oltec FM

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