Archive for October, 2016

“What Worries the World?”

There was an interesting study published by IPSOS relating to the identification of the top five worries within North America. The study found that the top two contentions held by American citizens are terrorism, and crime and violence. Overall globally, socio-economic and security concerns were listed as the leading ‘worries’ to improving the well-being and quality of life.

The results indicate the following:

Top five global issues Top five US issues
1) Unemployment (38%) 1) Terrorism (35%)
2) Financial / Political Corruption (34%) 2) Crime and Violence (33%)
3) Poverty / Social Inequality (33%) 3) Healthcare (29%)
4) Crime & Violence (31%) 4) Unemployment (23%)
5) Healthcare (22%) 5) Immigration Control (22%)


What is of particular importance is the focus of the study. The survey was meant to add clarity to whether citizens felt their country was heading in the right or wrong direction concerning these worries. (I should mention that the evaluation was not limited to just North America). There was a global survey as well, but I would like to keep this closer to home and ask if you feel we are going in the right direction or not. Individual and community security are an important dimension of development. I find it interesting how in some countries security and socio-economic concerns can directly go hand and hand. I wonder if security issues and ‘worries’ improved, would socio-economic concerns improve as well.

Do we agree that these top two considerations are in fact on par with the vibe out there?

The premise of this study was to determine if citizens believed their country was on the ‘right track or wrong track’.

Country Right Track Wrong Track
US 36% 64%
French 12% 88%
China 90% 10%
Saudi Arabia 71% 29%
India 67% 33%
Globally 37% 63%


It is also interesting to see which countries believe that they are on the right track. Why and what makes them think this? The countries that believe they are on the wrong track are provided with information freely. Despite where we place our judgement I think most would agree that safety is important now more than ever. I think we are starting to take the right steps by focusing the policing sector on these top two concerns, and by allocating lower level threats to the private security sector. You can read more about this in Han Koren’s recent blog entitled, “Non-Core Policing – A Shift in Thinking”.

Being privy to the security sector puts me in both a fortunate and unfortunate position, depending on how you look at it. The positive side of it is, knowing that there are options that are being considered by many experts to ensure the best solution is brought forward.

It is refreshing to know that the commercial, private and public sectors are collaborating to achieve the best results. I can only hope with this shift in thinking that we can start to put a dent in these top two concerns in order to maintain and propagate a safe and secure home for all of us.

What are your concerns? Is Canada on the ‘wrong track’ or ‘right track’?


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How Important is Customer Service?

img_5533On my way to a work conference in New Brunswick, I had to take a flight from London with a layover in Toronto. This was not going to be an issue since I had some work I needed to finish on the flights and layover locations. Unfortunately, my good intentions were interrupted by unforeseen events. During our takeoff from London, I noticed a strange pulsing noise coming from one of the propeller engines but did not think much of it, as each plane seems to have a different sound during takeoff. Soon after we got up to cruising altitude, I heard some sputtering from the left propeller engine. A few minutes later, I looked out the window and saw it had stopped spinning. The plane made a 180-degree turn and headed back to London for an emergency landing. Upon our decent, I could see the airport runways were empty except for a bunch of trucks with flashing lights lined up along the sides. The pilots did a great job on the landing, considering they had to come in fast with one working engine. I only wished that the airline’s customer service had done as good of a job as their pilots did.

The plane malfunction was not necessarily the airline’s fault, as the issue may not have been detectable during their maintenance checks and thus would have no control over preventing it, but everything afterward was within their power. After exiting the plane, I was very relieved that everything went well but concerned about how I would get to New Brunswick since I was going to miss my original connecting flight. Once I got back into the airport, we were greeted by an airline agent who told us that we could either wait in a big line to get rebooked or could call a special number they had. I opted to call the number, as I needed to get to my conference as quickly as possible.

After waiting a while on hold, I was finally able to speak with someone live. What I thought would be a quick, and easy process ended up being a horrible experience. The person on the line made it seem like it was my fault that I had to rebook my flight and that it was a huge inconvenience for them. Finally, after 45 minutes of being on the phone with them, they told me that they would rebook me for a flight later that evening, but from Toronto, and just before they confirmed the booking, I got disconnected. I called back right away and had to wait on hold again before speaking to someone new. They then told me that I had already been rebooked but for the next day with multiple layovers. So again after another 45 minutes of explaining my situation and how I needed to get to New Brunswick as soon as possible for a work conference (while driving from London to Toronto in rush hour traffic), I finally got my flight changed back to the original rebooked one in Toronto.

I have never received such poor customer service in my life. I have always prided myself on giving the best customer service possible and am very proud to work for a company who believes in the same principals. It has been almost a month since the flight, and I have not heard back from the airline, even though I have called and sent multiple emails. This experience has solidified my belief in how important great customer service needs to be and even just a small gesture could have gone such a long way.

I hope that the next time you have something go wrong on your end; you can think back to all the situations you have been involved in and how you would have wanted the outcome to unfold before taking action.

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Non-Core Policing – A Shift in Thinking

The idea of police concentrating on core assignments and moving other tasks to the private sector (security industry) is nothing new. However, in the last two years, the topic has gained more interest to reduce the growth in budgets.

As police salaries have continually increased over the past decade, the Liberal government now has to face the unenviable task of telling public servants to hold the line. Police are one of the biggest costs for municipal taxpayers and it just keeps growing. This is also the case for provincial police (OPP), but small municipalities are hit the hardest because they do not have a large commercial and industrial tax base to rely on.

One solution is to contract out non-core police duties to security firms. Police officers that make the ‘sunshine list’ are taking routine reports, acting as receptionists at police stations, giving parking tickets and doing the work of administrative assistants. Well-trained security staff can perform these types of duties for less than half the cost. There is no logic in having a police officer directing traffic around a construction site. The security industry does not want to replace police officers, but simply to play a role fulfilling the routine work that doesn’t require police training. With today’s ongoing threats of terrorism, the police service has more important tasks to concentrate on.

Toronto is seriously looking into this issue. In June of this year, an interim report was published “The Way Forward: Modernizing Community Safety in Toronto”. Although the report centres around improving the quality of service, it also recognizes the need for cost reduction and changing primary tasks. The report contains 24 interim recommendations and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Various proposals may lead to some police tasks, such as paid duty, shifting to the security industry. The current process of paid duty is not well understood and often puts the reputation of the Toronto Police service at risk. The final report will include working with a risk assessment model to ensure off-duty police officers are only used in a paid duty capacity where their skills, authority, and training are necessary.

We will follow these developments closely.

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