Roundtable briefing at UK Security Expo 2017
A distinguished panel spoke at a roundtable briefing at UK Security Expo in late November 2017, with representatives from cities recently effected by terrorist attacks including Nice, Melborne, Brussels, Berlin, Barcelona and London. This was the first in a possible series of international city to city events on the response to terrorism.
The event was opened by Lord West of Spithead who outlined the aim of sharing best practice and lessons learnt from recent incidents, “Terrorists are good at learning from each other, we should be too”.
The panel, chaired by Philip Ingram, shared their local context and background, then went on to contribute ideas for the benefit all those for responsible for security around the world.
Lucy D’Orsi, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Special Operations (DACSO), Metropolitan Police opened the discussion, explaining that: “The tempo and ferocity of recent terrorist attacks are now the new norm and not a blip.”
There was consensus from those gathered that further attacks are inevitable, coupled with the need to recognise the complexity of the response required. However, there was a shared feeling that the people in our cities want to continue with a free, open life style and are resistent to living in ‘Barrier Britain’, ‘Castle Berlin’ or ‘Fortress Melborne’.
Amadeu Recasens, Commissioner of Public Safety and Crime Prevention, Barcelona added: “An important consideration is the resilience of our citizens. Following the attack on Barcelona, our citizens marched with the message ‘We are not afraid’.”
Partnership working is key
Although the political and organisational structures vary from city to city, a coordinated local, regional, national, international response was called for, with cooperation and dialogue between all groups. “We need trust and engagement at all levels, with a flexible and open-minded approach to security plans”, Jamil Aaroud, DG Brussels Prevention and Security, pointed out, “The police and security services are not the only ones involved. An interdependent approach, with different actions from all the different agencies, is needed.” The importance of dialogue was further emphasized by Ruud Baker, Deputy Director, Public Safety in Rotterdam.
The need to share has never been greater
DACSO Lucy D’Orsi asked “What information are we prepared to share?” She outlined the project in progress by the Home Office and police in the UK to share information with the private security sector. Lord Bernard Hogan-Howe, Adviser to UK Security Expo, emphasised the priority to gather good intelligence and added, “If we ask people to tell us about unusual things, we need to explain what unusual looks like”. Robin Merret from the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, London commented: “There are lots of people off the radar who pose a threat: we need a continual conversation with the community.”
In Nice, they have implemented training programmes for all municipal agents to detect signs of terrorism. Philippe Soussi, Deputy Mayor, City of Nice, explained they have also launched “a 24-hour phone number for people to call with concerns about the behaviour of others”.
Don Randall, Vice Chair of the CSSC project in London, explained how this mass communications vehicle is enabling authorities to share information at pace across many business sectors and geographic locations.
Create resilient citizens
The clear need to develop personal resilience, as well as physical security, was outlined by a number of the panellists. Jamie Shea, NATO, pointed out that, “Everything you put in place for terrorism can help elsewhere, for example, in the response to flooding.”
“The first thing required is a change in people’s mind-sets” said Klaus Kandt, Chief of Berlin Police, and an “understanding that security is everyone’s responsibility.”
Involve the Community
Jamil Aaroud, Director General, Brussels Prevention and Security, said, “We need to recognise that living together is actually living alongside sometimes and this is challenging. We need to develop social policies to develop inclusivity, involve people in social processes, around the way we live.”
There was a call to involve the community in developing protective security policies and the implementation of them. Robert Doyle AC, Mayor of Melborne said “There are aspects of security that people don’t see, and politicians need to consider what extent the public should be involved. It is an important discussion to have. It is part of building public resilience.”
Secured by Design
A number of the panellists referred to the need for a consistent approach to securing by design. Jamil Aaroud, said “We need to develop a global strategy for securing by design, in partnership with all the other sectors involved with urbanisation”. DACSO Lucy D’Orsi discussed the urban planning process and said: “Front and centre should be protective security. Architects can start solving some of our problems.” Lord Bernard Hogan-Howe agreed saying, “Clever design is required in all areas from shopping centre to vehicles.
The Cyber Threat
The importance of the influence of cyber was recognised with the call to continue with extensive efforts to monitor and respond to activity online. Richard Alcock, CEO, Office for Security and Counter Terrorism at the Home Office, London, pointed out that the Global Internet Forum has taken down 3,000 terrorist related sites this year alone.
The Next Steps
The panel were in agreement that further city to city cooperation is needed, and Mark Singleton, Advisor, The Hague, summarised: “The response requires a combination of human intelligence, business and otherwise, state of the art technology and inconspicuous protective security which can scale up and down.”