Brian Sims
Editor

First-ever guidance for security and media engagement devised by IPSA

THE INTERNATIONAL Professional Security Association (IPSA) has launched the first-ever guidelines for engagement between private security officers and journalists. The guidance has been developed in collaboration with the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

The IPSA-NUJ guidance was launched at the Patrons Event held by IPSA to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions delivered by its founders and company members, not just for IPSA, but also those on the front line.

It’s the first time ever that the security industry has collaborated with the media industry to develop guidelines for behaviour and the development of professionals from both the sectors.

Two key pillars of modern society, security personnel and journalists are often required to interact and engage with one another. However, there has been a gap in resources and education on how that engagement could be professionalised and handled with mutual respect, and notably so when working under pressure.

Negative connotations

During the pandemic, a revered publication issued a news piece discussing the expected shortage of ‘bouncers’ in the post-COVID environment. “That headline encouraged us to do something about the media language,” stated Una Riley, CEO at IPSA. “We contacted the publication concerned and highlighted the negative connotations attached to the word ‘bouncers’, but we were not met with any favourable response. Being an NUJ card holder myself, we reached out to the organisation and started a dialogue with the aim of realising guidance.”

It was agreed between IPSA and the NUJ that there was a requirement for professionals from both sectors to be educated in correct terminologies and the engagement of Best Practices.

Natasha Hirst, the NUJ’s vice-president, said: “There’s no legal requirement for private security officers to receive training on engaging with journalists. We’re pleased to be working with IPSA on filling this knowledge gap.”

Hirst continued: “We’ve started an essential conversation about the important role of journalists and how private security officers can best respond when journalists seek to document or report on incidents. Equally, our members will gain a better insight into the role of private security officers.”

Focusing on the guidance, Hirst noted: “The guidance provides key tips for verifying each other’s accreditations and resolving disputes. We will continue to work with IPSA on the development of further training for private security officers and encourage constructive conversations with employers and contractors responsible for instructing officers while they’re at work.”

12 months in the making

IPSA and the NUJ have worked collaboratively for over 12 months to develop this pioneering guidance that encourages professional working relationships between private security officers and journalists. The free-of-charge guidance is now available online for both sectors.

In conclusion, Una Riley told Security Matters: “This has been a ground-breaking collaboration between ourselves and the NUJ. We hope this is just a start, though, and that there’s more to come. We’re very much looking forward to further collaboration with the media.”

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