UK companies are investing greater resources in protecting their assets against a growing activist threat from the upcoming Climate Camp, according to G4S Secure Solutions (UK) (‘G4S’), the UK’s leading security company. The next Climate Camp, which is being held in London from 27 August – 2 September, will be the third of three major camps across the UK in the last month. Speculation over its location has generated much media interest with a variety of targets suggested, including one of London’s main parks such as Hyde Park or Kew Gardens Park. Organisers have announced a series of multiple locations to start a ‘flash mob’ or ‘swoop’ approach by demonstrators, using social network sites such as ‘Twitter’ and ‘Facebook’, as well as SMS via mobile communication to orchestrate rendezvous points within the capital.
A complex system of colour-coded geographical locations is being mooted by activist websites to ensure that the final meeting points remain confidential until 26 August, the eve of the camp. Nevertheless, organisers have stressed that the City of London will be the main location of protest activity during the week. G4S warns of the need to be extra vigilant throughout the Camp, and advises taking reasonable steps to minimise the risk of disruption to business activity. Stephen Midani, Managing Director, G4S City of London said: “It is not just financial services companies looking for additional security assistance; we’ve also seen increased demand from a number of power and utilities companies expecting protest activity throughout the summer. Factors such as the financial crisis and the wider economic downturn appear to have stimulated an increase in activism and organisations are finding that they need specialist help to protect their properties and their staff.”
The camp is aiming to replicate the protest action that was carried out during the G20 protests in April 2009. Financial institutions, energy companies, and organisations associated with transport and aviation are again expected to be high-profile targets. However, protest groups may select new targets across London, particularly those associated with biofuels and controversial techniques such as Carbon Trading and Carbon Capture Storage, which will form a major thread of the protest action. The head offices of businesses associated with the highlighted sectors are expected to remain targets of choice during the week-long camp. G4S has deployed specialist staff from across its business over the last few months to ensure its customers’ security. These specialist requirements have included the deployment of former British Army Gurkhas from G4S Gurkha Services to protect sensitive utilities sites and experts from G4S Events to consult on the security of high profile events.