John Briggs – Hostile Reconnaisance – A Key Part Of Counter Terrorism

John Briggs, Operations Director of First Security
John Briggs, Operations Director of First Security

In his latest blog for, First Security’s John Briggs looks at the changes in counter-terrorism and advises companies on the actions that can be taken to minimise the risk posed by hostile reconnaissance.

John writes: “Over the last decade terrorist threats have changed significantly. Gone are the days when security teams or emergency services received a warning that a bomb had been planted and were given a fixed time to evacuate in order to avoid civilian casualties.”

“Today, the harsher reality is that terrorist threat is there to maximise civilian targets and casualties, and the methods and techniques used will be many and varied.”

“So, with this changing landscape, what is the best approach to counter-terrorism? The right security solution does not have to comprise technology alone or rely solely on manned guards. In fact, the best approach may be to combine the two, to support and complement each other in an intelligent manner.  Ultimately, an effective solution lies in creating the right balance to deliver an effective, safe and secure solution.”

“In order to create the right balance, security providers need to have a clear understanding of the potential threats a building is faced with and, put a number of effective preventative measures in place to reduce risk.”

“Understanding how terrorists work can help security teams to identify weak areas and breach points in an organisation. Security teams need to be aware that hostile reconnaissance happens and that by training to identify this reconnaissance when it happens or to prevent it from happening is the best form of defence. If you take a shopping centre as an example, using a combination of video surveillance and manned guarding, security providers can identify suspicious activity, to identify where the use of a camera or video camera is being used for more than family snaps, such as carrying out reconnaissance looking for vulnerable areas, access points, or where their intended device will have maximum effect.”

“When it comes to securing a building and the people inside, creating a balance of manned guards that are complemented with technological solutions means that there is a strong security presence. This not only ensures the safety of staff, but acts to provide a deterrent and denies access to any terrorist.”

“A thorough understanding of the building and how it operates means that security can be multi-layered and this is how target hardening can begin. It’s about making the building as difficult as possible to attack by being prepared for any eventuality and layering security solutions.”

“It is ultimately about planning for a range of possibilities. It is certainly now more difficult to determine the form, nature or delivery of any attack. Security teams must make the assumption that practice runs and reconnaissance will happen and they must ensure that solutions are in place to monitor and review this.”

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