Frontline security and technical workers in the United Kingdom can receive free membership to the International Professional Security Association (IPSA).

The move is just one of a raft of changes aimed at revolutionizing the U.K.’s longest established security association that was agreed on at this year’s AGM on Wednesday, Oct. 21.

Other plans include a new website, new app and broadening representation to include systems and fire sector technicians who support the industry and frontline officers, some of whom have been identified as essential workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

IPSA Board Member Simon Pears first came up with the proposals in July after his predecessor, Jane Farrell, announced her decision to step down as chair. He won the backing of the board to drive them through after being elected as chair at the AGM. He will be supported by a new chief executive, Una Riley, and a strengthened and reorganized board of directors.

“This vision is inspired by the hard work and commitment that front-line services offer the public to help keep them safe and secure,” Pears said. “The free membership of IPSA is our thank you to them.  We want to become the voice of security front-line workers.”

Key to the success of IPSA’s new plans is that members will be gained through signing up for a free app.  This will include all the benefits and certifications past executive members have benefitted from, and the right to include the post nominal after their name.

The app will provide information and guidance, welfare, training modules and a network of approved suppliers that support the industry. Crucially, a “one-voice” link on behalf of security frontline members will include capturing data and trends about unreported incidents, mental well-being, injuries, diversity and disability — all of which, for the first time, will allow for an accurate picture of incidents affecting front-line security officers and the wider community, along with the impact on businesses.                                                                     

IPSA is recognized worldwide as a professional security organization, and while the app will launch initially in the U.K., it will be quickly rolled out to other countries, with the United States being the next scheduled release.

“This will be first-hand anonymized data which will allow us to be vocal within the industry and to government,” Pears said. “We hope that in turn, corporate companies will want to be part of us to help improve security and how to meet the needs of frontline staff.”

Another innovation is that there will be frontline security worker representation on the board. Each term will last six months, during which time they will take part in a board meeting and chair their own Frontline Forum. The chair will then report back to the board to ensure focus on the frontline members and to provide insight and the voice of key issues impacting front line workers.

Pears admits the proposals are radical and a gamble but is excited at the opportunities they offer: “IPSA was the first security trade association and it will be the first to revolutionize and recognize frontline workers in this way."