Former Metropolitan Police chief Lord Stevens has taken a majority stake in one of the region’s leading security companies with the aim of growing it into a prominent international brand.
Lord John Stevens, who headed Northumbria Police before landing the Met job, has increased his stake by purchasing further shares in the Protector Group previously held by its founder John Harvey.
This takes to 57.5 per cent the shareholding of Newcastle-based Mercer Street Marketing and Consulting, which was set up by Lord Stevens and the late Freddie Fletcher, the former chief executive of Newcastle United FC.
Lord Stevens will continue in his role as chairman of the Team Valley-based Protector Group, taking a more hands-on role, alongside managing director Derrick Halliwell.
Over the course of the next year Protector will look to expand in the UK through acquisitions, as well as growing its international presence.
Lord Stevens said: “We are an established security company, operating primarily in the North of England and Scotland and one of the largest in the region, and our goal is now to establish ourselves as a leading UK security brand.
“With offices in London, Manchester and Scotland we have a nationwide reach and our aim is to use these bases to facilitate our expansion through acquisitions.
“Further afield, we are currently in talks with various parties in relation to security contracts in the Middle East and the USA as we aim to establish ourselves as a truly international brand.”
Earlier this year The Protector Group was praised for securing the London Olympics equestrian events in Greenwich Park.
Protector’s bespoke security camera network ensured the competition, watched by the 25,000-strong daily crowds, passed off without incident.
The Olympics contract was one of the many Protector has undertaken for The International Equestrian Federation (FEI).
Protector managing director and shareholder Derrick Halliwell said: “Lord Stevens and I are now working more closely and taking a long-term, strategic look at the direction of the business, both operationally and geographically.
“Lord Stevens has contacts across the UK and the globe and this is opening up some significant new market opportunities.”
Protector was launched in 1994 and from its original manned security operational roots has developed into one of the leading companies in the region in the security field.
This has been driven by its emphasis on developing a sophisticated suite of electronic security equipment, supported by remote monitoring and backed up by manned operations, where appropriate.
The company employs 40 skilled engineers at its Gateshead headquarters and has developed its own IP designs which include the Bastion CCTV system, a stand-alone column mounted CCTV camera offering, and the robust multi-columned Lewis Trailer which provides portable standalone security coverage.
Protector’s emphasis on making the most of the available technology has put it in a strong position to protect major infrastructure, energy and transport projects.
Mr Halliwell said: “Our high-end capabilities mean we are now winning contracts to secure commercially critical infrastructure schemes, such as in the emerging energy sectors.
“We have obtained the industry’s leading accreditations and this has opened the doors to bid and win contracts in the transport sectors, including rail operators, who have the highest health and safety stipulations.”
Protector is also able to deliver personal security for high-net worth individuals.
Mr Halliwell added: “People want to know they are secure and we can offer discreet personal protection and remote monitoring to ensure personal and domestic security with complete confidence.”
In the North East Protector was called in to secure the area around the Spencer Court flats at Newburn Riverside, Newcastle, which were damaged by last September’s floods.
Mr Halliwell said: “We were called in to an emergency situation and secured the site for the client and then built on that first phase by installing remote cameras monitored from our HQ.
“We were then called on to provide further manned cover to keep away those curious members of the press and public who wanted to get on site.”
He added: “We are a business which is at the forefront of security system design and technical innovation.
“With these capabilities and the expertise and contacts of our new major shareholder we are looking forward with optimism.”
Protector now has annual revenues of almost £7 million and employs 220 full-time staff.