Sir David Veness CBE QPM, Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations at the Metropolitan Police, has called for greater collaboration between public and private sectors in the fight against terrorism. The remarks were made in a speech to the think-tank Demos on Tuesday 22 February, one of his last public appearances before taking up his new post as Under-Secretary-General for Safety and Security at the United Nations.
Veness welcomed initiatives to increase the involvement of the private sector in counter terrorism activity, pointing to the success of Project Griffin, under which 1,000 security personnel have already been trained. However, he warned against complacency, stressing the imperative for all sectors of the business community to continue to actively review their security and contingency plans.
Sir David Veness said:
“Experience has shown us that the fight against terrorism must be a collaborative effort by all sectors of society. The law enforcement and intelligence agencies cannot deal with this threat in isolation. These collective endeavours must include the business community. We need to combine our work with the skills and assets of our partners in the private security sector in order to enhance public safety and minimise the impact of any incident.”
“Great strides have already been made in strengthening the existing counter-terrorist partnership; for instance, more than 1,000 security personnel have already been trained under Project Griffin, which better equips them with the knowledge of the type of suspicious activity they should be looking for and how they could help the emergency services if an incident should occur. The active support of this initiative from a wide range of private organisations is very encouraging, but it is just one element in an enterprise which is far reaching and enduring.”
“We must not be complacent. It is imperative that all sectors of the business community continue to actively review their security and contingency plans to ensure that they fit to protect their organisation, their staff and customers. This ranges from ensuring that CCTV is properly maintained and recorded to having a robust system for checking references and other documents of would be employees.”
“Our challenge is to make the UK a hostile environment for terrorists - but in doing so we must not limit our right to trade and provide a service to our customers. To do so would be a success for the terrorists.”
Notes to editors
1. Sir David Veness CBE QPM is Assistant Commissioner for Specialist Operations at New Scotland Yard. He has enjoyed a long and distinguished career since joining the Metropolitan Police in 1964, and is an internationally renowned expert on counter-terrorism and security.
2. Demos runs an extensive programme of research in the field of security, led by Rachel Briggs, Head of International Programmes at Demos.