iwfmAs 2019 comes to a close, we reflect on the recent breakfast event that Corps Security hosted with the IWFM at Goldsmiths’ Hall in St. Pauls, which was centred around future fit security. Corps Security alongside Eclipse, a provider of digital security and drone detections to businesses around the UK, and CombatStress, the UK’s leading charity for veteran’s mental health, discussed the latest threats in London, the impact of drones and the mental health of security officers. This was a ticket only event and all proceeds went to Combat Stress, in aid of supporting ex-veterans with mental health conditions. The event raised a total of £483.28 for Combat Stress. So, thank you to everyone that attended.

Mike Bluestone, Director of Corps Consult, Corps Security, kicked off the event by discussing organisational resilience, including the ability of an organisation to absorb and adapt to the multi-methodological tactics used by terrorists. As well as the increasing threat of terrorism, he also touched upon other mainstream threats we face today including organised crime, single-issue activism/political extremism and antisocial behaviours. A lot of people create a character stereotype for certain types of crime but it’s important to remember not everybody will meet this profile.

To remain vigilant to threats, it’s critical that businesses increase the number of tests and drills, such as penetration tests, to reduce tailgating into buildings and remain suitably prepared. Either the tests will successfully prove that individuals are unable to gain access to the premises or, it will highlight where an organisation needs to improve in order to avoid potential threats entering their buildings. Having a rigorous business continuity plan in place, regular audits, practice lockdowns and evacuations can help improve the safety of staff and prepare organisations for potential threats. Businesses can have a better chance of resolving issues if they remain aware of what’s going on around their premises by repeating these tests.

Mike’s presentation also covered opportunistic moped crime, which seems to be ever more prevalent in the UK. Looking at the types of moped attacks that have happened over recent years, Mike advised guests to urge their staff not to use phones while walking, where possible, to mitigate the risk of possessions being stolen by those on mopeds.

Neil Mochan, Independent Security Consultant for Eclipse, went on to ask the audience if drones were a friend or foe? With six million commercial drones in operation in the UK, there is a clear trend towards broad drone ownership, but blurred lines in how they are used. Many drones are used for commercial photography, filming and agriculture, as well as being used by online empires such as Amazon for deliveries. However, the growth in the use of drones is a real threat to public safety, as they are now also reportedly being used by terrorists in the battlefield or to smuggle goods into prisons. Teenagers have been able to turn drones into weapons and even children as young as eight have been able to engineer them to drop a six-inch bomb. Astonishingly, 1,000 drones can be operated from one controller, meaning multiple drones can be used for criminal activity, at exactly the same time, by a single individual, from anywhere.

So, what is the solution? How do we control the use of drones? Neil explained that some countries have looked at jamming the communication to drones, causing them to fall out the sky. Others have attempted training birds of prey to catch the drones. These methods have proved to be unsuccessful and are actually illegal in the UK. Drones are often safest when they are up in the air and could do more harm if they fall from the sky. In the UK, security companies have been looking at the progression of drone technology and advancing with it to understand how they work, and implement effective safety measures, such as embedding software which restricts them from flying into certain areas.

The last speaker of the morning was, community occupational therapist, Charlie Alkin, from Combat Stress, a charity that aids ex-veterans with mental health conditions. There are a large number of veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress and we sadly learnt that 71 veterans committed suicide in 2018.

With so many veterans in the security industry it is essential the right measures are in place to support mental health. Security officers work unsociable hours, often in isolation so they have even more limited opportunities to be able to talk about how they feel which could be a trigger for poor mental health. It’s important for organisations to create a culture where people can share how they’re feeling with their managers and ensure support is in place for staff to be able to talk openly. Charlie highlighted the most effective way of implementing this is mangers leading by example.

On average people say “I’m fine” 14 times a week, but only mean it just one fifth of the time. Actively giving employees “time to talk” can increase the chances of a more meaningful response to the question “how are you?”. This gives employers the opportunity to support improving and maintaining the positive mental health of their employees.

As only a quarter of men feel able to talk to friends and family if they feel stressed, Charlie reiterated how human-to-human support is vital and detailed how Combat Stress is constantly innovating to come up with new initiatives that organisations can take on. Mental health training for military champions across the UK is just one example.

One thing is for certain, the way security teams work to keep us safe will continue to innovate and evolve at pace to provide effective defence against the rise of new threats. It is absolutely fundamental that security companies ensure they look after the wellbeing of their staff in the process.

And there you have it. A complete round-up of a very informative and insightful event over bacon butties and coffee, wrapped up in one post!

Terror attack on London Bridge

Terror attack on London Bridge – a summary of events and implications….

The terror attack in Central London earlier today, may have caused many readers of Corps Relay to wonder how this could have occurred in the light of the recent decision by MI5/JTAC to lower the Terror Threat level from SEVERE to SUBSTANTIAL (see the table below).

There is no easy answer, although it may well be that today’s attack was perpetrated by a lone actor, who was outside the direct sphere of influence of an organised terror group. It is also frequently argued that ‘lone actors’ as such are nevertheless influenced by a range of factors, including social media and remote networking forums of varying kinds.

Either way, today’s events highlight the fact that the Terror Threat Levels are not infallible, and that all of us must strive to maintain constant high levels of vigilance, and security awareness, irrespective of the business sectors or locations in which we operate.

So, what do we know about today’s events?

The following is a summary based on available facts known thus far:

Two members of the public have died and a number of others were stabbed in an attack on London Bridge which is now confirmed as being terror-related.

The suspect was shot dead at the scene, but only after being confronted by members of the public who acted courageously to physically attack the male attacker, whose identity is as yet unknown.

According to the Met Police, officers were called to a stabbing at a premises near the bridge in central London just before 14:00. Two members of the public are dead while three others were injured and taken to two London hospitals.

Videos on social media show people wrestling a man to the floor who then disperse before he is shot by an armed police officer, reportedly from the City of London Police (this would be logical, as it is the City of London Police which has jurisdiction on the northern side of London Bridge).

Significantly, the incident triggered the attendance of armed response teams from three constabularies, namely the City of London Police, the Met Police and British Transport Police (the latter being alerted due to the collateral threat to nearby Rail and Tube transport hubs).

So, what steps can we take now in our respective businesses and organisations?

  • Are you satisfied with your existing access control physical measures?
  • Have you assessed whether Hostile Vehicle Mitigation measures are required?
  • Is entry to your premises or estates adequately controlled?
  • Can you deploy security personnel to perimeter areas which enable them to safely look out for vehicles being driven at excessive speed?
  • Are reporting mechanism fast enough to enable prompt activation of lockdowns in the event of a suspect IED being found, or a speeding vehicle being detected?
  • Who has operational control of Security?
  • Are your personnel trained to understand and identify hostile reconnaissance?
  • What contingency plans exist to address situations where someone or something worrying or suspicious is discovered?
  • Do you have updated evacuation and ‘invacuation’ contingency plans?
  • Have you appropriate full and partial lockdown procedures in place?
  • Have you made all colleagues aware of the ‘Run, Hide and Tell guidance?
  • Are reporting procedures adequate in terms of escalation of concerns, and police support?

Top Tips:

  • Restrict both pedestrian and vehicular access to authorised persons and vehicles only
  • Maintain a good flow of intelligence and information, including close liaison with local Police and Counter-Terrorism advisors
  • Have the right calibre of trained people in place, including well trained Security teams
  • Carry out regular tests (including Penetration Tests) and drills of all security and safety systems
  • Implement both internal and external security audits
  • Ensure that Contingency and Emergency plans are in place and are easily accessible for all relevant personnel
  • Always ensure that Security teams are alert to suspicious behaviour

REMEMBER! It is vital that Access Control and anti-tailgating measures are as robust as possible, and that unauthorised persons are not allowed to gain access to your premises!

It is also vital that measures are in place to alert the police via 999 calls (not 101) or panic alarms in real time.

HMG’s terror alert status for the UK is detailed below:

The threat to the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) from terrorism has been lowered from SEVERE to SUBSTANTIAL

The threat to Northern Ireland from Northern Ireland-related terrorism is SEVERE

NOTE: Threat levels are designed to give a broad indication of the likelihood of a terrorist attack

  • LOW means an attack is highly unlikely
  • MODERATE means an attack is possible, but not likely
  • SUBSTANTIAL means an attack is likely
  • SEVERE means an attack is highly likely
  • CRITICAL means an attack is highly likely in the near future

Everyone should always remain alert to the danger of terrorism and violent political activists and report any suspicious activity to the Police on 999 or the anti-terrorist hotline on:
0800 789 321

REPORT IT!

You may end up saving a life or lives… and there is nothing more rewarding than that…
The following telephone numbers may be useful:

Corps Security Central Support: 0141 378 7000

Specific advice on Counter-Terrorism matters: 020 7566 0516

Editor: Mike Bluestone MA CSyP FSyI

Walsall College renews security partnership with Corps Security

Corps Security has been re-awarded its contract with Walsall College for a further five years following a competitive tender. The ongoing partnership involves static guarding, control room management, patrolling, front-of-house and student services assistance across all four campuses.

Walsall College, based in the Midlands, has been rated outstanding by Ofsted and is the largest provider of courses in the borough. The college’s main campus is in Wisemore, with other sites in Green Lane, Whitehall, Cannock and Leamore.

A team of 16 officers, as well as a dedicated security manager, will continue to work across the sites.

Mike Bullock, CEO of Corps Security, said: ‘I am delighted to be delivering security services to Walsall College for a further five years. We have built strong working relationships with the organisation and look forward to continue to work with them.’

Corps Security goes back to its roots with Remembrance Day March Past

Specialist security services provider, Corps Security, will take part in the National Service of Remembrance March Past held at the Cenotaph this Sunday 10th November to remember and honour those who have fought for our country.

This mark of respect firmly connects Corps Security to its 160-year-old military roots. The company, formerly the Corps of Commissionaires, was founded in 1859 by Captain Sir Edward Walter to address the employment difficulties faced by ex-servicemen on return from the Crimean War.

Corps Security still employs a large number of ex-military personnel and Remembrance Day marks a historic link of unity for the team. Eight Corps Security personnel, five from the UK and three members of the Australian Corps, all of whom are veterans, will take part in the March Past from London’s Trafalgar Square to lay wreaths at the Cenotaph.

The Corps Security march will be followed by a Remembrance luncheon, observing traditional formalities including a toast to HM The Queen, Chief Life Governor, at The Army & Navy Club in London’s Pall Mall jointly hosted by Corps Security’s CEO, Mike Bullock and Chairman, Malcolm Groat.

Bullock said: “We are so honoured to have some of our Corps team taking part in this year’s March Past, in respect of everyone that has served for our country. Corps’ founding military values of loyalty, integrity and service still prevail today and we are incredibly proud of our rich heritage and the former service men and women we employ at Corps.”

Nigel Horne, Operations Director, National Accounts & MOD joined Corps Security in 2008 following nine years of service in The British Army. Responsible for coordinating Corps’ participation in the Remembrance Day March Past, he said: “We are thrilled to be taking part in this year’s Remembrance Day March Past. This is one of the things that binds us to our company history. I come from a military background and the sense of being a part of something in the forces is so important. Events like this link us all to our roots and to something bigger than ourselves.”

Corps Security employees are selling poppies for the British Legion during the lead up to Remembrance Sunday.

Corps Security - March Past

Corps Security, said to be the oldest security firm in the world, is returning to its roots this Remembrance Sunday.

The Corps of Commissionaires – as it was until 2008 – was founded by Captain Sir Edward Walter in 1859 as a means of offering ‘gainful employment’ to ex-servicemen returning from the Crimean War. By 1880, Corps had over 1,000 members operating in London, Belfast, and Liverpool. Only four years later, the company expanded to Australia, where there is still an active veterans’ association today.

Corps Security will be recognising Remembrance Sunday, which falls on the 10th of November, by participating in the March Past and holding a Remembrance lunch at the Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall. The event will be jointly hosted by the company’s Chairman, Malcolm Groat, and CEO, Mike Bullock. The march past will include eight Corps members, five British and three Australian, all of whom are veterans. It will begin at Horse Guards Parade and march towards Whitehall and the Cenotaph where members will pay respect and observe the traditional two minutes silence at 11 am.

The hope is that the Remembrance lunch which follows will be an annual event at which ex-service personnel and trustees of the company can reconnect with their roots and show respect. The lunch will observe a number of traditional formalities, including Grace, followed by toasts from individual marchers to HM The Queen, Chief Life Governor of Corps, its Founder, Captain Sir Edward Walter, and fallen comrades. Ending with a reading of ‘The Soldier’ by Rupert Brooke.

On Friday 8th, Corps Security is also hosting a visit for members of the Corps of Commissionaires Association of Australia to its burial plot at Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey and Founder’s resting place at the Walter ancestral home at Bearwood, Berkshire. Corps volunteers from around the country have also been out selling poppies for the Royal British Legion over the two weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday.

Nigel Horne, Major Accounts Director at Corps Security, has been a champion of this initiative. He described why the event means so much to him personally and the organisation as a whole: “This is one of the things that binds us to our company history. I come from a military background and the sense of being a part of something in the forces is so important. Events like this link us all to our roots and to something bigger than ourselves.”

Horne served in the army for nine years. Though the Corps Security senior management team is not made up exclusively by veterans, those from all backgrounds are keen to support Horne and champion the cause.

A great deal has changed since 1859. Medical professionals have recognised the need to address mental health alongside physical health; the nature of service jobs has altered greatly; the process of a career transition has become significantly more complex. There are a multitude of ways that life has become both simpler and far more complicated for ex-service personnel. Through all of this, Corps has stayed connected to its history and continued to create an environment that welcomes and respects veterans. Although the company now also recruits from outside the ex-forces’ talent pool, it has never left behind its founding ideals and currently works with the charity Combat Stress, the UK’s leading charity for veterans’ mental health support.

Whilst Remembrance Day provides moments of quiet reflection and sombre contemplation, the march and meal are both opportunities to give thanks for all those who have served and continue to serve our nation and to share, in Brooke’s words ‘laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness, in hearts at peace’.

When did you join Corps and what does your current role involve?

I Joined Corps Security in January 2019, as Duty Security Shift Manager at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital in Westminster, so I’m still fairly new here. It’s an extremely busy role managing all the varied shift patterns for our team of security officers and dealing with any security related issues that may arise. I also attend back up calls for urgent security assistance around the hospital.

Can you tell us a little about your career background / what was your first job?

Security is all I’ve known since I was 18. I started out as security officer at Lloyds Bank head office. After 26 years of working in corporate security I joined Corps, so coming to work in a hospital was a totally new challenge for me. It’s completely different and you see things that you wouldn’t normally see in your lifetime.

If you weren’t in security, what would you be doing as a career?

I would probably have served in the armed forces – but lucky for me I secured my first security role at 18.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

I like the hospital because every day is different. The fact that it’s non-stop all day and night means a shift goes very quickly. In fact, there is sometimes not enough time to finish everything before the next shift starts. It’s all go, go, go!

What are the main challenges you face in your daily role?

Working in a hospital means you’ve got to think fast. Because each day is different, I need to be agile and ready to deal with any situation during my shift – from being under pressure juggling multiple tasks to problem solving.

What would you say has been your biggest achievement whilst working for Corps?

I’m still quite new to Corps but integrating successfully as part of such a brilliant team here at the hospital and having the opportunity to work with such great people has been a key achievement for me.

What do you like doing outside of work?

I’m a big family man, so I like to spend time with my wife and daughter outside work. We do lots together from shopping, going out to visit different places and trying new restaurants. We have a lot of fun!

What are your aspirations?

I aspire to become a better person and to grow and develop. I think Corps will give me the opportunity to do this to because I can learn from other people at the hospital and the wider Corps team.

Labour shortage. Squeezed margins. Brexit. The security sector is facing the perfect storm when it comes to recruiting the best talent. Parliament have had many votes regarding Brexit deals, but whatever the outcome, the security industry will continue to face challenging times.

The uncertainty around Brexit has created many issues for the security industry which is highly exposed owing to its dependence on immigrant labour. There is a risk that some of our most talented security professionals may not be able to work in the UK after we leave the EU.

At the same time, the UK is suffering a chronic shortage of skilled labour largely because of the pressure on margins and pay which mean security professionals will move on to another employer for a small increase in pay.

Security officers face numerous challenges in their roles. They work long, often anti-social, hours protecting people and the nation’s infrastructure from those who wish us harm. They spend hours watching and waiting in what can sometimes be a monotonous role only for sometimes shocking things to happen meaning they have to react very quickly. As they work alongside our emergency services to keep us safe, they occasionally get caught in the crossfire.

That’s why last month we launched Thank Your Security Officer Day to recognise the essential role our officers play, and why we are talking about security officer’s mental health at our breakfast event with IWFM on 30th October.

Mental health is often in the headlines and it’s fortunately becoming less of a taboo to talk about. But it’s easy to forget that some of our people working on the front-line to keep us safe can be equally affected. Many security officers also come from a military background, sometimes having suffered traumatic events and extreme levels of stress so this must also be recognised and supported.

Come to our breakfast event on the morning of 30th October (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/security-2020-is-your-security-function-fit-for-the-future-tickets-74809373851), hosted in association with the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management, and hear from experts from Combat Stress about how we can support out front-line officers to maintain good mental health, just as they spend their working life keeping us safe.

Helping to create the best working environment for our people is a step in the right direction to ensuring that we can keep the best talent, whatever the outcome with Brexit.

Security 2020: is your security function fit for the future?

We are living in an era of unprecedented challenges in the security sector. From a chronic labour shortage and rising costs to the threat of drone attack and other changing terrorist practices, security ranks high on the list of a facilities manager’s challenges. Come to the IWFM London breakfast event on 30th October at Goldsmith’s Hall, sponsored by Corps Security, and hear from a range of fascinating speakers on this essential topic.

Mike Bluestone from Corps will give an update on the latest on the terrorist threat in London, while Darren Wood at Eclipse will discuss the threat from drones which have hit the capital in force over the past few months. Finishing this breakfast event will be a speaker from Combat Stress discussing how to work with security officers to ensure they maintain good mental health in often stressful situations – a crucial element in recruiting and retaining the best talent in our sector.

This is a great opportunity to meet your peers and network over coffee, croissants and bacon butties while raising money for Combat Stress – there will be a £10 fee which will be donated to the charity to support former members of the British armed forces who suffer from a range of mental health conditions.

Date: 30th October
Time: 8:00-10:30am
Venue: Goldsmiths’ Hall, London

Book your place here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/security-2020-is-your-security-function-fit-for-the-future-tickets-74809373851

Agenda

8.00am – guests arrive
8.30am – introductions from the IWFM London committee and housekeeping
8.35am – An update on security in the City – Mike Bluestone, Corps Security
9.00am – Drones: the latest threat to London’s security – Darren Wood, Eclipse
9.25am – Supporting security officers’ mental health – Speaker TBC, Combat Stress
9.45am – wrap-up from IWFM
9.50am – networking
10.30am – all guests to depart

‘Animal Rebellion’ – changed plans but still a threat….

In our previous issue of Corps Relay we circulated the intention of ‘Animal Rebellion’ to attempt to blockade City of London-based Smithfield Meat Market, during the period 7-21 October 2019.

Further updates on the possible impact on our City of London, and City of Westminster customers’ colleagues and premises

Following a further meeting held by City of London Police (CoLPA) and attended by Corps Security’s Regional Operations Director, we can report on the following update:

  • It was previously thought the newly formed Animal Rebellion group would occupy Smithfield’s market for two weeks from Monday 7 October. However following negotiations between the group, City Police and City of London Corporation the protest in the market will only take place over a 24-hour period starting from the afternoon of Monday 7 October.
  • Organisers anticipate around 2,000 protesters will participate. However the Facebook page suggests numbers will be smaller.
  • The Animal Rebellion protest in Smithfield appears to be one action as part of a two-week action undertaken by Extinction Rebellion, which will mainly target government agencies in the Westminster area.
  • The Extinction Rebellion protesters intend to target 10 locations in Westminster for at least two weeks from Monday 7 October. The protesters are likely to stay static in their sites, however their activity is dependent on the weather.
  • Map of intended routes and affected areas

What tactics will the protesters employ?

Readers should be aware of the likely tactics that protesters will employ:

  • Protesters’ tactics could include:
    • Graffiti, Criminal damage,
    • lock-ons outside premises,
    • swarming,
    • roadblocks,
    • mass sit-downs / die-in’s,
    • impersonating staff to enter building,
    • attending and disrupting events held in buildings
  • It is possible that protesters will approach businesses asking for their support.
  • There is no current intelligence to suggest violent tactics will be used from this group. However, as this is a new group it is difficult to foresee what their exact method of protesting will be

Where are the most likely locations for protests?

Potential locations that may be targeted by protesters within the City of London include the following:

  • It is expected Animal rebellion will protest Smithfield’s market for 24 hours, however it is possible they may re-enter the site during the two-week period. Meanwhile Extinction rebellion protesters will focus their activity in Westminster and government area.
  • Intelligence suggests protesters will set up a base on Grand Avenue in the centre of Smithfield market.
  • Intelligence suggests a charity shop in Plumtree court, Shoe Lane EC4A will be used by protesters as a feeding location.

How will Police respond during the protest?

The policing plan, as advised by City of London Police, will include the following:

  • A 24/7 robust policing plan will be in place from City Police throughout the two-week period in case protesters re-enter site or pop-up demos emerge.
  • Various Police teams have been set up including a Protest removal team (to deal with protesters glued to buildings), Rope tactics team (to deal with protesters climbing buildings) and Police liaising team (to engage with the protesters, businesses and local community).
  • There will be an increased number of officers around locations that have been targeted recently.

Police Advice:

  • Please ensure your own security plans are reviewed ahead of the demonstration.
  • Residents and businesses are encouraged to talk to officers deployed in the area. Please report all hostile reconnaissance activity.
  • Any intelligence, concerns or advice can be emailed to protestenquiries@cityoflondon.pnn.police.uk. Please send your emails from corporate email address.
  • If a situation escalates there will be an enhanced police and security presence in the City, who will be in the area to deal with the matter.
  • All persons (Security and other personnel) working throughout Central London should follow the TFL, and Police announcements on any impact on the Tube, Bus and other transport networks.
  • Only call 999 in the event of an emergency or threat to life.

All site Security Control Rooms should be monitoring Sky/Breaking News around the clock.

It is also vital that measures are in place to alert the police via 999 calls (not 101) or panic alarms in real time.

HMG’s terror alert status for the UK is detailed below:

The threat to the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) from terrorism is SEVERE

The threat to Northern Ireland from Northern Ireland-related terrorism is SEVERE

NOTE: Threat levels are designed to give a broad indication of the likelihood of a terrorist attack

  • LOW means an attack is highly unlikely
  • MODERATE means an attack is possible, but not likely
  • SUBSTANTIAL means an attack is likely
  • SEVERE means an attack is highly likely
  • CRITICAL means an attack is highly likely in the near future

Everyone should always remain alert to the danger of terrorism and violent political activists and report any suspicious activity to the Police on 999 or the anti-terrorist hotline on:
0800 789 321

REPORT IT!

You may end up saving a life or lives… and there is nothing more rewarding than that…

The following telephone numbers may be useful:

Corps Security Central Support: 0141 378 7000
Specific advice on Counter-Terrorism matters: 020 7566 0516

Editor: Mike Bluestone MA CSyP FSyI

Following a competitive tender process Corps Security has been awarded a three-year contract to provide security services to Registers of Scotland at Meadowbank House, in Edinburgh.

A team of 10 officers will provide guarding services with a focus on front-of-house, customer service, CCTV monitoring and patrols.

Registers of Scotland is the public body responsible for compiling and maintaining registers relating to property and other legal documents in Scotland.

Mike Bullock, Chief Executive of Corps Security, said: “We are delighted to be working with such a like-minded organisation. Corps Security is a trust which was set up to provide employment for ex-servicemen returning from the Crimea. We share values with Registers of Scotland and look forward to working closely together.”