The Australian Security Industry Association Limited (ASIAL) was founded in 1969. From a handful of companies the association has grown to now represent over 3000 companies across Australia, who collectively represent around 85% of the security industry. Members include small, large and multinational security organisations. In addition, the Association’s membership includes many major users of security from the finance, aviation, manufacturing, hospitality, health care, telecommunications and government sectors.
ASIAL members perform a broad range of activities from security officers to crowd control, mobile patrols to critical infrastructure protection, aviation security to cash management, access control and alarms to CCTV, through to barriers, locks and gates. The industry generates annual revenues in excess of $6 billion industry and employs over 120,000 personnel. In recent decades there has been a change in the way that homeowners and businesses protect themselves and their properties. What this has meant is a shift in the reliance on police to a growing reliance on the private security industry.
According to ASIAL’s CEO, Bryan de Caires “the security industry today is very different to what it was back in 1969. As an Association our role has also changed. Apart from supporting and promoting our members, we are also committed to safeguarding the public interest.” ASIAL provides advice and support to its members on how to run a successful and compliant business. The Association promotes the highest professional and technical standards within the industry through enforcement of its professional code of practice, certification programs and complaints management program.
As an advocate of ethical and professional practices, de Caires states “the Association strives to ensure that as the industry’s role grows, so too does the quality and standard of service provided.”
In this regard, the Association is a key driver in the development of technical standards through Standards Australia. In addition, it develops industry codes of practice and operates certification programs, such as the highly respected Monitoring Centre Certification program and Security Technician Certification program to ensure members “do the right thing.”
As a federally registered employer organization, the Association provides advocacy and representation for its members on industrial relations and workplace relation issues. It also actively engages with state and territory regulators to ensure that the industry’s voice is heard and that there is “a common sense and workable” approach to industry regulation. “As a national body, we think nationally, but act locally.”
To raise awareness of its members, the association conducts ongoing consumer awareness campaigns that have included television, radio and taxi-back advertising. Over the coming months the association will roll out a campaign in the Qantas in-flight magazine and in-flight video. Commenting on the campaign de Caires says “membership of the Association is a ‘mark of distinction’ that sets ASIAL members apart from other providers – a point that many discerning customers appreciate and value.” Other ways that the Association showcases the industry and its innovative technologies, includes the industry’s annual exhibition and conference which it has been involved in organizing for close to 30 years.
Bryan de Caires believes a key challenge facing the industry is educating consumers to fully understand the pros and cons of using a quality provider offering the ‘best value’ over a provider offering the lowest price. As the Association’s consumer awareness campaign slogan states “when it comes to securing your home or business, you can’t afford to any chances. Always use an appropriately licensed security professional and make sure that they are a member of ASIAL”.
Before joining ASIAL, de Caires’ background was in a very different type of security – the investment securities market. Working at a London-based global financial publisher, de Caires was senior editor of a number of capital and equity markets publications. Following the company’s acquisition of a Sydney-based business information company, he relocated to Australia, “which is how I ended up in this part of the world.” Prior to joining ASIAL, Bryan gained experience working in the not for profit sector through a management role with the Australian Human Resources Institute.
His goal over the coming year is to improve the public’s understanding of the important role performed by the industry and to ensure that quality service delivery is recognized and rewarded appropriately.
He adds that the security industry performs an increasingly important role in the Australian economy. People interface with security on a daily basis, often without often realizing it, whether it is through an access control system at the entrance to their office, someone monitoring their home alarm, patrolling a shopping centre, replenishing cash in an ATM or screening passengers before boarding a plane. “Security is an all pervasive industry, without which the economy would not function. Our challenge is to ensure that the community understands and appreciates the vital contribution the industry makes to everyday life and the economy as a whole.”