Let the games begin
Security has been at the forefront of the planning for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and will continue to be throughout their duration, to allow for safe and successful Games that visitors as well as residents and businesses operating in affected areas can feel proud to be a part of.
David Evans, Project Director for 2012 at the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), looks at what businesses should do to keep disruption to a minimum this summer.
Representing the largest post-war security challenge that the UK has ever faced, the effects of the London 2012 Games will be felt by the companies directly involved in the events, by visitors, and also by all residents and businesses operating in areas in and around the Games and its many associated events.
Helping businesses prepare for the operational impact of the Olympic Games has therefore been a key priority for the BSIA over the past few years. Forward planning and considerations regarding the logistics of how to guarantee business continuity during very busy times for the national infrastructure should in fact be a top agenda item for all businesses.
Securing business continuity alongside London 2012 security
There is a wealth of advice available for residents, business owners and visitors on how to plan for travel arrangements and business continuity needs throughout the Games.
The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) www.london2012.com and TFL’s Get Ahead of the Games websites www.getaheadofthegames.com are great sources of up-to-date information, whilst earlier in the year, the Security Consultancies section of the BSIA released important advice on how business continuity can be achieved through the effective use of security measures.
Business continuity cannot exist as an independent function; members of the BSIA therefore advocate thinking about security, information management and business continuity as interdependent and requiring a fully integrated solution. Certainly there are elements in all three that are unique to a single function, but the majority of policies and plans in one functional area will have an impact in another, if not in all three.
In particular, the plans should focus primarily on preventing incidents from occurring, and if they occur diminishing their impact on business activity; security measures can play a crucial part in both cases, so reviewing them in time for the Olympics should be a high priority.
According to Chris Lawrence, Chairman of the BSIA’s Security Consultancies section, an effective business continuity plan requires a number of security considerations:
1. Checking your security measures
The robustness of the measures employed should be given attention, and these will include CCTV, access control systems, intruder alarms, physical security and IT security. These must work within your specified requirements, depending on your business and the types of threats you are likely to incur. Doors and windows, for example, should be to a proper security rating, which can prevent unwanted entry or spread of fire.
2. Employee and client vetting
It is important to ensure that all employees are security vetted – or at least reference checked – and that clients are credit checked, so as to flag up any issues early on. This is
an important preventative measure against fraud and/or theft by a disreputable company or person.
3. Training your staff
Staff training and making the most of the skills of your security workforce should also be included. Well-trained security staff can in fact act as marshals and wardens during an incident and help evacuate staff, liaise with blue light services and assist in coordinating a response. Also, they can prevent unwanted visitors and can inspect and report suspicious packages.
4. Planning for civil disorder
The August riots – which cost UK retailers an estimated £18.3 million – have served as a harsh reminder to businesses that civil disorder and rioting policy and procedures should now be included in all business continuity plans. This must include having lockdown procedures in place, and defining roles and responsibilities for when the events occur.
5. Testing the plan
A timetable to allow for these procedures to be exercised on a regular basis will make sure everyone knows what they are supposed to be doing, and increase the effectiveness of a business continuity plan, concludes Chris.
Reliable security consultants have a wealth of experience in providing advice to businesses on producing and implementing security considerations as part of business continuity plans, tailored to the requirements of each individual client.
To find a reliable security consultancy, visit www.bsia.co.uk/security-consultancies
Improving cross-sector cooperation
In addition to making sure security as well as business continuity strategies are tied in and reviewed, it is important for businesses to keep up to date with anything that is happening in their surrounding areas throughout the Games, in order to assess how any incidents or events could potentially disrupt their activity.
The Cross-sector Safety and Security Communications Project (CSSC) is a partnership initiative between the Police, Government and industry that brings businesses across different sectors and their networks together to ensure they receive timely and authoritative messages to stay safe and secure in the lead up to, during and after the Games. The security sector is united in its support of the project, with 17 organisations involved so far, each undertaking to cascade the messages received quickly to their members and constituents.
Moreover, BSIA members have provided volunteers to man the CSSC physical hub, which officially came into action to coincide with the start of the Torch Relay on Saturday 19th of May and will continue to operate until the end of the Games. Its aim is to facilitate communications from Police BRONZE Community, the National Olympic Co-ordination Centre (NOCC) and the London Resilience Team to ensure the relevant and required messages are being provided and cascaded to the sectors involved. In busy times when resources are already stretched, volunteering staff to carry out duties outside your organisation can be a big ask, so this commitment by BSIA members is not only appreciated, but also demonstrates the value of the project.
To receive the messages from the CSSC, businesses can sign up for free, by going to www.neighbourhoodlink.met.police.uk or following the Metropolitan Police Service at www.twitter.com/metpoliceuk and www.twitter.com/co11metpolice (for public order updates). Earlier in the year, the BSIA also launched a dedicated webpage to help visitors keep updated with the messages. The site can be viewed at www.bsia.co.uk/CSSC
Years of preparation have gone into the security planning for the Olympics, and have advised all organisations to review their current processes so that they adapt to the challenges that such an extensive event will bring. The Games have provided a unique opportunity for improved public and private sector engagement, and the ability to share best practice amongst industries, sectors and also individual businesses.
As the leading trade association representing the UK’s private security industry, the BSIA and its members have been at the forefront of security planning for London 2012.
For more information on the benefits of employing BSIA members to take care of the security of your premises, or for details on any of the items discussed above, please visit www.bsia.co.uk
Project Director for 2012
British Security Industry Association (BSIA)