Every day, our security teams work on the frontline of society to protect people. This is why we're saying thank you to them on International Security Officers' Day today (Saturday 24 July).
Security officers are among the heroes of the pandemic. Throughout lockdown and other restrictions, they have been carrying out their duties in the most extraordinary circumstances and taking on additional responsibilities to help protect the health of the public. They've been vital to the frontline defence against coronavirus, stopping the spread of infection through queue management and prevention measures such as the wearing of facemasks. And their presence has helped rebuild public confidence as restrictions are lifted.
They include Amanda Evans at Cannock Magistrates' Court, part of our HM Courts & Tribunals Service contract. Amanda is one of 1,500 security colleagues who've helped keep the UK's justice system operating. Another colleague, Mason Carr at Worcester Crown Court, received this feedback from Barrister James Keeley: "From time to time, I come across people who stand out. Mason is such a person. He immediately impressed me by his politeness, professionalism and willingness to help. He has immaculate judgment and his people skills are some of the best I have ever come across in my life. Put simply, he is a credit to your company."
Then there's our security teams working on the frontline in healthcare, keeping hospital staff, patients and visitors safe. They include Jacob Rochester and Gemma Myring in the UK. Jacob was given an OCS Star for his professional conduct during an incident in which he was subjected to racist abuse and threatening behaviour from the parent of a young patient. And Gemma won a Women in Security Award after stepping up to support one of our NHS customers when she was due to be furloughed from her security job at an entertainment venue in March last year due to lockdown.
At North Bristol NHS Trust in the UK, our team attends 120-180 incidents a month to protect clinical staff from violent and abusive visitors and patients - which is one of the reasons they were finalists at both the Outstanding Security Performance Awards (OSPAs) and the British Security Awards. And Paul Hayes was among the winners at Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail's annual Health and Safety Awards after being nominated by his colleagues at Dublin Connolly Station for quickly and effectively defusing tense situations.
More than anything, our security officers are there when we need them, to listen and offer support to those in distress. PCS Thailand colleague Sakda Saiya reunited a shopper with her bag containing 1.5 million baht (about £37,500). OCS UK colleague Paula Agbeyegbe and her team dealt with a vulnerable woman in a compassionate, understanding and professional manner when she refused to leave their government building. And OCS Ireland colleague Juenes Vieria received an OCS Star for preventing a suicide. This is why we're saying #thankyousecurityofficers.