Chair: Dr Janice Goldstraw-White

Panellists:
Kevin Jewell – Director at 3PX (UK)
Ben Green – Director of Events and Venues at Carlisle Support Services (UK)
Keeva Gilchrist – Learning and Development Manager at PerpetuityArc (UK)

Key points

Kevin Jewell points out that in the event of a serious incident or terrorist attack that security personnel would probably be first on the scene and, by their very nature, they would do what they could. He outlines how security officers are often involved in tasks outside their usual main duties, such as assisting at Covid-19 testing sites, helping stabbing victims, preventing suicides, and providing lifesaving first aid at road traffic accidents. He feels their presence at major incidents undoubtedly shows there is a role to play by security staff, indeed, he feels there is probably a reliance and expectation on that. However, he questions whether we rely too much that security will be enough and he believes that we need to fully consider the part others should play in this to ensure its effectiveness. He points out however, that the role security plays can be hindered by others if plans are not joined up, understood or practised. Although he believes that most organisations do have plans, security is often found at the bottom of the list in terms of investment in time and money, and when this situation is combined with a lack of joined up planning, testing and exercises, he feels it somewhat a paradox, that if the worst happens, that security are expected to respond. That said, he believes there is still an opportunity for personal, reputational and financial harm to be minimised. In summing up he states that yes, security has a vital place in major incidents but not on their own, and although it is hoped that plans are never needed, they should be there, kept up to date and tested – he feels that just having them on paper and doing your best is not an option.

Keeva Gilchrist opens by stating in her research she tends to be drawn to finding limitations. When considering the very nature of the noun ‘security’, she reminds us that this means “being free from danger or threat or feeling that way.” However, she believes that this is multi-factorial and its successful implementation depends on different disciplines and inter agencies working together. Within those she explains there are a number of interdisciplinary areas and including training, something which Keeva believes has taken us a long way towards preparedness. In her training background she has reviewed various different methodologies that have emerged in the last 10 years, including simulation and desktop methods, but she has also been involved in virtual classrooms and online training, methodologies which have been able to develop the culture that everybody should be involved in security. Keeva also believes that we should think about risk-assessments, particularly whether having mitigation methods which are commensurate with the threat is enough. She believes we should be looking to train all in an organisation to certain levels and not to keep security isolated or standing alone in an organisation. In conclusion she believes approaching security as being a responsibility of everyone in an organisation so that it is multi-faceted in both nature and practice.

Ben Green outlines that when he considers security, and particularly because of his background, before talking about security or a secure environment, for him it starts with having a safe venue. Ben believes that before you can deliver any operation you must have a good health and safety culture so that people can feel safe. Then once you have that, he believes that allows you to overlay any detailed security arrangement that you might have for the venue you operate. He, like the other panellists, also agrees that there is a need for clarify about security and that it is everyone’s responsibility. He adds that people shouldn’t fear security, that it’s about working together, awareness, having those trained experts, having a robust environment, engaging with both internal and external stakeholder, and at times doing the simplest of things to create that security environment. Ben emphasises that we need to continue to learn lessons from the past and not to fear change or adaption and be flexible and agile in approach, with the ability to adapting plans. He queries whether current plans are fit for purpose and questions our ability to share best practice in an attempt to create a consistency of approach. He highlights the need for on-going investment in security and that currently we are asking a huge amount of our security personnel. He concludes that we need to continue training and auditing and things like Protect Duty to allow standards to be raised in this area.

This webinar has undoubtedly shown the importance security plays in the event of a major incident, but it questions whether there is too much reliance and expectation on the sector, meaning that the culture of it being everyone’s responsibility is somewhat neglected. New methodologies for training have facilitated involving more people, creating a more interdisciplinary and multi-faceted approach to preparedness. However, just having plans on paper is not enough, and it is important that these are tried and tested, and that organisations continuously invest in security and training to ensure that if the worst should happen, we are fully prepared to deal with it and minimise its impact.

Dr Janice Goldstraw-White
26th May April 2022