The current and on-going situation of continues alertness to terrorism by the emergency services and the brave intentions of our fellow citizens that life must go on regardless has brought our everyday lives into a state of serious uncertainty. Our free and democratic way of life must be protected from all those who want to destroy it.

However, frequent operations by terrorist groups in public areas using homemade weapons made from readily available and cheap products as well as items of common use such as vehicles to kill and cause destruction, fear and confusion have made it increasingly more difficult to prepare for such evil actions and provide the protection that our countries’ citizens expect and deserve. Recent examples of terrorism in Europe, all of which resulted in a large number of people being killed as well as many more being wounded, include Barcelona (17 Aug 2017), London (3 June 2017), Manchester (22 May 2017), Stockholm (7 Apr 2017), London (22 Mar 2017), Berlin (20 Dec 2016), Nice (14 July 2016), Brussels (22 Mar 2016), Paris (13 Nov 2015), Paris (7 Jan 2015), as well as several others.

The need to enforce and enable our emergency services in their struggle to protect us has made it essential that private security professionals are brought in to extend and support this important work and allow the emergency services to focus on aspects of the highest importance such as those that cannot be undertaken by private security professionals. This, however, creates problems in itself due to the unstructured and informal arrangements that these private organisations may have in place even though their good intentions are undoubted. The informality of the existing communication processes results in security professionals having good will but limited coordination and understanding of what their peers know and are doing elsewhere thus limiting the effectiveness of their awareness, preparation and reaction to threats. This problem becomes even more acute due to the need to communicate and coordinate internationally simply because terrorism sees no borders and as such we must also cooperate internationally for the common good of all our countries’ citizens.

The good work that the private security professionals provide can be considerably improved and become much more effective if communication between the various Private Security Chambers, Organisations and Professionals is organised and coordinated. This will ensure that consistent information is provided to them thus enabling them to operate effectively in an uncertain environment by knowing what is expected of them and by being well prepared to react when unwanted situations do take place.

Project ACoSep (Advancement of Communication between Security Professionals) was born out of this necessity for a communication’s platform which will enable the formal, effective, efficient and coordinated exchange of information between the various Private Security Chambers, Organisations and Professionals. ACoSeP calls for a whole community based approach to emergency awareness and preparedness and considers security personnel as well as non-security and subcontracted staff and service workers in key posts to help safely manage emergency situations. Focus Groups will include Security Guards, Consultants, Equipment Operators, Investigators, Trainers / Instructors, Recruiters, Canine Units / Teams, Equipment and Service Providers, as well as any other group deemed necessary.

The ACoSep team has already initiated communication with several Private Security Chambers and will soon be contacting relevant organisations. As a first step, we are looking to establish a network of contacts each with the task of representing their own Chamber / Organisation in this effort. The ACoSep website has just gone live even though it is still under development. There will also be a mobile app to enable access to the ACoSep network from anywhere. Conferences will be planned with live streaming subtitled to several languages. Emergency preparedness training will also be offered.