Category Archives: Conflict

You snooze you lose

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How safe and sound are you?

First and foremost Happy New Year to you all. I trust this finds you all well and enjoying a well earned break if you are lucky enough to be on holiday.

The question I have asked is How safe and sound are you? The reason I have asked this is TLC along with DiversityNZ are considering providing a range of services catering for those who require assistance and support with daily living in their own home.

Firstly let me share a story with you.

Prior to Christmas I was engaged to provide personal protection for a client in their own home. The circumstances which led to this had been going for almost a year. The client is disabled and lives alone and has support persons coming into the home to assist as required. The client also runs a very successful business from their home.

12 months ago the house next door to my client was occupied by a male who had suffered a brain injury. Over the course of the 12 months the neighbour has tormented my client with threats of fire and death, has assaulted my clients gardener, has thrown water through open windows, has interfered with mobility equipment and even defacated on my clients driveway. As you would appreciate these behaviours would cause anyone concern…given the fact that my client is disabled…physically if anything was to happen my client could find themselves in an extremely dangerous situation.

The first thing to be done was get the Police involved. The local community constable was advised of events and was very proactive in the way that he dealt with the situation. A trespass notice was also served to the neighbour which resulted in the neighbour being arrested and charged with trespass after breaching the order.

My client also made the landlord aware of the situation and had numerous meetings, emails and phone contact with them to look at the options and possibly relocating the neighbour. This resulted in a formal tribunal and it was agreed that the neighbour will be moved.

The reason I was engaged to provide protection was the landlord met with the neighbour and advised that they were to be moved. It was uncertain how this news would be received. Given the previous behaviours from the neighbour there was a high possibility that some form of revenge attack could be staged prior to the neighbour moving. To cut a long story short protection was provided for a 48 hour period until the client went to stay with friends for Christmas, the neighbour was eventually moved out and my client now feels safe again in their own home.

The impact that this situation has had on my client is huge. They have been living in fear for the best part of 12 months…not feeling safe in their own home forever worried that the neighbour will try and harm them…if not something more sinister.

It was during this job that an idea formed concerning providing a range of services to others who require assistance in their day to day lives. They could be the elderly, solo mothers with children, the disability sector and anyone for that matter who perceives they are at risk in their own home.

The idea to provide various services led to the name of Safe and Sound. Please follow the link to view the possible services that could be offered. This concept is in it’s early stages and is purely a scoping document to gauge interest.

I am speaking more from a security point of view of which various services could be provided i.e; daily welfare checks, a 24 hour response service, personal protection if required, removal from the house if required to a fully accesible safe house utilising fully accessible transport, property checks etc etc…the list is endless. All staff providing the service will be fully licensed security professionals, all will be first aid qualified and all will be familiar and comfortable in dealing with a broad range of disabilities and impairments.

I suspect there are several people living in a situation that could possibly be unsafe for them. Please feel free to offer your thoughts and please please follow the link to register you interest if you wish.

Lets see where this can go.



Armed Gang subject victims to terror…

Armed Robbery…an extremely traumatic event. Recent events in South Auckland have highlighted that aggravated robbery is occuring out there and in this case indicates that once offenders become comfortable in what they are doing they will continue to do so until the law intervenes and they are apprehended.

This is of grave concern…the brazen activities of these offenders and the blatent disregard they have for their victims is a serious situation…it is my opinion that the actions of this gang will continue to escalate to the extent that someone will be seriously injured if not killed if they are not stopped as soon as possible.

Aggravated robbery can occur at any time and for any organisation but more for those that deal with cash, drugs, alcohol or any other attractive products. Traditionally we see that organisations that are open outside of normal hours or who may not have alot of staff onsite more often than not become targets…recent events have indicated that this gang are a bit different.

There are a few things that need to be considered to reduce the risk of this happening.

Five key times of the day or night and certain events during a traditional working day are by default the areas and events that expose you to risk.

1.Opening Time

2.Closing Time

3.Cash Handling

4.Work Environment

5.Staff Behaviours

If the five events and times as mentioned above are not well managed you are increasing the chances that you may become a victim.

Things to consider to reduce risk.

Opening Time

– Before approaching your building take the time to
stop and look for suspicious behaviours and events.
– Keep doors and windows closed until open for
– Look for anything unusual once inside.
– Look for signs of forced entry
– Try and unlock with more than one of you
– Make sure cameras are working properly

Closing Time

– Ensure all customers are out then lock the door
– Do not allow after hours customers
– Make sure alarms are set before leaving the site
– Try and leave with someone else
– Try and get your vehicle close to the exit
– Have keys ready
– Check your vehicle before getting in
– Arrange for staff escorts if there is a perceived risk
– Talk on a cell phone
– If you see anything suspicious do not leave
– If you are being followed do not go home

Cash Handling

– Keep large amounts of cash out of view
– Maintain regular drops into safes
– Do not exceed limits
– Stick to policy and procedure
– Do not leave cash lying around
– Secure safe keys
– Do not carry cash off site
– Remove cash using a recognised security provider
– Cash up behind a locked door, out of public view with
more than one of you.
– Do not advertise your profits – need to know basis

Work Environment

– Clean windows
– Open uncluttered environment
– See out See in mentality
– Access Control Systems
– Locks on back doors and windows
– Security signage on windows and doors
– Cameras
– Deter, Deny, Detect and Delay
– Repair broken windows
– Remove tagging quickly
– Weapons free zones
– Anti jump counters
– Alarms (intruder and duress)
– Good effective lighting
– Make your premise look like a hard target
– Vegetation around entries and exits
– Good control over customers

Staff Behaviours

– Identify all customers
– Provide good customer service
– Undertake training with TLC
– Staff vetting before employment
– Communicate with each other
– Adhere to policy and procedure
– Remain vigilant and alert
– Challenge suspicious behaviours
– Secure sensitive information
– Secure items of uniform and identification
– Be aware of what is said in social settings

A good guideline that I always try and apply no matter where I am is:

Caution is not Cowardice

We are all responsible for our own safety and security. Please everyone do as much as you can to ensure that you, your staff and your customers are as safe as they can be. It needs to be said though that 100% protection is impossible. If it is impossible it is not to say that it shouldnt be our goal…we are all responsible to try and achieve this as best as we can.

I am more than happy to discuss further with you if you wish as to what can possbily be done to try and prevent this from happening to you or in the event that it does happen what can be achieved through good effective training to enhance your safety and that of others during an aggaravated robbery.

Please feel free to make contact if you wish.

I look forward to hearing from you.



Its a rough world out there…….

Two stabbings in as many days in good old New Zealand. A timely reminder that it is a tough world out there. A sad indicator of what our society has become when our youngsters are being stabbed to death on a regular basis. I cant help but wonder if the victims of these attacks saw the warning signs and chose to ignore them or they were ignorant to them.

We only need to think why the Police have been issued with stab proof vests in recent years…clearly an indicator that things have changed…what is also disturbing is that the Police recovered a number of weapons from the scene of the recent stabbing in Pakuranga…clear evidence that our youth are carrying and obviously have the intent to use.

I really encourage that if you are confronted on the street that the safest option is to escape and get out of not under estimate what is out there and who is prepared to take a life to prove a point…be careful and stay safe. My sincere condolances to all families affected by this latest tragedy.

Safety, Security, Care and Protection within a Dictatorship

It has been a while since I have blogged, certainly not because I have nothing to blog about but it is fair to say that the last month or so has been an extremely busy time on both the work and home fronts for a number of reasons.

It has also taken me some time to ponder this blog and its contents as some people who have never experienced something like this may struggle to understand…you may even think that it has nothing to do with safety and security…please continue reading as the contents of this blog may offer some of you insight into a situation that is being repeated across the country to a large proportion of families.

Before getting into the details I would like you to follow the link to a blog that was posted by a very good friend of mine. Philip Patston is a well known and respected social entrepreneur, comedian, public speaker, motivator and mentor who manages his own successful business…he is also disabled.

Some of you will be aware that I too am familiar with the disabled community. My son Keegan was born at 26 weeks gestation which resulted in him being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at 9 months and subsequent discoveries of epilepsy, autism and learning delays to name but a few. With respect to this Keegan has complex needs and requirements most of which are met by my wife Franky and I who have been providing care for Keegan 24/7 for the last 14.5 years without a break.

Early on in Keegan’s life we engaged the services of contracted providers funded by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to assist with Keegan’s supports in the home. This system over time clearly became unsustainable due to untrained staff and incompetence on several fronts which saw Franky having to step in to recruit, train and oversee staff on their behalf. As you will appreciated this regime created more stress and concerns for Keegan’s care and protection than doing it our self.

We then requested a funding package to be provided which we had direct control over (MoH provide funding direct to us to employ our own staff to assist with meeting Keegan’s complex needs). This funding is integral to enable us to keep Keegan in his home and to be cared for as best as he can…who better than the parents to do this. This system of funding has proven to be the best system in ensuring Keegan’s needs are met…and as equally important providing Franky and I with the assurance that Keegan’s welfare, safety, care and protection is unfaltering. This system for the last six years has proven itself to be the most cost effective way of providing a quality of life for Keegan that has been outstanding that clearly the likes of contracted providers and the MoH cannot do. This funding has been provided to Keegan for the last six years…until now.

The dictatorship as Philip referred to in his blog in my opinion is our Ministry of Health. The organisation that is responsible for the care and protection for those who are most vulnerable in our society fits the ‘dictatorship’ title perfectly.

Why do I say this?

In all its wisdom the MoH have elected to stop our current funding arrangement with little notice and put us back under the sub-standard service of contracted providers.

As quoted by Philip in his blog the traits of dictatorship are:

The dictator doesn’t listen: In this case the inattentive dictator is the “system” and the people who work (in) it – the Ministry of Health (we’ve said we’re not sick), Ministry of Education (we’ve said we’re not special), Work and Income (we’ve said we’re not invalids), Needs Assessment (we’ve said we know what we need). I won’t go on, it’s boring. People who experience disability continue to go unheard in our plea for coherent language, appropriate policy and competent practice.

Subjects are scared to talk: In my experience, very few disabled people have the confidence to speak openly if they feel they are not getting their needs met or having their rights infringed. Sure there are some who are vocal and agitate for improvement. But the overwhelming majority of people and families impacted by disability are grateful for the little support they have to survive, are afraid to lose what they have and, therefore, remain silent.

Subjects exhibit traits such as pessimism, cynicism, lack of self-confidence & self-management: Again, there are exceptions to the rule, but this element falls into two categories. Pessimistic, cynical activists and your everyday, average disabled person who lacks confidence and competence to do anything much more than claim a benefit and sit on a couch in their home, a home, or a day facility.

There is painfully slow innovation: You only have to compare computers and wheelchairs to witness the lack of innovation in solutions to mobility and assistive technology. If the same or equivalent levels of investment had gone into researching innovations in assistive devices as have gone into advancing personal computers to the iteration of the iPad, I’d be wearing my wheelchair as an accessory today, not lugging it into my car with a winch.

Subjects hesitate to speak up and stand up for themselves; if they do, they are very polite: Linked to fear of talking above, sadly in my experience a lot if not most people impacted by disability are terrified to speak out, complain and ask for more, for fear of neglect, victimisation and even abuse. The disabled community is unique in that we rely on the “system” to fund support for the basic necessities of life – shelter, food, cleanliness. People have so much to lose that they remain courteous to their detriment in order to avoid the risk of punitive consequences or withdrawals of support.

What has this got to do with safety and security I hear you ask?

Safety and Security for a large number of us is something that we tend to take for granted. When we are babies not only do we need safety and security but we also require care and protection. As we mature the need for care and protection diminishes but not so the need for safety and security. As we enter our more mature years we again require more care and protection as the toll of life catches up with us and we need assistance.

But what about those within our communities who require not only safety and security, but a high level of care and protection for their entire lives? Those people with permanent impairments require lifelong assistance. Imagine you can’t get out of bed by yourself, imagine you need assistance to get dressed, imagine you require assistance to have a shower and go to the toilet, imagine you need assistance to eat, imagine you require assistance to undertake everything that you wish to do on any given day. The reality is that Keegan doesn’t need to imagine this he lives it every day.

What if you needed this level of assistance? I am confident that if any of us were in this situation you would want the right type of people providing you with this assistance. Surely you would want people who have a genuine concern for your welfare…who better than your parents and those who have been recruited, vetted, trained and supervised by those that care for you more than anything in this world.

As a security consultant I provide training, skills and knowledge designed to keep people safe…this is my job, my passion and it is what I choose to do…but what if due to a dictatorship I am no longer in a position to guarantee the safety, security, care and protection of my own son. Due to the recent actions of MoH this is the frustrating situation I now find myself in…Keegans safety, security, care and protection is now greatly compromised…a situation I find totally unacceptable…but due to the MoH dictatorship I have no choice…I have no voice…I’m not being listened to…and I now have diminished control over who comes into my home to provide cares for my son.

I have always suggested to my clients in terms of their safety that there are always choices…we make choices that either put us at risk, or we make choices that keep us safe…in this case as with many other disabled people…given the dictatorship mindset and attitude of the organisation that we expect to look after us, our ability to choose has been taken away. More importantly Keegan’s ability to choose has been taken away.

I can now choose to accept this…or I can choose not to…I choose NOT TO. I will not stand back and allow a system full of bureaucrats who are so far removed from reality dictate to my family and I that they know what they are doing and they know what is best for us.

Experience tells me that the path they are taking is one that is going to get people hurt, it is a path that takes away people’s dignity, it takes away people’s right to choose and self-determination, it takes away the basic fundamentals of everyone’s right to safety, security, care and protection. As a father of a child who is considered to be society’s most vulnerable I find it appalling.

As a security consultant I find it totally unacceptable that a Government Department in a country such as New Zealand can even think about treating people like this….

I am at a loss.

I welcome your thoughts

Burglary or Robbery?

Saddened to hear today of the dilemma the Pharmacist in West Auckland is now facing. It will be interesting to see how the Police investigation develops and what unfolds from their evidence. Clearly not a nice situation to be confronted with, but unfortunately in todays society something that I believe we have become used to and to a certain extent immune to. I cannot help but wonder and ask the question…”Could this have been avoided”? Albeit it’s early days but surely the answer has to be “yes”.

Now I am not in a position to project the outcome of this, nor do I wish too. I also don’t condone or condemn any of the parties involved…but I do know how most people respond when placed in a situation where their property or personal safety is in jeopardy. At the time of writing this there are numerous unanswered questions that I am confident the Police will find answers too…was it a burglary that escalated into a robbery?…was it a robbery that went tragically wrong?…time will provide the answers. What we do know though is there is one person dead, there is one person being questioned within the legal system, we have a business that is not trading, we have the loved ones of all involved parties affected by this tragedy and we have other business owners in the area scared to open their doors.

This is how crime impacts on our society…unfortunate as it is…this is reality in todays society.

I would like to plant the seed and offer the suggestion that we are all in a position to keep ourselves and our property safe through taking ownership, through being observant, through being aware of and selecting options that keep us safe and by being organised enough to wrap basic precautions around how we go about our daily lives.

I am not suggesting that the basic security requirements were lacking in this case…clearly having a security patrol response would indicate that there was some proactive steps in place…but again…I can’t help but still wonder “Could this have been avoided?”…and I still get the same answer….”yes I think it could have”.