Gathering the views of the counter terrorism industry
Types of attack and preparedness
Respondents to the Counter Terror Industry Survey were asked how well they feel the UK government and UK business sector are prepared for a number of possible attacks. For both industries, the threat of a UAV attack was deemed the scenario in which the UK is most unprepared, with only 20 per cent of respondents saying that the government is ‘prepared’ or ‘very prepared’, only slightly more than thought the government was ‘very unprepared’. Regarding business preparedness, nearly half felt that the industry was unprepared for a drone attack, and roughly 25 per cent very unprepared.
The government was considered to be most prepared for a bombing or explosion, followed by a hostile vehicle attack and then suicide attack. UK business and industry was deemed to be most prepared for a hostile vehicle attack or a terrorist attack on critical infrastructure.
Appropriately, a respondent commented that the biggest challenges will not come from a single source, but, more likely, from ‘the amalgamation of several technologies’, societal changes and ‘a lack of preparedness by political institutions’ and slow response to the events caused by the first two sources.
Brexit and international cooperation
The buzzword that continues to dominate all news, both inside and outside of Westminster, respondents were asked about the levels of concern they hold towards the impact of Brexit. On the whole, respondents were more concerned than unconcerned on all six issues raised in the survey. More than 70 per cent were concerned or very concerned by the reliance of the supply chain after the UK leaves the European Union, followed by terrorist activity in Northern Ireland. Of least concern, but still deemed more worrying than unconcerning, were the security industry’s ability to trade across borders and the resilience of national infrastructure.
Countries throughout the world will face many challenges as terrorist organisations develop increased technological capabilities that will see less reliance on the need to mount human operations at scene, but from drone and cyber attacks from distance. The survey showcases that radicalisation and far-right extremism were deemed by respondents as the factors most likely to contribute to the UK’s overall threat level, followed closely by returnees from conflict, which still was the view of more than 70 per cent of survey recipients.
Asked what areas the industry would like more information or education on, the report found that the evolving threat landscape and intelligence sharing between public and private sector where of most importance this year, both just shy of 80 per cent. Also over 50 per cent were improvised attack methodology, crisis management and resilience planning. As a respondent said: “Public awareness and education will create the foundation for successful counter terrorism and could create prospective future partnerships and clients.”