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


Intruder Alarm Systems

As we approach the time of year when we traditionally see a spike in domestic burglary, it is important to ensure your intruder alarm system is as good as possible, within your own particular threat and cost boundaries. Whatever the size of your commercial or residential property, the use of a basic alarm system isn't always good enough - there have been several incidents in the last two weeks were intruders have broken into an alarmed property, and carried out a rapid and efficient burglary of the property whilst the alarm is going off. The fact that audible alarms no longer seem to bother would-be intruders is partly down to the increasing number of 'false alarms' we hear day to day which are more often than not passed off as a nuisance, and partly due to a culture within our society where passers-by or neighbours don't want to get intervene or investigate ongoing crime. There is also the potential that criminals are becoming more desperate and therefore prepared to take more risks in targeting alarmed premises. 

However, there is so much more you can do in addition to a traditional bell-box and sensor type alarm. Many modern day systems are linked to wireless networks and can contact you via these when initiated - the average time a burglar is in a residential property is 8-12 minutes, so long enough for someone to investigate or for an alarm monitoring company to despatch a call-out team. There are many additional pieces of equipment that can be linked to your intruder alarm such as smoke devices, DNA marking or CCTV cameras which together provide a far bigger deterrent. If you can demonstrate to the criminals that you have addressed your security requirements, they will more often than not go for a softer target. 

Finally, should someone break into your premises, then make it as hard as possible for them to leave easily, by not leaving door or window keys on the inside - not only does this make it easier for them to enter, it makes it easier for them to exit. This will mean they can spend less time inside the premises and spend less time carrying out stolen goods. 

Speak to us at Westacre Security for advice and procurement of alarm system packages. 

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.