Drone Threat

The threat from drones, know as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), is rapidly becoming a concern for security providers and their clients. Drones are an ideal tool for surveillance:

  • Low procurement and replacement costs

  • Rapidly deployable capability

  • Can be launched from discreet locations requiring very little real estate

  • Very little regulation of their sale and use

  • High quality downlinked or recorded camera footage with PTZ capability, providing an excellent vantage point over a 'target'

  • Easy to fly with very little training required

We are seeing drones used against our clients both in the UK and overseas more regularly, with the summer of 2017 in France proving particularly difficult with some sustained use targeting several of our clients. 

Drones can be used by a range of hostile threats:

  • Criminals carrying out reconnaissance in the preparation of an attack

  • Hostile media trying to collect information

  • Casual users with a general inquisitive motive

Whatever the user threat and whether it be a security or privacy issue, drones will continue to pose a significant problem until the law across the world catches up with the threat and starts to regulate and control the use of drones. With an increasing amount of  'near misses' occurring with civilian aircraft, it is only a matter of time before there is a serious incident with an irresponsible drone pilot. It is likely that such an incident will kick-start the process of regulating and licensing drones. 

In the mean time, we have taken measures to mitigate the threat to our clients posed by drone use by implementing physical and technical measures. The counter-drone market, known as Counter Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (C-UAV), is rapidly becoming an essential part of any security plan. The use of frequency jamming technology has so far proved too expensive and unreliable to capture the civilian market, instead, C-UAV companies are looking at ways of physically interdicting drones as they fly, capturing them, then landing with a parachute. Leading the way in this market are a UK company called Open Works Engineering, who have developed the Skywall range of drone defence systems. We are looking to work with Open Works Engineering in the near future to procure a C-UAV suite for deployment to France this coming summer. 

 
 

Happy New Year!

2017 was another challenging year in the private security industry, with global counter-terrorism continuing to take the focus away from an escalating criminal threat. With police resources under pressure and a focus on terrorism, the criminal gangs have been allowed to gather momentum, resulting in an increased threat to everyday people.  

Security news has been dominated by high profile global issues such as the North Korean threat and worldwide politics, often missing ongoing issues, particularly in the Middle East region. Domestic terrorism was at the forefront of the media reporting in the first part of the year with the attacks in Manchester and London, but as the nation becomes numb to horrors of terrorism, we appear to be settling for a culture of acceptance that terrorism is just part of everyday life here in the UK. The cyber threat has taken a backseat, despite more than ever high-profile data breaches and technological vulnerabilities being highlighted which could harm each and everyone of us.  

We continued to cement our reputation in France and Monaco over the last 12 months where we are now commonly known as the 'go-to' security provider for high-net-worth families, their property and business interests. 

2018 is shaping up to be another busy year for us, with our main focus being the summer deployments to the South of France as well as being 'good-to-go' for short notice global deployments on behalf of our clients. We are looking to build on the Training Department this year by running external training courses in SIA licence disciplines as well as our own bespoke training courses to give people the opportunity to learn relevant skills to deal with today's threats 'on the street' giving you the tools to prevent yourself and your family becoming a victim to indiscriminate attacks. 

Finally, the work of the British Armed Forces continues into the New Year, with deployments to over eighty countries, including signifiant roles in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria as well as supporting our NATO commitments and homeland work. With most of our personnel retired military or serving reservists, we always respect and appreciate the work of our Armed Forces. 

Happy New Year and stay safe in 2018. 

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Lest we Forget

2016 was the first year since 1968 without any British military deaths on operations. As memories fade of the death and physical or mental injuries suffered in recent conflicts such as Iraq and Afghanistan, we must remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice throughout history to ensure our children grow up in a free and safe world. Remembrance Day, also known as Armistice Day, marks the day World War One ended, at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month, back in 1918. Whatever your religious or political beliefs are, the men and woman of our Armed Forces are a vital tool to ensure our freedom - nobody wants 'peace' more than those who have experienced the horrors of war, but unlike some who haven't, military people are able to identify better with the unfortunate fact that right now, whilst there are bad people in the world who want to do bad things, we need an effective military, who stand ready to fight (and occasionally do), in order to act as a deterrent. 

In the spring of 1915, shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was inspired by the sight of poppies growing in battle-scarred fields to write a now famous poem called 'In Flanders Fields'. After the First World War, the poppy was adopted as a symbol of Remembrance. Modern day wearing of the poppy is a personal preference which should be used by an individual to show to themselves that they remember those who have made sacrifices - not necessarily that they agree with the politics of certain conflicts, or that they agree with the concept of fighting aggression with aggression, but just that they appreciate and remember. The poppy appeal in the UK is used by the Royal British Legion to help the Armed Forces Community, and the money they raise through the appeal makes a significant difference to those who need help and support. The poppy is a symbol of remembrance and hope, worn by millions of people and coloured red because that is the natural colour of field poppies. It is not a symbol of death, or blood or an indication or your political and/or religious views. As we head more towards a culture of 'feelings' and 'entitlement', we will probably see the poppy phased out over time as a symbol of remembrance, or see it hijacked as a political tool and used by individuals to promote themselves. Until the next great conflict for our freedom, when those same individuals will call upon the ever decreasing pool of men and women who are prepared to take up arms to defend our great country. And while we wait for those conflicts to come knocking on our door, the Armed Forces will go about training hard so they are ready for that day - in between manning fire engines during strikes, rescuing your from your flooded village, backfilling manpower for big companies who can't honour multi-million pound contracts for events such as the Olympic Games, responding to terrorism in our cities and towns, delivering aid and relief to those who have suffered in natural disasters, guarding significant national infrastructure sites 365 days of the year, combatting the drugs trade which brings misery to millions of people, guarding the waters and airspace around our country, burning animals to prevent the spread of Foot and Mouth disease or assisting us when the country suffers a harsh winter as it did in 2009-10. 

You can't pick and choose when you support the Armed Forces community, there will be conflicts or tasks which you don't agree with and some you do, but military personnel don't get to choose which ones they get involved in, so nor should we choose which ones we support them in. 

Everyone wants to eat, but few are willing to hunt. 

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

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Armed Forces Day

Today, the 24th June 2017, is Armed Forces Day in the United Kingdom, where the public are encouraged to show support for our Armed Forces and to recognise the work they do and the sacrifices they make. 

The military is extremely close to our hearts and we employ a high number of serving reservists and ex-military  personnel. Most of our senior staff and personnel have previously served in The Armed Forces, so we fully understand the difficulties faced by our military personnel who do an exceptionally tough job, and we will continue to maintain these close ties with the UK Armed Forces in the future. 

We are members of the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant and current holders of a Bronze Award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. We also provide huge amounts of financial and admin support to our chosen military charity, the 1820 Foundation, who are doing some fantastic work to help the Armed Forces community. 

Reserves Day

Today is Reserves Day, which forms part of Armed Forces Week leading up to Armed Forces Day this Saturday 24th June 2017. Reserves day is intended to raise awareness and show recognition for the work of our reservists who balance a civilian life with service in the Army, RAF and Navy. 

Reservists give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces to ensure that should their country require them, they would be ready to serve as part of the military. Over the last 16 years, over 35,000 reservists have served on operations worldwide, making an immense contribution. 

The Reserve Forces make up approximately one sixth of our Armed Forces personnel and as such are integral to protecting the nation’s security at home and overseas, particularly providing capability in specialist areas such as medical and cyber. Reservists are currently supporting operations worldwide including in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain, Estonia, South Sudan, Cyprus and Somalia.

SRX recruit the majority of our personnel from within the Armed Forces community, with both ex-regular and serving reservist personnel accounting for over 90% of our staff. 

 
 

Happy New Year!

2016 was a challenging year in the private security industry, with global counter-terrorism taking the focus away from an escalating criminal threat. Police and government security budgets are, rightly, being directed at the fight against terrorism, which leaves a gap for the private security industry to fill. The growing realisation of this shift in police and security service focus by the criminal fraternity has allowed them to capitalise and increase their activities. Whilst we're not quite ready for a full-blow private police force in the UK, we are certainly on the way towards the utilisation of private security to enhance the work of the police and security services. The days of the 'bobby on the beat' are gone, for now at least, so the private security industry must be ready to step up and provide a service for those who require it.

Despite the increased terrorist threat and uncertainty of the global security climate, it is worth noting that 2016 was the first year since 1968 that British Forces have not suffered any fatalities on operations. 

2017 will, without doubt, be another uncertain year for global security which we are fully prepared for. We will be deploying our teams to the South of France during the summer months, as well as looking to enhance our presence in the UAE and wider Middle East region, whilst back in the UK we'll be looking at how we can improve our teams in an effort to keep one step ahead of the threat. We are continuously monitoring the growing cyber threat as part of our security packages and are looking to bolster our technical, communications and IT security capability this year with the launch of a dedicated cyber department. 

 
 

Lest We Forget

For The Fallen.

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.


They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Reserves Day

8th September 2016 is Reserves Day which recognises the work of our those who balance a civilian life with service in the Army, RAF and Navy. 

Reservists give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces to ensure that should their country require them, they would be ready to serve as part of the military. Over the last 15 years, 35,000 reservists have served on operations worldwide, making an immense contribution. 

The Reserve Forces make up approximately one sixth of our Armed Forces personnel and as such are integral to protecting the nation’s security at home and overseas, particularly providing capability in specialist areas such as medical and cyber.

We recruit the majority of our personnel from within the Armed Forces community, with both ex-regular and serving reservist personnel accounting for over 90% of our staff. 

 
 

Nice Attacks - One Month On

One month on from the attack in Nice, we look at how terrorism has impacted on private security in the high net worth world.  

85TH VICTIM

Pierre Hatterman, a 56-year-old psychologist who lived and worked in the French Alps had travelled with his family to Nice this summer to celebrate Bastille Day - French National Day, which commemorates the storming of the Bastille on July 14th 1789, and is an important day in the French calendar which marks this pivotal event at the start of the revolution, where ordinary people rose up and helped shape the country into a modern day republic. Mr Hatterman's wife and one of his children were killed on the night in Nice, when a local resident ploughed a truck into crowds watching a firework display on the Promenade des Anglais. Mr Hatterman became the 85th victim, following his death three weeks after the attacks, which leaves his remaining two children (who were also injured) to rebuild their lives without a brother and both parents. 

PROMENADE DES ANGLAIS

Within four days of the attack, the restaurants and bars of the popular tourist destination were packed with people seemingly enjoying the warm summer nights, clearly showing the resilience and defiance of the multi-cultural tourist and local population of this beautiful French city. Driving down the Promendade in Nice exactly one month on from the attacks, it would appear that everything was back to normal, but looking a bit closer you can still see evidence of the attack - small bunches of flowers and candles placed where victims fell, a makeshift shrine created around the Monument du Centenaire, remnants of police markings on the road, and evidence of damage to infrastructure. Like all other cities and towns subjected to acts of terrorism, Nice will recover, but in the same way nobody can visit the Financial District in New York's Manhattan without thinking of the 9/11 attacks, driving along Nice's Promenade des Anglais will forever generate thoughts and memories of the Bastille Day attack. 

 
 

DEADLY MONTH

Whilst the attack in Nice took the headlines, it was part of a deadly month of terrorism throughout the world. There were a total of 194 reported terrorist incidents during July 2016, resulting in the death of at least 1528 people (excluding death of perpetrators). Iraq was hit the hardest with 65 separate attacks resulting in 908 deaths. Further statistics:

  • Countries where attacks took place - Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burundi, Cambodia, Congo, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesian, Iraq, Japan, Kazakstan, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Venezuela, West Bank, Yemen.

  • Types of attacks - assassination, bombing, suicide bomging, mortar bomb, shooting, car bomb, clash, counter-terrorism raid, execution, grenade attack, Kidnapping, landmine, melee attack (knives/machettes), rockets, shelling, attack with vehicle, and several 'unlisted' attacks.

  • Perpetrators - Islamic groups (al-Nusra Front, Abu Sayyaf, Al-Qaeda organisations, Bangsamoro IFF, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, Islamic State, Taliban, Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Macina Liberation Front), ADF, Black Lives Matter, Mai-Mai, Nyatura rebels, Paraguayan People's Army, Kurdistan Workers' Party, RENAMO, Daredevils of Sassoun, Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, Donetsk People's Republic, Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda, Fulani herdsmen, 'lone-wolf' perpetrators of varying motives.

TERRORISM AND PRIVATE SECURITY

The threat from terrorism has always been a high priority for private security operating in hostile environments, but in contrast, it has traditionally formed a relatively small part of a typical private security risk assessment in benign environments, the thinking being that there is very little you can do to protect yourself from becoming a victim, and with attacks so rare, the focus was always more on the criminal or privacy threat. However, with an increasing number of attacks taking place in areas popular with tourists, public transport, and large scale events, the need to include terrorism in a threat and risk assessment has spread across the spectrum of private security to include family security and high net worth protection. It is becoming common now for a Close Protection Detail, when planning for a task, to include anti-terrorism procedures as part of their plan. Clients are increasingly turning to their security personnel to provide advice and protection in order to mitigate the terrorism threat. The teams currently operating on the French Riviera were expecting an attack such as this one, with our Team Leaders reporting for over year now that something like this was inevitable. On the night of Bastille Day attack, all our personnel who were in and around Nice were able to respond with a set of pre-determined procedures, ensuring the best possible protection for our clients. 

THE POLICE VACUUM

With increasing numbers of police, government intelligence and security services focussed on the domestic terrorism threat, a security vacuum has been created which is being exploited by organised criminal gangs who know police are overstretched. These gangs are aware that the resources which were previously used to detect, respond to, and investigate them are no longer available. Whilst low-level criminals such as pick-pockets might be finding it harder to ply their trade with increased police presence in public places, the villas and apartments of wealthy individuals are becoming easy pickings for the high-level gangs. There is an argument that the public purse shouldn't be used to protect a high net worth community who have a reputation for tax-avoidance and concealing their money overseas, although to label all high net worth individuals in the way would be unfair - indeed, many of them pay way above the average in terms of taxation and contribute significantly to both national economies and smaller micro-economies (including police budgets) found in the towns and villages they frequent. Whichever side of this argument is true, what is clear is that in the current climate of global terrorism, and the associated threats seemingly here to stay, the private security industry is an inadvertent benefactor of terrorism. 

Gas Attacks

As the Residential Security Teams prepare for this summer's deployment to the South of France, we have again visited the gas attack issue as part of our pre-deployment training. Last summer our personnel, Operations Director and Commercial Director were dragged into the ongoing gas attack debate. The company stance on this issue is very clear - to date, we have no firm evidence that a gas attack against any of our clients has ever been planned or attempted. However, we continue to receive reports through our intelligence gathering sources that suspected gas attacks are occurring in the Côte d'Azur and therefore we continue to include this form of threat in our risk assessments.

Aside from the reports of gas attacks occurring (the latest report we received was of an attack during week commencing 13th June 2016 just outside of Nice), we have to look at the evidence on both sides of the argument in order to make our judgement and whilst there is even the smallest of possibilities that gas attacks are a threat to our clients, we must assume they are, and put measures in place to mitigate this threat. If gas is not being used in these high profile raids, then the question which remains to be answered is what is being used? and how are whole families sleeping through comprehensive raids and waking in the morning to find they've had the watches taken from their wrists without even stirring?

Following an interview with the BBC last year by one of our Directors, we were asked by local English speaking media to comment on the arguments against gas attacks - these were our responses to each point:

  • The Royal College of Anaesthetists had stated that they don't believe anaesthetic gas was being used because it would be difficult to get hold of the quantities required. RESPONSE: In the South of France, you can get hold of anything you want, in any quantity. With free movement and open borders, the shipment of black market goods from Eastern Europe is rife. The gangs operating in the high-value criminal world have huge budgets because the stakes are so high for them - they can buy anything they want, and routinely run up bills in excess of €100k on materials and equipment required to carry out their attacks.

  • A construction company and air conditioning engineers have rubbished the idea that the air conditioning systems could be used to introduce gas. RESPONSE: There is some confusion over the perceived modus operandi here. Air conditioning systems in large villas have different components inside and outside - the purpose of these components is irrelevant, but the fact is that accessing any part of an air conditioning system with give you access to an otherwise closed system, which once the system is shut down, allows you to introduce any gas you might want and force that gas around the closed system.

  • Several private security companies in the region have released statements claiming they have never even heard of suspected gas attacks. RESPONSE: These companies are clearly not engaged in high-net-worth residential security. Whatever your stance on the gas attack debate is, it is common knowledge amongst residential security teams who protect luxury villas and their families that gas attacks are frequently reported, so to deny any knowledge of the suspected reports indicates these companies are commenting on a matter which is not within their area of expertise.

  • The French Police and media haven't confirmed or denied gas attacks take place. RESPONSE: Very few crimes against high-net-worth individuals go reported, and those that do rarely make the media. The French authorities are not going to speculate on something as serious as this, so without clear evidence then they're unlikely to ever wade into this argument on either side.

In summary, until there is clear evidence that gas attacks are not taking place, until reports that gas attacks are happening cease, and until someone can explain how victims are sleeping through these raids, then we will assume that this threat is real and protect our clients accordingly. 

Panic Rooms

Often perceived as a requirement for the super-rich or high-profile Royalty, the use of a panic room should be something we all consider, whether that is for our homes, holiday properties or even business premises. 

Many of our clients hold the view that possessions are replaceable but life is not, and whilst this statement is certainly true, there can often be a crossover between the two. Criminals who want to steal your possessions don't normally want to harm you with violence, but they often will use it, either as a show of force to dominate the incident, or they will use violence to get you to comply in telling them what they need to know (safe codes, vehicle key locations, hiding places etc).  The use of a panic room breaks this link between possessions and life, providing you with a buffer zone between you and your attackers. 

In addition to the criminal threat, we also live in an age where terrorism can randomly strike anywhere, anytime. For us British, we have lived with the threat of terrorism for generations, but unlike years ago when the vast majority of terrorist strikes in our homeland were aimed at security services and government personnel, now we are all potential targets and the threat has never been so high to the innocent everyday person. A so-called 'Lone Wolf' type attack with the use of weapons can be seriously destructive if you are not able to shield yourself or escape the attacker. Our country have a very limited number of police armed response personnel, and whilst they are highly trained and effective, their response times would mean that buying yourself some time in a protected area would be vital to survival. The terrorist incidents in France over the last 12 months claimed many innocent lives, despite the fact that most French police are routinely armed, so it is likely that similar attacks in our country would result in more deaths than occurred in France.  

Whether the threat is criminal or terrorism, a panic room creates a buffer between you and the threat, and can buy you some vital time to maximise your chances of survival. 

A panic room can range from the very simple modification of an existing room, which retains the original function of the room, just with some very simple added security measures which make that room the allocated 'safe room' right up to a sophisticated purpose-built room with escape routes, communications and self-defence weapons. 

Our company have managed several panic room projects for our clients, both in private properties as well as commercial premises where the business owners considered it a duty of care responsibility to provide a safe haven for their staff. A recent case which highlights the commercial panic room requirement was this - On Wednesday 3rd February 2016, a warehouse manager was shot dead in Birmingham during a robbery by masked men who tied up staff - a panic room in this situation could have provided an area for staff to take refuge. 

Please contact us for advice and information on panic rooms. 

 

High Speed Interceptor Boat

Introducing the 'Barracuda' by Safehaven Marine. 

As the world evolves, the traditional threats to a country's ocean borders have changed significantly. The primary threat of invasion remains in many areas but alongside it now are the supplementary threats of terrorism, piracy, EEZ incursion, hazardous waste pollution, people trafficking and narcotic based criminality.

As the world economy continues to struggle with slow economic growth there still exists the need for strong coastal defences, and the ability to enforce the law in both coastal and open ocean waters. National defence budgets show no signs of increasing at the same rate as the threats – exponentially. The question is “how can existing or even reducing budgets be used in a smarter way to combat the growing threats?”

A strong case can be put forward for the increasing augmentation of the traditional large naval vessel with multiple, highly seaworthy smaller coastal patrol vessels able to be deployed quickly along the coast either overland in the case of smaller variants, or by sea in order to respond to any perceived threat.

The simple economic costs of deploying a large naval vessel; fuel costs, manning costs and logistical support requirements are extremely expensive.  In the very great majority of cases, where a show of force is not a primary consideration, the same mission could efficiently be undertaken by a small, fast, highly seaworthy and survivable craft, able to self defend or present a level of force, at a fraction of the cost of deploying a large Naval vessel.

The world’s oceans, rivers, lakes and coastal regions continue to increase in military significance in the current geopolitical landscape. The operators of the world’s major bluewater navies are under significant financial pressure. They also have more missions. As well as the naval missions already mentioned, relief of the effects of natural disaster and humanitarian missions are becoming more common.

Safehaven Marine has extensive experience and a long history in supplying patrol boats designed to operate in the harshest environments, and is well suited to provide coastal defence solutions based around its Barracuda range of naval & law enforcement patrol craft. 

For more information or to discuss sales, please contact us

Find more on the Barracuda here