As the term credit crunch has entered our daily vocabulary and as the so-called crunch more and more takes on the full measures of a "crisis," we found it prudent to investigate how the British security industry is coping.
It is evident that the housing market in Britain has taken a decided downturn with falling property prices and hard-to-get (and expensive) mortgages for first-time buyers. Topped with ever-increasing food and fuel prices, the average family economy is certainly more than influenced it is stretched!
But it is a different story as to how well the security industry is coping.
"As the U.K. faces this financial crisis, the effects on the industry are not yet known," commented Alex Carmichael, Technical Director for the British Security Industry Association (BSIA). "While there will be increased costs as prices increase, security should still remain a fundamental priority for businesses."
Domestically, there is the potential risk of an increase in crime; consequently, this is the time that businesses should be ensuring stringent security measures are in place to aid crime prevention. "In the long term, projects like the London 2012 Olympics will bring revenue to the industry," continued Carmichael. "However, exporters will be faced with many challenges over the coming months, depending on how international markets cope with this global issue."
Looking to London 2012
After the Beijing Olympics successfully concluded, the British security industry is now eagerly looking into the first tenders of the 2012 Games. On July 21, the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) began the process of inviting expression of interest for its command and perimeter security system (CPSS).
The CPSS contract comprises the design, manufacture, supply, installation, integration, works and site testing, commissioning, maintenance and training for a range of systems. The total investment in security in connection with the 2012 Games started out with an initial budget of US$400 million in 2005 and has now spiraled to more than $2 billion.
According to a BBC report, the Metropolitan Police Service wants to pool its 10,000 cameras with the thousands of exiting traffic and congestion cameras across the city. This would give the police control over a network of up to half a million surveillance cameras, making it the largest of its kind in the world. The network would then be controlled by a $200-million, bombproof command bunker operated jointly by the military, police and intelligence services, brought together under the Olympic Security Directorate.
Itˇs a gamble
According to Chris Gomersall, CEO of Ipsotek, the financial downturn does not seem to have generated any impact in the industry so far. "Weˇve seen strong demand over the past 12 months; coincidentally, this is through the duration of the crunch."
There is, however, one area where Gomersall noticed a slight influence. "Casinos are supposed to be immune to financial downturns. It seems that the punters have been tightening the belt and we have seen a couple of casino projects postponed." Overall, though, Gomersall thinks it is far too early to take stock.