CSSC South East Region
One of the challenges we found in setting up our local branch of CSSC is that outside London the CSSC is still a relatively new concept for businesses and organisations.
This means we have concentrated on having conversations around establishing the credibility of our organisation, so finding the right people to help has been essential. The local Counter Terrorism Security Advisers (CTSAs) and CSSC connections have helped massively, which means we have been introduced to the right people on the ground to help us spread the word.
Communicating its benefits, how the CSSC came into being and its hugely important and relevant role in delivering counter terrorism, is a key part of my role. The CSSC name and key messages have got to get out more consistently and nationally from the heart of CSSC in London and that is something every CSSC member can help with.
To my mind, something simple like having a coordinated push to our network of contacts that explains who and why the CSSC exists would be a massive help for all CSSC branch coordinators.
However, the biggest challenge I am trying to address is ensuring we cascade the messages from the hub far enough down the chain.
By this I mean, how do we get to the smallest of businesses, the taxi and courier firms, the corner shops based on a high street near where there may be a major incident or issue, the thousands of independent businesses that are not based on a business park or in an office environment or plugged into a major communication network. We need to build our database of recipients in each region and find smart ways to alert everyone, efficiently and effectively and that might be something as simple as signposting businesses to receive text alerts.
Another issue for us is the enormity of the geographical spread of the South East region: we cover Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and Thames Valley. Unlike London, we are not compact and on a good day it can take five hours to drive from one end of the region to another, which means getting people together for face-to-face meetings, to brainstorm ideas or talk through initiatives can be problematic. I acknowledge we have skype, email and conferencing facilities, but nothing beats a face-to-face meeting, particularly when you are explaining CSSC.
All that said, recruiting sector leads in the southern region is going well. We are delighted to have on our team the Head of Security for P&O Ferries, Chief Constable Thames Valley Police, the Head of Security for Virgin Airways and the National Security Manager of Santander.
Fundamentally, the CSSC model is a proven and strong asset for ensuring better security and business resilience in our local communities; we just need to build on it and improve awareness nationally if it is to have the same importance and impact that it currently has in the capital city.
David Ward, Chairman, CSSC South East
For further information please visit thecssc.com