AUCSO celebrates ‘best in class’ at AUCSO Annual Awards 2023

AUCSO celebrates ‘best in class’ at AUCSO Annual Awards 2023

The Association of University Chief Security Officers (AUCSO), the leading organisation for security professionals working in higher and further education around the world, has praised its members for ‘outstanding achievements across the year’ as it announced the winners of its Annual Awards 2023.

The winners were announced at a Gala Dinner on the final evening of the AUCSO Annual Conference, hosted at the iconic Signet Library in Edinburgh.

Recognised for their exceptional work were:

Mark Neary, Manchester Metropolitan University

Security Officer of the Year

The judges praised Mark for his immense bravery in tackling aggressive persons who were in the process of robbing a retail outlet on campus.

Mark arrived at the scene alone and was confronted and assaulted by the alleged perpetrators whilst making their exit.  It was a serious and violent incident but Mark clung on and continued to try to prevent the individuals making a get-away, despite being ruthlessly assaulted and receiving injuries to both his face and body.

Despite this, Mark refused to take any time off – he was back in his role the very next day.

Adrian Dennehy, Cardiff Metropolitan University

Security Manager of the Year

Judges said that Adrian had worked tireless to introduce and embed innovative working practice into the Campus Protection Services team whilst raising the profile and importance of Security within the Higher Education sector. 

As a highly active contributor and leader in his role as Chair of the Wales region within AUCSO, Adrian shares learnings from Police and National agencies around issues such as County Lines and potential exploitation of Students.  He has promoted the importance and benefits from sharing information across South Wales based Universities, whilst ensuring South Wales Police and other agencies are engaged to better inform and enable the collective approach to countering such risks and threats upon the Higher Education community.

D Team – Colchester, University of Essex

Security Team of the Year

Judges said the D Team was in this instance the ‘A’ team, citing the bravery that the officers in the team showed when dealing with a serious incident in a student accommodation block (which holds 200 students). 

When presented with a situation involving a number of students who had raised welfare concerns regarding a fellow student, who had become violent and was in possession of a bladed weapon, the D Team didn’t hesitate to take control of the situation, evacuating students and restraining the student in possession of the bladed weapon from injuring himself. 

The team managed to get all the students, some of whom had sustained injuries, out of the flat and to safety, whilst they restrained the offender and kept them under control whilst they waited for further assistance from two other members of the team and emergency services. They managed to support the restraining of the student whilst other colleagues managed the situation on the ground, supporting the students involved and co-ordinating emergency services.

Commenting on the winners, says: AUCSO Chair, Oliver Curran said:

“We had some truly inspirational nominations across a challenging year for University Security teams.  The entries demonstrate the range of risks and challenges that our Security teams face on a daily basis, as well as the incredibly professional personnel that continually keep their communities safe with their innovative approaches.   

“All of the shortlisted entries were very worthy winners showing consistently high levels of professionalism, integrity, dedication, and passion, and they are all a credit to their profession.”

AUCSO Chief Operating Officer, Julie Barker, added:

“It was a night where we were enormously proud of our members. 

“As Oliver said all of the entries were worthy of recognition, and we have enormous respect for the actions and outcomes of the winners who are truly exceptional in their dedication to the sector.”

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