UK’s Public Areas Security Staff and Stewards need grater awareness of the terrorist threat

It may be opportunistic to write that terrorist organisations are always looking to strike at the heart of our way of life by conducting large scale attacks on planes, trains and public spaces as well as lone attacks on isolated targets. The events over the past month have brought home the stark reality of what the SEVERE and CRITICAL terrorist threat to the UK and wider Europe actually means: an attack is highly likely, and so proved the case. Each attack has the chilling effect of spreading fear among the lives of ordinary people. It is without doubt that these attacks will continue, and they will continue to vary from the simple to the very complex, causing death, injury and damage to property. All of which reiterates the need for those responsible for the safety of the public to be prepared, practiced and able to respond to such events.

Unfortunately, not all terrorist attacks are against high profile targets. As these targets are often well protected, the terrorists often choose to target weaker areas – hotels, shopping malls, public transport hubs and areas of large public congregation such as sports stadia and busy shopping streets. Places which are increasingly secured, patrolled and monitored by commercial security organisations.

Security-conscious management teams will have plans in place to respond to fire, theft, violence or even cyber-attacks. Staff will be drilled on assembly points in case of fire at their induction training and perhaps revised by line managers at regular intervals. But what about terror attacks? High profile facilities deemed more ‘at risk’ than others will have strong liaison with local police counter-terrorist advisors but it is still reliant on the person receiving the call, discovering the bag and understanding what is suspicious (and what is not) to initiate the responses required which may lead to the safe resolution of a potentially fatal and costly explosion or other form of terrorist attack. No matter the risk to the business it is still rare that these plans are practised either as a desk–top exercise or with live real-time practice exercises. Third party security companies may have good SIA approved training; have proven records in maintaining security against theft and non-approved entry but not all will have the specialist skills, or practised experience, to act in a coordinated manner to deal with terrorist attacks. Of course, the eyes on the ground are the most important and this training and vigilance must permeate down to stewards, tickets sellers and car parking associates. It is at this level where security starts with observant staff spotting the suspicious and out of place.

To mitigate the risk of a terrorist attack targeted at public facilities, a fully comprehensive security strategy needs to be enshrined into the facilities management, club management, stewards and spectators alike. Communication across all these layers of ‘first responders’ needs to be consistent, with reporting of suspicious incidents, from staff or spectators, being focused quickly to appropriately trained control officers. With such large numbers congregating into a relatively small area, in a relatively short space of time, the likelihood of panic and crush injuries may also manifest, even if no terror attack is subsequently executed.

ISSEE, a company with a world-wide reputation for consultancy, design and delivery of counter terror, homeland security and related explosives management services is an ideal partner for the commercial and public security sector. Our staff are highly experienced advisors, trainers and operators with backgrounds across policing, intelligence, counter terrorism, CBRNE and security. Working as a prime or with our vetted partners, we can design and deliver bespoke security solutions integrating technological equipment, human factors training, and security audit and testing across the range of public and local government facilities and activities.

ISSEE is focussed on UK public and private security; delivering your responsibilities for Duty of Care to employees and customers. It is also an internationally recognised provider of Counter Terrorist and Security services and equipment.

Contact us directly for more details or through our website.

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