In November I spoke at a safety conference regarding ‘Technology’s Impact on Safety’. The main points of my message related to the fundamentals of safety and how these fundamentals can/will shape technology for the future. As an example, I referred to four key elements namely 1 – safety management systems, 2 – risk reduction processes, 3 – performance measurement, 4- employee engagement and leadership. From this, and with reference to security, I believe there are three fundamentals that should never be overlooked and/or questioned regardless of the complexity of the task or sophistication of the technology available.
To start, the term security can be complex and it covers a wide range of topics/disciplines i.e. physical, cyber, perimeter etc. Also, I acknowledge that there are many strategies, concepts and techniques with regard to security. Importantly this article is not meant to suggest right or wrong; the intention is so share three fundamentals that I consider essential. These are 1 – Observe, 2 – Communicate, 3 – Respond. It can be argued that these points overlay and/or link with any/all security measures – this is why I believe they are so important.
Observe – this relates to awareness, perception and early identification of events. Examples of how observation is achieved are CCTV, cameras, and training of people (including security personnel) to report suspicious activity. Although there is very advanced technology to support this e.g. movement activated cameras; technology alone may not be enough to ensure full observation of all area/s. The requirement is to be able to observe as much as practically possible without interruption through the use of all resources available e.g. cameras, people, devices. As such, this is to be looked at as a combination of all resources to achieve the best observations possible.
Communicate – is the ability to convey, transmit, share information. Specific to security, this relates to a range of matters e.g. situation reports, radio checks, reporting urgent matters (medical emergency). Like observation, there is also some advanced technology that supports good communications e.g. digital radios. However, an element that is often overlooked is training. For example people need to know how to use communication equipment, what to say and when to say it, and be able to communicate in emergency situations. I am of the opinion modern equipment is only as good as the people using this equipment hence why training is so important to ensure proper communication.
Response – this is more than just action to an incident. It is the right action/s at the right time that achieves the right result. Underpinning this is the capability and experience of the people providing the response, adequate equipment (including safety equipment) and team work. Of particular importance, good observations and communication can be negated if there is not an adequate response. A further point it the timeliness of the response ensuring maximum safety in the most time efficient manner. The key point is that a response can be in many forms e.g. attending a location in person, calling emergency services, evacuating a building; and all people providing a response must know (and be capable of providing) all of their responsibilities.
There are many more phases to each element. However what is important is that Observe – Communicate – Respond are not overlooked and they become key considerations for all security services now and into the future..