The increased terrorist threat: How can policing, business and security providers support the changes needed?
Following the significant increase in terrorist incidents in 2017 and the call for a step change in our response, we asked leading security professionals on their views.
We had responses from the following:
- Commissioner Ian Dyson QPM, Commissioner, City of London Police
- Det Chief Supt Scott Wilson, National Coordinator – Protect and Prepare. National Counter Terrorism Policing HQ New Scotland Yard.
- Richard Woodford, Strategic Director of Security and Counter Terrorism, City of London Corporation
- Garry Evanson, Chairman, Security Institute
- Jeff Little, OBE, Chief Executive, Security Expert Online
- Neill Catton, Managing Director,CIS Security
- Adrian Moore, Operations Director, VSG
- Andrew Nicholls MSyI, Deputy Chairman, Security Institute
- Richard Webster, Commercial Director, SGC Security Services
- Richard Jenkins, CEO, National Security Inspectorate (NSI)
- Mike Baja, Commercial Development Manager, Universal Security Systems Limited
Commissioner Ian Dyson QPM, Commissioner, City of London Police
Counter-terrorism policing is constantly reviewed, with new strategies and tactical options frequently tested and deployed. The City of London Police is at the forefront of this renewal and refreshment programme, as evidenced by Project Servator, which was tested and launched from the City. As we move into 2018, we want to encourage businesses and security providers to look to Servator, learning the tactics of this innovative approach to deter hostile reconnaissance and with it, terrorist activity.
Last Autumn, security staff from Aviva in the City joined my officers in a Servator deployment, learning how they can adopt the skills of Servator officers to keep their buildings and staff safe. Project Servator is being rolled out nationally in 2018, and with this in mind, I urge businesses and security professionals across the country to engage with their local police forces and learn more, not only about Project Servator, but other tools they can use to deter attacks and protect society.
The risk of terrorist attack remains high and we can only keep our communities safe by working together. A change of mindset is underway: protecting our communities is not a task only for the police, it’s one for all to embrace – businesses, security professionals, everyone. You can help – if you see something suspicious, report it.
Det Chief Supt Scott Wilson, National Coordinator – Protect and Prepare. National Counter Terrorism Policing HQ New Scotland Yard.
In the UK today, we face an evolving terror threat picture which, as recent tragic events have illustrated, is again growing and changing beyond expectations. It is now larger in scale, involves more individuals, including the vulnerable and volatile, in less coherent, more atomised structures connected across the world, and utilises ever more simplistic tactics to attack increasingly soft targets.
Our emergency, intelligence, and health services employ a unified and coordinated approach, alongside local and national government, to ensure we are able to provide a robust response to all terrorism and crime related eventualities. We also jointly undertake threat and intelligence informed emergency planning, and regularly test and exercise our plans, to ensure that we have effective responses to the evolving threats we face.
However, to respond to the threat picture, police need the support of businesses to effectively deliver Protective Security measures. There is a need to be flexible and resilient to change – supporting and innovating – working together, building a greater awareness amongst the business and security industry.
Building such relationships enables a two-way working relationship, thus allowing an improved customer experience, information sharing process seeking to continuously improve business relationship to build greater community confidence and reassurance.
Police also require the support of the general public to both be aware of how to respond to a terrorist incident through our Run, Hide and Tell briefings and be encouraged to report suspicious behaviour to the Anti- Terrorist Hotline. We urge the public to be alert but not alarmed – the police service and our partners are doing everything we can to help protect the security of our citizens, public institutions, critical national infrastructure, and businesses and places.
Richard Woodford, Strategic Director of Security and Counter Terrorism, City of London Corporation
Police and Security Service resilience is stretched now more than ever before, through austerity cuts, increased diverse demands in public safety, in addition to the fundamental shift and fluidity of terrorism. They balance this with risk mitigation to traditional terrorist threats that cannot be ignored. Now is the time to be innovative and collaborative with a fundamental ambition on trust and mutual support; the Police and Security Service cannot tackle this alone, we need a united response.
Businesses have developed outstanding bespoke security to protect their own buildings and staff within. Security providers have embraced both occupational and operational accreditation and now lead professionalism around guarding and protective building measures, globally. Let us not forget 24th April 2018 will be the 25th anniversary of the Bishopsgate bomb, which shaped much of this change. Moving forward together, I believe the Police need to ‘dare to share’, fill the vacuum of information, trust public and private sector partnerships. Never damaging the integrity of investigations, but embracing wider understanding of attack methodology continually and expeditiously post events, enables businesses and security professionals to protect the public domain.
Factual cascaded briefings through organisations such as CSSC and TINYg enable authoritative empowered collective decision making. As a collective, businesses now need to work together, in trusted collaboration, with a shared aim to create a joint culture of security across boundaries, target hardening the public realm, and removing the red zones to deter hostile reconnaisance, in partnership, thus deterring attacks. Private and Public security providers should embrace the collaboration, trust and work together, step away from the curtilage of their buildings, support one another, share information and learning, train together, support the police and embrace Project Servator and REAct to Servator, in the same way as Project Griffin and ARGUS.
Garry Evanson, Chairman, Security Institute
Clearly the dreadful events of the last few months have underscored the need for a greater collaboration and joined-up communication between policing, business and the security sector more generally.
To be fair, the increasing support for CSSC and some new initiatives such as ‘Step Change’ currently under consideration will improve not only the passage of information but also go some way to keeping the heightened security landscape at the forefront of at least security practitioners’ minds. However, what is increasingly evident is that the ‘State’ and the private security sector are yet to find a comfortable and workable shared ownership, operability or mature mechanism to fully coordinate actions to perhaps leverage greater security resources and provide better communication and co-operation especially when dealing with terrorism or inspired attacks.
Can this change? Well yes, in a word! However, there is unlikely to be a quick fix. It is true that Government is showing a willingness to join the dots and we see this in some funding and creation of ‘hub’ and stakeholder vehicles where cascade and information sharing mechanisms are being actively explored. Some of this is likely going to be a long and difficult haul because there are numerous stakeholders and often a difficult base of understanding and engagement, even sometimes a lack of mutual respect for one another, as well as professional snobbery on occasion. These barriers can be overcome but not, it is suggested, quickly – a government stated position overall on the much-needed partnership with private security would certainly kick start the engagement processes.
FOOTNOTE: Alison Wakefield will take over as Chairman of the Security Institute in January 2018.
Jeff Little, OBE, Chief Executive, Security Expert Online
Albeit Daesh are being defeated on the ground, they will not be defeated in the minds of their core leadership. The threat will continue, transmogrify and morph. Everyone must improve their situational awareness – both personally and organisationally. Businesses must practise and rehearse their crisis management plans. Training and briefing for staff is essential if they are to have confidence that their safety is the concern of management. Guilty looks from some who, even now, still do not have a plan. Shame upon you – you leave your staff and clients at risk. CCTV coverage and quality must be reviewed. There is no excuse for inferior quality imagery; HD cameras and recorders are not hugely more expensive, as some people think. Hostile vehicle mitigation must be considered to protect events, queues and crowds whether on a permanent or temporary basis. There are lots of products available. The threat from drones must be taken seriously – they have been used effectively in the Middle East theatre and it is only a matter of time before they appear in Europe. Go back to basics, update your threat and risk analysis, study the advice from the professionals and agencies and do not delay in implementing your plan.
Neill Catton, Managing Director,CIS Security
A step change is needed and this must be driven by government creating a far wider public appreciation of security being everyone’s responsibility with public information advertisements on prime-time television, national press articles and social media campaigns. A good example is the Run, Hide, Tell guidance following an incident, but we need to continue and persist with offering advice on how to make yourself safe by reporting suspicious behaviours, checking unattended bags/items, observing irregular activities and taking an interest in our neighbours’ safety from both a personal and a business-to-business perspective. There are local and short-term campaigns: these should be national and ongoing.
The profile and professionalism of the security industry needs to be deemed as an extension of the way that the emergency services are respected by government, the public and by business leaders. Looking at most large crowded spaces, shopping centres, sporting locations, business districts, education and healthcare environments, the private security industry offers a far greater level of resource carrying out very similar observations, incident management and visual deterrence duties that can be found within the emergency services.
Notwithstanding Powers of Arrest, are these duties so different? Are we not, as an industry protecting the nation in our everyday security roles at no cost to the taxpayer?
Consequently, there is a need for government investment to lead on national campaigns for recruitment into the security industry that will appeal to a wide demographic of people who may not have considered security as a career previously. Allow businesses to use the Apprentice Levy to provide a comprehensive training path and develop a structure of authorised training and recruitment centres that can be linked to existing security businesses. This will reduce costs to business and provide the impetus and capability to bring vital new talent into the sector. Potentially, people who have applied to the police service and not been successful should be given career advice and passed onto security organisations. We need to change the perception of the private security industry to be the first line of defence, and a feasible alternative to joining police or military services.
Adrian Moore, Operations Director, VSG
Increasingly, the role of private sector security providers has focused on delivering intelligence-led solutions to address the escalating threat. By blending established security practices with innovative intelligence gathering and analysis methods, security providers are able to focus and deploy resources in a targeted and efficient way based on a comprehensive understanding of the emerging threat picture. We have seen such innovation being supplemented by the recruitment of intelligence analysts from a variety of backgrounds, including the police, military and government agencies, enhancing the ability to critically assess the terror threat from a variety of perspectives and relevant subject-matter expertise.
By building partnerships throughout the private sector, government agencies and across civil society, security providers can act as fusion hubs, helping coordinate effective responses to terrorist incident or threats and facilitating the interaction of multiple information sources at a single point. Based on the military stratagem ‘it takes a network to defeat a network’, private sector security providers are well placed to leverage the strengths and knowledge of a diverse range of clients and partners and play a key role in coordinating a multifaceted response to the terror threat. Such relationships facilitate the spread of knowledge and understanding of the terrorist threat throughout the corporate world, building resilience and developing emergency response protocols for use in major incidents, in addition to those that exist already in the public sector.
In broader terms, developing and refining the growing culture of public and private sector collaboration to allow for increased intelligence sharing and cooperation remains of critical importance to the UK’s security needs.
Much of the work currently being undertaken within the private sector on this front may not be unique, but should be understood in the context of supplementing the vital work already being undertaken within the public sector. Such collaboration and support is increasingly crucial given the increasing strains on public sector resources as the terrorist threat to the UK rises to unprecedented levels.
Andrew Nicholls MSyI, Deputy Chairman, Security Institute
Sadly, managing the risk of a terrorist attack is now something that we have to include in the running of any business. By working together, we can all achieve so much more but sometimes simple processes are either misunderstood or not fully appreciated. The excellent work done by the police in producing ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ gives all of us essential advice to follow in the event of a terrorist attack but in many instances organisations are not actively encouraging their staff to watch it. We expect the authorities to produce good information for us but when they do so we should all get involved in cascading the necessary information. The Cross-sector Safety and Security Communication (CSSC) partnership is a leading-edge example of how the private sector can support the police by working in partnership to onward cascade essential information to business. When an incident happens, people need information quickly and this helps them to brief their teams and also enables managers make the necessary decisions.
The terrorist threat has become part of everyday life. It does not matter if you are on holiday, out for the night or travelling to work, we all have a key part to play in keeping alert and developing a security culture.
Richard Webster, Commercial Director, SGC Security Services
One of the significant challenges for security providers is the diminishing labour pool of licensed security personnel, with a steady downturn in licence renewals since 2013. In part, the race to the bottom in pricing for security contracts has been the cause: the squeeze on margins leads to a shortage of people in the industry, because it’s not attractive enough in terms of wages and prospects. This is not helped by the government publicly procuring on price, to my mind sending the wrong message.
Security providers can overcome some of these challenges by increasing the appeal of a job in security. We are building a concept of “Do it” – to empower people with knowledge and encourage them in their efforts. We currently have funding to offer free training and licensing, enabling us to attract and select high-calibre staff.
As part of the government’s increasing investment in counter terrorism, consideration should be given to empowering the security sector by supporting our efforts to empower our staff. Terrorism is not going away and a realistic understanding of the cost of security is needed. Partnership and collaboration need to be more than just words.
Richard Jenkins, CEO, National Security Inspectorate (NSI)
Changes implemented by companies within the electronic security systems sector are significantly contributing to the reduction in false alarms attended by the police service. These measures include the introduction of alarm confirmation technologies and the filtering of false alarms.
NSI and SSAIB approval enable the police to identify security companies audited against relevant standards and in line with the NPCC Guidelines on Police Response to Security Systems. Approval enables installers and/or their clients to apply through the police URN (unique reference number) system for a direct police response for alarm systems they install.
Strengthening public and private sector
The police service has harnessed private sector collaboration working with trusted partners – alarm receiving centres and installers approved by the security specialist UKAS accredited Certification Bodies, NSI and SSAIB.
Police forces, working in cooperation with some NSI companies and their customers, can, with the necessary permissions, gain access to video surveillance images to assist their investigations.
In particular, some NSI approved companies package evidence collated during loss prevention activities on behalf of national retailers and submit this to the police pursuing specific prosecutions.
These collaborations are testament to the impact public and private security can have in safeguarding our communities. This theme will be the subject of the forthcoming NSI Summit on 22nd March at The Vox Conference Centre in Birmingham.
Mike Baja, Commercial Development Manager, Universal Security Systems Limited
With the marked increase in terrorist activity in the past year, it is clear that the police, businesses and security providers must all work together with effective, deliberate, and planned collaboration to protect the public.
It is no longer acceptable for us to be siloed in our approach; all parties must communicate effectively, work on security and incident plans with input from each other, and ensure we have a joined-up approach when creating plans for security systems design, risk assessments, emergency plans, or overall strategy by the police.
It is vital for businesses and security providers to be aware of the latest threat information from police intelligence, not only via an effective instant communication channel for urgent information, but also via face-to-face seminars, meetings and events where information and mitigation strategies can be shared.
As a security systems provider, we need to review existing systems and future designs to ensure, for example, that CCTV and Intercom systems are present not only in the public areas typically covered, but also now take into account areas of refuge, or other areas where the public may hide in the event of a gun or knife terrorist attack.