Australian Security Medals: Recognising Excellence In Security

ASMF Award CeremonyBy John Bigelow.

The 25th of February 2012 saw close to 300 professionals from across the security industry come together to celebrate excellence in security at the second annual, ASMF dinner and awards ceremony.

Now in its second year, the ASMF continues to highlight outstanding performance through the Australian Security Medal of Valour (ASMV), recognising acts of bravery and initiative, and the Australian Security Medal (ASM), recognising contributions to security professionalism and providing examples of outstanding citizenship, positive leadership, insights or influence at a strategic management level.

The evening’s celebrations commenced with an announcement from the ASMF board that the Foundation was launching a new benevolent fund designed to assist security officers who have fallen in the line of duty.

This marks the realisation of an extremely important goal for the board and is a major step forward for the security industry. The fund is similar to the police Blue Ribbon initiative in that it will provide support and aid to the families and loved ones of those who may have been injured or killed in the course of performing a security role.

While the specifics regarding the name of the fund and the mechanisms behind how it will be administered are yet to be announced, it should be viewed as a great success and a significant step towards improving the professionalism of the industry.

The major focus of the evening was the presentation of this year’s medals to the three recipients of the Australian Security Medal of Valour and the three recipients of the Australian Security Medal.

Gol (Mohammad) Amiri, a security officer stationed on the Sydney Harbour Bridge was the first to receive the Australian Security Medal of Valour for his courageous actions in saving the life of a young man intent on doing himself harm.

In the course of carrying out his normal patrol, Mohammad noticed a young man on the Harbour Bridge acting in a suspicious manner. As he approached, the man attempted to flee, climbing a barbed wire fence and sustaining numerous cuts and scratches to his head, face, arms and legs in the process.

Realising that the man was trying to reach an area of the bridge that was well known as a preferred location for people intent on suicide, Mohammad quickly chased and restrained him, whereupon the man informed Mohammad that he was an AIDS carrier. In spite of this, Mohammad continued to struggle with the man and restrain him, despite being repeatedly smeared with the blood flowing from his many cuts and scratches. When emergency services arrived, 20 minutes later, Mohammad’s only concern was for the man he had prevented from harming himself.

The second ASMV recipient of the evening was Drew Ioanne, a highly valued member of the Westfield Mount Druitt Shopping Centre security team with which he has worked since March 2006.

On the 4th of February 2011, Drew was instrumental in preventing a conflict between two rival factions at the shopping centre in Sydney’s western suburbs while also disarming and arresting a knife-wielding assailant. Drew’s quick thinking and courageous actions, executed in a calm and controlled manner, not only prevented serious injury, but also served to calm a rapidly deteriorating and potentially volatile situation.

The third ASMV award of the evening went to Adam Motum who, without regard for his own safety, placed himself between a man wielding a bloodied meat cleaver and the attacker’s victim in order to protect the victim from further harm.

Over a period of minutes, Adam also deliberately placed himself between the attacker and campus staff and students on multiple occasions and shepherded the attacker away from other potential targets, despite being threatened and screamed at by an extremely aggressive and agitated attacker still wielding the meat cleaver.

Adam also provided first aid and instructions to other security officers at the scene and played a key role in restraining the offender until police arrived. As a result of his actions, Adam has also been nominated for a NSW Police Bravery Award.

The first of the three Australian Security Medals was awarded to Darren Kane, Director of Telstra’s Corporate Security & Investigations Group for his hard work, leadership, vision and dedication to the protection of children from online child exploitation through the launch of the Cyber-Safety Programme at Telstra.

Darren’s team provides ongoing support to law enforcement investigating online crime and, in 2005, Darren was a founding partner in the Virtual Global Taskforce, a group comprising police forces from around the world working together to fight online child abuse. The Taskforce also seeks to build an effective, international partnership of law enforcement agencies, non-governmental organisations and industry to work together to prevent and deter online child abuse.

The Second ASM of the evening was awarded to Paul Maihi, Head of Crisis & Security Management for Westpac Banking Corporation, for his tireless dedication to the mentoring of young security professionals and the influence this has had on the development of industry professionalism and the bridging of the gap between the security industry, government agencies and law enforcement.

The third ASM medal, and the final award of the evening, went to Paul Retter, Executive Director of the Office of Transport Security at the Department of Infrastructure and Transport, for his unmatched, sustainable and significant contribution to the security industry. In the course of his duties, Paul has worked relentlessly to enhance the security professionalism of the industry, set new benchmarks for security and protect and serve the Australian community.

Paul’s outstanding dedication, commitment, leadership and drive are demonstrated by the extent to which Australian transport security outcomes are recognised globally.

The board of the Australian Security Medals Foundation would like to once again congratulate all the medal recipients and would ask that anyone interested in nominating a recipient for the 2013 medals, or wishing to make a donation to the ASMF fund for the welfare of fallen security professionals, to please visit: