The Importance of Diligence: Lessons from a Major Security Contract by Lester Hales


In the world of front-line security professionals, being diligent and paying attention to detail is crucial. Every task, no matter how mundane it may seem, serves a purpose in ensuring the safety and well-being of individuals and locations under their responsibility. This article shares an incident that occurred during an evening shift at a major security contract. It highlights the consequences that can arise from cutting corners in security procedures and emphasises the significance of unwavering diligence when carrying out routine tasks and in the face of potential risks.

The Major Security Contract:

The controller on this contract was responsible for overseeing the CCTV operations and coordinating the activities of on-duty security officers at a major security contract. This contract encompassed a bustling environment, with thousands of people frequenting the premises daily. The site included retail shops, restaurants, pubs, bars, and a cinema. Additionally, there were scenic areas like a lake walk and a designated play area. Given the size and complexity of the site, security operations played a pivotal role, making the role of the controller incredibly important.

The Lockup Procedure:

As daylight faded, signalling the end of the day’s activities, the lockup procedure began. It involved several key steps to ensure the site’s security. One critical aspect was patrolling the premises to ensure everyone left safely and to inform visitors about the impending closure. During this particular evening, I issued instructions to my officers to commence the lockup at 2100. However, to my surprise, both officers expressed their reluctance to perform the complete lockup, including the essential task of securing the lake area and conducting the patrol. They argued that the gate’s height was low enough to allow individuals to climb over it.

A Life-Changing Discovery:

Recognising the potential risks of neglecting crucial duties, and being diligent, I decided to personally undertake the lock down responsibility for these areas. While patrolling the site with a flashlight I noticed a familiar face—a person from their list of vulnerable visitors, slouched in their wheelchair. The individual was unconscious, weighed down by numerous bags attached to their wheelchair.

Swift Action and Collaboration:

Drawing on my first aid training, I quickly assessed the situation and immediately called for assistance from the control room, requesting first aid personnel and emergency services. Realising the urgency of the situation, the information conveyed via 999 ensured that an ambulance and the police would arrive promptly. Throughout the incident, my team and I remained at the patients side, attempting to gather their care details and providing support until help arrived.

Overcoming Challenges and Lessons Learned:

Efforts to extract the wheelchair-bound individual from the area posed various challenges. My team and the emergency services team faced obstacles such as navigating through uneven terrain and finding a suitable vehicle to accommodate the individual and their wheelchair. Despite the difficulties, they persevered until the person was safely transported to Hospital.

Reflecting on the incident, the potential consequences that could have unfolded had the officers been allowed to cut corners during the lockup procedure were starkly obvious, the vulnerable wheelchair user in distress could have been missed! This experience served as a powerful reminder of the importance of unwavering diligence and adherence to established protocols.

A Personal Journey and Professional Growth:

Dedication and commitment to details and duty did not go unnoticed. My handling of the situation led to recognition in the local newspaper and even a nomination for a security award.

Shortly afterwards I received a new job offer, presenting a fresh security challenge, within the NHS. The experiences at the major security contract served as a solid foundation for my subsequent role, reinforcing the belief that cutting corners in security is never an option and that every task holds significance.

The incident at the major security contract serves as a poignant reminder of the pivotal role played by front line security professionals and the risks associated with neglecting even the most seemingly routine tasks. The account underscores the potential consequences of cutting corners in security procedures

Meet Lester Hales:

A seasoned professional, Lester has been involved in the security industry for over a decade and a half. His wealth of experience spans multiple roles, including door staff, corporate officer, control room controller, and a security responder in an NHS hospital. Currently, he holds a position at a high-security site regulated by the CAA.

Outside of his professional life, Lester identifies as autistic and passionately supports the cause. He is an active member of a mixed disability football team, a hobby he thoroughly enjoys. Family is at the heart of everything he does; he is a dedicated father to his 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, who is also autistic and non-verbal.

Lester brings to every task, job, or role, a profound sense of pride and integrity. His commitment to going the extra mile—whether for his family, his job, or his clients—truly sets him apart. Representing the SIA in the industry, he takes immense pride in his work, continuously striving to raise the bar for excellence.

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About the Author: Michael O'Sullivan