Kunming. St Petersburg. Java. Jerusalem. Alexandria. Istanbul. Berlin. Paris. London. Ohio. From the Far East to the West, all these cities are linked by terrorism. And they are not alone.
All terrorist attacks – whether a low-level, knife-wielding marauding attack or a more sophisticated attack requiring planning, advanced weaponry and techniques – have an effect. An effect not only on those directly caught up in them, but on politics, international relations, the economy and businesses.
Most companies will have some form of business contingency plan for loss of power, heating or water. Some might even have a disaster plan. All will have a fire evacuation policy. But how many of us really consider the possible effect of terrorism on our business?
This month London suffered another successful terror attack and there have been numerous arrests subsequently of more individuals intent on doing us harm. The incident at the Houses of Parliament in March saw part of London shut down for hours. The Jubilee Line was closed, river boat services suspended and roads blocked. Offices were locked and staff were turned away from their organisations for the following days. Manchester was temporarily gridlocked after the suicide bombing of the music concert.
Now imagine that this has happened to your building, to your business, to your assets. What do your staff do? How do they escape? How do you account for everyone? What will the counter-terrorism teams do when they arrive? How will they clear the building? What will they expect from you and how can you assist? Then, of course, there is tomorrow to think about. What are the priorities? What will the crime scene investigators need? How should the site be secured? When will the business be able to start operating again? As Mark Rowley QPM the Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations in the Metropolitan Police wrote recently “While you can rely on us to work flat out, doing everything we can to protect you […] our collective safety depends on everyone’s efforts.” This includes your business, you need to be prepared and understand what you can do for yourselves and your business.
The list goes above is by no means exhausted. And this is just a snapshot of the first few hours during and after an attack, there are many considerations that need planning and preparing for, there are specialists our there who can help you be ready and help you test your teams, at the end of the article there are some Top Tips for your business to start considering. However, no uniformed plan can compare to that of specialist consultants dedicated to this field. We don’t really like to think about such things but, unfortunately, they are a reality we must deal with. Like all business risks, however, they can be managed. We can identify threats, reduce the risk and even deter the outcome in some cases. We can educate our teams to reassure them and to ensure they are as well-drilled as they are for responding to a fire. We can put a plan in place and then test it to ensure the business will continue to operate through the days and weeks following an incident.
Consider this: insurers are estimated to have paid out $39.5 billion in the seven years following the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. The largest proportion of this, about one-third, was due to disruption to business. Only a tenth reflected the loss to the World Trade Center itself, while a further fifth covered damage to other property. This is obviously an extreme example but it did happen. It might not have been impossible to stop the planes but businesses – both within the Twin Towers and in the vicinity – could have been better prepared for the fall-out. And might insurance companies have benefited from their policy-holders having tried-and-tested business contingency plans, too?
The 9/11 attacks can also teach us about the perils of thinking “It will never happen to me”. The definition of terrorism is the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in pursuit of political aims. Your business may have links to policy- or decision-makers. You may design or make a product that is used in the fight against terrorism or you may deal with companies especially vulnerable to terrorism. If nothing else, your organisation more than likely employs civilians. You may therefore be a target, your staff may be a target, or your office might even be located next to a target.
So what can we do? Sadly, we are all at risk of being caught up in an incident. We cannot always rely on government agencies to identify all of those who might wish us harm. Nor can we rely on others to make sure that our businesses are up and running as quickly as possible following a terrorist incident. It is the responsibility of all to plan and prepare for every threat against our businesses, including terrorism. Whether you are a business that employs 100 people and rents office space or is a major corporation with offices worldwide, the effect of a terrorist attack is the same albeit on a different scale.
Here are a few top tips for your business to consider:
- Have a current strategy, for instance who will be in command, the decision maker, this may not be the MD or CEO as they may not be there, who then, will be their second and third in command (gold, silver and bronze) and where will they be located and how can they be contacted.
- Have a flexible plan and use innovation. Plans change, the situation changes, your plan needs to adapt quickly and flexibly.
- Test your plans and your teams in a realistic environment. Like every plan if it is not tested regularly then people forget. Make it realistic so your teams see what reality will be like.
- Have a media plan, they will come knocking, and there will be questions. Consider who will be stood in front of them and what are the lines to take.
Corporate Security Consultants (CSC) is in a prime position to be able to support your business, with a wealth of experience in developing and delivering plans. Now is the time to consider what measures you have in place and what more you can do. For more advice please go to www.corporate-security.co.uk or sign up to our newsletter by emailing [email protected] where we provide useful hints and tips for your personal and business security needs.
About Corporate Security Consultants
CSC is a team of dedicated individuals who want to ensure that the business world is not affected by today’s threats.
CSC is headed up by Tom Moor (pictured) who is an Ex Regular Infantry Officer, with a wealth of experience in Counter Insurgency operations. He has dealt with multi national organisations and their security and he continues to play an active role in the reserve forces specialising in Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Threats.
CSC is privileged to have specialists in their own fields, ranging from Military Intelligence, Cyber Security Specialists, Counter Terrorism Experts, Ex Police, Ex Army and Close Protection Officers.
Tel: 0203 026 0086