Cultural Change: Security Risk Management in the UK Part 2

Surveillance: Opportunities for the private security industry

The challenging and potentially high risk nature of operations to counter terrorism (CT) and organised criminal groups (OCG's) requires the performance of covert actions; in addition to the Security and Intelligence Agencies (SIA’s), the National Crime Agency are international experts in the planning and execution of human intelligence and surveillance operations. The potential addition of CT responsibilities to the NCA is reflective of the continued developmental approach of the present UK government towards Law Enforcement since the Labour government of the early 2000’s, but also the recognition that there is a requirement to continue developing effective operational techniques to counter both terrorists and serious organised criminals. While the UK has over 40 years experience of conducting counter terrorist operations in Northern Ireland, an on-going requirement exists to conduct proactive surveillance operations within the rest of its territories in order to gain intelligence and to support operations against other groups which pose a threat to the security of the nation.

A prudent threat assessment is necessary to manage potentially apocalyptic responses from Governmental and public bodies. While the first published National Security Risk Assessment (NSRA) which was included in the UK National Security Strategy (2010) classified the threat from international terrorism, including terrorism related to Northern Ireland as a Tier one threat in terms of likelihood and impact, it did not differentiate between the different sources of terrorism which may potentially impact upon the UK and its interests. This is important, as differences in the background and the adopted methods of different groups will determine the effectiveness of responses. For example, clear differentiations have existed between the radicalised individuals who have carried out high impact terrorist attacks on members of the UK public in the name of Islam and the historic adoption of strategic attacks upon authoritative and public figures by the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Similarly, the impacts of different organised crime groups differ dependent upon a range of factors including the type of crime, the size and locality of a crime group and its ability to negatively influence public officials and services. This unfortunate situation demands an appropriate and pragmatic approach to ensure that UK security is sustained. The growing recognition that there is a need for national agencies and public services to increasingly collaborate, not only in response to potential crossovers between organised crime and terrorism, but also to operate in an increasingly challenging public and financial climate, is initially reflected by the common adoption of strategic framework components in both the National Strategic Assessments for Counter Terrorism and Serious and Organised Crime. Recent global interventions are illustrative of the necessity for early and on-going communications to take place between different bodies, particularly in recognition of the increasing evidence of the crime: terrorism nexus.