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The Christmas / New Year rush has begun and now, more than ever, security matters for all businesses – particularly retailers and other consumer-facing ones. Here are some things you can do to protect your people, property and profits.
Review your opening and closing procedures: It is essential to have structured opening and closing procedures, particularly at times of the year when you have extra cash on site and some staff finishing work later than usual.
When opening, look at the surroundings before approaching your premises. Ask yourself if there is anything out of the ordinary (for example, occupied car/s parked at an unusual time or place). If in doubt, keep out then go to a safe place and call security or police.
When closing, leave as a group or have a buddy system with other nearby businesses. Check that staff park vehicles in a high-visibile, well-lit place, rather than somewhere dark and remote. Consider arranging transport home for employees who work late nights.
Review emergency evacuation procedures: Review all emergency evacuation procedures to ensure they are up-to-date. Get all employees – even longstanding ones – to re-familiarise themselves with the procedures. Don't assume that just because someone has read the procedures, that they will understand or remember what to do. Check by asking them to describe the procedures. This will quickly identify any knowledge gaps.
Consider holding annual emergency simulation sessions to ensure people remember what to do.
Restrict access to staff-only areas: Sneaky thieves and other criminals will take any opportunity to get out the back and steal personal property, stock and what's in the safe. Ensure that doors to these areas are controlled and deny requests from people asking to gain entry to use the toilets (or any other excuse).
Check all fire exits, loading docks, and other access points are secure, that the locks are in good working order and access is controlled. If the doors are controlled by timers, ensure these have been altered to reflect the closure and stop doors opening automatically when the premises are closed.
Regular security patrols: Arranging a regular security patrol of your site provides peace-of-mind for employees. It also acts as a deterrent for those tempted to seize a perceived opportunity, as well as those who have criminal intent.Read more
Most dogs live up to their reputation as mans' best friend, but having around 10,000 registered and numerous unregistered dogs in the Whangarei district means there is plenty of scope for things to go wrong – for people and dogs alike.
Armourguard's Whangarei branch has taken on a leadership role in promoting dog safety and responsible dog ownership in its local community to help ensure that every dog-human interaction is a positive one.
Armourguard also manages Whangarei and Kaipara District Councils' dog registration, dog control, pound and animal control services.
"In the past, our involvement with dogs most likely involved our security officers keeping well clear of them when going on to premises," laughs Whangarei branch manager Warwick Taylor. "Now we have specialist dog management educators and dog control officers, and also two dogs – Scrappy and Diesel – as honorary team members!"
These canine helpers play a starring role in a new programme that Armourguard is rolling out to Whangarei and Kaipara primary schools in conjunction with www.kidssafewithdogs.co.nz.
Children are taught how to keep themselves safe around dogs – an important skill given that the incidence of dog bites is on the rise.
Armourguard's dog education pilot programme is still in its infancy, but is already gaining great feedback.
Warwick says Armourguard also aims to make sure dogs are well-looked after.
"Our dog control team does a lot of education work with dog owners. For example, dogs don't bark lots because they are naughty; they bark because they are bored, anxious, lonely, poorly trained or overly territorial.
"Educating owners is the first step to educating their dogs."
Sometimes re-homing ends up being the best approach for dogs and their owners. Through its management of the Whangarei pound, Armourguard works with the SPCA to find new homes for abandoned and confiscated dogs, cats and other animals.
Photo caption: Whangarei dog education team (from left): Karla Aekins and Scrappy with Aimee Waldron and DieselRead more
Last month Armourguard sought to roll out our new Cartrack GPS units across 230 of our Cash and Patrol vehicles nationwide. Our previous technology became outdated and the cost to upgrade it was uneconomical.
With Cartrack we were able to bring all of our GPS units into one platform at a much more competitive pricing structure. With Cartrack came richer reporting features including being able to report on the driving behaviour of our staff including:
Cartrack also has a specialised welfare module that has been downloaded into our National Welfare and Dispatch Centre, which alerts welfare operators of a duress situation by highlighting the vehicle on our monitoring screens and alerting the operator via a siren. This function is specifically an important tool for our cash business when we are transporting high value items.
Cartrack also has mobile tracking devices which are being used to track consignments in the event of a robbery.
The upgrade of our technology to Cartrack allows us to better manage the safety of our staff and the valuables of our clients.Read more
Hiring a security company is one thing, but how do you know they are as good as they say they are? We've now got proof, having become New Zealand's first security company to pass a Protective Security Requirements (PSR) audit.
The audit, which was conducted by the NZ Security Association, tested our alignment against the association's PSR Code of Conduct and assessed the degree to which our operations high professional standards are maintained, complied with our legal responsibilities and, consequently, helped to enhance the security industry's reputation.
Not only did we pass with flying colors, but the NZSA's lead auditor commented that this was a fantastic achievement and reflected highly on our culture and commitment towards continuous improvement.
This audit is an important step for us and our customers, and we are delighted to lead our industry in achieving the PSR accreditation.Read more
The public-facing nature of our work means that Armourguard team members get to see all sides of people's lives – from the fun, to the unfortunate.
This year alone, several lives have been saved thanks to our people's actions. One such incident resulted in Auckland-based Security Officer Adele Tuhega winning Highly Commended at the NZ Security Industry Awards in August this year – achieving a standing ovation from the award attendees in the process.
Adele's instinctive actions and quick response saved a young woman from committing suicide. Adele, who provides security services at an Auckland train station, realised the woman was going to jump in front of a train.
She quickly restrained the woman, who tried to struggle free and follow through with the suicide attempt. After the incident Adele took her away from the platform and consoled her until emergency services arrived.
The following week the young woman’s mother could not stop calling and thanking Adele for her courageous actions in saving her daughter's life, calling Adele her daughter's guardian angel.Read more
Taking a few simple precautions will help to keep your night staff safe on the job – no matter whether they’re working in a petrol station, convenience store, after-hours medical centre or fast food outlet.
The first step is to remove temptation if cash is usually kept on the premises. We have found that criminals are deterred by open, uncluttered environments that provide a clear, well-lit view of the sales or service area.
Limit public view and access to the cash register and have a separate, secure cash counting area. Be sure to empty the till regularly and place the money in an on-site safe that ideally has a time delay lock or dual locking system.
Use signage to deter opportunists, and inform people that attendant staff cannot open the safe. Reduce your risk by having regular security cash pick-ups and advertising that fact that minimal cash is held on premises.
The second line of defence is to protect your business through good security systems and processes.
Ensure any rear doors and windows are secure, and increase security on front entrances by installing electronic sensors that buzz or ring every time someone enters or leaves the premises. Further enhance security by minimising the number of entrances / exits and creating exit barriers such as plants or furniture, which prevent someone easily running outside.
Use video surveillance to cover 'at risk' internal and external areas and display signs advising that video surveillance cameras are in use.
Installing detector lighting around entrances and exits, car parks and public routes to premises will help to deter loitering.
Ideally have more than one staff member working at night. Protect late shift staff’s safety by operating a 'check-out' system where after hours staff call a colleague, friend or family member when they are about to leave the premises. Another option is to engage a security escort to accompany employees safely to their vehicles.
How good are your security arrangements for after-hours staff? Call your local branch here for a free security audit.Read more
Taking responsibility for our people’s and our customers’ safety lies at the very heart of our business. We recently took part in the ACC’s bi-annual independent workplace audit and were pleased to not only pass the audit, but also to be assessed as achieving to tertiary standard.
This is the highest achievable ACC standard for Health and Safety practices and demonstrates that our workplace health and safety practices are outstanding. It also aligns us with existing and prospective customers who are also gold-standard accredited.
Having said that, we’re not resting on our laurels and are always looking at ways of doing an even better job of keeping everyone safe – every day and in every way.Read more
Transdev Wellington’s Security Manager Dave Allan was involved in the initial Silvertrac user trial and says using the application has made things easier.
The organisation manages all of Wellington’s 48 railway stations, suburban rolling stock (Matangi Units) and associated infrastructure such as car parks and over-bridges, on behalf of Greater Wellington Regional Council.
“There’s much more to railway station security than people think,” says Dave. “We not only have Armourguard patrols at and around our stations and infrastructure, but also between them.”
Dave has set up his Silvertrac to send him a report at 0700 hours every day. He goes through it and decides what needs further action or escalation. On an average day, there would typically be between 40 - 100 incidents reported and issues to deal with. Silvertrac also enables immediate escalation, by e-mail to relevant parties (at the guard's discretion). The Rail Monitoring Centre uses the same application.
“The report provides very rich information, including photos that the patrol officers have attached to their incident and maintenance reports, all of which contributes to a richer intelligence picture."
“All I have to do is to then forward the reports and my instructions or updates on to whoever at my end needs to take action. It could be a contractor, cleaner, Transdev employee or even the Police. I can do this quickly and easily, ensuring that nothing accidently gets overlooked.”Read more
SiteWise is part of Site Safe New Zealand, one of the most influencial leaders in creating positive Health and Safety change in the industry. SiteWise is a prequalification system that many businesses use to evaluate potential suppliers health and safety capabilities in tendering situations.
This year our Site Wise Certification was renewed by Site Wise and we recieved a 9% increase on our previous score of 86%.
Being new into the Armourguard team didn’t get in the way of Security Officer Kristen Rostenberg taking fast and decisive action that led to three graffitists being apprehended.
Kristen’s role involves monitoring cameras on the Greater Wellington Regional Rail Network, and reporting incidents and issues as they occur. At the time of the incident, Armourguard’s Wellington team was only two weeks into a six-year contract to provide Transdev Wellington with guarding, patrols, train marshals, cash services, CCTV monitoring and surveillance, and special event guarding services.
The job got off to an eventful start for Kristen when the Naenae Railway Station Subway was hit by four instances of graffiti within three days.
He promptly advised the client after each event, providing detailed information that made it easy to locate the CCTV data quickly and get it to Police. It became clear that all the incidents had a common offender, who was accompanied by one of two other offenders.
One evening, a couple of days after the last event, Kristen spotted all three awaiting a train at another station so he quickly called the Police and advised them about the offences and where they could find the perpetrators. Three apprehensions quickly followed.
The client later wrote to say how impressed they were with Kristen’s powers of observation, diligence and willingness to go ‘the extra distance’ to do a great jobRead more
Security is so important to the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) that it regards Armourguard personnel as being part of its own team.
We have been providing security services to MSD for several years. It is our largest Manned Services customer, utilising a quarter of our entire workforce!
Our guards perform a number of duties for MSD, including providing security at more than 140 Work and Income NZ (WINZ) offices and seven Child Youth and Family (CYF) residences nationwide.
Mark Painter (MSD’s Manager of Health, Safety and Security) says MSD has been impressed with Armourguard’s great service.
“Security has always been important to us. Our people and our clients need a high level of assurance that they can be safe and the Armourguard team provides that in a very professional and responsive way. Our WINZ and CYF residential home managers appreciate knowing that the guarding team have the right training and personal skills to keep everyone safe. We appreciate Armourguard's responsiveness and commitment to having a strong partnership with us.”
Mark went on to say that MSD was impressed with how Armourguard rose to the major challenge of doubling its WINZ guard force almost overnight following last year’s tragic shooting at their Ashburton centre.
“That was a major ask and few – if any – other security companies would have been able to bring on and train so many new people in such a short time.”
Many ‘moving parts’ are involved in delivering excellent security services — from having a great team of frontline people, through to strong back-office support and the latest communication and reporting technology.
We believe there’s another important element — having a strong team of supervisors — and that is a point of difference between Armourguard and many of our competitors.
In all we have nearly 60 supervisors in our guard, patrols and cash businesses nationwide. Supervisors have busy jobs because they are the interfaces between our frontline people, the customers and the company.
It can be tempting to cut out the middle layer so as to gain cost-efficiencies, but we feel this is false economy because the trade-off is less efficient and effective service. That’s why we have invested in ensuring our supervisors have the right knowledge and skills to ensure we deliver excellent service.Read more
Security Officer Nathan Lauaki is doing such a great job at an Auckland mall that one of the shop owners wrote to say how much he is pleased and satisfied with Nathan’s performance.
The shop owner commented that Nathan is friendly but strictly follows the correct guidelines and never compromise the rules; he also skillfully handles situations that arise.
Every day, dozens of Armourguard security officers support retail and shopping mall owners around New Zealand in providing a safe and pleasant environment and shopping experience for their customers.
Our guarding team do far more than simply keeping the peace; they are valuable ambassadors for the malls.Read more
Having the right people on the job can make the difference between good – and a great – security service delivery. The old saying of ‘you get what you pay for’ is every bit as true in security as it is in other industries. That’s why it’s important to look beyond price alone when choosing a security services provider. When you focus on quality – and all of the training, processes and best practices that make it happen – then it will become clear who the low-cost, poor performance contenders are.
Having quality expectations and being prepared to pay a fair price for the job will help you to select a security provider that can truly support and execute on your security needs. When your employees and property are on the line, it’s important to be able to trust that you have the right team on your side.
Contact us to find out more about how we can do a great job of protecting your people, property and possessions.Read more
Both centres’ spacious new offices have been fitted out especially for their needs and also provide a far more professional environment in which to host visitors.
We have purchased the premises in both cases, demonstrating that Evergreen (our United States-based owner) has a long-term commitment to Armourguard and our customers.
Here are our contact details (note that only the physical addresses have changed – all other details remain the same):
5 Kellow Place, Wiri, Auckland 2104
PO Box 11184, Ellerslie, Auckland 1542
Phone: (09) 580 8000
47 Bennett Street, Cloverlea, Palmerston North 4412
Box 1502, Palmerston North Central, Palmerston North 4440
Phone: (06) 357 0607Read more
Armourguard recently passed a NZ Security Association (NZSA) audit with flying colours.
The Association is this country’s largest representative body for the security industry. Its independent audits are designed to provide a quality assurance for its members’ customers by enabling security businesses and their operations to be compared against the NZSA’s Codes of Practice.
Importantly the audit process also brings areas for improvement to the security company’s attention.
Unfortunately not all security companies are audited, so it really is a case of ‘buyer beware’ for those who are using an unaudited provider’s services.
We’re pleased to say that Armourguard received excellent feedback when we passed our audit. Not that this came as any surprise because we know we have a great team and a great business - but it was good to have the NZSA’s independent endorsement of what we already knew to be true!Read more
It will be more important than ever for businesses to make sure that employees and contractors know how to work safely once stronger health and safety regulations come into force on 4 April.
Amongst other things, the law will place greater onus on ‘PCBUs’ (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) to keep employees and others safe in relation to the work being done. In the case of security services, both Armourguard and our customers are PCBUs.
We believe that, as a security services provider, we provide an important interface between our customers, their customers and employees, and our own employees.
Even though the law does not classify security services as being of high risk, our frontline people perform important roles in what can quickly escalate into challenging situations. That’s why we have gone to great lengths to ensure that we and our people are well and truly ready for the new law.
This is so much so that we have received feedback that our health and safety systems are leading the field in New Zealand’s security industry. Furthermore, we are also ACC accredited, as well as Prequal and Site Safe accredited – with scores of 87% and 86% respectively.
Even though a score of 75% is considered excellent, we are looking at ways to further strengthen what are already outstanding health and safety practices
Anthony Wildish – (Senior Supervisor EHS and Compliance, Armourguard Security)Read more
Big quake all in a (busy) day’s work for Christchurch team.
It was the biggest earthquake in several years, but the Christchurch team took the Valentine’s Day quake in their stride and won high praise from customers in the process.
Ben Wooding, who manages Armourguard’s central and lower South Island regions, says everyone quickly swung into action after the shaking stopped.
All of the alarms started going off and our people ended up attending 80 activations in a three-hour period, compared to the normal five or six.
What’s more, our Patrol team had to go and physically check a customer’s 21 bank sites throughout Canterbury – some of which were up to 150 km away, says Ben.
And what a great job they did – so much so that several customers got in touch to thank the Armourguard team for their great work in checking their sites.
Ben says everyone has learned to quickly get on with things after an earthquake, despite it admittedly being a nerve-wracking experienceRead more
Evergreen International today announced Ian Anderson’s appointment as its General Manager of Evergreen International NZ & Fiji.
This role has direct oversight of Armourguard Security in New Zealand, and Evergreen Fire and Security Fiji. Ian will be responsible for ensuring both businesses’ guarding and cash infrastructure, IT systems, and people operations continue to deliver high quality, high value service to customers.
Ian has longstanding security industry experience, including six years as General Manager for Armourguard and ADT Security in New Zealand and Fiji when both businesses were owned by Tyco.
It is an exciting time for Evergreen in this part of the world and Ian’s appointment will provide even greater support and focus to the continued development of our businesses.Read more
Businesses can adopt some simple measures to help protect their properties from burglars over the holiday season - our busiest time for alarm call outs.
Summer shutdowns and skeleton staff levels provide opportunities for unwelcome visitors. It is important that businesses take time to carefully evaluate their security measures to avoid having finding their premises have been damaged or broken into.
The best defence is prevention and planning to make premises unappealing to burglars.
Some simple steps to keep your premises secure over the coming weeks include:
With the party season in full swing, our noise control officers are gearing up for a peak in noise complaints that come from the many Christmas and New Year celebrations.
While many people like to throw Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties, there are just as many people that look forward to a quiet peaceful break and many others who will still be working. Party Hosts can adopt some simple measures to avoid disgruntled neighbours and protect their celebrations from noise complaints:
The Northland District Health Board has appointed Armourguard as its security provider.
Northland District Health Board plays a critical role delivering health services to the people of Northland. That role is demanding given the circumstances that people can find themselves in when seeking healthcare services - patients, families, friends and hospital staff can at times be under great stress. So its important the security team on the ground at Whangarei Hospital reflects the community, is empathetic and provides a reassuring presence to create a sense of safety and security for all.
Armourguard’s Northland Regional Manager Warwick Taylor says “we are particularly keen to introduce our specialist health security model built up over decades in the health sector elsewhere in the country, and provide real value to the Northland community”.Read more
Congratulations to our Hutt City Safe City Ambassador team, who recently won a Safe City award for their contribution towards reducing alcohol related harm in Hutt City.
The team reduce problems in public spaces and provide support to people in the community. Patrolling Hutt City's hotspots from 1400 hours to 0100 hours every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. They check a range of sites, alerting police to antisocial or criminal behaviour, reporting graffiti and lighting that is not working. They also help members of the public with everything from providing directions, to assisting people who feel unsafe.
Team leader Lawrence Joe say the Safe City Ambassadors have become well-known and respected by Police, retailers and the public: "we all enjoy helping to make Hutt City a safer place".Read more
From today Armourguard is providing guards at Auckland's train stations (including Britomart), bus stations and ferry terminals as part of the Auckland Transport security contract. We will also be escorting parking wardens, patrolling all Auckland Transport facilities and providing specialist staff for events such as the Auckland Santa Parade.
Mark O'Brien Armourguard General Manager Manned Services says "this is a great opportunity for Armourguard to assist the community and Auckland Transport help people get to where they want to be, when they want to be there."Read more
Evergreen Capital, a New York-based investment firm has purchased Armourguard.
Armourguard is the only New Zealand business in Evergreen’s portfolio, which also includes companies from Fiji, Europe and the United States. Its businesses operate in the telecommunications, real estate, chemicals and plastics, and automated payment processing sectors.
General Manager Cash Services Brian Pickering says 'this is good news for Armourguard and our customers because it gives us far more say in the way our business runs. As a result, we can now more rapidly respond to customers’ needs and market opportunities. The nature of our business remains unchanged, we continue to be one of New Zealand’s largest and most trusted security services providers, offering cash management and transit, guard and patrol services nationwide."
At present we have more than 1700 permanent employees, and many hundreds more who work for us on a temporary or casual basis. Armourguard has 14 branches, which are based in: Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua, Hawke’s Bay, New Plymouth, Palmerston North, Wellington, Nelson, Blenheim, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill.
The business is headed by a management group that consists of: Mark O’Brien (Manned Services), Brian Pickering (Cash Services), Shane O’Halloran (Risk, Health and Safety, and Human Resources), Nick Thomson (Finance) and Ian Anderson (Business Improvement).Read more