Brendan Musgrove, Managing Director at Cordant Security, writes for Infologue.com about terrorism. Brendan writes: “You only have to watch any international news channels or pick up a copy of the latest newspaper to learn that terrorism is very real, so much so that MI5 describes the current threat level in the UK as ‘severe’, which sits just under the highest level of ‘critical’. The changing face of terrorism over recent years has meant that the blue light sector has to constantly review its processes, resources and the technology it uses in a bid to nullify any potential danger.
“This evolving nature of terrorism over recent decades is not just down to differing motivations or objectives, but also the tactics deployed to create fear. As many people from my generation will remember, bombs were the principle weapons used by various terrorist organisations such as the IRA during the Northern Ireland Troubles, with at least 10,000 attacks carried out between 1969 until 1998. Whilst bombs remain a key method of destruction for terrorists, radicalisation has seen a growth in the number of suicide bombers, most notably in London in 2005 and in Paris last November.
“Although the threat of bombings in the UK is still real, over recent years we have seen a rise in the number of terrorist attacks delivered by the “lone wolf”, a radicalised individual more likely to be unknown to the police. The terrorist is likely to carry out an attack using an accessible weapon, like a hammer or a knife, and it is hard to intercept them before an incident occurs.
“However, it is not just the blue light sector that has to adapt to the evolution of terrorism; it is also critical for the security industry to proactively change its processes to deal with the most current threats. I believe it is now crucial for security officers to be adequately trained so they can comfortably perform a dual role during different times and when reacting to different circumstances. On one hand, they must carry out concierge duties, welcoming people to the building and acting as a deterrent, however they must also be able to fulfil the position of a security guard when required, to ensure a safe and secure environment. With the changing terrorist landscape and the wider potential threats to high profile businesses, it is now vital for security guards to also receive additional specialist training so they can react to extraordinary circumstances. For instance, one of our guards was able to effectively defuse a situation where a woman had attempted to enter a client’s property with a knife by applying a technique he had learnt during a training course designed to deal with incidents of that nature.
“Over recent years, the threat from the “lone wolf” has become top priority, and whilst we still ensure our workforce are suitably trained in how to identify and deal with suspect packages, we have tailored our training programmes to counteract the threats most likely to occur.
“In addition, we have deployed a team of intelligence experts to determine what specific skills are most likely to be required for guards working on behalf of certain clients. The team will analyse location, as a company based in central London will have different requirements to one based on the outskirts of the city, the size of the business, the layout of the building, the demographics of the workforce, and of course the sector – as a utilities company will have to be serviced very differently to a financial organisation.
“This intelligence allows us to mould our industry-leading portfolio of security services and solutions to fit exact requirements of any individual business. This flexible, bespoke and multi-skilled approach is the future of the security industry and will help to best protect our clients against the ever-changing face of terrorism”.