Looking ahead to 2017
In our last issue of 2016, we invited a range of senior representatives from security providers for their views on the challenges facing security in 2017.
We had responses from the following:
- David Mundell, MD, Axis Security
- Amanda McCloskey, Sales and Marketing Director, CIS
- Emma Shaw, MBA, CSyP, FSyl, FCMI, Managing Director, Esoteric
- Pierre Racz, CEO, Genetec
- Scott Paterson, CPP, PSP, MSyI, MCMI, Head of Consultancy, ICTS Consult
- Andrew Howe, Security Consultant, Kingdom Security
- Kenneth Larsen, Regional Director, London, Securitas
- Robert Clark, Director, Templewood Training Services
- Paul Harvey, Board Director, Ultimate Security Services
- James Crouch, Managing Director, Universal Security
- Lorraine Mansfield, Strategic Accounts Director, VSG
- David Ward, MD, Ward Security
David Mundell, MD, Axis Security
Recruitment is a key issue
Finding, training and then retaining the best talent is what all businesses strive to achieve, but with unemployment at a ten-year low, the pond from which we can fish for new talent has become smaller.
Additionally, in many cases, the wages that are on offer for security personnel tend to compare unfavourably to less onerous or responsible tasks where the hourly rates are much higher.
Axis Security is proud to be an active supporter of The London Living Wage and in the main, the London clientele are willing to pay attractive rates. But, where pay increases within companies have recently ranged from 0% to 2%, it can often be a hard justification for buyers of security to award higher increases to supporting contractors.
Perhaps a more controversial issue regarding the shortage of staff relates to the licensing regime and ongoing training. The industry now has a huge pool of licensed individuals who we believe are simply not up to the high standards required of today’s security officer.
Within this climate, end users must critically examine their security budgets if we are to retain the good quality people within our industry and more importantly, attract other high calibre individuals to join. The time has surely come to spread our recruitment net far wider than just those who already hold a licence. This will result in an uplift in cost, but it may well be a price worth paying.
Amanda McCloskey, Sales and Marketing Director, CIS
Human behaviours around new technology like camera phones will continue to be a challenge
Virtually everyone has a high quality camera phone and the most remarkable phenomenon for me is members of the public choosing to film serious incidents on their smartphone cameras instead of contacting the emergency services.
At a recent Griffin presentation for those working in Central London, a senior police professional recounted a fire incident at a New Look store in Oxford Street. A number of people had begun filming the incident but a significant amount of time passed before anyone actually alerted the emergency services, assuming that someone else would do it. We have to ask ourselves why people are doing this and how we can educate them to do the right thing.
Manipulation of video is another challenge in an age where editing software is accessible to everyone via free apps on smartphones. As ever, it is a game of catch up when it comes to detecting digital content fraud. Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) are an option to counteract this challenge, with reports that complaints against the police have dropped dramatically and research to suggest that behaviours improve with the awareness of being filmed. I do see BWCs being accepted and relied upon more and more, resulting in a safer security workplace.
Emma Shaw, MBA, CSyP, FSyl, FCMI, Managing Director, Esoteric
Increased criminal use of new technologies
Despite the benefits of innovation, it is the pace of evolution and the early adoption by consumers and businesses that continues to be the weakness utilised by criminals. In 2017 we expect to see increased criminal use of new technologies, combined with social engineering and traditional espionage techniques, to penetrate the weak points in rapidly evolving systems. As companies look to protect themselves against the cyber risk, we have seen the lack of investment in employee awareness – often leading to the insider threat, both purposeful and inadvertent. It would seem that no sector is immune from activities perpetrated by current or former employees. A proliferation of incidents start with phishing campaigns aiming to establish persistence on devices for later network infiltration. A resounding 55% of all reported incidents came via the insider threat, with 82% of those incidents resulting from social engineering.
Espionage throughout 2016 has made front page news with bugging in sports clubs, hacking WADA at the Olympics and espionage in a US oil company and we see the damage to reputation – causing loss in confidence and significant risk of financial loss. Such risks are predicted to increasingly threaten to derail business, becoming more challenging longer term as technology advances at an increasing pace. Private sector security companies will be ever more important in working with the commercial and public sector in mitigation and reporting of attacks.
Pierre Racz, CEO, Genetec
Smart Cities and Secure Cities – Balancing Safety and Privacy
In the 21st century, democracies are challenged to balance collective rights with individual rights: namely, safety and the rule of law on one hand, and privacy on the other. As it turns out, this is not a zero-sum game. Computing power has increased at such a rate that we can divert some CPU cycles previously gobbled up by the bandwidth requirements of the storage and the network and apply it towards privacy.
Privacy concerns can be addressed by the judicious use of encryption technology applied to personally identifying data to ensure that it cannot be propagated to other systems against publicaly sanctioned policies. Specifically, digital video can be split into two copies, the first of which is blurred such that faces and body features are masked. The second copy is encrypted with a key whose use is restricted and leaves an indelible audit trail.
As the mechanisms of this technology become understood by the public, confidence will grow in the ability of the authorities to ensure safety without threatening privacy. Therefore, security and privacy are not a zero-sum game.
Security footage with privacy masking capabilities will allow authorities to conduct court-authorised forensic investigations without exposing the identities of citizens captured by immaterial footage. The knowledge that the justice system can access footage with due process will deter anti-social and destructive behaviour.
Scott Paterson, CPP, PSP, MSyI, MCMI, Head of Consultancy, ICTS Consult
Threat of returning foreign fighters to Western countries
It is commonly accepted that that the threat of returning foreign fighters is a significant problem and that the terrorist networks of returning fighters and homegrown violent extremists are more organised and insulated than previously thought.
The threat of ISIL-directed attacks by returning foreign fighters and/or homegrown violent extremists is more acute in the EU than in the US and this can be aligned directly to the challenge of the continued European mass migrant problems, which is giving local government a lot to think about in relation to stricter border controls, and it is clear that this crisis is long term. Many of the foreign fighters from Europe who joined ISIL have criminal records and whilst a lot is now being done in the UK to identify early radicalisation, the instigators and facilitators driving radical initiatives forward must be identified at the earliest opportunities and this can only be achieved with the help of the general public through awareness and communication programmes, driven with the help of business.
With the Nice attacks in the south of France, the low level of sophistication and ease of terror concept now has everyone on a new level of threat awareness going into 2017. The adaptability of terrorists to mitigate the vulnerability of communications through the use of burner phones, victim cell phones and encryption, presents a significant challenge to all law enforcement and intelligence agencies and their ability to disrupt terrorist activities.
Crisis management for organisations has more significance now than ever before. Whether natural or man-made, the way your organisation responds to a major incident will affect the safety of all employees. Accepting that it could happen to you, the when not if, and having an appropriate plan in place may be the key to business survival post any major incident; that coupled with strong leadership from crisis inception will be paramount to damage limitation.
Andrew Howe, Security Consultant, Kingdom Security
We cannot afford to be complacent
There remains a significant desire amongst terrorist organisations to mount an attack on mainland Britain which is reflected in the number that have been prevented by the security services. As an industry it is incumbent on us to support their work by ensuring that both our clients and our staff are regularly informed of the threat and empowered to react in the event of an incident.
Businesses need to ensure that their risk management and business continuity plans are regularly reviewed and tested. Security officers need to be constantly reminded of the significant part they play in countering the CT threat and that they are able to recognise acts of hostile reconnaissance and react appropriately. This cohesive response will play a significant part in the fight against terrorism and ensure that we are best placed to react in the event of an attack.
The cyber threat is probably the biggest challenge that UK PLC will face in 2017, closely followed by the insider threat, but the one I would like to concentrate on is the erosion of policing in the face of the significant budgetary constraints imposed upon them. Whilst the politicians will point to falling crime figures as a measure of success and the lack of impact of diminishing budgets, it couldn’t be further from the truth. In order to try and provide a service the police have had to return to the basics of responding to calls for assistance and the investigation of crime.
Detectives have increased workloads, which is reducing their effectiveness and ability to identify crime patterns and trends. Patrol officers are responding to more and more calls, impacting on the quality of service they are able to provide. The reassuring sight of a ‘bobby on the beat’ has become a rarity and morale amongst the police service is falling. The impact on both the public and the security world is significant, and whilst this presents opportunities for security, I would rather see a return to a healthy visible, policing service.
Kenneth Larsen, Regional Director, London, Securitas
Intelligence-led security: the key to combating today’s threats
We have all witnessed the rapid global increase in terrorism in recent months. Correspondingly, we have an opportunity to work smarter to safeguard people, property and assets from extremism by moving from the traditional ‘guarding’ to a modern ‘protective services’ approach – utilising well-trained and managed officers who are able to exploit today’s leading-edge technology in their everyday work.
With the traditional guarding model largely no longer appropriate, we are able to provide many other services alongside our primary security services. This delivers proactive, predictive and preventive risk-based solutions in response to our customers’ requirements and expectations, but it requires reliable intelligence to be successful.
Today’s intelligence-led security can deliver measurable crime reduction and prevention, and a safer environment. However, this is dependent on good intelligence capture, analysis and dissemination, requiring the creation of a robust intelligence collection plan. This in turn demands close collaboration with both the customer and local and national law enforcement. The result: actionable insight enabling more effective planning and use of our resources in delivering predictive, preventive and proactive protection.
Investment in the recruitment, training and retention of our Protective Services Officers is also paramount to ensure they are fully conversant with the mechanisms and operation of this intelligence-led model. This is the only way forward in creating a safer and more secure environment for all of our customers and public communities.
Robert Clark, Director, Templewood Training Services
Preparing for the worst
News of attacks on the public – whether shopping centre shootings or a bomb attack – give a sense of increasing powerlessness.
However, we have been here before. In the early nineties a major London campaign by the IRA saw more than 60 incidents in London alone.
With the scale of such incidents, it might seem that there is little to be done. However, doing nothing is not an option. There is a legal requirement for owners and occupiers of large spaces to have plans in place: every business and employer in control of a premises must have ‘appropriate procedures to be followed in the event of a serious and imminent danger’. This means identifying risk and making plans for responding to an emergency. As part of this it is essential that security staff are well trained – for example in First Aid. As trained Emergency Response Officers, staff will be part of the immediate response and critical to an effective recovery of a major incident.
But note, plans are all very well but they are only effective if they are regularly reviewed and plans tested. The time to do that is now.
Paul Harvey, Board Director, Ultimate Security Services
Resource deployment focussed on enhancing public reassurance through education and increased collaboration between the police and private security
My own business, Ultimate Security, have been selected by the City of London Police to be part of Project Servator, designed to counter the threat of terrorism. It has been very successful in many ways, including disruption of organised crime, increase in positive outcomes from stop and search and enhanced public reassurance.
This has facilitated a seamless link between the police and the community and shows that the City of London is a hostile environment to those that may be intent to carrying out an act of terrorism or other crime. Project Servator provides extra training for our security officers as well as coordinated joint patrols on selected assignments.
Project Griffin continues to be an effective tool in educating colleagues, clients, customers and members of the public alike. We take great pride in our ability to provide this valuable service through our close working relationship with the City of London and Metropolitan Police. Coupling initiatives such as Griffin and Servator helps protect the businesses and communities we serve.
James Crouch, Managing Director, Universal Security
In my view, the Insider Threat will continue to be the most significant threat in 2017 for many organisations. Disgruntled employees, those with criminal intent or radicalised individuals pose a significant threat to your business. You trust them, they have access to your systems and information and they know how to get round the security. It is believed that 82% of major cyber crime against the corporate world began on the inside.
It’s not just your employees, the threat could come from your contractors, your supply chain or anyone who has access to your systems. Of course, it is not human nature to mistrust our fellow workers and can go against team building, company morale and job satisfaction if organisations do not handle this problem sensitively.
The most effective way of dealing with the insider threat is to focus on both the security systems you put in place and an effective communications and training package for everyone involved with your business. Once people understand that security is there to protect the integrity of the business, and their own job, they realise they have an integral role in security and become part of the solution.
Lorraine Mansfield, Strategic Accounts Director, VSG
Developing meaningful partnerships
I am writing this article following a very successful exercise carried out with both the City and Metropolitan Police over a weekend in Leadenhall Street, City of London. We worked in partnership to plan and deliver a realistic counter-terrorism training exercise, providing a real-life setting to test the reactions of all involved. This led me to reflect on joint projects in 2016 and future partnership working.
Increasing numbers of children and teenagers are being referred to counter-radicalisation schemes, such as Channel, due to the growing lure of Syria and Isil. With so many ‘eyes and ears’ working in our industry, we can make a real difference, supporting the government’s Prevent strategy and the Channel initiative. The Workshop to Raise Awareness about Prevent (WRAP) encourages security officers to play a part in stopping individuals becoming involved in terrorism. Project Servator is another key area of partnership and I believe will grow into a UK-wide policing project that our industry can support.
The development of meaningful partnerships and security processes has changed significantly in the last decade. The economy, the commercial real estate and the ever-present threat of terrorist attacks have made an impact. Operating costs for providing routine security personnel have increased significantly, alongside an increased expectation from security programmes.
All of these factors create a significant challenge to the buyer and service provider. An average wage and clean uniform are no longer enough. Today’s officers need to receive competitive wages, comprehensive benefits and award-winning training. There are extensive recruiting efforts to identify quality applicants and retention programmes designed to keep them, together with a full range of further requirements for security providers to meet. In this new era of security, life has become more complex for the security decision maker and that is for good reason. Today’s security is more complex and these partnerships will only work if we recruit, train and retain the right calibre of people into the industry.
David Ward, MD, Ward Security
We need to be vigilant and alert at all times.
While we can’t always second-guess the new ways that terrorists look to infiltrate our cities, we can work with a mindset that questions every last detail and aspect surrounding the security of our buildings and our people. Not being afraid to report something unusual, no matter how insignificant or trivial, will ensure we avoid falling into the trap of missing something because it has always looked that way or been done that way. We need to continue to work closely with the police and intelligence services and share information through closed networks such as the CSSC to ensure security alerts are quickly circulated and actioned.
In terms of delivery, for Ward Security it’s certainly about investing in intelligent people and ongoing refresher training for security officers, which is crucial. Recent terrorist events have proven how important the role of the security officer is in the modern world. Smart, alert, efficient teams will make terrorists look elsewhere and if security teams from different companies can work together to help the police and other security services, then London and other cities will become even safer.
The diversity of attack methods reflects the diversity of opportunities presented to terrorists by modern society. This is the big challenge for security, and not only with regards to terrorism. It is simply no longer good enough to consider older models of security and intelligence gathering as an effective deterrent or response.
The world of security needs to fully understand and appreciate the multiple ways that criminals can gather information, plan, monitor, communicate and operate.