Security Buyer sits down with Security Buyer Live media partner and speaker, Mike Hurst, Main Board Director, The International Foundation for Protection Officers (IFPO)
You will be speaking on ‘Mental Health, Education and Recruitment’ in your session at Security Buyer Live (SBLive). What key learning points will this session focus on?
Education has been at the core of the IFPO mission for over 30 years. Better educated and trained frontline officers are more effective in their security roles, deliver better service and are more likely to see security as a career. At the core of this are our two global certifications, Certified Protection Officer (CPO) and Certified in Security Supervision and Management (CSSM). Over 92,500 individuals have achieved one of these which need to be recertified every two years through CPD. There are also some Certificate courses based upon the same material.
With our learning partner, Nuology, we have launched the IFPO Learn platform in the UK and Ireland, offering bite sized modules. We are now starting to roll out our full Level 1, 2 and 3 programs. The level three is a mix of classroom, eLearning and practical application. These are accredited by Highfield.
There are lots of well-meaning people and groups talking about the mental health and the wellbeing of frontline security officers, but there has been little real action. I feel we need less of the former and more of the latter.
There are two main aspects of Mental Health that I and IFPO are focusing on. Officers are often the first point of contact (or first responders) with the public. I know of many instances where officers have had to drag people from rail tracks, edges of car park roofs or had to deal with violence and aggression from people with mental illness. To help this, officers need to have training on recognising the signs of MH issues in others and some guidance on how to respond.
Frontline officers can be subject to many stresses to keep us safe: working long and often unsociable hours, maintaining vigilance, protecting people property and assets, dealing with MH incidents in others, verbal abuse, being spat at, being threatened and actual physical attacks. These can take a toll on their own MH and wellbeing. They need access to resources and support to protect their mental health and keep them effective.
I have been involved with security recruitment for a long time and my company, HJA Consult, which specialises in executive level appointments, is back to pre-pandemic levels of activity. The chance to speak regularly with clients and candidates is one that I take at every opportunity.
What are you looking forward to the most about being involved with the virtual event?
I am passionate about what I do and the role I and IFPO can play in the development of the security profession and relishing the opportunity to get that message across.
IFPO is partnering with SBLive, what experience and knowledge does this bring to the event?
IFPO is a global association with members in almost 70 countries. This is a great opportunity to reach the wide and international audience that Security Buyer has; I am looking forward to it.
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