Posts Tagged United Kingdom

Industry Talk: Basra Contracts With Aegis To Help Stop Wave Of Terrorism

Anxious to rid itself of the lawlessness that still plagues Iraq’s southern capital, Basra’s governor has hired a private military company run by a British general who helped capture the city from Saddam Hussein.
Maj Gen Graham Binns, who is the chief executive of Aegis Defence Services, commanded the 7th Armoured Brigade when it led the siege of Basra in 2003.
Four years later he supervised the handover of the city to Iraqi security forces. Now, amid growing concern about a fresh wave of terrorist violence across the country, Basra’s governor has invited Maj Gen Binns’s company back to assist at a “strategic level”.
Aegis will be asked to provide help with setting up specialised CCTV detection and checkpoint systems across the city, establishing a “ring of steel” security system to thwart suicide bombers.
It will also set up an academy to help security forces improve coordination and intelligence-gathering techniques.
As Basra’s economy promises to boom, Britain’s consulate prepares to pull out.

A hat tip to Mark over at facebook for finding and sharing this news. This is a big story because Iraq is turning to private industry to help solve this immense threat that has been growing in their country. Iraq is awash with terror attacks this last year, thanks to the mess that is going on in Syria.

Basically, Syria has turned into a jihadist factory, where Al Qaeda has definitely taken advantage. This violence is also spilling over the borders into places like Lebanon and Iraq. ISIS or Al Qaeda of Iraq and Syria is gaining territory, manpower, and weapons, and they are on the war path. There have also been some significant prison breaks that have certainly helped add to the ranks.

A prime example of what I am talking about is that ISIS has just captured Fallajuh and is working on Ramadi–two places that coalition forces fought really tough fights during the war. Iraq’s military and police are having a hard time competing with this, and they are losing ground. There is also a sectarian element to this. These areas are primarily sunni, the government of Iraq is led by shia, and because of the actions of the jihadists to fuel this animosity between the two, that it is very easy for ISIS to get refuge in sunni areas.

Another point to bring up is that the governor of Basra is contracting Aegis’ services because of Maj Gen Graham Binns background and experience in Iraq. He was the commander of all British forces in Iraq, at the time the British signed over Basra’s security back over to Iraq, December of 2007. This is quite the thing to bring back this General, but as a contractor. Which brings up an interesting thought.

Will General Binns be able to do what he wanted to do in this contract, that he couldn’t do in the military doing the same mission? Will he have more flexibility and be more innovative in the way he accomplishes the mission, or is he a one trick pony as they say? We will see, and if Aegis or General Binns would like to comment on this contract, we look forward to hearing from you. Congrats to the company and good luck to General Binns. Be sure to check out all three articles below, to include one written by General Binns himself. -Matt

Edit: 01/07/14 -Here is an interview that the governor of Basra gave about the the status of his city and why he is contracting services, versus using local. He just took office and it seems corruption is very bad, and security is not dependable.

Al-Monitor: How do you see the security situation in the province?
Nasrawi: The security problem is no different from the contract problems we talked about, for there is a lack of planning in both cases. The mechanisms in place for fighting terrorism are basic, limited and non-innovative. Thus, we decided as an initial step to contract a British security consulting company. I believe that the problem of terrorism cannot be solved via a military leader, but rather through security experts, surveillance technology, and training and developing the capabilities of the intelligence [agencies]. For example, we have a plan to buy sophisticated explosives-detection devices, but who determines the specifications and standards for these devices? Will we make the same mistake as Baghdad, which imported [explosives-detection] devices that didn’t work? Who will choose the weapons and sniffer dogs? To answer these questions, we turned to a global consulting firm that works in the security field.
Al-Monitor: Have you encountered any objections to this contract from the ministries concerned with security or the office of the commander in chief of the armed forces?
Nasrawi: The law allows the province to do this, and the contracts are paid using Basra’s money, not funds from Baghdad.
Al-Monitor: You talk about security as though it’s a purely technical issue, but what about the social problems feeding disorder?
Nasrawi: This is correct. Security cannot be achieved though arrests alone. First, it costs a lot of money to put large numbers of people in prison. Most importantly, however, we must address the motives for crimes and the cultural and social reasons standing behind these crimes — and we must work to address them. A culture of security must spread in society, so that each citizen becomes a part of the ingredients for security in the country and is not afraid or reluctant to report any security breach.
Al-Monitor: What about the malfunction within the security establishment?
Nasrawi: The causes [of this malfunction] are known. There is corruption as well as political and partisan intervention in the work of the security services. Recently, Basra was able to rein in a large gang involved in theft, blackmail and kidnapping, which was led by a senior police officer. We were under pressure not to arrest [members of the gang], but we were determined to bring them to justice. We will not allow for a shuffling of cards in Basra. We will not stray from our path to purify the security services of any breaches.

 

Maj Gen Graham Binns when he was in the military.

 

Basra invites British back for security role
Six years after the last British troops left amid a barrage of bombs and mortars, the Iraqi city of Basra is to re-enlist UK military expertise to oversee its security again
By Colin Freeman
03 Jan 2014
Anxious to rid itself of the lawlessness that still plagues Iraq’s southern capital, Basra’s governor has hired a private military company run by a British general who helped capture the city from Saddam Hussein.
Maj Gen Graham Binns, who is the chief executive of Aegis Defence Services, commanded the 7th Armoured Brigade when it led the siege of Basra in 2003.
Four years later he supervised the handover of the city to Iraqi security forces. Now, amid growing concern about a fresh wave of terrorist violence across the country, Basra’s governor has invited Maj Gen Binns’s company back to assist at a “strategic level”.

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Industry Talk: SIA News– Proposal For PMSC’s To Be Self-regulated, Individual Licensing To Be Scrapped!

The new regime will shift responsibility for the standards and behavior of security staff from the SIA to an estimated 4,200 businesses operating in Britain.
This will leave the regulator with the task of targeting companies or employees that fail to meet the required standards with a range of penalties from banning a company from the industry to criminal prosecution. Companies rather than the regulator will in future be responsible for carrying out checks on individual security staff.

Wow, this would be a radical change for the SIA if it goes through and I would be very interested in seeing the response from private industry about this move. I am sure there are a ton of questions on how this new regulatory regime will work. (see impact assessment below)

For that reason, I will hold off on any commentary on this one and wait for this stuff to be hashed out. I am not a UK citizen and I am by no means an expert on the SIA or that particular industry. If any readers have an inside track on this, feel free to comment below.

If you are a UK citizen, there is a discussion about this new regulatory regime at the Home Office here. Here is a copy of the regime and impact assessment below. Check it out. -Matt

Future regulatory regime for the private security industry (PDF file – 213kb)

Impact assessment PSI future regulatory regime (PDF file – 393kb)

 

Private security companies to be self-regulated
Ministers want security companies to regulate their own staff and the industry’s watchdog to move into the private sector
By Alan Travis
Tuesday 20 November 2012
The statutory licensing of more than 330,000 individual private security workers is to be scrapped under a shakeup of the regulation of the industry proposed by Home Office ministers.
They are instead proposing that private security companies regulate their own staff, with the industry’s watchdog, the Security Industry Authority, moved into the private sector.
Ministers say the phased move to a “business regulation regime” reflects the “maturity of the private security industry” and supports its willingness to take on further responsibility and be more accountable for its actions.
The new regime will shift responsibility for the standards and behavior of security staff from the SIA to an estimated 4,200 businesses operating in Britain.

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Company Spotlight: Conquiro

Glyn Rosser, Managing Director of Conquiro comments, “The real-time advantage of having an aerial surveillance asset is obvious. Giving forewarning of anything from IED placements to ambushes, UAVs really are life-savers.”

This is cool. A friend of mine works for this company and he wanted to give me a heads up about what they are all about. So below is some information from their press release and from their website. Basically this is a PMSC with a focus on the use of UAV’s, and specifically the Aeryon Scout.

Last year during the Libyan uprising, I wrote about the Aeryon Scout being used by the rebels for ISR. Here is a link to that post and it gives you an idea as to it’s capabilities. I am sure Conquiro will go on to use other UAV’s as the technology improves, but the Aeryon definitely has operational history behind it.

The other thing I like about this company is that it kind of reminds me of a modern day version of John Hawkwood’s White Company, or a private military company that had a huge component of longbowmen. (drone archers) If you are interested in working for the company, go check out their career page or send them an email. -Matt

Twitter for Conquiro here.


About CONQUIRO
Who We Are
Conquiro is a UK registered company that is made up of ex-British Army servicemen. All three Directors have served within Military Intelligence and UAV/ISTAR roles.
Formed in early 2012, Conquiro is the only company of its kind in the UK with operational experience and Subject Matter Expertise (SME) in UAV operations and consultancy.
What We Do
Conquiro provides Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or Systems, often referred to as UAV’s or UAS. Conquiro not only provides the equipment, but also SME operator pilots.
In addition, all of our pilots are trained security operators and have the training to analyze imagery obtained during deployment.
Not only do we provide system specific provision, but a full range of turn-key consultancy solutions for clients requiring UAV capabilities.
Our consultancy ranges from identification of suitable platforms, through to procurement, paperwork and bespoke training for in house UAV capabilities.
Our Equipment
Currently our workhorse UAV is a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) platform. However, we work closely with UK based manufacturing representatives in order to provide clients with bespoke solutions, and can procure the best platform in order to match client needs.

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Cool Stuff: Security Contractor David De Souza Tackled Suicide Bombers In Iraq– And Now The Tough Mudder!

This is a great story and David De Souza is part of the estimated 83,000 plus contractors wounded in this war, that have gone on to live their lives back home. They are contractor veterans and they have done heroic things in the war, and certainly have sacrificed with their lives and bodies.

David was also working for the British security company Aegis during the war in Iraq, and it is a reminder that the security contracting forces being used in this war come from all over the world. Some companies would be all British or American, or other companies would be a mix of all nationalities. Going through the DoL’s list of countries will give you an idea of how many folks have been involved over the years. And that is just the companies and contractors that filed DBA for injuries or deaths. The true cost in lives and injuries will never really be known…

Either way, bravo to David and to all contractor veterans who are doing what they can to work through their injuries and tackling obstacles back home. -Matt

 

Man injured driving Iraqi bomber off road tackles obstacle course
30th October 2012
A BODYGUARD who survived an attempted suicide bomb attack in Iraq is facing his toughest challenge since suffering devastating injuries in the high-speed crash.
David De Souza was working for private security company Aegis in Tikrit when he bravely intercepted a suicide bomber’s vehicle as it sped towards his convoy.
Mr De Souza drove out of the convoy in his 4×4 to block the suicide bomber and to protect a company boss who was travelling in a vehicle in front of him.
He rammed into the suicide bomber’s vehicle at high speed, smashing into it before coming off the road and rolling over six times.
The incident, on December 20, 2007, left Mr De Souza with a brain haemorrhage and a broken back.
He is now unable to work because of memory problems caused by his brain injury and is also suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
A year ago, the 36-year-old, who lives in Ashwood, Kearsley, was unable to run more than mile, but next month he will take part in Tough Mudder, a gruelling 12-mile obstacle course in Malpas, Cheshire, in memory of his niece, Maddie Rose Gooch.
The challenge will be both a physical and mental test, as Mr De Souza suffers from his post traumatic stress disorder and “catastrophic thinking”, which means he often imagines the worst-case scenario, which includes events relating to his 35-year-old wife, Lisa, and their children.

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Industry Talk: London Olympics–Britain Adjusts Security Plans As G4S Fails In Recruitment Effort

This is a really bad deal. lol I mean G4S really screwed up on this one, and this is one of those deals where all other PMSC’s and contractors are watching and wincing. I know I am.

As to why this was such a screwed up deal probably rests upon a poorly written contract, and poorly managed recruitment/vetting effort–because of a poorly written contract. Everything from the appropriate amount of time to do this, to resources, and anything else that could have and should have been included in this contract.  And pay is the one thing that the company should not have played games with.  Check out this quote:

A former police sergeant who signed up to work for G4S at the Olympics has told how he withdrew his application over fears the recruitment process was “totally chaotic” and the firm was simply looking for cheap labour.
Robert Brown, who served for 30 years with Kent police, claimed he knew many other retired officers who had decided against working at the Games for the same reasons.
He said he had been given verbal commitments that staff would be paid £14 an hour, but that the contract he received said he would be entitled to £6.05 an hour for working outside the venues, and £8.50 for working inside the stadium.
“It is actually very sad,” Brown said. “I was looking forward to working at this historic event, but it would have been a waste of my time. The public needs to be aware of this.”

All I have to say is that if you mess with pay and break promises like that, then of course no one is going to sign up.  When the final report comes out as to what exactly happened, I would be curious as to how many experienced security guys said no thanks to this one because of pay?

What is equally sad is that in one breath they attracted former police officers like the one in the quote and yet jerked him around on pay, and in another breath they sent this memo out looking for other police officers to help save the contract. Unreal….

G4S has got a £284m contract to provide 13,700 guards, but only has 4,000 in place. It says a further 9,000 are in the pipeline.
G4S sent an urgent request on Thursday to retired police asking them to help. A memo to the National Association of Retired Police Officers said: “G4S Policing Solutions are currently and urgently recruiting for extra support for the Olympics. These are immediate starts with this Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday available. We require ex-police officers ideally with some level of security clearance and with a Security Industry Association [accreditation], however neither is compulsory.”

The other one that came out was the vetting and recruitment of folks with no security background, and how chaotic and dumb that process has been. How embarrassing? I guess the G4S Facebook Page on this deal is littered with complaints from applicants on how terrible and inefficient the process has been.  Like I said, the devil will be in the details of the contract signed and how this was managed, and the report that comes out on this will be very revealing. I understand G4S’s share price has been negatively impacted, and their reputation will take a huge hit because of all of this. How they deal with this crisis and the impact on the company will be interesting to watch.

If anyone from the company, or anyone that has experienced the recruitment process described has any insight as to ‘why’ this might have went so wrong is invited to share their comments below. -Matt

Edit: 07/12/2012– Apparently G4S had some issues with the computer program running the show. Kind of weak if you ask me, and that sounds like management trying to blame technology for their poor leadership and organizational skills. That and they under bid everyone else by %25.  Here is the quote:

* An insider said the root cause of the problem with G4S was its internal computer system which had failed to calculate staff rostering.

* G4S won the security contract with Locog after submitting a tender at least 25 per cent lower than any other, which would have been hugely attractive to a British Olympic movement paranoid about going over budget.

 

Britain Adjusts Security Plans in Tense Countdown to the Olympics
By JOHN F. BURNS
July 12, 2012
With 14 days to go before the opening of the Olympic Games — and more than 2,500 days since the Games were awarded to London in 2005 — the British government acknowledged on Thursday that it had been forced to deploy an additional brigade of troops to save its security plan from falling apart.
To cries of “shambles” and “international embarrassment” in the House of Commons, the government of Prime Minister David Cameron said it had issued an emergency draft for an additional 3,500 troops, many of them just returned from Afghanistan — on top of 13,500 already committed for the Games — after broken commitments by a private security company. The government will now field a total military force of 17,000, who will outnumber civilian security details at Olympics venues by more than 2 to 1.
The government move came after what some infuriated Olympics officials described as overly hopeful and ultimately misleading exchanges involving organizers, the government and the G4S security company in recent months. This week, G4S officials finally conceded that the company was far behind — by a head count of several thousand — in its contract under the Olympics’ billion-dollar security plan to produce more than 10,000 fully trained, security-cleared guards.

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Industry Talk: G4S Chief Predicts Mass Police Privatization

“We have been long-term optimistic about the police and short-to-medium-term pessimistic about the police for many years. Our view was, look, we would never try to take away core policing functions from the police but for a number of years it has been absolutely clear as day to us – and to others – that the configuration of the police in the UK is just simply not as effective and as efficient as it could be.”

I have seen this quote and others in several places and it is causing a little bit of a stir. But along the lines of what I was talking about with my prior post, there is some serious cost saving and efficiency benefits by privatizing this stuff. The problem is explaining the process to the public, and battling biased media or unions that only benefit from the current system.

This quote was the other one that I liked.

Taylor-Smith said “budgetary pressure and political will” were driving the private-sector involvement in policing but insisted that the “public sector ethos” had not been lost.
“I have always found it somewhere between patronising and insulting the notion that the public sector has an exclusive franchise on some ethos, spirit, morality – it is just nonsense,” he said. “The thought that everyone in the private sector is primarily motivated by profit and that is why they come to work is just simply not accurate … we employ 675,000 people and they are primarily motivated by pretty much the same as would motivate someone in the public sector.”

That is awesome he said this, and as a security contractor, I feel the same way. I am sure other contractors out there feel the same too, and bravo to Taylor-Smith for speaking his mind on this. -Matt

 

G4S chief predicts mass police privatization
Private companies will be running large parts of the police service within five years, according to security firm head
Matthew Taylor and Alan Travis
Wednesday 20 June 2012
David Taylor-Smith, the head of G4S for the UK and Africa, said he expected most UK police forces to sign up to privatisation deals. Photograph: Guardian
Private companies will be running large parts of the UK’s police service within five years, according to the world’s biggest security firm.
David Taylor-Smith, the head of G4S for the UK and Africa, said he expected police forces across the country to sign up to similar deals to those on the table in the West Midlands and Surrey, which could result in private companies taking responsibility for duties ranging from investigating crimes to transporting suspects and managing intelligence.

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