Surveillance Detection & Global Business
As we continue this series of articles discussing surveillance detection (SD), it is only natural that we explore the use of SD by global business to mitigate and prevent attacks on their businesses.
The National Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism reports that around 20% of international terrorist attacks are directed against business. In the aftermath of 9/11, approximately 200,000 jobs were eliminated or temporarily relocated outside of New York City and since 9/11; nearly 2,000 people have been killed in terrorist attacks on businesses.
In today’s global economy businesses are operating in an increasingly dangerous world, facing risks from terrorism and political violence which has a major impact on both strategy and operations. Concerns about political violence are preventing companies from investing where they would like to and forcing them to face a variety of threats based on their location, products or services and political affiliations. By employing SD, a company operating in today’s dangerous global economy can safeguard life and prevent disruption to operations by identifying threats to their security and disrupting terrorist attacks in the planning phase.
Just as with any SD plan, a SD plan for a business begins with a threat assessment. Depending on business size a company may choose to employee a professional surveillance detection team or in the case of smaller businesses, they may rely on existing employees to conduct SD. For this reason it is extremely important that the employees conducting SD be thoroughly vetted. SD plans for small businesses are similar to SD plans for individuals since the threat is directed towards a small group of people and a specific facility. SD functions such as collecting and analyzing the information generated by SD operations should be assigned to a detail oriented individual and periodically reviewed by management. The SD plan should assess the same areas of vulnerability as an individual SD plan, however route reviews only need to be conducted if information is developed that individuals or vehicles associated with the business may be targeted.
You should begin your SD plan by identifying suitable observation points (OP’s) that provide optimal views of critical locations that hostile surveillance would want to watch such as the entrance to the business or facilities. Close attention should be paid to vehicles and people that look out of place or are people exhibiting poor surveillance demeanor.
When conducting SD operations it is essential that the general public, customers and contractors / vendors are carefully observed for any indicators of hostile surveillance, such as people wearing unsuitable clothing for the weather or environment, people with unusual bulges under their clothing, wires protruding from their clothing, people who are sweating profusely, mumbling to themselves or fidgeting, people who appear to be attempting to avoid security personnel or law enforcement and people who appear out of place.
SD plans for businesses must include a clearly defined response to any confirmed surveillance which includes reporting any hostile surveillance to the proper authorities. In addition, there should be a plan in place in the event of an attack against an employee, facility or assets.
In the case of large corporations your budget will determine your SD limitations. Just as we’ve discussed, you must determine what personnel and assets you are trying to protect and conduct a threat assessment. A third party may be hired to conduct SD or existing personnel may be specially trained and utilized.
With large corporations, your SD plan must address issues such as how the SD team will communicate with management and how the SD team will interact with existing security personnel which includes addressing how the SD team will work with existing security when surveillance is detected or it is determined that an attack is imminent. There should be a designated liaison appointed to communicate with local authorities regarding suspicious activity and recent local criminal activity that could impact corporate security. The SD plan should identify a clear chain of command and define each SD operator’s responsibilities and a task schedule can be implemented to ensure efficiency.
Facing threats of terrorism and political violence on a daily basis has become part of doing business in today’s global economy regardless of business size. By incorporating a SD plan into business operations, companies are able to identify threats to their employees and assets in the planning phase and prevent attacks and loss.
By: Jeff Burns