Lessons Learned
Ten Years on From 9/11

As we commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11, it’s worth looking at how the dynamic of global security has changed in the past decade. The devastating attacks on the US, and subsequent terror attacks over the years in London, Madrid, Bali, India, Pakistan and Norway, show that despite channelling massive resources towards securing cities against terrorism, the scourge of society continue to threaten ordinary citizens. This raises concerns about public safety.

Unlike a conventional war, terror groups reside amongst us virtually unnoticed, and attacks can happen at any time without warning. One of the best ways to combat this threat is for the public to remain vigilant and act as the eyes and ears of the authorities. Whilst intelligence sources do their utmost to track any potential threat, given the complexities of society and terror cells, no measures can be completely fool proof unless local communities work with the authorities.

This is not just the case for terror attacks but any type of anti-social behaviour, as we witnessed with recent riots in London and other major cities across the UK. The riots were partly a fall-out of years of neglect and deprivation of certain groups. Whilst poverty does not justify crime, marginalisation can create frustration amongst sections of society, particularly younger people, which might provoke them to organise and do things that might be detrimental to public safety. One of the best ways to win the confidence of the community is to promote cultural cohesion. In a multi-cultural country like the UK, unity is an important policy for maintaining internal security, peace and harmony.

As a leading security company our job puts us in contact with all groups in society. We ensure the safety and security of individuals, businesses, properties and events. However, our role goes beyond undertaking surveillance and policing operations alone. One of the key aspects of our job is to work in partnership with local communities, and we rely on members of the public to provide us with information and support. Liaising with them is vital to our success.

Ten years of war against terror has not made our cities more secure but it has made us more observant. For example, one of the biggest challenges facing the organisers of the 2012 Olympic Games in London is to secure the city against any potential disturbances. According to LOCOG, by the time of the Opening Ceremony, around 100,000 people will be working on making the event a success, including 3,000 staff, up to 70,000 volunteers as well as a large number of contractors. The London bombings in 2005, which took place the day after London was awarded the games, show that the threat can be home grown and is real. Therefore it is absolutely vital to have highly proficient staff on the ground and who are capable of providing high level security cover at all the venues.

Abbey Petkar

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