Looking Ahead to 2017
We invited a range of senior police officers and representatives from security organisations for their views on 2017 and to consider how the increased number of terrorist attacks on major European cities in 2016, together with the diverse methods used, could impact security in 2017 and how organisations can deploy resources to protect business and communities.
We had responses from the following:
- Don Randall, MBE, CSyP, Chair, City of London Crime Prevention Association
- Ian Dyson, QPM, Commissioner, City of London Police
- David Clark, CPP, PCI, PSP, Chair, Security Commonwealth on behalf of ASIS UK
- James Kelly, Chief Executive, British Security Industry Association
- Steve Johnson, Assistant Chief Constable, Crime Police Scotland
- Andrew Nicholls, MSyI, Chief Executive, Security Institute (at time of writing)
- Alan Clamp, PhD, BSC, MBA, Chief Executive, SIA
- Det. Chief Supt. Scott Wilson, MA, FICPEM, Police National Coordinator – Protect and Prepare The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC)
- Radek Havlis, MSc, MBA, CPP, CSyP, FSyI, Senior Regional Vice President Europe ASIS International
- Sarah Harvie, Co-founder Women’s Security Society
Don Randall, MBE, CSyP, Chair, City of London Crime Prevention Association
2017 will undoubtedly continue to present serious and wide-ranging challenges for all those working in the field of security. As a consequence, it is crucial for the security industry to sustain a continued commitment to addressing these threats in partnership and collaboration with all elements of law enforcement. The ability to share information and advice, using proven initiatives such as CSSC and Project Griffin, enables us to provide preventative guidance and respond at pace to events as they unfold.
In a world that is increasingly complex and connected, terrorists and organised criminal gangs are becoming ever more proficient in their use of technology. The threat and impact of cyber crime is significant. We must continue to develop our response, not just with technical solutions but by educating our communities in how to prevent and deal with cyber attacks.
During 2017 we have a responsibility to heighten our knowledge and competencies in all aspects of security in order to deliver a high standard of engagement. It is important to enhance our professional skills through acknowledged qualifications/accreditations, including those established by The Security Institute, ASIS and The Worshipful Company of Security Professionals ‘Chartered Security Professional’ status.
Regrettably, I do not envisage any decrease in this criminal activity for many years to come. As an industry, we must remain vigilant and visionary in our ongoing endeavours to prevent, deter and detect the perpetrators of these attacks, particularly in the arenas of terrorism and cyber.
Ian Dyson, QPM, Commissioner, City of London Police
In 2016, the world witnessed a deeply worrying increase in global terrorism, with horrifying attacks in Nice, Paris, Brussels and elsewhere. In 2017 the City of London Police, as well as other security practitioners across the City, will maintain our committed resolve to do all we can to deter and defeat terrorist activity.
The UK threat from international terrorism remains at severe, and we do not expect a significant change in the coming months. This means that spontaneous attacks will continue, most of which can be expected to be low sophistication utilising common weapons such as knives, axes and hammers. More sophisticated attacks can also be expected at random locations.
The unparalleled use of the internet and technology to radicalise and reach audiences, often away from the gaze of the security services, will be a key challenge. As ISIS suffers defeats in various areas of the globe and their members disperse, there is a risk that they will return home or travel to other areas of the globe to mount attacks. There is also a risk that those resident in the UK may mount attacks instead of attempting to travel.
The City is one of the safest parts of the capital, but we are never complacent, especially when it comes to countering terrorism. For the security sector, testing and exercising your emergency plans are essential, and Project Griffin and Project Argus are two such facilitation tools which play a key role in preparedness. Work with your business neighbours to extend your security reach and ‘buddy’ your exercising.
David Clark, CPP, PCI, PSP, Chair, Security Commonwealth on behalf of ASIS UK
2016 has seen some truly game changing tactics from those that wish to cause harm to the West, the attack in Nice really demonstrated how easy it can be to turn an everyday vehicle into a devastating weapon; the only real surprise is that an attack of this magnitude hasn’t happened sooner, or since. It is testimony to the foresight of UK security professionals that similar locations to Nice, such as London’s South Bank, invested in protection from this type of attack in 2012. Crowded places not only need to be protected from improvised explosive devices, be they person or vehicle borne, they need to be protected from possible attacks by vehicles and other unsophisticated weapon methods.
2017 could well be the dawn of yet more unsophisticated attacks that can be perpetrated using everyday items and equipment and are likely to happen anywhere. Protecting from these attacks will be extremely difficult; awareness, behavioural detection, and relying on instincts could well be the best methods to identify a potential attack, as traditional intelligence gathering and mitigation will no longer help us as they once would. We will all need to be more risk aware and smarter in our approach to unsophisticated attacks in 2017.
James Kelly, Chief Executive, British Security Industry Association
One of the main lessons learnt following the terrible incidents across Europe in 2016 is that the private security industry has a huge role to play in the efforts to protect the UK public from similar attacks. Increased partnership work and the sharing of intelligence between industry and the police will be an essential tool in the fight against extremism. There has already been some significant progress made in this area through the Police and Security Group (PaS) initiative, launched in 2014 to improve collaboration between the Police, Private Security Industry and Security Teams of businesses.
We have also seen a change in the types of terrorist attacks being carried out. It is, therefore, important that the general public remain vigilant and alert at all times, and that they call 999 immediately if they see anyone acting suspiciously or suspect unattended packages or bags may be a threat.
Businesses should ensure that they engage with reputable security suppliers and that they clearly define their operational requirements. Quality should always be the most important factor when procuring any security product or service and so it is essential that businesses do not take a ‘cheapest is best’ approach to their security. The BSIA has recently published a white paper on this subject which examines the challenges of buying and selling high-quality security solutions. For end users, the paper provides recommendations on procuring security solutions distilled from the discussion throughout the paper.
Steve Johnson, Assistant Chief Constable, Crime Police Scotland
As we have all witnessed recently, there have been a number of terrorist atrocities committed throughout the world which is reflected in the current UK threat level from International Terrorism being at SEVERE – an attack is highly likely. Countering the threat from terrorism is a core policing priority for Police Scotland and we are working with Police forces, law enforcement agencies and security partners within the UK and around the world to counter this threat and ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our communities.
To protect Scottish communities, we have a cadre of Counter Terrorism Security Advisors who deliver a range of protective security advice, guidance and products to various businesses, companies and industry sectors.
We are assisted by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre who are trained to deliver Project Griffin, which is a protective security product developed by the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO), aimed at increasing public safety and security. Through NaCTSO we have rolled out ‘train the trainer’ courses for Project Griffin which enables companies to deliver this protective security product in-house thereby reaching as many members of staff as possible. This is just one example of the ongoing collaborative work being delivered to keep Scotland safe.
As the threat to the UK remains very real, I would encourage everyone to be alert but not alarmed, be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police. It has often been said that ‘communities defeat terrorism’ and I am firmly of the belief that this is the case.
Andrew Nicholls, MSyI, Chief Executive, Security Institute (at time of writing)
In a world which has fast growing and rapidly changing threats the challenge for security professionals is considerable. Security experts need formal qualification and the benefit of CPD so that they can demonstrate how they are keeping up with the demands of modern business. The recent Security Institute conference illustrated the range of knowledge that is needed by professionals to be able to manage these risks. In my work, as a Director of the Security Institute, I constantly come into contact with members who are working in one of the many specialist areas of security management. These subjects range from areas as complex as nuclear security through to being able to advise on the challenges of conflict in the workplace. In addition to needing to build our own personal skills there is also the importance of us all being able to work better together, not only within the sector but also with the authorities.
Almost every day we hear about a new crime trend or some international incident and consider how that could affect our own work. Initiatives such as CSSC give business the important advantage of being able to share information quickly with their work force. Looking ahead to 2017, all organisations need to be prepared for a crisis and it is clear that when something very serious happens then it is the Security Manager who will take the lead. Recent events in Europe have illustrated so clearly how we all have to be prepared for the worst to happen and contingency plans will only be successful if they have been tested and updated.
Alan Clamp, PhD, BSC, MBA, Chief Executive, SIA
The Security Industry Authority (SIA) is the UK Government regulator of the private security industry. Its purpose is to raise standards within the private security industry, notably when these standards have an impact on public protection, the safeguarding of the vulnerable and national security. Much has been achieved since regulation began through a 2001 Act of Parliament, but as always, there is scope to do more and for standards to improve on a continuous basis. The SIA attributes much of the success in the raising of standards so far to the many partners and stakeholders it works alongside, with police forces and the vast majority of compliant private sector businesses having the most significant impacts.
Building on this, the SIA has been pleased to sponsor and facilitate the Police and Security Initiative (PaS). This initiative has its origins in London 2012 and involves the Met Police working alongside private security providers and those who use their services. PaS seeks to enable the private security industry and the police to maximise their effectiveness, through working together in collaboration.
These aims sit well with the work of the SIA. In fact the SIA’s own standards for private security personnel and for private security businesses have featured prominently in one of the PaS workstreams. In other discussions, we have explored the barriers and enablers to collaborative working in the context of retail crime and how transferrable these may be to areas of public protection, violence reduction and national security. A counter terrorism subgroup is examining a range of communications issues, such as guidance, information access, networking and other means which will help the State and the private sector to work together.
We envisage PaS evolving further, as it builds upon its initial successes, and the SIA will be an enthusiastic supporter as it does so.
Det. Chief Supt. Scott Wilson, MA, FICPEM, Police National Coordinator – Protect and Prepare The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC)
The number of lone actor or small group attacks has increased. These extremists are inspired by terrorist organisations – rather than operationally directed by them. The path to becoming a self-radicalised mass murderer can be very quick, so there’s less time for these individuals to come onto the police radar. Therefore, it’s vital we give family members and communities – those who are best placed to spot changes in someone’s behaviour – the confidence to come forward and get help from the police before it’s too late.
Keeping everyone vigilant will be a challenge for 2017. In the aftermath of a major incident people are more receptive to security messages. But the news agenda moves on and there’s a risk that the heightened awareness drops off. We have to keep reinforcing the message in ways that hold people’s attention without being alarmist. Our industry briefing sessions, Project Griffin or Argus, can help with this.
Specifically for CT policing, we will be looking for new recruits across a wide range of disciplines during 2017. Finding the right people with the right skills to help us tackle terrorism in the digital age will be a challenge, but opportunities for one of the most satisfying careers you could choose will be there for the right people.
Radek Havlis, MSc, MBA, CPP, CSyP, FSyI, Senior Regional Vice President Europe ASIS International
From the corporate perspective I believe organisations should consider training employees for active shooter situations and advise them how to generally behave if they appear to be close to a scene of a terrorist act.
As the majority of recent attacks has been committed by returning foreign terrorist fighters (see the Europol TE-SAT 2016 report), most of whom have already been on the radar of intelligence services and police, the lesson learned for governments should be to assume adequate legislative measures that would allow preventative steps to be taken to address the risk of such individuals freely returning back to Europe from the conflict zones. Partnerships between private security and law enforcement enabling effective use of resources and knowledge to protect our societies are also a promising way forward.
As we can see from the upward trend over the past years, also in 2017 we can expect the number of targeted cyber-physical attacks to keep growing. But those will, nevertheless, also evolve in complexity. Hence it is vital for organisations to put necessary emphasis on developing security programmes that will be able not only to respond to, but above all to prevent adversaries succeeding with their malicious actions. Businesses must finally understand that only implementation of security solutions consisting of a combination of cyber and physical measures, accompanied by sound training and awareness programmes will lead to effective and efficient protection.
I would contend that my organisation is one of the pioneers in security convergence, in respect of putting the enterprise security risk management (ESRM) framework into practice, and we will keep doing so in the years to come. A few seasons have passed since we combined traditional corporate security with cyber security and the improved information sharing on risks and resulting synergies in terms of leveraging resources confirmed it was the right thing to do.
This is what I would recommend to other organisations to consider. Only security solutions encompassing all organisational aspects (people, processes and technology) are smart enough to address risks at their full scale.
Sarah Harvie, Co-founder Women’s Security Society
The challenges that will face the security industry in 2017 will continue to be complex and varied, from the sustained acute threat from international terrorism to the ever-increasing impact from cyber crime, with the yearly losses attributed to fraud in the United Kingdom recently estimated at £198 billion. For the security world to provide services that put the customer first, while providing a secure environment to work and live, requires a diverse range of skills and experience. By necessity, as security moves up the corporate agenda, we need to bring the best people into security and keep them there.
For those considering a role in security and those that want to progress further, it can sometimes feel like a closed shop. It is crucial to encourage people to develop their skills and confidence. A key initiative for WSS in 2017 is our Careers Pathway scheme. This joins up seasoned security professionals with those looking for some insight into how a career can be forged. Our message is that if you are successful, then don’t pull the ladder up behind you! Identify people and opportunities where you can offer support. Sometimes ten minutes is the most valuable gift you can give people: mentoring and coaching need not be onerous.
Many people in security, in particular women, say they fell into a role in security and have been lucky to succeed. In 2017, we want to shift that thinking to people in security believing that security found them, because they are excellent at what they do, make a real contribution and can have a fantastic career ahead.