School opens doors with help from ERA

There’s no more parents left waiting out in the cold at St Michael’s First School in Penkridge, thanks to the UK’s home security specialists, ERA.

With no intercom system installed at the school, out-of-school staff found themselves pacing the corridor to open the door every time a parent came to collect their child from the popular after-school club.

Hearing of the staff and parents’ plight, Willenhall-based ERA kindly donated one of its easy to use miChime Video Door Intercoms which was then expertly installed by David Stapleton of Stapleton’s Lock & Safe Ltd, along with an electronic push-bar panic lock.

Headteacher at St Michael’s First School, Mrs Jayne Grundy said, ‘Safeguarding our pupils is our top priority and our new video intercom enables us to do this much more effectively. Our staff can now see exactly who is at the door before letting them in, all at the touch of a button and without having to leave the classroom.’

ERA distribution marketing manager, Tania Tams said, ‘The miChime Video Intercom is ideal for this type of application and we are extremely pleased that it has made such a difference to the daily running of the busy out-of-school club.’

For further information about Era home security and decorative hardware products or to find your local stockist, visit

Picture shows: David Stapleton and Era’s Tania Tams with Mrs. Grundy and pupils at St Michael’s First School


School security is no longer a luxury, it’s a must

School leaders and authorities need to make building security the No. 1 priority, says Simon Osborne, commercial leader of safety and security company Allegion.

It’s easy to think that school shootings, massacres and violence are associated purely with our neighbours across the pond. In the U.S., gun culture and high-profile cases – like a recent one at Ohio State University and the deadly 2007 Virginia Tech shooting that claimed 32 lives – are given global attention because of their prevalence. In fact, according to an article by Justin Carissimo published in the October 2015 issue of The Independent, school shootings in the U.S. were taking place once per week on average.

While this kind of school violence hasn’t been common in the UK, and guns are much harder to access compared to the U.S., we still must be vigilant with our school security as the reality of these situations is that they can happen anywhere at any time. No country or community is exempt.

Indeed, the course of our own history can vouch for this. The deadliest shooting in a UK school was the Dunblane School Massacre of 1996, where 16 children and one teacher tragically lost their lives after a gunman walked onto school premises and opened fire. In the same year, a man plagued by paranoid schizophrenia gained access to St. Luke’s Church of England infants’ school in Wolverhampton, where he managed to injure three children and four adults in an attack.

The saying is that history has a habit of repeating itself, and it’s done so recently. School teacher Ann Maguire was murdered by a knife-wielding student in 2014 as she was teaching a Spanish class. In November 2016, a 15-year-old student was stabbed by a group of people who had entered his school in Birmingham. What if, in both of these tragic cases, the attackers had intended to do more?

It’s cases like all of these that highlight just how easy it is for would-be attackers to gain access into our current school buildings with minimal effort. It is also why we, as both the industry and the authorities, should make it our collective duty to prevent attackers gaining access, or lessen the damage they can do should they make it onto school premises.

Timed Access

Access control solutions are now widely available in the door hardware market with a wide range of functionality. One of the most useful functions for schools, though, is the ability to permit entry during a designated period of time, and then lockdown those entrances automatically after that period of time has passed.

In effect, this means that when teachers and pupils are going in and out of schools during mornings, breaks and lunch times, entry points are opened automatically and locked to outsiders after.

Remote Lockdown Systems

One of the most difficult parts of being a school caretaker or facilities manager is locking down entry points, simply because of the sheer amount that there could be to a school.

To minimise the chances of unwanted intrusion, schools would benefit from having a central electronic remote locking system. Access control solutions can now be linked to all doors within a building and locked at the touch of a button. Control can also be given to other users within the building, so that responsibility can be divided between teachers, maintenance staff and office staff, if need be.

Latchbolt Monitors

External security doors need to engage properly to be effective at stopping would-be intruders getting through. However, pupils often leave doors ajar or not latched fully, either because they haven’t been taught to close the doors or, perhaps for younger children, they don’t have the strength to close them.

A simple fix for this situation is to use latchbolt monitors. These work by sending a signal to a central monitoring station, giving confirmation of when the door is shut and secure.

Electronic Panic Exits

Panic exits have long been purely mechanical to allow users safe and secure exit from a building in a state of emergency and, combined with an outside access device, to provide a simple means of accessing the door externally. However, there are now electromechanical exit devices on the market that can integrate with electronic access control systems to allow monitored safe and secure access.

One of the latest innovations is the Briton 571 EL panic bar, which utilises an electronic motor to operate the door lock. This means the device is able to work with digital access control systems from the outside, but also operate as a mechanical panic bar from within the building.

Effectively, this makes the panic exit points safer and more secure as you can add access control measures to those points, whether it is for pupils, teachers or both.

Delay No More

Understandably, security often falls to the bottom of the pecking order when budget and priorities are discussed on the UK school estate. Unlike our neighbors in the U.S., high-profile school violence cases on our shores are few and far between. Ultimately, this results in less awareness and importance placed on this issue.

However, we should not wait for a next occurrence to take action; it may be too little too late. A 2016 article by The Telegraph’s education editor, Javier Espinoza, noted there’s been a 90-percent increase in knives being brought to school by children. Unquestionably, the chances of seeing a victim, or even multiple victims, are now higher than ever before. The problem may not be a question of “if,” but “when.”



Key management reduces security risks for small businesses

Traka, the key and asset management specialist, has launched Traka21, an innovative plug and play system that provides small- to medium-sized businesses with the very latest intelligent key management solutions.

The system has been designed to provide a simple, efficient and affordable method of managing keys and helps users become accountable for their business assets. Traka21 helps trace and account for every single key or keyset by individually locking them in place, ensuring that critical business operations are never jeapordised.

Using Traka’s same proven software and engineering as in the large-scale systems often used for Universities, hospitals and prisons, Traka21 is purpose designed to overcome some of the challenges smaller businesses or private properties face with key management and control.

Traka21 is an intelligent yet easy-to-use system for tracing and managing up to 21 keys or keysets, with access only granted to those with access to keys assigned to them via a PIN. This can help to track accountability for assets that could otherwise be vandalised or stolen, such as equipment, machinery cabinets and vehicles.

Traka21 authorises, secures and monitors all of your keys, automatically controlling and recording when a key is used, and by whom. This information is made available either through the cabinet’s display or by export on a USB pen drive.

Tanveer Choudhry, Global Marketing Manager for Traka, said: “Even within smaller businesses, commercial security is growing in sophistication. However, the management of business-critical keys remains a weak link. Keys are often hung on a hook in open view or kept in a drawer. Traka21 is an ideal stand-alone system for small businesses or private properties looking for a simple, easy-to-use system for managing keys while staying up to date with the latest technology.”

Traka21 is available for £1,299 including VAT and delivery (excluding VAT: £1,082.50) here:

To find out more about Traka21 visit or visit the Traka21 Twitter and Facebook pages.


Assa Abloy security doors at new Canary Wharf Elizabeth Line station

ASSA ABLOY Security Doors, a UK division of ASSA ABLOY, the global leader in door opening solutions, has supplied specialist doorsets to the new Elizabeth line station at Canary Wharf.

The new station at Canary Wharf   will be one of the largest Elizabeth line stations and has been built in dock water area, in the North Dock of West India Quay. The station, retail and park areas are six stories high.

ASSA ABLOY Security Doors worked with specialist subcontractors, Lindner, to provide pivoted, fire rated platform doors to conceal station equipment rooms that needed to be clad with a vitreous enamel panels.

Nigel Cronin, Area Sales Manager at ASSA ABLOY Security Doors, said: “Canary Wharf’s Elizabeth line station is just one of many London Underground projects we are currently proud to be associated with.

“We were brought in to this project, with a brief to come up with a door design that was capable of carrying the weight of vitreous enamel panels that also needed to pass an independent assessment for fire integrity. Our design was based around a pivot system that was capable of supporting the weight of the heavy doors of up to 300kgs.”

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Boon Edam provides secure and stylish entry solution for The Francis Crick Institute

Boon Edam, a global market leader in entry solutions has unveiled a quality, engineered solution for a brand new, state of the art building in St Pancras; now home to The Francis Crick Institute.

The biomedical discovery organisation, required an entry solution to seamlessly integrate with its new building’s modern design.

The research centre, a flagship for UK biomedical science and one of Europe’s largest biomedical research facilities, is a base for 1500 scientists and staff, whilst housing technology to help create discoveries for illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. Therefore, the entry solution required advanced security to ensure staff, visitors and equipment could be kept safe and protected, whilst complimenting the design.

With 140 years’ experience with manufacturing entry solutions, Boon Edam ensures its products meet the strictest quality standards. The building is serviced by five Automatic Crystal Tourniket’s. This product was selected following an assessment of everyday use including analysing the number of visitors and size of luggage expected to be carried into the building whilst creating a user friendly and attractive gateway into the building supporting the green principles that were embedded into its design and carried through to its operation.

The revolving doors use a combination of laminated and toughened glass, which results in a reduction in the traditionally framed elements of the door. The minimalistic, all glass revolving doors provided a stylish solution which complimented the new building’s façade. They also met the security requirements; with each Crystal Tourniket supplied with an external night locking door. Finished in stainless steel, the additional feature provided a further layer of security for the building. The night locking door was mounted onto a stainless-steel track fixed to the glass soffit and provided with fully integrated locks.

Ian Goldsmith, Head of Sales at Boon Edam Ltd commented, “We are thrilled to have provided the entry solutions for this building. The cross-border project between Boon Edam BV (Netherlands) and Boon Edam UK was successful in meeting the precise requirements of The Francis Crick Institute. The Crystal Tourniket’s have provided the new building with the secure, eye catching solution desired whilst utilising the environmental benefits of installing a revolving door.”


Perimeter Protection from AUTOPA

Aston Martin is one of the most evocative names in motoring, regularly featuring in the list of ‘coolest brands’ in Britain.  When they decided to expand their dealership network, they required a showroom experience to fulfil the expectations of their demanding client base.  Working with the Stoneacre Motor Group, Newcastle was identified to become the location of the 20th dealership.

Stoneacre were required to develop a state of the art showroom and customer car suite, yet also had to ensure that the vehicles on display were secure.  AUTOPA Ltd offered their expertise in vehicle parking and security products to assist them in providing the level of security necessary for this prestigious development.

AUTOPA Ltd, working with the specification provided by Aston Martin, developed a complementary set of bespoke Stainless Steel Fixed and Retractable Bollards.  The retractable versions when lowered into the ground allow the staff to freely move the vehicles around the site, and when raised combine with the fixed bollards to form the protection required.


Interserve wins £20 million security contract extension

Interserve, the international support services and construction group, has been awarded a two-year extension of its contract to provide security services to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) worth in excess of £20 million.

Leading provider of manned guarding and security services, First Security – part of Interserve – has worked with the BBC since April 2014 when it was awarded the Corporation’s National Security Contract. This was a three-year deal to provide security services at properties across the UK.

First Security handles all manned guarding, close protection and control room operations at a variety of sites, including Broadcasting House in London, Pacific Quay in Glasgow and the Media City UK complex in Salford. The account extension will start in early 2017.

Tom Ward, director of operations for security at Interserve, said: “We have a strong working relationship and have built up a track record of delivering outstanding service across a large and diverse portfolio. We look forward to continuing our work with the Corporation for a further two years.”

First Security’s parent company Interserve is the BBC’s integrated facilities management partner. The team provide workplace support and services including cleaning, maintenance, mechanical and electrical, signage and waste management to sites across the UK.


New research reveals outsourcing of security high but professionalism is paramount

Grosvenor Services study reveals requirements when procuring security

 Competence of staff and getting the supplier to deliver on the terms of the contract are the two main challenges businesses face when outsourcing their security, new research shows. At a time when businesses are increasingly alert to security threats, outsourcing is the most popular option according to independent research conducted on behalf of facility services specialists, Grosvenor Services.

Key findings:

80 per cent of those surveyed prefer to outsource security requirements rather than use an in-house team, with half preferring to use a provider specialising solely in security.

Those who were in favour of using a stand-alone security specialist were concerned that diversification would lead to a less than satisfactory service.

An alternative is a bundled FM contract, whereby a facilities management company manages several elements of service provision such as security, cleaning and grounds maintenance. 30 per cent of those surveyed said they would prefer to opt for a facilities management provider with security expertise.

A prime reason cited for this was ease of communication by having one point of contact for multiple services.

Professionalism of onsite staff was paramount for all those surveyed, whichever way security is managed. Compared to similar research conducted on the broader facilities management market, while both expect professionalism it ranks as the most important factor in the security sector, outstripping everything else. Investment in security could be undermined by less than competent staff which could have serious consequences for the security of a company.

Meeting changing needs

Bernard McCauley, Group Managing Director from Grosvenor Services, which also owns Charter Security, said: “Organisations looking to outsource need to be confident that the supplier they’ve selected has the expertise and innovation to meet ever changing security needs in a professional manner.

“Developments, including the application of new technology and the need for increased levels of security, have raised the bar in terms of service delivery requirements. It is now time to re-educate the marketplace about how much more a modern, professional security services provider can deliver, whether a stand-alone specialist or a full facilities services company.”

The survey was conducted amongst those with responsibility for purchasing security services and included security and FM managers, primarily in commercial offices and construction companies with over 100 employees based in London.

For more information on Grosvenor Services, visit,  call +353 1 295 4866 or email or +44 (0) 203 713 7783 or email



Biometric access control for ISO 27001 accreditation

Shaun Oakes, Managing Director of ievo Ltd, the Newcastle-based manufacturer of biometric recognition systems, explains how access control is a vital factor for organisations working towards ISO  27001 accreditation.

The security of information or data storage is becoming increasingly vital to every organisation with their Information Security Management System (ISMS) now recognised as virtually a yardstick of their professionalism and integrity. The 2013 upgrading of the original ISO/IEC 27001 standard created a universally recognised benchmark by which all organisations could be judged before entering into commercial relationships and, as such, has become an extremely valuable asset for companies, highlighting the importance they place on data security as part of best business practice.

Whilst no ISMS can guarantee perfect security, and security breaches over the last few years are well documented, ISO/IEC 27001 accreditation will not only help businesses manage the security of their data but will also advertise this expertise to existing and potential clients. The standard looks at a number of core sections, which include IT systems, business processes and, most importantly, people.

An integral part of the accreditation process (Section A.11) deals with access control, looking at key areas such as user access management, user registration and password management and here the use of biometric security systems with fingerprint recognition readers enables organisations to not only cover all requirements of the Standard, but also facilitate additional security measures, should they be required to significantly reduce risks of security breaches and cyber attacks.

Many organisations, of course, rely simply on swipe cards or a numeric pin entry access system, but while access pins can be passed around or even guessed, with key cards sharing many of the same downfalls as well as increasing costs due replacing lost/damaged cards, biometric security systems bypass many of these vulnerabilities, and are becoming increasingly popular. Fingerprints are unique to each individual – unlike codes or key cards they can’t be passed or shared.

The implementation of the latest biometric recognition systems allows the organisation to secure commercial sites worldwide, adding an additional layer of safety to the businesses access control infrastructure. Each site’s visitor movements can be accurately monitored in real time from the access control system with certain areas restricted if needed. This provides the organisation with a sophisticated level of personnel movement information, vital for health and safety and fire roll call protocols..

ISO 27001 is now the standard by which the security of an organisations’ data is judged and companies without the accreditation, or which rely on old technology, may well be excluded when it comes to tendering for major contracts.

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Biometric security for Shetland construction site

Shetland Facilities Management (SFM) Security have provided Morrison Construction Ltd with a robust access control system utilising the very latest state-of-the-art fingerprint biometric recognition devices for their New Anderson High School and Halls of Residence development at Lerwick in the Shetland Islands.

As main contractor for the £56m project, Morrison’s brief for SFM was for an integrated access control system during construction which could give an accurate count of the workforce in each of the site’s two zones, split by company and trade discipline, for not only HSSE requirements but also emergency response, robust time and attendance recording and to capture the data and metrics required for project controls.

SFM’s solution was an integrated platform that combined biometric fingerprint readers from ievo Ltd, the Newcastle-based manufacturer of biometric recognition systems, with a Paxton Net2 access control system. Eight ievo fingerprint readers were installed on four entry turnstiles together with an ievo desktop enrolment reader for initial registering employee fingerprint templates in the site control room. SFM installed the equipment in two 20ft ISO container security portals (one for each zone of the project) which provided efficient through-put and foot-fall at peak and off-peak times.

Simon Orchard, Director of Security, Shetland Facilities Management, commented, “Logistical issues with using SMART cards alongside a large workforce we always found problematic. Using ievo’s biometric solution allows us to save costs whilst also improving efficiency. ievo devices are easy to install, robust, operational in harsh climates and working conditions and surpass all our operational needs. ievo provided the perfect biometric security solution and we are already planning on using them for our next project.”

Shaun Oakes, Managing Director of ievo Ltd, added, “ievo systems are designed for harsh environmental use, such as construction sites. It was vital that the fingerprint system would maintain operational regardless of the weather conditions or the amount of users enrolled. Being able to provide a system that can help identify and manage a large workforce is what ievo is designed for. The installation of the solution has now bedded in very effectively and Morrison Construction Limited staff liked the ease of use for both enrolment of fingerprints, and generating accurate and reliable reports.”

ievo Ltd is a leading designer and manufacturer of world class biometric recognition systems based in the North East of the UK. Offering full integration options, ievo Ltd provides a safe, secure and reliable biometric solution for the access control market.
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