What Makes the Silver Fox Audit Unique?
The Silver Fox audit has been available to both contractors and end-users of security for over 10 years and, yet, it is still viewed by many on both sides of the contract manned guarding industry as being just too difficult. Many also feel that the audit could embarrass them; expose the inadequacies of their operation; leave them vulnerable to the wrath of a client who, rightly, expects more from their security provider. And yet – unless you regularly and independently test your manned security service, how will you be able to gauge whether or not it is really fit for purpose?
THE CONTEST BETWEEN THE DUTY SECURITY TEAM AND THE SILVER FOX AUDITORS
Most security guarding contracts operate on the basis of 12 hour shifts. In real terms, this equates to a standard 56 hour week over a 3 week cycle, but security officers are often asked, or indeed, volunteer to work an extra shift during the week which means that they are then working 72 hours. It is not unheard of, on rare occasions, for officers to work every day or night of the week, so bringing their total hours up to an unacceptable level of 84 hours in the 168 hour week. When you add travel time to and from the workplace to those working hours, you realise just what an existence some security officers have to endure in order to take home what is a fairly modest weekly wage.
Coming out of the blue corner, is the Silver Fox Auditor, whose sole task is to test the duty security team at any time of the day, night or weekend to see if they are both alert and efficient. It is an independent audit, so there is no opportunity for the contractor to stage manage the result. You could, rightly, assume that all the cards are stacked in favour of The Silver Fox Audit team—they can choose the time; wait for the opportunity when they believe the team is at its most vulnerable; identify the officer who they believe is the least alert, and all this before the audit has actually taken place.
The audit team places great emphasis on carrying out a full recce of the premises prior to the audit taking place. When the auditor makes the move to try to gain unauthorised entry into your premises, he or she will be fully aware of who and where they believe to be the weakest link in the duty security team at the time of the audit. As a result, the Silver Fox audit team will enjoy a high success rate, particularly in the early stages of a sequence of audits carried out throughout the year.
But let’s be frank, if the Silver Fox Audit team have carried out a recce only in the hour before an audit takes place, then a real intruder is likely to have spent hours, even days, carrying out a much more thorough assessment of the weak points of the physical security of the premises before making their move. Again, this can only significantly increase their chances of success.
DOES THE DUTY SECURITY TEAM REALLY HAVE A CHANCE?
Go back to the duty security officer whose task it is to try to thwart the committed intruder. It is likely that the officer will be tired, maybe very tired. A sequence of 5 or 6 continuous 12 hour shifts is likely to lead the officer into a carefree, almost a couldn’t really care less, attitude and this is exactly what the intruder is waiting for. If I was trying to break into premises, I would almost certainly attempt it at about 3 a.m. in the morning—probably on a Saturday or a Sunday—and when the shift was on the last or second last in a sequence of 5 or 6 such shifts. In many ways, therefore, that is what The Silver Fox Audit tries to emulate.
So what can you as a client, or contractor, do to try to minimise the risk of an unauthorised entry to your premises?
1. Regularly and independently test your duty security team without, at least initially, being too concerned about the results.
2. Share the results between both contractor and client to the ultimate benefit of both parties.
3. Reward those officers who excel on the test. (The Silver Fox Audit Award Scheme is, without question, the most comprehensive and, arguably, prestigious on the market)
4. Good individual results on The Silver Fox Audit Test could play a prominent part in any annual bonus which might be awarded to members of the duty security team.
IS THE SILVER FOX AUDIT TOO INVASIVE ON MY PREMISES?
No, not at all. There will never be any attempt by an Auditor to gain access, other than by the standard conventional methods open to either the client’s staff or visiting members of the public. So there is no scaling of fences; no using ladders; no cutting through wire to gain access. There is, however, providing false identity documentation; tailgating existing members of staff; pretending to be local contractors or acting as couriers—all designed to test the alertness and efficiency of the duty staff at the time.
The audit also reports on operational efficiency at the time it takes place. For example:
1. Was the correct number of staff on duty at the time of the audit? (no problem at 10 am on a weekday, but may be different at 2 am on Sunday morning)
2. Are all officers carrying a valid SIA licence?
3. Is the Daily Occurrence Book up to date or has it even been falsely completed for the whole shift?
4. Have all Incident Reports been followed up in a timely manner?
5. What recent on-site training has taken place?
6. Are there any administrative problems with any of the duty team?
7. Is the CCTV system fully operational?
8. Are management visits regular and effective?
9. Is the Key Safe and Key Register fully accountable?
10. Have all duty staff signed to confirm they have read and understood the Assignment Instructions?
WILL THE AUDITS COST THE EARTH?
Surprisingly, No! The cost of a standard audit, followed by a comprehensive report, is applicable anywhere in the country. It could be in Central London, Aberdeen, Cardiff or Carlisle, the price remains the same and, what is more, the cost of the awards can be built into the price. Surely, good value for money.
THE SAFETY NET
We all know the limitations of contract manned security and the need to regularly test the duty team in order to have a realistic chance of thwarting a committed intruder. Our experience is that those organisations which regularly test their staff quickly improve their level of performance and maintain it. If they are worried about being embarrassed by a Silver Fox Auditor, then the chances of them remaining alert throughout their shift are much higher than if they knew that no such scheme was in place. Quite simply, The Silver Fox Audit becomes a safety net for everyone