Specialised support services

Did you know?

The specialist support we provide range from key holding and security training through to CCTV recording and storage and a comprehensive alarm response service. These services are chargeable and may be available to colleges. 

For more information about the details and cost of our services, please view our Service Definition Catalogue.


Find out about our specialised support

Photo of a man wearing Security Services hi-vis jacket looking at a cabinet full of many different keys and access cards

We provide a comprehensive response service out of normal working hours (Monday to Friday 17.00 to 8.30, weekends and public holidays).

This gives reassurance that all issues will be dealt with appropriately to a satisfactory conclusion on behalf of the department. 

This service includes:

Key management

  • We ensure all building access keys/cards are registered in our secure key management systems. These are located at our Old Observatory and Old Road Campus centres.
  • Access to building keys is strictly controlled with biometric access limited to authorised security personnel.

Fire alarm response

If an alarm is activated out of normal working hours (Monday to Friday 17.00 to 8.30, weekends and public holidays), we call the Fire Service and send a patrol to the scene to liaise with the Fire Service and ensure the premises have been evacuated.

We work closely with the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Chief Fire Officers’ Association and the University Safety Office and operate in accordance with the University Fire Safety Policy Statement S2/05.

Intruder alarm response

If an alarm is activated out of normal working hours (Monday to Friday 17.00 to 8.30, weekends and public holidays), we send a patrol to the scene to investigate the cause, if necessary.

If we believe a crime has been committed we will call the police. We will also contact the department’s nominated emergency contact, who may need to attend the premises to provide details of any stolen or damaged property.

Plant, environmental and building systems alarm response

Security Services is able to provide, by prior agreement with the department, an appropriate response to specialist alarms. This agreement takes into consideration all safety regulations and practices for the type of system.

Personal attack alarm response

Once an identified personal attack alarm is activated, we immediately send a patrol to the premises, investigate the reason for activation and take any necessary remedial action. We also arrange for assistance and support to be provided when necessary.

Lift alarm response

When a lift alarm is activated, we send a patrol to the scene to reassure the person trapped. The University contracted lift maintenance company is called to attend, and the department is also informed. If necessary, we also call in the Fire and Rescue service for assistance.


We carry out a daily un-lock of a building and deactivate any intruder alarm systems at the agreed time to suit the department’s working hours.


We carry out a daily lock-up of a building in accordance with the department’s instructions. A uniformed patrol completes a full internal security check of the building to ensure all personnel have left. The patrol will also:

  • set any intruder alarm systems and secure the building
  • ensure the building lock-up time takes place as close to the agreed time as possible to suit the department’s working hours

Any security related matters noted will be recorded on the Security Services Incident Management System and a detailed incident report sent to the departments.

We provide an authorised lock-out/in service to members of staff and students locked out of, or inside, their place of work or accommodation.

Patrols attend the property outside normal working hours (Monday to Friday 17.00 to 8.30, weekends and public holidays). They will find out the reason for the person being locked out or in, confirm they are authorised to enter the property, and make reasonable identity checks.

If necessary, the patrol will contact the department’s emergency contact to confirm identity and obtain authorisation. We may also need to refuse access if the person does not have out of hour’s access permission or their identity cannot be confirmed. If the individual needs to collect belongings, the patrol will escort them into and out of the property.

All lock-out and lock-in incidents are recorded and a report is sent to the department. This then helps the department with any necessary preventative or corrective action. 

Security Services manage the Estates Services radio scheme.

As the OFCOM licence holder, we can provide access to a high-quality, encrypted radio communications network offering:

  • improved staff safety and security, including lone worker monitoring
  • direct emergency contact with the security services control room
  • one-to-one private communications and individual talk groups

We also provide training for users and facilitate remote system upgrades, repairs and maintenance with its external service provider. Additional functions include text messaging, alarm activation notification and public address broadcasting.

Security Services are able - with the appropriate permissions - to facilitate the integration of compatible departmental systems with the Estates Service’s own CCTV camera platform.

Once a memorandum of understanding is in place, our CCTV operators can view, review, store and download the department’s CCTV in response to an adverse event, intruder or fire alarm activation.

We provide the infrastructure to record and store data to evidential standards, and will respond to requests from the department to retrieve and download stored data for up to 30 days. We can also respond to freedom of information requests on behalf of the department.

This specialised service includes the:

  • technical development and upgrades to the system infrastructure
  • management of external repairs and maintenance providers
  • end-of-life replacement of the infrastructure.
Photo of a group of people in academic dress posing outside of the Sheldonian as part of Encaenia 2019

The annual Encaenia ceremony is one of the events where we provide specialist support

Security Services has extensive experience of supporting University and college VIP visits and ceremonial events.

We support event organisers with:

  • event planning
  • threat and risk assessment
  • uniformed security staffing
  • event access control management
  • liaison with Police and other emergency services
  • contingency planning and response

Personnel security (screening) provides assurance regarding the trustworthiness, identity, integrity and reliability of employees, visitors, contractors and temporary staff.

Personnel Services publish advice, guidance and regulations on pre-employment screening processes and procedures, which can be found on the HR Support website.

In addition, Security Services can provide a range of screening solutions for University departments, colleges and other University-related organisations, including:

Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) – Enhanced Level Checks

The DBS helps employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups. DBS checks should be carried out for certain posts that involve regulated activity with children under the age of 18 or with adults who are in vulnerable situations.

Further details on these requirements are available on the HR Support site

Our team offers advice and guidance on which types of post need a DBS checks, as well as the application process.

DBS – Basic Level Checks

We can advise on screening for University posts when confirmation of identity and criminal record is required, but an enhanced level DBS check is not applicable.

Basic UK criminal record checks would disclose information relating to any unspent criminal convictions recorded on central records.

University Higher Level Checks

Working with our external contractor, Horus, we provide a bespoke enhanced screening service to meet the needs of departments and colleges. In certain posts this enhanced level is mandatory; details of these posts are available from the Personnel team

Overseas Criminal Records Checks

The University is a cosmopolitan workplace, attracting staff from all over the world. Our team offers an overseas criminal record checking service for overseas applicants, who are unlikely to appear on the UK criminal record database. This is often easier to do before the applicant arrives in the UK, so please contact us for early advice.

Departmental Screening Policy

Any personnel screening system can only provide a snapshot in time; a holistic approach is needed on the whole issue of personnel security. Screening should be fair, transparent, proportionate and in line with University guidance on pre-employment screening and Data Protection principles. Departments may wish to provide local guidance on who is responsible for the different parts of the process, how these will be authorised and who is ultimately responsible for staff appointments. We can advise on producing a departmental screening policy and establishing effective security controls.

For further information, please contact us on  +44(0)1865 282788 or email screening@admin.ox.ac.uk.

We can provide the following services outside of term time or during closed closure periods - for example, due to building maintenance or planned staff absences:

  • Security Services on patrol

    internal building security patrols

  • external security patrols of grounds/site
  • key storage and management for emergency response or controlled access
  • alarm monitoring, response and resolution
  • incident response, management and resolution

Patrols are carried out at random times to offer maximum protection. The patrol ensures that all areas of the building or grounds are intact.

If there is any cause for concern, they contact the department’s emergency contact for further instructions and inform the police immediately if necessary. 

Our dedicated training and development officer can provide:

  • bespoke security and customer service training for key personnel
  • end-user and trainer training on CCTV and radio schemes
  • support with developing and testing local crisis management and response plans
  • structured incident de-briefings

For further information, please contact us on +44 (0)1865 2 72944 or email securityservices.updates@admin.ox.ac.uk

Service Definition Catalogue



Vetting Charges


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