New counter-terrorism partnership aims for a safer Scotland

09 December 2016


A new integrated counter-terrorism initiative aims to build stronger public/ private partnerships to make Scotland safer from terrorism.

On 5 December 2016, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) launched a counter-terrorism initiative with the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) and Police Scotland.

Following UK Counter-Terrorism Week, the SIA’s Partnerships and Interventions team attended a multi-agency counter terrorism workshop in Tulliallan, Fife. Over 50 representatives from Scotland’s security industry as well as sports stadiums, universities and large shopping centres also attended the event.

Dave Humphries, SIA director of Partnerships and Interventions, who was the keynote speaker said,

“The SIA is working with enforcement and security agencies and with the security industry to make communities safer from terrorism. One way in which we can do this through the Approved Contractor Scheme (ACS), which certifies that businesses that are part of the scheme have met the agreed standards. A security business frequently has professional, trained staff working in locations which may be a target for a terror attack – therefore they can offer an informed response in a crisis to ensure public protection.

We are promoting the need for the 300,000-plus people who hold SIA licences to be encouraged and equipped to contribute effectively in the fight against terrorism”.

This event marked a change in approach for the scheme’s partners. It builds on Police Scotland’s existing work with the private security industry through initiatives such as Project Griffin, which was undertaken in conjunction with the SBRC.

During the event, the Scottish Business Resilience Centre gave a presentation that included a sobering counter-terrorism threat assessment. They emphasised the importance of initiatives like Project Argus (business preparedness for a terrorist attack) and Project Griffin (individual counter-terrorism training).

Deputy Director of the SBRC, Ronnie Megaughin, said:

“The SBRC exists to support businesses in Scotland in their efforts to trade and prosper securely. We are mindful of the role that businesses play in ensuring the safety of their employees, customers and the wider communities in which they operate from the threat of terrorism.

This event focused on how that could be achieved through stronger collaboration with public sector partners and the security industry. I believe this initiative has moved us forward in understanding both the opportunities and obstacles. We are fully committed to continuing this programme of work, which will ultimately contribute to keeping people safe”.

Police Scotland led a session focussed on developing the existing counter terrorism strategy. It emphasised the importance of initiatives like Project Argus (business preparedness for a terrorist attack), and Project Griffin (individual counter-terrorism training).

Three questions associated with police and the security industry combatting terrorism sparked a lively discussion: what currently works well; what are the barriers to good cooperation and, what needs to happen to make public/private joint working more effective?

Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Steve Johnson (Crime) opened the event and said:

“This event was an ideal opportunity to develop existing relationships between Police Scotland and the private security industry and to identify innovative new ways of working together in the future. At this time of increased risk nationally, the event confirmed the benefits of collaborative working; ensuring organisations work together for a common goal, rather than in isolation, to make Scotland safer for all of our communities”.

Following this event, the SIA, SBRC and Police Scotland will meet in January to collate the actions and ideas raised throughout the day. They will outline practical recommendations for the private security industry and develop short, medium and long-term goals. This will include how the industry can be used as an additional resource in counter-terrorism through expanding initiatives like Project Griffin and Project Argus for better joint working to make Scotland safer from terrorism.

Further information:

  • The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA's main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
  • For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk. The SIA is also on Facebook- this link opens in a new window (Security Industry Authority) and Twitter- this link opens in a new window (SIAuk).