Jason Towse recently visited New York to speak at the Terror Information New York Group conference on behalf of Mitie’s Total Security Management business and has also spoken at the Group’s London conference held in Canary Wharf. In this blog he discusses the ISIL threat at street level, differences in the security sectors and the importance of learning from each other’s best practice.
“September and October were extremely busy times for me given the growth and continued business changes. I was delighted to represent the business at the TINYg conference in New York, which is a terrorist information forum that provides up to the minute information from all corners of the globe to assist organisations in combating terrorist threats. Sharing our views on the future of the UK security sector to a US audience was a great experience. But also, seeing for myself the way things operate in the US was invaluable, as I got to see the similarities and differences to the UK model.
“I was fortunate enough to meet some extremely high profile figures in New York. Gaining insight from these business heads into their views on the current threats was invaluable. In particular ISIL; this showed me that the work around counter-terrorism being done remains at the forefront in policing priorities across all law enforcement agencies. To also find out the depth and reach of the FBI JTTF (joint terrorism task force) across the world and not just the US was enlightening.
“At both the New York and London events there were in depth discussions around foreign fighters – radicalised US and UK citizens – and the best approach for identifying these people. This started me thinking… how can private security providers at street level assist? Is it a case of looking out for signs of radicalisation and joining forces with our respective law enforcement agencies? New York has the NYPD Shield as a great example. Here private and public security works collaboratively with the main aim of sharing information and providing common and appropriate training. This all helps us protect against potential terrorist attacks, foreign and home grown. I firmly believe that the work currently being done in the UK will lead us to similar ways of working and help most on the success of legacy focus areas such as project Griffin.
“At both events, mainly in New York, I was asked lots of questions around more day to day security issues, particularly on best practice for reducing headcount and trusting technology. It was clear to me that the change in approach we have adopted in the last three years is being understood. More and more security professionals are ready to make the step change. I presented our initiatives around the use of data and intelligent strategic deployment of resource based on risk. This is an area that I know some of our major UK clients including those in the financial services sector have already embraced through the use of software for incident reporting and data capture. However this is a major area where we can continue to work with and influence the US security sector – I’m yet to see the change in direction and leaps of faith into this way of working.
“All in all, I took a lot from my time in New York and enjoyed being able to reflect on what our security industry does well. But most importantly, I saw what we can improve on and learn from our colleagues across the pond.”
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