KUSCO Security Team trained by TFS awarded prestigious security award

Creating a safe and secure learning environment for those attending Kingston University, including students, staff, visitors and contractors, has always been well-entrenched into the proactive nature of our security team; however seeking solutions to allay local community complaints of anti-social behaviour, graffiti and unwanted visitors in the local area, including our students leaving our bars and those returning late at night from the town centre to their Halls of residences, has also been in the mainframe and provided its challenges, knowing the streets were outside the realms of our security services.

The Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) made possible through the Police Reform Act 2002, which allows organisations and their employees to be given targeted police powers to tackle anti-social behaviour within the community and local streets was considered the best way forward and solution to the problem. Following this, our team went through an extensive training programme delivered by Training For Success (TFS) from laws relating to community safety & designated powers, personal safety & conflict management to the practical application of powers. Following this a selection of the team went through a lengthy police vetting process and was granted limited but targeted police powers appropriate to their role to patrol areas bordering our Estate.

Blurring the boundaries between the community and the University by extending our security services to the borders of local streets was really well received from the local community, police, students and Officers; And since we launched the scheme in 2017, including the issuing of  stab-vests, body cameras and portable first-aid kits as well as water-bottles for acid attacks etc. the police have complied a report, which in essence, depicts the use of CSAS Security as an effective measure to tackling anti-social behaviour within desired areas.

The Police also confirmed that there has been little to none anti-social behaviour calls reported into police from roads immediately surrounding our Halls of Residences and in some targeted areas this has dropped from 50 to 0 over a 24 month period. The Police were very complimentary of our CSAS Officers and thanked the team for their hard work and for the University’s investment in community safety.

Our Officers also adopt a crime prevention through environmental design approach (CPTED), based on strategies emphasised on enhancing perceived risk of detection and apprehension of those being anti-social and/or committing a crime and in particular drug use and graffiti in the local area, which we firmly feel supports the ideology of CSAS and also considered part of the solution. 

Communication with police and local residential associations is also crucial for the success of the scheme and at the start of the launch we worked hard reaching out to the community, gaining their confidence and proving them with a 24hr security number for first point of contact for Officer Deployment. (Rather than calling the police). We did experience anti-social behaviour displacement, but continued to adopt the same model (approach) in reaching out to these areas - with the same rate of success.  

Moving borders to the out skirts of the community, neighbouring Kingston University premises has definitely created greater cohesion and continuity of knowledge across all sites.  Since the launch CSAS Officers we have dealt with over 200 events, ranging from addressing anti-social behaviour, graffiti, noise, homeless, suspicious vehicles, suspicious activity, escorting/monitoring groups of individuals going to and from the Town Centre to our dorms, dealing with local house parties that spill out on to the street and addressing local residents’ complaints face-to-face.

The success has also reached other residential communities within Kingston upon Thames who have approached Kingston Police and would welcome this model within their areas. 

In addition to this, KUSCO Security recently received a ‘Certificate of Excellence Award’ commendation for professionalism and exceptional work performance at the Association of University Chief Security Officers (AUCSO) who is the leading organisation for security professionals working in higher and further education in the UK and Europe and since the award, members of AUCSO have contacted KUSCO Security to discuss the implementation of CSAS and its merits.

KUSCO Security were also mention in a positive light within the Security Professional Magazine and were invited to, and attended New Scotland Yard CSAS Steer Group meeting to discuss the scheme and were complimented on the proactive nature of the team and considered as a case study for ‘What Good Looks Like’.

All of this is also a credit to the Training For Success team for the professional training programme received. 

Nigel Q Bell
Security and Interim Residence Services Manager - KUSCO
BA (Hons) Arabic, MSc Security and Risk Management