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Public safety 'a key priority for private security sector'

Public safety must now be considered a big priority for the private security industry, according to an expert.

Jim Gannon, who began his career as a police officer and eventually became head of security operations for Unipart Group before retiring in 2009, discussed this issue in his regular blog for Professional Security magazine.

He referred to some of the various developments that have made public safety a bigger concern than ever before for the police, public agencies and private security firms.

Acts of terrorism such as the suicide bombings and shootings at cafes, restaurants and a music venue in Paris last November have raised fears about further attacks in public places.

"Events which attract large crowds are now high on the agenda for those responsible for public safety, which now of course includes the private security sector," said Mr Gannon.

Neil Basu, deputy assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has warned of the risk of terrorist attacks occurring at any time, in any location.

Mr Gannon also discussed the rising importance of some of the tools and methods used by public and private security services.

While his comments focused on the value of these practices in outdoor spaces and at public events, they are also relevant for private businesses that could benefit from using new technologies or professional security to protect their employees and assets.

"There has probably never been such a high demand in this country for the tools of our trade to be put to good effect, especially CCTV, scanning devices, sniffer dogs and trained personnel," Mr Gannon said.

"With football stadiums and music venues being potentially prime targets, the Met Police have hosted anti-terrorism briefings to drive home to the decision-makers at such venues how important effective security measures can be."

He went on to note that members of the private security industry are often most effective when they are working hand-in-hand with the police.

Security has been one of the many issues that has prompted vigorous debate in the build-up to the referendum on Britain's membership in the European Union, which will take place on June 23rd.

In an article for the Telegraph, security minister John Hayes argued that the UK will be better-placed to fight terrorism if it is more independent, because the EU is "too rigid" to combat the "pan-national terrorist threat".

However, former justice minister Rachida Dati insisted that a British exit from the EU would be "disastrous" for security across the continent.

Writing in the Guardian, she said it is "not feasible to fight alone" in a globalised world, adding that cooperation is "crucial to all our nations' security".

Regardless of Brexit and whatever repercussions it has, all businesses have a responsibility to ensure that their premises and workplaces are fully secure, for the sake of their staff and anyone visiting their sites.

Consulting with a professional security provider could help your firm identify potential areas of weakness and come up with the most effective possible solutions.

Posted by Andrew Miller

Image courtesy of iStock/Andrey Popov

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