Security Lessons from British Terror Attacks
The recent attack near a London mosque marked the fourth terror assault on British soil in three months. These incidents demonstrate continuing trends in terrorism, with sobering security lessons.
Today’s terrorists have shifted tactics from well-organized, large-scale attacks to super-efficient strikes executed by small groups and individuals. This change presents the dual challenge of more potential attacks and decreased likelihood of law enforcement infiltration.
In addition, the attackers are methodical and smart, applying the same sophisticated planning as career criminals. Their ability to study and surmount security measures requires consistent creativity from protectors.
Challenges of Concentric Circles
For decades, law enforcement and private security have safeguarded property and individuals by creating multiple layers of protection, like an onion. This same approach is used for the White House and Buckingham Palace, as well as for special events, like concerts and award ceremonies. Each successive layer is more secure than the previous perimeter, with the greatest attention naturally focused on entry points.
“We’ve created our own security problem,” says Glenn Burrell, CPP, president of Sunstates Security. “These perimeters do a great job of keeping out attackers, but they create a secondary target.”
In addition, the May bombing at Manchester Arena revealed another weakness, changing the security game.
“Typically, few security personnel are posted at the exits,” says Burrell. “Now we have to think long and hard about managing exit strategies. For instance, we may need to create another perimeter at the exit to stop anyone from going in after an event.”
Responding to this ongoing threat requires less reaction and more analysis, supported by training and increased situational awareness.
Understand the enemy. Security teams need to put themselves in the shoes of the perpetrators to detect and shore up vulnerabilities. These individuals prepare attack strategies. They study the protective measures in place and adapt their plans to minimize risk and maximize the impact. Security personnel should follow the same practice on a regular basis and revisit policies and procedures to curtail weaknesses.
Look for patterns. During Burrell’s service with Scotland Yard, he participated on surveillance teams that followed bank robbers for weeks as they conducted dry runs in preparation for a heist. Security teams need to watch for patterns and unusual behavior, calling attention to such individuals. This type of analysis allowed the FBI to thwart an attack against a Southeastern synagogue last year. The would-be assailants had been captured on camera and recognized during repeat reconnaissance trips.
Expand training and education. Both security and non-security personnel need to learn about the tactics of would-be attackers. The insidious and pervasive nature of this threat makes security everyone’s responsibility. Employees must also look for and report unusual behavior. Security teams, in turn, need to respond to, and communicate, with such informants to encourage such information sharing.
For information on how Sunstates Security can help your organization review and adapt its security procedures, please call us at 866-710-2019 or email us.
Looking Ahead: Emerging Trends in Private Security
Working with clients in a wide range of industries across the country, we encounter—and implement—a number of best practices. Technology seems to be the common thread uniting many of these innovations. As devices and software become more powerful and affordable, more organizations are investing in systems and tools to make their operations more effective and efficient.
Following are some of the top trends we’re seeing in security, based on internal operations, industry resources and professional experience:
Increased video surveillance. While the use of camera surveillance in the U.S. is much lower than in Europe, we expect this technology to become more prevalent over the next five years. Video footage has proven valuable in investigating incidents, such as the Boston marathon bombing and recent incidents in England , and Americans are slowly accepting—and in some cases expecting—the use of video surveillance.
Central monitoring. More companies are looking for centralized command centers, known as Global Security Operations Centers or GSOCs, that can control multiple facilities from a single location. Previously, the technologies used for various security functions—such as access control and surveillance—didn’t communicate well with each other, presenting integration challenges for a single facility. New software bridges that gap and makes it possible for organizations to consolidate their security systems.
Real-time security reports. Smartphone apps allow our officers to monitor tens of thousands of checkpoints each day in real time. This information populates our quality control system, which allows management and clients to review site information at any time. Improvements in efficiency may reduce the number of security personnel, while freeing members of the security team for more sophisticated assignments.
Insurance discounts for security. On the personal side, some insurance companies offer lower auto premiums for safe drivers, as reported by devices that monitor and transmit information about a vehicle’s operation: speed, following distance, braking intensity. It makes sense that commercial insurers will reward those organizations that have taken extra steps to protect their people and property with video surveillance, employee education and security teams.
To discuss how your facility can capitalize on the above trends in security, call Sunstates Security at 866-710-2019 or email us.