“The basis for an optimal security partnership is credibility and trust!"
Traditions must be respected. At the end of the year, we give the floor to the SERIS Security Division Manager Peter Verpoort, who is responsible for over 1500 operational and administrative employees. Verpoort looks back on 2017 and highlights some important challenges for 2018.
SERIS Security has now also been entrusted with the security of SHAPE, this cannot be a coincidence?
Peter Verpoort (PV): “We mustn’t be all too modest and are definitely allowed to be proud about this. But also for this organisation, and for all other customers, the economic reality is a major factor. On the other hand, this new assignment also comes with major and permanent responsibilities. Security is no game, not for anybody and not for any company. But, obviously, in the current security climate this site attracts particular attention, which is something that we must take into account. Besides, our team takes every assignment equally seriously, we do not want to start prioritising.”
How do you experience the current security policy of companies, organisations and industries?
PV: “To be honest, the evolution in 2017 did somehow amaze me. I didn’t know that a sense of security could be that relative, not in the period in which we now live anyway. You surely remember how our country was turned upside down after every form of terrorism or attack, and quite rightly so! But on the other hand, we also grew somewhat accustomed to it. I even heard reactions during some criminal events that the number of victims still remained relatively low or that people only got injured, that there were no lethal victims!? This is something I cannot comprehend. Security level 3 shows that we are still living in a high-risk period, this is not something to take lightly. But I get the impression that, on account of the long duration of this level, the security perception is strongly deviating from the actual security risk. I note that people are getting inured to the new situation.”
Do you mean that the security policy of our companies underestimates the real risk?
PV: “Not at all and I also understand that since a couple of years companies must take into account many different types of security and that this has a significant financial impact without such leading to more revenues. That’s why the challenge is ours. We must increasingly strive for security partnerships. Thinking along with the client about an overall security approach that is financially sound for both parties. Credibility and trust are the basic ingredients here, apart from – obviously – excellent professional knowledge and innovation. Besides, with SERIS Monitoring we have an important division that invests heavily in innovative technologies. Here as well, we want to conclude more direct partnerships with the end customer. Only in this way we can offer very rapidly an adequate and reality-oriented solution to our customers. Finally, our IT-department also plays a strategic role in our company and in the high-quality service that we offer. IT is very much a ‘living’ domain with continuously new developments. Here, our experts permanently face major challenges."
I’m glad to hear you say it: Overall Security Concept. Isn’t technology gradually replacing the security agent? You have over 1500 members of staff!
“That’s exactly my point. I’m talking about an Overall Security Concept, all types of security are needed to ensure your and my security in the best possible way. There is no technology that can replace man for 100% and the same applies the other way round. Both are vulnerable and need complementary possibilities. The way in which a security strategy is worked out, depends of course on the customer and his needs. But it is clear that it will have to evolve in this direction. Otherwise, we again risk major panic reactions after some threat or another. And that’s what our team will focus on!”
In that case, 2018 surely will be a major challenge for the SERIS Security Division Manager?
VP: “Every year is a challenge, there is no difference there. What will become different though is that, after a couple of level 3 years, we will again have to focus more on the needs of our customers and the innovative nature of our systems. Besides, we can now operate under the new legislation, which – finally – offers our sector some new possibilities and responsibilities. Private security is not second-class security. We invest a lot in training our people, including courses that are not legally compulsory. We at SERIS find it important that our people have as many skills as possible that can expand our services to our customers and, at the same time, increases their own security. Anti-aggression, anti-radicalisation, anti-terrorism and Emergency Casualty Care, the new dimension of first aid, are but a few examples of this. And as for the technology, this evolution never stops.”