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The Association of University Chief Security Officers (AUCSO) has announced plans to increase its global reach and expand its range of services and benefits for members.

The association, whose membership already includes security staff at 228 higher education institutions worldwide, is targeting significant expansion in the Americas, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. The development plans were confirmed as Les Allan takes over as the new Chairman and Ollie Curran becomes Vice-Chairman.

Driving up standards of safety and security

Newly appointed leadership team said that they want to facilitate more sharing of best practice internationally

The newly appointed leadership team said that they want to facilitate more sharing of best practice internationally, so as to help drive up standards of safety, security and protection for students, academics, and staff, including those on placement or travelling overseas.

The higher education sector is a vitally important global community, one which benefits from co-operation across borders and across continents,” said Les Allan, adding “This collaboration must extend to security and safety services too. AUCSO is already playing a vital role in making this happen and we will now be building on that work.

Newly appointed leadership team

As well as expanding global representation, AUCSO’s newly appointed leadership team say they will be launching a more ambitious programme of events and online activities, including a new series of webinars, which will be streamed live and archived for members-only access.

The first session will focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and look at how AUCSO’s different international groups have coped with the crisis, with speakers from Dublin, Belgium and Australia sharing their perspectives. The following webinar will address counterterrorism and the threats posed by organised crime, with a series of further topics for 2021 to be confirmed.

Security services expert

Les Allan brings to his chairmanship of AUCSO, the same energy that he has applied to transforming security at Heriot-Watt University’s five international campuses, where he is Director of Safeguarding Services. 

In this role, he has championed the use of innovative technology, such as SafeZone, to enhance the reach of university safeguarding provision and his work has led to multiple security industry awards and global recognition (Security & Fire Excellence Awards winners 2018 and 2019, OSPAs Winner 2019 and THE Awards Asia 2020 finalists).

Leadership role

Oliver Curran (BSc Hons) is the Deputy Security Manager at University College London

Oliver Curran (BSc Hons) is the Deputy Security Manager at University College London and has represented AUCSO in the Security Commonwealth (SyCom), since 2019 and became a Board Member in April 2020.

Speaking after confirmation in his new role at AUCSO, Les Allan said he was excited to be leading the association as the sector emerges from the global pandemic.

Exemplary front-line services

Les Allen said, “There is little doubt that security teams in our sector have faced significant, unforeseen challenges and have delivered exemplary front-line services to our respective institutions over this past year. We all need to build on that experience, sharing best practice, to ensure that security continues to become more professional and to evolve at pace, to support our institutions.

He adds, “I am particularly delighted to have Oliver Curran as our new Vice-Chairman. Oliver brings a very varied skill set and vast experience to our team. Together with our Executive Committee and our wider membership, we aim to enhance our association for the benefit of all.

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