Former Police Superintendent Mark Sutton recently joined the University as Aston’s new Head of Security and Emergency Planning, working within the Chief Operating Office.
Mark started work with the Gwent Police Force at the age of 18 and worked his way up through the ranks, until he retired 31 years later as a uniformed Superintendent. Mark was responsible for the areas of Newport and Monmouthshire and was a Senior Investigating Officer for Wales.
Aspects caught up with Mark to find out more about his new role.
What does your role involve?
"I am responsible for the security and safety of all students, staff, visitors and buildings on the Aston University campus. I have a team of 20 security staff who all work on a shift rotation to ensure that the University has a security team 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and I am personally on call for 24 hours a day for four days of the week.
"I am also responsible for the University’s Emergency Planning procedures and practices and ensuring they are as fit for purpose as they can possibly be in light of the modern threats that exist such as flooding, power loss, fire and terrorism."
What attracted you to work at Aston?
"When I saw the job advertised it simply caught my imagination. I wanted to be part of what I see as a progressive university striving to achieve top standards. I’ve always had an affiliation with Birmingham as I did a lot of my police training in the city and when I came for my interview I immediately liked the campus; it’s very confined and has a great atmosphere. As a university, Aston is very forward thinking and I have been impressed by all of the new building work and refurbishment taking place. Since joining everyone has been so friendly and welcoming that it’s made the transition so much easier!"
What are you looking to implement?
"Securing the Main Building and ensuring that all its users are safe is my biggest challenge. It is a vast building with over four miles of corridors and parts of it are out-dated. We’re working hard to ensure that as renovation work takes place throughout the building, additional robust security infrastructures are implemented at the same time. The security team is also working hard to ensure they are visible on campus so that staff, students and visitors feel at ease and get to know them.
"Aston University has an extensive CCTV system which is one of the best I’ve seen. The fact that the crime rate on the Aston campus is so low is testament to how effective this system is. We’re able to identify any potential situations before they happen so it is a very proactive and preventative system."
What are you most looking forward to?
"My goal is that everybody is happy and safe in their environment whilst on campus. We currently have an extremely low crime rate on the campus and I want to reduce this even further so that staff and students know their campus is crime and anti-social behaviour free. This would be an excellent legacy in the future."
Mark Sutton can be contacted on extension 4804 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Words by Louise Russell
21 May 2012