North East security firm The Protector Group is aiming to make further inroads into the outdoor sports and entertainment market after being praised for successfully securing the Equestrian events at the London Olympics.
With senior members of the Royal Family among the 25,000-strong daily crowds at Greenwich Park, Gateshead-based Protector’s bespoke security camera network ensured the competition passed off without incident.
Protector chairman Lord John Stevens, the former head of the Metropolitan Police and Chief Constable of Northumbria Police, says he has been personally thanked by Olympics organisers for the Team Valley-based company’s successful security operation.
He said: “In light of the G4S fiasco it is pleasing to know that a North East security firm stepped up the Olympics’ plate and delivered.
“In conversations I have had with Olympics’ organisers the excellence of Protector’s technical capability, and the diligence of Protector’s staff has been commended.”
The Olympics contract is one of nine Protector has undertaken for The International Equestrian Federation via Quest.
It successfully secured the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, and since this use of expertise has continued to provide coverage for FEI events including one last month in Dublin.
Protector’s expansion into outdoor events reflects its divergence into technology-based security offerings.
The company employs 40 skilled engineers and has developed its own IP designs which include the Bastion CCTV system, a stand-alone pole-mounted CCTV camera offering, and the robust Lewis Trailer which provides portable standalone security coverage.
Group managing director Derrick Halliwell said: “We have refocused the business with an increased emphasis on security system design and technical innovation.
“This means we are a less labour-intensive and a more technically-specialised security operation. UK manufacturers have moved away from assembling mass-market goods to designing and making high-end skilled products and the security industry is moving in the same direction. We are at the forefront of this with our focus on sophisticated electronic surveillance backed up by round-the-clock in-house remote monitoring.”
Protector now has annual revenues of almost £7m with full-time staff of 220, compared to pre-recession revenues of £8m and a 500-strong workforce. Mr Halliwell added: “We are a smaller business following the recession with the downturn in construction leading to the need for less on-site manpower.
“We have tailored the business to meet changing circumstances and continue to thrive in a way many other businesses have been unable to.
“Our technical innovations mean we can drive down costs as well as recuing the carbon footprint. We are able to install a virtual security system within 12 hours.”
In the region Protector worked for Laing O’Rourke when it built the Sage and is contracted to work for Balfour Beatty and Carillion.
With rural crime on the rise Protector has developed security packages for farmers to protect property, vital equipment and fuel supplies.
It has a contract to provide manned security for a Premier League Club and is in talks with other sporting and entertainment venues.
At any one time it may be protecting up to 500 sites across the UK and recently secured work in Dorset extending its reach to the south coast for the first time.
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Protector’s Olympics’ contract involved over 100 cameras with a team of engineers from Gateshead being stationed in a potable control room during the duration of the equestrian events. The cameras monitored the horses, stables, competition arena and all the surrounds. In addition to Protector, Monitor Quest, a London company which Lord Stevens’ chairs provided specialist security services.