“Security managers lack influence over security budgets” reports SRI

THE SECURITY Research Initiative (SRI) has just published its latest report. Entitled ‘The Role of Security in Influencing the Budget’, the aim of this latest research study – sponsored by Axis Communications, Bidvest Noonan, interr, M&S, Mitie, OCS, PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Security Industry Authority and Sodexo – was to explore the extent to which security managers are able to influence the security budget, whether (and why) this matters and how greater influence can be attained.

Results are based on the views of security professionals from both in-house and contract positions (predominantly those currently in a ‘security manager/director’-type role), collected via an online survey in addition to in-depth interviews.

The survey outcomes make for particularly interesting reading. 76% of those security professionals surveyed agreed that being able to influence the budget is key to delivering good security. Influence over the budget was considered important for several reasons. It’s deemed to afford status to security in discussions with other departments, in turn enabling security advice and proposals to commonly be listened to, while also helping to direct the allocation of resources using relevant expertise.

A lack of influence here means that security managers cannot purchase basic and essential resources or plan effectively, duly resulting in security decisions being made by non-security experts.

Levels of influence

Some 51% of respondents in a current security management role had a high level of influence on the budget. 10% were ‘not involved’. 46% of security managers/directors thought that their current budget was ‘insufficient’ (42% thought it was ‘sufficient’). Unsurprisingly, those with the highest levels of influence over the budget were the least likely to view it to be insufficient.

Reasons for the budget being considered less than required included the belief that the budget allocated did not reflect the risks faced and didn’t cover key areas such as training, travel, basic equipment and contingencies. Teams were understaffed, rising costs are not covered and it’s often a case of being asked to provide more for less.

The chances of being allocated an appropriate budget were improved if the security function was seen as being core to business (86% of respondents agreed on this assertion), an organisation understands its security threats and risks (85% agreed) and/or the security team has a high status (83% agreed).

Research participants highlighted a number of ways in which security managers can become influential. For example, they can relate security spend to reducing business risks and improving operations, highlight the dangers and risks in not meeting objectives, ensure the risk owner understands and accepts the implications/risks and use data to underpin the fact that arguments are evidence-based. Further, they can link physical security spend to cyber security (where the latter is is viewed as a greater priority, thereby attracting a bigger budget).

Overall, this latest SRI research underlines the importance of security professionals being able to influence the budget, so too the barriers to them being able to do so effectively.

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Gavin Stephens appointed to lead National Police Chiefs’ Council

CHIEF CONSTABLE Gavin Stephens has been appointed to lead the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) from April 2023. Current chair Martin Hewitt will leave the post in March next year after serving a four-year term.

Chief constables were invited to apply for the post of NPCC chairin October. Chief constable Gavin Stephens applied for the post and, in accordance with election rules, has been appointed.

Stephens has worked in policing for nearly 30 years, first joining the Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 1993 and then Surrey Police in 1996, where he has been working for over two decades now, serving in every rank up to the role of chief constable.

He was initially based in East Surrey on neighbourhood policing and went on to roles in serious and organised crime, professional standards and local policing.

On a national level, Stephens has played a major role in developing and modernising neighbourhood policing. He led the implementation of the Neighbourhood Policing Guidelines in 2016.

Stephens is currently chair of the NPCC’s Finance Co-ordination Committee, as well as chair of the national Communications Advisory Group.

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