In this month’s blog our Deputy Director of Partnerships and Interventions, Ed Bateman, talks about the work the SIA is doing to contribute to the counter-terrorism initiatives underway by the Home Office and Metropolitan Police.
We hope you will engage in an on-going discussion with us; provide comments and share your opinions.
More than just a regulator
A long time ago we stopped being a regulator that simply issued licences, raised industry standards, and maintained the Approved Contractor Scheme. While we continue to focus on these activities, we have become increasingly involved in supporting police in their efforts to identify and disrupt serious and organised crime and we’re engaging regularly with businesses, and licensed operatives, to deliver the wider safeguarding agenda. This includes initiatives associated with violence reduction, child sexual exploitation, modern day slavery, and protecting vulnerable people.
Our approach to counter terrorism
Counter Terrorism is at the hard end of ‘safeguarding’. Although the whole spectrum of safeguarding activity is important, Counter Terrorism has regional, national, and international interest.
Our approach to Counter Terrorism (CT) has a number of components. Some of the broad themes of activity are communication, intelligence sharing, and training and qualifications. Effective joint working between police and the private security industry is crucial as is strengthening the relationship between the SIA and CT Policing.
We’ve been engaged with the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) for several years developing a range of training and information products during that time, all of which are targeted at making the public safer. The qualifications that form part of the SIA licence criteria include a CT awareness module.
Delivering training and industry awareness
We’ve been instrumental in encouraging individuals and businesses to attend Project Griffin and Argus training. These programmes are aimed at individuals and locations respectively. This training has undoubtedly increased safety at events and venues, as well as improving the knowledge and confidence of licence holders throughout the UK.
In addition to this, our regional teams are now working with local Counter Terrorism Security Advisors (CTSAs) to deliver bespoke CT awareness briefings across the UK. Night clubs (or other licensed premises) usually provide the meeting space and refreshments; CTSAs provide the briefing, and the SIA provide the audience using their local business contacts. We regularly welcome between 50 and 200 attendees to the events and the feedback is excellent. Another CT initiative, also produced in partnership with local CTSAs, brings together small groups of businesses to learn how to identify fraudulent identity documents.
Keeping the industry informed
The provision of real-time essential briefing material following the terrorist attacks on London and Manchester was well received by the private security industry. We routinely receive and pass on critical messages from UK CT Policing. We do this either specifically to the 14,000 subscribers to our SIA Update and ACS Update newsletters, or more generally via our website and to our 27,000 social media followers. There are some excellent publications available at the NaCTSO website (such as the new Crowded Places Guidance https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-crowded-places-guidance-launched) and we use our own digital channels to publicise them industry-wide.
We work closely with the security industry and police encouraging both to identify opportunities for joint or collaborative working to make towns and cities safer from the threat of terrorism. The private security industry in Scotland recently inaugurated the Security Industry Safer Scotland (CT) Group, which is supported by the SIA and the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC). The group, which is chaired and supported by senior leaders from across Scotland’s security industry, will feed into the Scottish Government’s ‘Crowded Places Forum’. This ensures that the experience of the licensed (and wider) security industry contributes to the broader CT discussion.
Developing a close working relationship with NaCTSO is at the heart of our own approach to CT. Together with NaCTSO, and through CT policing, we can ensure that our agencies work effectively together to provide the best opportunity to make people safer through combating the threat of terrorism.