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IPSA reviews latest guarding standard revision.

International Professional Security Association (IPSA) : 26 July, 2007  (Technical Article)
Latest revision of static and mobile guarding standard (BS 7499) comes into force at the end of July and is reviewed by IPSA.
The new revision of BS 7499 Static site guarding and mobile patrol service is published on 31 July 2007.

The new version is the result of twelve months of work by representatives of various security associations including IPSA and BSIA, the main security inspectorates (NSI and SSAIB) and other interested parties.

Whilst the revision includes the usual updates of linked standards, recognition of changing practices (usually due to technology), improvements to procedures and the chance to clarify areas previously open to misinterpretation, there are some larger changes which may require significant changes by guarding companies.

Recognition is given to the increasing use of technology in control rooms. Companies using computer systems and electronic systems are expected to have a back up for power or system failures. The standard leaves it to companies to decide the best method, but it could be either an alternative power source or a back up paper based system.

Increasingly companies are using automated systems for receiving check calls. The standard now insists that these systems are checked daily. Again the standard allows companies to determine the method of conducting the checks, but the system chosen and checks require to be documented. A simple system would be for the control room operator to pick a random site during the night, contacting them a few minutes before their check call is due and asking them to miss the scheduled call. The operator would then verify that the missed call was notified by the system.

An omission from previous editions of the standard, the latest version now includes that the control room manual should include the expected actions if a check call is late or missed. Hopefully, despite it not being detailed in BS 7499, companies would already have a policy, but the occasional company only does the bare minimum.

Another area which has been improved is the welfare of security officers. Supervisory (or management) visits should include discussions about welfare and training needs with security officers. The standard also now includes security officers receiving an annual performance appraisal.

There are a significant number of minor changes, which will require companies to tweak their procedures. It is recommended that companies buy a copy of the latest version of the standard, to ensure that they are fully compliant. Members of security associations may receive advice about the changes as a benefit of membership (IPSA members automatically received details of all the changes in the standard).

BS 7499 can be purchased from the British Standards Institution or from a number of resellers including IPSA.
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