Corps security was founded by Captain Sir Edward Walter in 1859. Sir Edward’s brother, who owned the Times Newspaper, had been documenting in photographs returning soldiers from the Crimean War who were living on the streets. This opened Sir Edward’s eyes and he was convinced that these ex-servicemen could perform, through their military related knowledge and qualities, a vital role in protecting the financial houses of the City of London, which at the time was the world’s commercial capital. On the 13th February 1859 Sir Edward put into motion a campaign to enable these veterans to earn a proper wage and regain their dignity. He organised them as a body of uniformed men and termed them ‘Commissionaires’. The Corps of Commissionaires was created which we now know as Corps Security.
Corps Security provides specialist security services; manned guarding, electronic solutions, state-of-the-art monitoring, security reviews and consultancy all tailored to ensure the safety of property, assets and people.
You could say that Corps was the first ever social enterprise formed on a social mission to help ex-servicemen into gainful employment. Indeed, Corps are still true to their roots and in July this year they became a certified Social Enterprise.
At present, Corps employs many ex-servicemen and women, and they work in a culture with some similarities to the armed forces. Many employees say they find this helps the adjustment process enormously.
“I joined Corps in December 2000. I remember the envy of other officers I was working with when I told them I was joining the Corps. This certainly appealed to me as the Corps was run in a very professional manner by people I could relate to – Scott Hudson, Commercial Manager (British Army / Royal Navy)
Corps ex-forces employees can be found working in guarding for financial institutions, hospitals, local authority buildings and museums. They also bring valuable skills to Corps CCTV monitoring and client assessment teams.
“Anyone with a career in the forces is guaranteed an interview. We ensure all newly employed ex-forces personnel are initially mentored by other veterans who have worked with Corps for longer to help ease their transition. Our veterans report feeling incredibly valued by Corps” says Diz Sollesse, Corps Military Champion.
In July this year Corps was awarded the MOD’s Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award for outstanding support towards the Armed Forces community.
“To me personally, it is of prime importance that we leverage our history and reputation to support worthwhile charities and causes, alongside maintaining our legacy of links to both the military and the Royal Household. As an ex-serviceman, this allows me to be a part of something bigger than just a job, and also gives me the satisfaction of being able to utilise my skillset in an environment that helps me thrive.” – Nigel Horne, National Accounts Director (REME)
The Employer Recognition Scheme was launched in 2014, to recognise employer support for the wider principles of the Armed Forces Covenant and the full spectrum of Defence personnel. This includes the Reserves, service leavers, cadets, spouses, wounded, injured and sick. The scheme encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards of which Corps have held the silver award for the past seven years.
Mike Bullock, CEO, Corps Security said: “The roots of our company are firmly ingrained in the military sector. We value every single member of the Armed Forces community employed at Corps. They bring a fantastic skill set and their contribution to Corps is invaluable. The military sector is so important to us and we’ll work harder to recruit and support those that have served our country.”
Corps is committed to keeping their military values alive and one way they achieve this is by supporting reservists. They offer two weeks’ additional paid leave to enable employees to undertake reservist activities.
“We recognise the key role that reservists can play and how important it is for many reservists to be drafted into regular service for a time,” explains Nigel Horne, Major Accounts Director at Corps, who spent nine years in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers including serving in the first Gulf War.
In common with all other Social Enterprise organisations Corps reinvest their profits back into their business, to support their teams. They also make considerable charitable donations to create positive social change within the ex-military community, these values make them unique in their sector.
“It is important how Corps is run as a business as it gives me enhanced confidence that I am aligned with an organisation which is doing the right thing.” – Glen Bowen, Regional Manager (Army)
Combat Stress is their preferred charity and being a Social Enterprise means Corps can secure regular funding for them. This helps to pay for research, clinicians and counsellors to support ex-military personnel with their journey into civilian life and any mental health care they may need.
Since the withdrawal from Afghanistan on August 17th Combat Stress has seen an increase in calls to their Helpline with many veterans feeling let down, angry and frustrated. Recent coverage may be triggering difficult thoughts and feelings and could be re-traumatising some veterans or worsening existing conditions like PTSD.
“Combat Stress is 75% reliant on support from individuals and companies like Corps Security,” states Gary Burns, Head of Corporate Partnerships, Combat Stress.
Combat Stress has been their preferred charity partner since 2015. This year alone they have been able to help fund 109 days for their helpline, which equates to 4,500 calls. 2,070 of which were new callers seeking help for the first time.
Putting people first is what makes Corps special and why they have a large retention of talented staff from the forces and why as a company they are so driven to help forces charities. 162 years of being special and still counting!