The inquiry into the tragic events that took place at the Manchester Arena in May 2017 has found that is “highly likely” more lives could have been saved and that “more should have been done.”
The ability for employees and trained staff to recognise suspicious behaviour and act continues to be a key consideration in most post-incident inquiries, and as large gatherings and events are increasingly allowed as Covid-19 restrictions loosen, security staff need to be equipped to mitigate the risks of the changing nature of threats. Through behavioural detection training, observation skills are sharpened as well as the ability to judge when observations need to be escalated.
Frontline personnel need to ask themselves: When looking at a crowd of people would you be able to identify a person acting suspiciously? And how could you confirm this without them knowing? Would you be able to assess the reason for their suspicious actions? Is this potentially a life-threatening situation or is a teenager carrying a small amount of cannabis in his/her backpack?
Another key element of behavioural detection is the observation of an individual’s response to stress. Visible security measures, such as uniformed security staff and the deployment of conspicuous observers, can induce stressed behaviour which trained personnel will be able to spot.
Reinforcing the importance of trusting instincts through training is also crucial to a security-positive culture where personnel are encouraged to escalate their observations to managers or the police
Behavioural detection training can be offered to various degrees of depth, from instilling awareness and understanding of behaviour detection and when to escalate, to live training on the early detection of potential threats with the integration of CCTV, and teaching managers how to manage situations with the police.
No matter which level of training security personnel undertake, a key element is for all levels of responsibility to act with commitment and confidence. High-quality training generates the greater commitment of individuals to act with competence and confidence, forming a key driver of a cohesive security eco-system. There can never be too many people trained in behavioural detection to identify potential risks to lives.
Paul Mason is Managing Director of the Safety and Security Division at Air Partner, which includes Redline Assured Security. For more information, please visit https://www.trustredline.co.uk/
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