The Exploitation of UK Security Staff: Beyond Workplace Ethics

_By Leigh Turner, Founder & CEO of Elite Tactical Force LTD and UK Security Industry Compliance Association (UKSICA)_

Labour exploitation among security workers in the UK, particularly those recruited through informal channels like WhatsApp and Facebook groups, highlights profound injustices within the security sector. These injustices encompass a range of issues, including insufficient pay, excessive working hours, hazardous working conditions, and limited employment rights. These challenges disproportionately affect vulnerable groups such as international students and others seeking precarious job opportunities.

# Safeguarding at Risk
Addressing labour exploitation within the security sector goes beyond mere workplace ethics; it is a matter of upholding fundamental human rights and ensuring social justice. Fair treatment of security workers is crucial not only for preserving their dignity but also for safeguarding public safety, promoting economic stability, and meeting legal obligations stipulated in national and international laws. By directly confronting these systemic issues, we uphold societal values that prioritise fairness and equity across all sectors of employment.

UK Security Industry Compliance Association (UKSICA) initiative is motivated by the urgent need to raise awareness about the prevalent issues of labour exploitation and to advocate vigorously for systemic reforms. We aim to protect the rights and dignity of security workers, especially those vulnerable to exploitation through informal recruitment via social media platforms. Through targeted advocacy efforts and comprehensive awareness campaigns, our objective is to mobilise support for policy changes and stringent enforcement measures that establish a secure and equitable working environment for all security personnel.

# Below Minimum Wage
It is crucial for the public to understand the significant challenges facing security workers in the UK. These include wages often ranging from £7 to £11 per hour under the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW), which fail to adequately compensate for the demanding nature of their roles. Additionally, security personnel frequently endure gruelling and irregular work schedules, unsafe working conditions exacerbated by insufficient training and equipment, and a lack of legal protections that leave them vulnerable to exploitation and mistreatment.

# Vulnerability for All
Beyond the immediate implications for individual well-being, addressing these challenges is paramount for enhancing societal stability and safety, particularly in the context of countering terrorism threats. Labour exploitation undermines the effectiveness and reliability of security responses by diminishing worker morale, attention to detail, and overall effectiveness in critical security roles. This compromised state leaves public spaces and vital infrastructure vulnerable to potential security breaches, thereby endangering public safety.

# Undermining Public Trust
Moreover, the risks associated with corrupt practices such as bribery within the security sector exacerbate these vulnerabilities. Accepting bribes can compromise security protocols, reduce vigilance, and undermine the integrity of security operations. Such unethical conduct not only undermines the credibility of individual security workers but also erodes public trust in security measures designed to protect communities from potential threats.

# Umbrella’s Final Thoughts
What Leigh is doing, in the past on his own and now under the banner of UKSICA, is amazing work and vital to help improve the standards of the security industry in the UK.

The exploitation of anyone is abhorrent, but in the security industry it can have potentially serious consequences for not only the staff but the public as well.

If you are aware of such practices, we urge you to do the following:
1)       Do not accept the jobs and put yourself and others at risk
2)       Contact Leigh and UKSICA and give them the details so they can help raise the awareness and hopefully reduce or even eradicate these people and practices from the industry

**Leigh Trainer:**
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