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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Ensuring security with respect

One fine evening, I came out of Landview building, at Gulshan-2. I stood at the stairs while I saw a group of roving RAB officers parking their bikes. One of them came up the stairs while the others took time in anchoring their vehicles. As if I had found a long lost friend, I asked the officer standing next to me, “ei je RAB bhai, apnader gorom lage na? ei je kalo jama pore rodey ghora ghori koren...” (Yo RAB bro, you don’t feel hot or what? Wearing this black outfit and out there in the sun…). The officer looked at me with his sun-glassed eyes, scanned me from top to bottom and replied after a long silence, “No…we are used to it”. By the mean time, I have realized that I had put hand in a tiger’s mouth and asked if the teeth were sharp or not. The other officers starting appearing, I gave the RAB bhai a dry smile and immediately disappeared into thin air.

These RAB officers, I thought, have surely created a brand image for themselves. For their heroics, the headlines (right or wrong) or because of the mere black gears they were, have certainly helped create a sense of trust and security (for some), awe (for some) and fear (for some). However the same cannot be said regarding our ‘supposed to be custodians’—the police. They are however, government servants, mostly ill-paid and ill-fed. Talking about what the government should do to uplift the police’s image is beyond the scope of this blog. So we turn our focus to the private players who are playing in the fields of providing security—G4S and Securex. We talk about G4S here.

First and foremost, I ask to the wiser amongst you, do you have any idea about this industry? What is their market size? How many players are there other than the ones I know? What is the number of employment they are generating? Do they have any association or something? (I bet they do, any more than two Bengalis are supposed to form a political party, association, council, committee etc.). I would love to know more about this service sector which seems to be growing in leaps in bounds.

Big private corporates, embassies, clubs, NGOs, banks—I guess the major clients who are provided security by companies like G4S. I guess they are the market leaders, just assuming, as I see their security personnel around most often. I believe they are doing a good job, their employers have lot of room to do even better for them. Other than providing them with clean uniforms and caps, other than installing discipline into their lives (through parade/P.T. conducted by ex-defence personnel), the employers can orient them with self-dignity as well. No doubt that the general public don’t give as much ‘patta’ to the G4S folks as much as they give to the RAB Bhais. The elite black force has created a ‘brand personality’ for themselves, as coined by Shahriar in his recent post. But due to some common reasons, private security personnel are yet to create that brand image for themselves. Why is that?

Education could be a reason. Self-confidence could be another. Behaviour, conduct, attitude can be other. All these seem to be tacit knowledge but very important in a crucial service sector like security. I hope the management of G4S does not become too complacent of the fact that we are a labor-intensive nation and we can ‘cheap-bargain’ manpower to accomplish our own corporate objectives. The circumstances are such in Bangladesh that we become compelled not to give dignity of labour. I can give a ‘jhari’ to a G4S security-wala easily, but I would think twice before taking a piss with a RAB man. I am not asking the G4S people to be rude or ill-mannered or fearsome. But some sort of attitude should be instilled in them. I guess once their employers start giving them respect for their job, they will reflect that respect to us, and eventually we all will deal with each other with the ‘due’ respect we expect when we meet.

1 comment:

Farhan Quddus said...

i was just going through the website and a blog about Securex and G4S interested me i think written by atom. Th writer wanted to know more about this industry and I would like to give him that. The security industry in Bangladesh started in 1987. The First registered company in the market was Securex Private Limited . The concept was drawn from the then Securicor UK operations and GUARDFORCE HK . At the time it was not feasible to bring in a security franchise , so a home grown module was developed by Group Captain Taher Quddus (Retd). He started the company with two guards working out of a two bedroom flat in banani road 6. In fact on his first contract he had to drop the two new guards to Dhanmondi so that they could get the address right on the first day. From then onwards its been a success story and Securex became the pioneers in all security related business.
As the guard force grew , Securex ventured into the Cash IN Transit services, devisiing a local system drawn from ideas used elsewhere. In fact on a business trip to HK, The MD was informed by GUARDFORCE not to take their armored cars from HK but to reinforce local Toyota modules and they did that and started the cash carrying business in 1990. Following up with sales of alarm systems, vault doors and equipment, CCTV systems from July 1990. At the time there were RANGS, RORA, SHIELD, VIGILANCE security comoanies, a small but growing industry. In 1993, Group 4Securitas approached SECUREX for tyng up in a joint venture. Negotiations between Taher Quddus & David Hudson, CEO of G4S were almot finalized but crashed at the very last minute. Group 4 then came into Bangladeshi Market two years later with another company and later became 100 % owners of that company I think, thus becomingthe first multintional to enter the market. There are now over 450-500 independent security providers/firms in the counry.

The premier association is headed by Group Captain Taher Quddus and he has the correct figures of how many ccompanies operate in the industry and total guad force in the nation must be over half a million people, but sadly no one wants to work as s security guard and the companies find this to be a huge factor in recruitment

I am surprized that DHL and other award host has not recognized this industry and its valuable services. If anyone should get an award it should be Group Captain Taher Quddus for starting an industry with his bare hands.

Who am I ? I am Farhan Quddus, who was sales adn marketing from the birth of Securex till 1996