Mat Cook joined Churchill Security in 2006, working first as Operations Director with responsibilities including managing training practices and assessing the performance of staff.
In 2013, he was promoted to Managing Director. Mat spoke to us about the challenges he’s faced during his time as MD, as well as what his vision for the company moving forward is.
I joined Churchill Security at a time when the security industry was changing dramatically – not least because of the introduction of much more stringent regulations.
This both offered opportunities and posed difficulties. In order for Churchill to continue to grow as a quality provider of security services across the UK, I recognised that we needed, not only to adhere to the new regulation, but to go above and beyond what consumers expect from a security company. Additionally, to really set ourselves apart, it was imperative that we only hired properly trained, qualified and licensed guards.
Today, the security industry is a highly competitive place. This means many companies are involved in a race to the bottom – offering low prices but equally low levels of service. This not only jeopardises business assets, it also puts people at risk.
As a company, we take a very different approach. By offering the very best levels of service and the most highly-trained staff, we look to grow by establishing Churchill as a true industry leader. There’s proof that this is working, as Churchill Security is currently recognised as a member of the ACS Pacesetters – which represents the top 15 percent of all security companies – and in the last five years, Churchill has worked with over 4,000 companies and grown 125 percent between 2014 and 2018.
Regardless, it is frustrating that some companies looking for a security solution are drawn in by the low prices offered by certain providers. I believe that education is necessary for potential procurers to prove the value of expert professional advice and consulting. Of course, as a company, this would chime with our quality-first approach. Additionally, however, I believe this would also go a long way to improving the reputation of the security industry as a whole.
The world is changing. New security technologies are being released all the time and the industry is more competitive than ever. As such, one of our immediate objectives is to enhance our technology systems and to further develop our scope of services in line with these developments. Our recent expansion of our headquarters in Chorley and our investment into a brand-new state-of-the-art control room enabled us to upgrade our CCTV monitoring systems and remote access control.
We will likely need more professionals and a new breed of specialist security officers. Getting the right people into the right roles remains an absolute priority for us. However, it’s not always easy. Although a lot of progress has been made in recent years, I continue to feel disappointed that there is a significant lack of properly trained professionals in the field. While all those working in the security industry need to have SIA licensed credentials to get in the door, the push towards more advanced technology to combat bigger threats means companies need to expand, develop and take on many of the responsibilities that currently sit with the SIA – such as comprehensive staff vetting and career development.
The requirement for more specialist security officers means it is imperative businesses do all they can to develop their staff and meet this need. Although doing this will mean companies will have to assume more responsibility for their staff – and absorb the costs that such responsibilities incur – it is also the best way to ensure they continue to offer relevant, futureproof services.
If security companies don’t embrace these changes, the future of the industry is uncertain. In order for the security industry to meet these changing needs, it is likely that an enhanced form of governance and regulation is necessary. The SIA – which has already done so much for the security industry – is best-placed to assume this role.
Although the SIA faces challenges when it comes to addressing these concerns, the organisation is already making progress on them. From our point of view, we are making sure that we are prepared for these changes – and that Churchill Security continues to lead the way when it comes to meeting today’s security requirements.
As an industry, we need to move quickly. The continued threat of terrorism – sadly evidenced by the many recent terrorist attacks around the world – has highlighted the fact that tackling these issues is more important than it’s ever been.
Churchill Security remains committed to the challenges that terrorism and other modern threats presents to us all. We understand that security companies can play an important role in preventing terrorist activities.
We will continue to push to develop our staff so that they are able to perform expertly in “special service” security roles. Additionally, we will continue to educate our partners about the importance of high-quality security practices and consultancy. However, at the end of the day, actions speak louder than words. And we plan to lead by example – by refusing to participate in the race to the bottom, by continuing to develop our staff and by ensuring, as a company, that we are prepared to deal with changing security needs.
Although the specifics have changed, our ambition remains what it’s always been. I only deem a project we have been involved with to have been successful when we exceed expectations. And, as a company, we will continue to supply the very best, customer-orientated security services possible.