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Alan Lingwood: The Importance of Counter Terrorism Awareness

Author: Judith Denny/22 May 2015/Categories: Blog

Last week, Prime Minister David Cameron outlined plans to include a new counter-extremism bill in his Queen's Speech, saying the UK has been a "passively tolerant society" for too long. Here, Alan Lingwood (MSyI), Director at Lingwood Security Management Ltd, discusses the importance of choosing a private security provider that has encapsulated Counter Terrorism Awareness as part of their business culture.

Terrorism and Counter Terrorism measures have become one of the main focus points in most employer’s business continuity plans the world over since the tragedy on 11th September 2001. This has also had a dramatic effect on the private security sector, where security companies are contracted to protect high value, prestigious sites with Manned Guarding services. 

The security services are the eyes and ears of the wider community and part of the police family and can have a vital role to play within that family. High visibility patrols and intelligence gathering, amongst other things, can of course increase the target hardening of a premises or site by showing a visual and proactive deterrent against any potential threats. 

To be able to effectively combat the terrorism threat, law enforcement, businesses, government and the general public need to work together.

In addition to this, educating and training staff in counter terror measures, with a view to promoting and encouraging reporting of suspicious incidents is of the utmost importance. Clear, jargon-free guidance about security standards and procedures are given to all of our employees and we have made training in Counter Terrorism Awareness a mandatory part of our employee’s induction process. On-going training is constantly given. 

The current threat level within the UK, has had a dramatic impact on resources for our clients and so in choosing a security company that has fully trained operatives in terrorism awareness they have helped mitigate risk levels, giving them peace of mind in the knowledge that they have a credible, professional security company on board to help them with their contingency plans.

The danger posed by violent extremists has evolved in recent years. The changes we have seen show that we now have home grown young men and women embedded within our communities who can be radicalised by various images and messages that they see on social media. With this in mind, it is vital when choosing a Security Consultant or Security Guarding Company, that you choose a company that has encapsulated Counter Terrorism Awareness as part of their business culture.

Back in April 2004, the City of London Police launched Project Griffin, an initiative to protect our cities and communities from the threat of terrorism. It brought together and coordinated the resources of the police, emergency services, local authorities, business and the private sector security industry.

Its remit was to ‘advise and familiarise managers, security officers and employees of large public and private sector organisations across the capital on security, counter-terrorism and crime prevention issues’.

Following its unqualified success in London, Project Griffin has since been recognised as National best practice and has been adopted and implemented by police forces cities and communities throughout the UK.

Last week, Prime Minister David Cameron outlined plans to include a new counter-extremism bill in his Queen's Speech, saying the UK has been a "passively tolerant society" for too long.

In support of this, Home Secretary Theresa May told Good Morning Britain that action needed to be taken against those who "seek to divide us" with "hatred and intolerance".

She denied the suggestion the measures could harm free speech, saying: "This is an area where we do have to be careful about how we draft the legislation to make sure it does cover what we want it to cover and still enables free speech to take place."

She added: "We’re very conscious to still maintain that value of free speech."

Theresa May recently visited Lingwood Security Management and made it clear that she is a keen supporter of private security and the work undertaken by firms to drive up standards. It is imperative to work with a supplier who can provide the correct insurance cover and the most appropriate guard service; with guards and security officers that are trained to spot, recognise and deal with such potential problems.  

Recent history has shown definite trends in the types of weapons and devices used, as well as the strategies employed. In order to tackle this growing threat to UK businesses, it is vital that everyone in the safety and security sector understand the threats posed and how best to tackle them.

The terrorist threats we face now are more diverse than before, dispersed across a wider geographical area, and often in countries without effective governance. We therefore face an unpredictable situation, with potentially more frequent, less sophisticated terrorist attacks.

Looking to the future, I would like to see the private security industry moving quickly forward in a bid to help and work in partnership with other agencies to provide a more highly trained and professional joint security partnership with regards to counter terrorism.


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