It appears to be prime time for corporate security units across Europe. During the last few months Greece, Portugal, Spain, France and England have seen a resurgence of labor protest as austerity measures are enacted to contain the onslaught of a worsening global economy. With that in mind it is important for security managers to prioritize strike and violent protest protocols and have their teams at the different facilities ready for any collateral or spillover risk from violent confrontation between protesters and police.
When strike action involves countrywide protest, road and critical infrastructure blockades, it is necessary that you assist your supply chain team prevent disruptions by protecting in-route cargo and seeking alternatives for continued operations. It is important that contingency plans be drawn in advance and that duties for carrying out specific actions under the plan are top of mind for each member of the team. Although many of the security decisions that need to be made at this time are situation-driven, your knowledge of internal business operation; clients, routes, labor and police leadership, as well as open-source intel can give you the most leverage. In short know the terrain and know the stakeholders, so that you can intelligently steer your contingency team and navigate clear of any risks your company may face.
Do not underestimate how much demand for third party service (cargo security escort) would peak during these times. My experience has been that, in anticipation of such events, the security departments must secured agreements with key vendors way in advance of such events to ensure preferential treatment when it is must critical. You don’t need to be psychic to know these protest have been brewing for a while and as a result of the burden the sustained economic recession has put on government’s purses. It is also very likely that these protest will continue to spread other European Union member countries.
Another thing I want to share with you is that the protesters have shown signs of sophistication and a high degree of organization. If you take into the account the way protesters in France have aimed to provoke systematic disruption of critical supplies by blocking fuel depots and creating choke points against delivery, where it is most needed. If you are responsible for risk management in the affected industry don’t forget to bring your A-game when crafting your response. If your organization lacks the leadership to tackle these risk management efforts than now may be a good time to consider hiring a knowledgeable and experienced security practitioner that can set a roadmap to protect your PARB.
- Increase your operation’s alertness level; encourage staff to provide status updates of risk conditions, in and around the facilities and main routes, to your command center
- Update your key contact list, and test communication systems
- Keep a detailed activity log
- Advise staff to be aware of localized bouts of unrest with the potential to result in violent confrontations
- Also advise staff to avoid all demonstrations and if caught in the middle of a violent confrontation seek immediate safe haven in a predetermined location where assistance can be summoned
- Have additional security staff on stand-by in case you need to ramp up your protective presence at any facility