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Private companies looking to host public events or begin infrastructure projects must meet targets to ensure they have valid fire safety certificates, and there’s no reason why they can’t do the same for protective security, a senior Met Police woman told the UK Security Expo 2017 last week. She was Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi, co-chair of an invitation-only ‘Safer Cities’ round table discussion alongside the Home Office, at the London Olympia event on Wednesday, November 29, day one of the two-day event. ‘Safer Cities’ was created with the Cross-sector Safety and Security Communications (CSSC), and hosted officials from Melbourne, Barcelona, Brussels and Rotterdam.
She said: “Similarly, commercial entities such as football clubs must contribute to the policing operations which protect their sites and their customers. So surely it is only right they do the same when utilising national protective security resources. I know from speaking to private sector representatives that the vast majority of private companies are ready to work alongside police to make the UK safer place, and I believe we now have the blueprints to make that a reality by making our public spaces as hostile as possible for those looking to do us harm.
“Methodologies to protect our cities from the increasing terrorist threat are constantly evolving, to ensure that we are prepared to effectively respond and recover from attacks. We in policing will rightly lead on this vital work, but there is always a limit to what we can do and I believe that our colleagues in the private sector also have an important part to play.”
She appealed to the private sector to make protective security key to their events planning and building management. She said: “Terrorists are using low sophistication, high impact methodologies which are often planned and executed in a short time frame, minimising our ability to disrupt attacks before they occur. Protective security is therefore a key strand of our activity to reduce the impact of attacks. The private sector has become more willing partners in recent years. Together we have developed communications packages like CSSC and have partnered with business under the Step Change initiative – but to do more to protect the public we need to deliver a more fundamental shift of approach. The police have a duty to protect the public from terrorist threats, but many responsible private sector entities are already asking how they, too, can contribute. By sharing this ‘duty’ more widely we can increase its reach, scope and efficacy even further.”
Ideas floated include accredited private sector security advisory services; bespoke products and communications networks for specific sectors, such as entertainment venues or commercial buildings; police officers supporting testing and exercising to work towards a national standard of security training across the private sector … and protocols and systems to allow the police and UK Government to recover the costs of the use of national assets (such as barriers) to protect private events.
Speakers meanwhile at the Expo’s counter-terrorism conference included Home Office minister of state for security Ben Wallace; former security minister Lord West of Spithead; Leicestershire Chief Constable Simon Cole; and from private security, the incoming chairman of the Security Institute, Dr Alison Wakefield, and Mike Hurst, ASIS UK vice-president. The outgoing chairman of the Institute, Garry Evanson, was a speaker at the accompanying ASSAF (International Arts and Antiquities Security Forum), speaking as head of security and emergency planning at Westminster Abbey.
A previous speaker on UK counter-terrorism, Supt Dave Roney, spoke on stadia security.
Pictured; one of the exhibition floor conference streams.