Speaking at the Step Change Security Summit at London’s Guildhall yesterday, Monday 17 July, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley welcomed the Security Minister Ben Wallace’s announcement of a £2 million innovation fund to improve the protection of the UK’s crowded places.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi followed up by praising the partnership already in place between the public and private sectors, but added that shrinking timescales mean both police and industry must act quickly and decisively to combat the threat.
Assistant Commissioner Rowley warned an audience of police, security experts and industry representatives that recent ‘game-changing’ attacks across the UK have increased the need for police and businesses to collaborate more closely to tackle the unprecedented increase in demand.
The threat is real and is a challenge to all of us, in policing, government and industry. To successfully meet this threat head on, we must exploit every opportunity for innovation and collaboration between the public and private sectors.
That means sharing resources, intelligence and expertise, but also asking business to help bear the load by funding their own counter terrorism security officers, search dogs and specialist security personnel.
For example, Oxford Street has in the region of 1000 security personnel, but only 10 police officers. That is an opportunity for building on the excellent existing relationships between businesses and police, by improving information-sharing and to provide specialist training where it can be most effective.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi, who is the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead for Protective Security, added:
We are facing a shrinking timeframe, if we are to combat the threat we must share information more effectively, and quickly. Effective communication is a two-way street and businesses underestimate the value of the information you hold. We must support each other, both private and public sectors. Advice is out there, and it is more important than ever to use that advice to protect ourselves.
I genuinely believe we are so much stronger when working together. Our crowded places are the targets for terrorists and I want people to go to these places knowing that both the police and business are united in keeping them safe.
Police forces have already provided Project Griffin self-delivery training to more than 300 businesses nationwide, which gives companies the ability to train their staff to detect suspicious behaviour and how to act in the event of an attack.
Assistant Commissioner Rowley has asked for more companies to engage with police and take advantage of the opportunities available to them for training their staff to keep both themselves and the public safe:
I would urge companies to review and, where necessary, improve their own security plans, and police counter terrorism experts are here to help you do that.
We recently helped to train 23,000 holiday reps in our on-going work with the travel industry, and that means 23,000 extra pairs of eyes and ears deployed across the globe who are better equipped to help keep the public safe. Terrorists are constantly adapting their tactics and in recent months we have seen a change in their behaviour during attack planning. In policing we are currently undergoing numerous reviews to ensure we adapt as quickly as they are, and it is important that businesses do the same.