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UK Security Minister's Speech to the Security Industry

The Home Office : 11 February, 2010  (Company News)
Lord West has met security industry representatives from the guarding sector at Westminster to discuss the Government's counter terrorism strategy
Security Minister Lord West met with representatives from the security industry at a major event in Westminster yesterday.

This is the first major event hosted by the Home Office for the security guarding sector.

Lord West highlighted the part security guards can play in the Government's overall counter-terrorism strategy, CONTEST, and spoke about the much improved relations between the industry and the Home Office, and the bravery he has encountered from members of the security industry during his time as a minister.

His speech is below.

Lord West Speaks To Representatives Of The Security Industry

Ladies and Gentlemen. Thanks for coming to our event today, especially those who have come a long way. It is a great pleasure to be here, and to see so many people here.

Ministerial Responsibilities: Security & Counter-Terrorism

We have not held an event for the Security Guarding and escorting industry like this before. So I suspect that for many of you this is the first time that I have had the opportunity to speak to you. So first I'll describe my role and responsibilities.

Since 2007, I have been the Minister for Security & Counter-Terrorism, responsible for:

* Protecting the critical national infrastructure
* Ensuring resilience
* Preparing for and mitigating the impacts of a terrorist attack
* Preventing radicalisation and extremism
* Creating intelligence from Information
* Delivering Security for the 2012 Olympics

Responsibilities cover Security including CT, Olympic Security, Home Office role in National Security Strategy, Civil contingencies, as well as all Home Office business in the House of Lords. And last year the Prime Minister appointed me as the chairman of the new National Security Forum.

CONTEST, Science & Technology and Brochures

Last March, Government republished the CONTEST Strategy, which still stands on the four strategic pillars of:

* PURSUE - to stop terrorist attacks
* PREVENT - to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremism,
* PROTECT - to strengthen our protection against terrorist attacks
* PREPARE - where an attack cannot be stopped, to mitigate its impact

The refreshed CONTEST strategy presents a great deal of important detail. It is designed to be a reference manual and guide for all those involved in Counter-Terrorism, and I recommend that you read it.

Following on from CONTEST, we also published later in 2009 the UK's Science & Technology Strategy for Countering International Terrorism. It charts our vision of how Government will work with industry and academia in order that together we develop the right solutions for the right problems. It also charts how we must work with international partners as well as industry and academia, if we are going to succeed.

To support that Science & Technology strategy, we published the first of a series of brochures. This first one is entitled "Countering the Terrorist Threat: Ideas & Innovation: How Industry and Academia can play their part". This brochure is aimed specifically at industry and academia. It describes:

Four key counter-terrorism challenges, and
Five key technologies that are expected to make the greatest contribution to meeting the key challenges.
How industry and academia can get involved.

Role of Security Officers

I arrived at the Home Office after a long career in the Military, both Royal Navy and the MOD. I retired from the Navy as First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, having served as captain of three RN ships.

But today when I talk about people in uniform, for a change I don't mean sailors. I mean security officers, and police officers. And unlike sailors, at the front line of duty, both security officers and police officers may be there in just ones or twos.

While the media often portray the police as the front line, we must remember that events such as bombings on 7 July 2005 and the attacks in London and at Glasgow Airport in 2007 show that all too easily your colleagues may find themselves on the front line as well.

We are all well aware of the threats to security that the UK faces every day - for example from organised crime, terrorism, theft, industrial espionage. You sometimes don't know how the next threat may arise.

Police officers and security officers put themselves in harm's way every day. When I attended the annual lunch of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) last July, I presented prizes and awards to some very brave people who handled dangerous and difficult situations with great courage and determination. I was very grateful and proud that British people like that are working in the security industry in the UK.

That is one of the many reasons why I am very pleased that all of the companies represented here today are in business in the UK, helping to protect everybody in the UK.

Wider Industry & RISC

When I arrived at Home Office, I found a dislike of industry. But since then, with the encouragement of the then home Secretary Dr John Reid, industry established the UK Security & Resilience Industry Suppliers' Community (RISC), which is an alliance of:

* British Security Industry Association (BSIA)
* Aerospace, Defence & Security (A|D|S)
* Intellect, the UK's technology industry association.

Together, we have witnessed a sea change in the relationship with industry. We have many different fora for discussing with industry a wide range of challenges. We have held a number of major events with industry, such as today. We engaged industry in the Technology demonstrator programme last year, and we are about to launch another similar exercise. And we now have an industry secondee inside the OSCT.

UK Strengths

UK industry has unique and particular strengths, including:

* a renowned track record in high-quality defence and security systems;
* our systems and equipment for everyday policing and for counter﷓terrorism are in use on the front line - it's not equipment that is only to be held in reserve.
* the UK has a justified worldwide reputation for effective, successful and professional policing by consent;

Counter Terrorism and Security are international problems, and the marketplace is global.

These factors provide the UK with an excellent platform for marketing & sales in overseas Security & CT markets.


In conclusion, the security industry plays an important role in protecting the UK, and therefore contributing to the Government's CONTEST Counter﷓Terrorism strategy. Your staff make a vital contribution to our security, often in difficult and vulnerable circumstances. And the Government recognises that important contribution that you all make.

Thank you for everything that you and your companies do to make the UK a safer place. I hope that you enjoy today, and that you find the briefings very useful.

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