London bus on fire

SQR personnel doing what SQR does best

Security has primary concern which is preservation of life and creating a balance between competing dynamic forces that are at work in society in favour of safety .

On Sunday 13th of Aug two of SQR security staff assigned to JW3 a high profile Jewish community hub were alerted to a potentially serious incident. A double-Raymonddecker London bus with passengers on board had caught fire .

SQR’s Emilio Garcia and Marius Asteika both responded immediately with Marius assisting the passengers to evacuate the bus  and Emilio in fighting the fire to stop its escalation and the dangers it posed to the passing cars and pedestrians all this amid bellowing smoke and explosions in the engine compartment .They both proceeded to maintain a cordon to prevent bystanders approaching the blazing flame.

Emilio and Marius are trained close protection operatives trained at SQR’s centre of excellence .

During this incident they acted within SQR protocol during life threatening incidences  remove from danger e.g evacuate in this instance , protect ,  deescalate when ever possible  maintain control and safety .

Their actions have been praised by Raymond Simonson  the leader of the JW3

“Their only thoughts were for the safety of the passengers caught on the burning bus, which is typical of all the SQR security staff at JW3,” he said.

“I wasn’t at all surprised – we constantly receive praise and positive feedback from members of the public for our wonderful security team.”

sqr staff involved in fire rescue

the national and international press were also quick to see the merits and professionalism of the SQR staff and have given a wide coverage of their actions in their out lets .

The renowned London daily had this to say

A security guard who said today that he thought the double-decker was going to explode.

Emilio Garcia, 36, was on duty at a nearby building when he heard a loud bang outside Finchley Road and Frognal Overground station on Sunday.

He ran towards the noise and saw flames and smoke billowing from the No 117 bus. He helped several passengers off before grabbing a fire extinguisher from the driver.

The national paper The mirror also covered the incident along with Jewish chronicle and Times of Israel

https://www.thejc.com/news/videos/jw3-security-guards-hailed-as-heroes-for-tackling-bus-blaze-1.442903

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/london-bus-bursts-flames-mans-10984234#ICID=sharebar_whatsapp

http://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jw3-security-guards-heralded-utter-mensches-for-tackling-bus-blaze/

 

 

Drones are hovering

Drones are hovering

Drones are hovering

The fast growth of Drones availability married to the inevitable technological advances has created much anxiety within the various security sectors .
The military of-course has been using drones for some time now for reconnaissance and attack but their exclusive use has been challenged by increasing capability of the commercial drones.

We have all seen propaganda footage broadcast by terrorist groups showing the last moments of a suicide attack .
That is not the only way they have been using commercial drones , their have used them for standard battlefield recognisance ,mortar and long range weapon’s target finding , reorganising of defence and attack in real time and even directing the suicide car bomb to troops concentration points on the battle field .

While all that seems far away from the rest of us , the internal security forces of all nations have had to wake up to challenges drones create in the hands of terrorists and a like .

The major issues that have given concerns are the range ,operating time and method of control and critically payload.
It doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to see the possibility that a commercially available drone that is capable of lifting a professional camera system suitable for films documentary or other type for extended periods can offer an ill intentioned individual or group.

Many of the drone systems can now be flown through the forward camera view of the machine which enhances flight control and accuracy substantially . Many can be preprogrammed through GPS system to take a payload to an exact position without the help of the operator .
Due to their size they can be flown from almost anywhere and the extended flight time and their speed means that no place is a no go area for them .

A variety of creative methods have been tested and developed .They range from drones used to bring down offending drones , trying of birds of prey to attack drones and recently new systems have been developed to jam the signal controlling the drones to bring them down or triggering their return to base mechanisms that are built into some drones .

There has also been a regulatory response to commercial drones to alleviate public concern for safety and privacy ,they seem how ever to have short shelf lives as technology within the drones improve and legitimate commercial pressure for their use increases and creates challenges for regulators.

The likes of Amazon and such are already gearing them selves for drone delivery service to customers.
The privacy safe guarding challenges are lower on the list of issues when compared against the potential use they can be put to by a terror organisation or just a an individual hell bent of ill conceived glory .

Certainly all security sectors are challenged but can also can benefit from the use of drones, on the other hand they will no doubt become a potent weapon in the hands of terrorists also.

image of lorry in Berlin attack

Berlin attack

Multiple failures by security and the legal system in Germany and Italy lay behind the Berlin attack might be the first conclusion after the event .

The general belief is that widest and the most encompassing circle of defence is the intelligence service of a country when dealing with terrorist attacks of any nature. As such it is the most important and the first line of defence and failure and oversights at this point will inevitability mean the attack will go ahead unless luck intervenes.

The issues raised after the attack in terms of on the ground changes will have only marginal effects. Measures such as traffic management systems, barriers, permanent re-routing away from attractions and other large scale people hubs can only be considered as last line of defence systems, armed police and military standby units are much the same.

If we examine the movement of the Tunisian Anis Amri and his repeated interactions with the security services in Germany and Italy we can see how bureaucracy and security can make very poor bedfellows.

Of course, there are many other factors such as resources, prioritisation of threats, political climate at the time. One must also consider the huge influx of refugees and the inevitable strains it caused in the systems governing Germany.

Much was made of the movement of the man involved after the event i.e his travels across Europe and his final demise in Italy where he had previously served a three-year sentence and told to leave the country.

Some interesting information has also emerged on the events leading to the attack,  such as the hijacking and killing of the driver of the Polish truck.

But these are of little significance comparing to the attacker being on Germany’s top list of individuals to watch, he was under surveillance for up to six month, his arrests, the failure of his asylum application, failed deportation, his multiple false IDs /nationalities and releases back into society after legal deadlocks.

If one aspect of being part of a wide European umbrella is enhanced security one must see this man’s presence, his constant criminality and his clear slow path into self-radicalisation without any decisive intervention from the authorities as a failure.

Pondering the tactical changes on the ground only deals with some issues but the larger issues will loom large regardless, among them are:

Finding a balance between security and human rights and the impact of any measure on society and quality of life as whole.

The wider European collaboration and coordination for security services.

But the Gorilla in the room is wider foreign policy decisions that has led directly to civil wars, regime changes, mass movements of people, armed radical movements  supported by governments in opposition to their normal treaty statues with each other is to name but  a few.

First circle of security may just be the right political decisions.

 

man on the bridge by  Edward Munch

Worst case scenario

Worst case Scenario thinking in security.

Risk management involves mitigating against real and current threats, here the word “real” plays a crucial part in this conversation.

The effect of news media on our perception of threats cannot be underestimated so its best to remember a few things about the news media. firstly, the news media is competitive environment whereby  profit demands being first and overwhelming in coverage. It also must develop a narrative that captivates the audience. the prime narrative in this equation is fear, another is sensationalism. The combination of these and the growth of the social media and its ability to further amplify the worse aspect of the news media coverage of certain event brings us to a point of collective “worse case thinking” .

In the case of normal man and woman in society this only leads to increase anxiety and paranoia which  harms the individual’s quality of life. In society, the effect are hysteria, xenophobia and willingness to forgo long established civil liberties, all adding to negative trends in society and potential abuse of power.

The impact that concerns us as security specialist is exemplified by Dick Cheney who was the vice president in G.W.|Bush’s administration. Whereby he advocated that a %1 potential of AL Qaeda arming themselves with a nuclear weapon was to be treated as a %100 certainty to create adequate response. while at first look based on our instance reaction we may be inclined to agree,on  a professional  we must logically realise to change a very low probability to an absolute certainty is purely a great flight of imagination and mostly emotional .This is not based on correct mitigation of a threat and management of risk. The immediate effect is simply focusing attention on the remotest of possibilities and devoting undue amount of attention and resources, at the cost of dealing with more current and real threats.

In society this leads to overt measures , increase in intrusive security protocols some of which is alarming to the public & does not deter attacks but merely changes their nature .

The impact on the state of mind of security personnel, specialist , planners and interactions with their normal environments and the basic of their jobs is far more detrimental than can be measured.

Simply that fear itself, one of the very thing we are to guard the rest of the society against and create a sense of security and normally which are some of prime reasons we are employed , fear takes control  of  us and inevitably leads to over sights , over reaction and failures  .

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SQR national meeting

SQR team leader’s national meeting.

National meeting of SQR's team leaders

SQR group’s national meeting

SQR group’s national meeting in London conducted at the HQ of the group.

The meeting addressed by Shai Slagter the co founder of the SQR to highlight the importance of individual staff members and their team leaders in the growth of the company. In addition company structure and ambitions were also explained and the team were invited to participated in forward movement of the SQR.

The day long meeting included Q&E session, leadership enhancement sessions. The day concluded by dinner and refreshments at a top London restaurant.

SQR’s rapid growth across United Kingdom and its international services is built upon its core attributes enshrined in its very name , Security  Quality  Reliability .

Scottish Flag is displayed in reference to the opening of the SQR group's opening of its offices in that region

SQR Scotland opens on the fourth anniversary of SQR

SQR group is proud to announce the opening of

 SQR Scotland

SQR will bring its unique security solution to Scotland

UK, London, October 11, 2016– SQR opens its Scotland Office

 

This follows in the footstep of SQR’s offices in London,East of England, Manchester, Newcastle/Gates head

“SQR is privileged to open its Scottish branch. SQR aims to build upon this firm foundation and make a solid contribution to the security in Scotland”

“SQR’s unique approach in blending human and technological solutions in security will bring new standards of service and security to Scotland”

“This announcement coincides with SQR group’s fourth birthday which adds to it meaning for SQR as whole”

SQR’s  co –founder Shai Slagter

Security, Quality and Reliability are the foundations of the company and are the qualities that distinguishes ‘SQR group’ from other companies in the UK market in particular, and the Global market as a whole.

‘SQR group’ places supreme importance in the recruiting and training of highly qualified and dedicated personnel, and in creation of bespoke solution for individual clients and organizations.

 

Close Protection USA

Close protection USA

Close Protection in USA a reality check

Let’s take a look at some facts and figures so that we can identify the real Threats and Risk and not the falsely perceived namely Terrorism which accounts for 31 deaths on average in USA with the 9/11 taken into account.Close protection in USA is about more about professional approach to the fundamentals and basics than the glory hugging action hero gestures and posturing .

Some 13,286 people were killed in the US by firearms in 2015, and 26,819 people were injured (those figures exclude suicide]) Those figures are likely to rise by several hundred, once incidents in the final week of the year are counted. Source:  Gun Violence Archive

The US death toll between 1968 and 2011 surpasses all wars ever fought by the country. There were about 1.4 million firearm deaths in that period, compared with 1.2 million US deaths in every conflict from the War of Independence to Iraq. Source: Politifact.

There were 372 mass shootings in the US in 2015, killing 475 people and injuring 1,870. A mass shooting is describing a single shooting incident which kills or injures four or more people, including the assailant. Source: Mass Shooting Tracker

There are thought to be about 300 million guns in the US, owned by about a third of the population so that is 106.6 million people with guns.

There were 372 mass shootings in the US in 2015, killing 475 people and wounding 1,870. These events take place in cinemas, shopping malls and all public.

source the Mass Shooting Tracker.

There were an estimated 1,165,383 violent crimes (murder and non-negligent homicides, rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults) reported by law enforcement.)

There are approximately 1.4 million active gang members comprising more than 33,000 gangs in the United States.

Source 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment FBI

343 well-armed anti-government militias numbering over 100.000 members, many have been involved in armed stand offs with federal and local forces.

Added to that there are 800,000 armed police with a stablished reputation of using their weapons aggressively.

The main threat in USA is guns and crime and occasionally the law enforcements. The figures make it clear that this is no Walt Disney landscape and you need to develop a good local knowledge for example of crime hotspots, type of crimes, active gangs, and their area of operation and methodology.

It is essential to take into account active, current threats rather than the news driven high profile threats that frankly are statically should be very low on the scale of priorities.

Essential tools for close protection operative in USA is an accurate threat and risk assessment, thorough planning, well-practised situational & spatial awareness and hopefully a gun!

harry potter premier secured by SQR group

Harry Potter , J.K.Rowling and SQR group

London has reinforced its world reputation as number one cultural and international centre by hosting the premier of Harry Potter theatre show at the renowned Palace theatre at the heart of the capital

.harry potter red carpet

As expected the cream of the celebrities from the world of politics, entertainment and sports were in attendance alongside J.K Rowling.

Other luminaries in attendance were  comedians Frank Skinner and David Baddiel, and London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan

harry potter

(Avi Navama SQR group’s co-founder on the far left with J.K Rowling  on the foreground at the premier

This posed a unique security problem, given the nature of the event, the location and the current threat level.

SQR were the obvious choice to secure the event and were in full attendance with a large team of SQR trained close protection officer alongside of the co-founders of SQR Shai Slagter and Avi Navama.

The coordination and planning of such events are a key aspect of SQR’s expertise.

SQR group secures many of the London’s high net worth individuals and prestigious land marks along side performing similar  tasks internationally.

SQR groups maintains its high standard by training most of its front line security staff through its own centre of excellence located in London.

 

Rio and its famous statue

Close Protection at Brazil’s Olympic

Close protection at  Brazil Olympic

With the summer games fast  approaching many high net worth individuals and their security personnel will decamp to Brazil.

Brazil poses its own unique security threats for security professionals who will arrive with their clients.

Let us not forget that tweeted message from a Islamic  member which gained wide spread news converge recently , “Brazil, you are our next target”  nevertheless if we put things in to proportion Latin  America is not assessed to be a hot bed of Islamic extremism and most of its armed opposition are motivated by political views far removed from the Islamic  extremists  they mostly name far left Marxist Leninist ideas as their motivation.

The biggest threat to visitors are the frightening crime figures for example it had one of the highest murder rates in the world .

Wide areas of  the major cities are under the influence if not control of heavily armed gangs who have not hesitated to engage the state and its various enforcement agencies  in all out armed conflicts on the street  to protect their interest .

As in the rest of Latin America kidnapping in all its variety of types are a very valid threat across the country  often very violent with the Express type being very common where the victims are taken to ATM machines immediately to withdraw cash to secure their release .

Violent car jacking at traffic lights or at residence are a daily occurrence as are  mugging specially if strangers are  in the wrong place at the wrong time .

Guns are in easy supply and most criminals are armed and use them freely  the police will use fire arms also   without hesitation and in public crowded areas.

Brazil is also a major drug hub and heavy user of class A drugs which brings about all the predictable dynamics in to the ix for security planner .

The other threat  that lurks under currents is  violent protests many of which were witnessed leading up to the world cup , the Brazilians can and will take to the streets to air their views to the authorities  and sometimes very forcefully .

Uniquely this Olympic also poses major medical  concerns  with various  mosquito born diseases such Zika virus .

The authorities  have been very active of recent to confront the gangs and street criminals in preparations for the games  but given the fact the game offer very rich pickings for all criminal the threats have to be viewed as very much real .

 

In short the security planner has to have a through understanding of high risk urban threats and environments and be prepared accordingly.

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Bloomberg , SQR group and European security

SQR groups Avi Navama  was interviewed today to by Bloomberg Business .This was in the  aftermath  of Brussels bombing. SQR’s inherent experience based on its long history in military , civilian and national security sectors gives it the authority to make observation on such critical matters and issues.

The interview (click  link)

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SQR group is one of the leading global security organisation with specialisation in anti terrorism, national infrastructure protection and close protection.