Brian Sims

Security partners join forces in nightclub counter-terrorism exercise

A COUNTER-terrorism emergency planning exercise held recently in a London nightclub witnessed security operatives dealing with realistic terror scenarios presented by actors. The Security Industry Authority ran the safety resilience exercise at the Steel Yard, on Allhallows Lane near Cannon Street Station.

The event was organised in partnership with the City of London Police, the London Ambulance Service, the London Fire Brigade and Counter Terrorism Policing. The First Aid Nursing Yeomanry – FANY(PRVC) – were on hand as role players to help give the impression of a busy club night.

The training event confronted security personnel with a series of real-time simulations of possible emergency scenarios involving volunteer actors. The simulations included an attack being conducted with a bladed weapon and a suspicious package being left on the premises.

Ronnie Megaughin, the Security Industry Authority’s head of compliance and inspections, explained: “These realistic scenarios are an excellent method for training security operatives in the best way to approach various emergencies. We present them with a challenge, which can range from a bomb threat to a marauding attack, and let them put their training to good use. Counter-terrorism experts are on hand to give an instant debrief and guidance.”

Megaughin added: “These are learning experiences that operatives, and their managers, find very useful indeed. If one of these operatives finds themselves in the position of being first responder at an incident, the training could save lives.”

Increasing public safety

Jason Dean, the Security Industry Authority’s liaison officer to the National Business Crime Centre and who co-ordinated the event, noted: “The main aim of exercises like this is to increase public safety in the night-time economy by working with venues and security staff. It’s also to showcase Best Practice by putting the Action Counters Terrorism security e-learning package, which we’ve been recommending to all Security Industry Authority-licensed operatives, into practice. We’re really pleased with the commitment that all of the security staff put into the exercise at the Steel Yard.”

This latest planning exercise at the Steel Yard continues a programme of similar exercises and follows on from events held in Chesterfield, London, Glasgow and Leicester.

Commander Umer Khan OBE, who’s responsible for policing operations and security at the City of London Police, observed: “The threat from terrorism has not gone away. The threat to the UK from terrorism is ‘Substantial’, meaning an attack is likely. Exercises like this are vital in ensuring those working in our night-time economy are prepared, especially so as we enter the run-up to the festive season.”

Khan concluded: “Across Counter Terrorism Policing and with our partners, we are working tirelessly and at pace to confront the threat and help keep the public safe. As previous incidents have shown, attacks can happen at any time, and anywhere, without warning. That’s why we encourage everyone to remain alert while they’re out and about and report anything that doesn’t seem right immediately to security personnel or the police.”

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