Be proactive, says counter-terrorism expert

16 March 2016 | Jamie Harris

The biggest threat to security is believing that no threat exists, according to a counter-terrorism expert speaking at a recent BIFM regional event.

Kenneth Upham, counter-terrorism security adviser for Greater Manchester Police, was speaking at a seminar organised by the BIFM North Region.

He said: “The threat to British interests in the UK from international terrorism is severe.”

Although Upham noted that the threat is unlikely to disappear in the near future, he called on event delegates to proactively understand and prepare for a threat, rather than panic.

He said that crowded places, such as sports and leisure venues, retail centres, transport networks and educational establishments, are key targets for a potential attack, but premises with high-risk neighbours, hazardous sites, organisations with hazardous substances, or those holding important information, could also be a target.

Upham urged organisations to identify any potential threats and to build resistance to create resilience for business continuity.

He also explained that although facilities managers have a right to be suspicious, they should try to identify suspicious behaviour rather than stereotyping and judging on appearance.

Upham gave examples relevant to facilities managers, such as the employee whose reference does not materialise, or the person who suspiciously asks for detailed information that is not relevant to their job.

Upham said each police authority has its counter-terrorism units and advisers and any suspicious activity should be reported immediately, as this could be the missing link in an enquiry.

Mark Whittaker, BIFM North Region deputy chair, encouraged the FM audience to take back the messages from the seminar to create awareness, rather than fear.

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