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‘Alert but not Afraid’ – Managing Security Threats & Solutions

Being ‘Alert but not Afraid’ is not a buzz term, but actual advice from the Met Police in London to counter the fears and concerns of communities across the United Kingdom from the recent and brutal terrorist attacks in the UK. These attacks have reinforced what is already known about Jihadist terrorism, namely that it does not discriminate between its targets and victims. Young and old, children, indeed civilians, and businesses of every kind, are all seen by them as legitimate targets.

For Facilities Managers, these threats pose a significant challenge when planning and implementing security programmes. Many public and private companies and organisations, irrespective of size and scale, can equally fall victim to acts of terrorism. Frequently, the ownership and global areas of operation of such companies and organisations will define their status as a target. Thus for example, American owned businesses or those operating in global regions of conflict are particularly vulnerable to threats from terrorism. The challenge for Facilities Managers is often increased when there is no dedicated and experienced Security Manager with whom they can share responsibilities.

Of course, threats against organisations do not just emanate from terrorists. Organised crime, opportunist crime, and the often radical activities of single- issue activist groups pose daily threats to many companies and businesses. In the 1980s and 1990s specific business sectors were targeted, such as the pharmaceutical industry, fur trade, and defence industries. 21st century single-issue and protest groups specifically target a much broader range of business sectors, with the banking, finance, transport and retail sectors being prime examples.

Paramount to effective security management, and planning is defining effective security policies, strategies, ownership, and procedures. Those Facilities Managers who have acquired the skills to carry out security surveys within their own company premises will have the benefit of prioritising their physical, electronic and human security resources, as well as gaining a deeper understanding of how to select, and where to source appropriate suppliers. It has been proven time and time again that effective security measures are not necessarily dependent upon the size of the available budget. Thus for example, the raising of security awareness, robust access control, staff training and penetration testing, can all contribute significantly to security effectiveness without requiring huge spending.

No-one has a monopoly on good ideas for security, and professional training courses can offer tangible opportunities to share best practice and successes between Facilities Managers.

Mike Bluestone MA CSyP FSyI is a Chartered Security Professional and Fellow of The Security Institute, of which he is a Past Chairman, and is currently a Vice President. Mike has for the past eighteen years delivered the BIFM Security Management Course, and is the Director of Corps Consult

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