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The Basics of Risk Assessment for Executives

It is understood that resources for executive security duties will be limited. In most situations, security may only consist of the person driving the executive and one or two security persons. If resources are limited, the need for a good security advance or risk assessment is even more critical. If a security advance has been conducted, the security person with the executive will have a better understanding of the environment.

Who is Part of the Risk Assessment?

The advance will require the support and cooperation of others who are involved in planning the event or conducting the meeting. A minimum of security persons involved in any major event should include: a dedicated security driver, a person at the side who has conducted the assessment, and an executive security person with the executive. As required, other security can be supplemented by in-house or contract security.

What is Risk Assessment Anyway?

A risk assessment of a site to be visited by an executive eliminates walking blindly into an environment. The advance is a framework where potential risks may be identified. The movement of the executive is calculated against the environment being visited, which makes the event successful.

When to Do a Risk Assessment?

Ideally, security advances should be conducted for most events. For example: A meeting within the corporate headquarters may require some advance work, such as ensuring only authorized persons have access to the meeting, or conducting a countermeasure sweep to make sure proprietary information is not intercepted. On the other hand, meetings in other cities or overseas are more complicated and will require coordination and support from the local host.

It is important to note that these meetings will bring unique situations to the advance activities and may require the use of outside resources to secure the locations being visited.

How to Go About Doing it?

Advance security procedures and arrangements should be put into a written report and provided to the supporting security personnel. It should contain adequate instructions for security personnel doing the protection of the executive. This not only serves as information for the current visit but can be reviewed if later appointments are made to the same location.

The geographic location to be visited will assist in identifying information on any type of criminal activity in the area or previous incidence, which may impact security. To do this, contact an ongoing liaison with the event planners and sponsor. Additionally, make sure that the itinerary and any changes are provided and incorporated into the security plan.

Any law enforcement or other private security support should be determined in contact made with those agencies. If police support is not provided, it is wise to contact a local police agency and inform them of the visit. They should also be provided with security contact information, in case they receive any information which might impact the visit. An overall risk assessment to include crime information, fire history, event history should be conducted and will assist in determining the level of security which is required.

If there is a security director for the site, they should be contacted, and the entire itinerary and related information should be exchanged. If possible, they should be an integral part of your advance procedures. If a previous visit has been made to the location and a security advance conducted, that report should be reviewed. However, care must be made to not totally rely on this report for the risk assessment, as conditions may have changed since the last visit. The previous report should only be used as a good starting point for the advance.

Some of the persons who should be contacted when doing a risk assessment are:

  • The meeting host as they will have details regarding the event.
  • The building manager should also be able to supply information regarding the event, the resources used to put the event on, and any previous incidents of security interest. However, don’t overlook that they may withhold some information of a prior incident in fear that the event could be canceled or moved. It is always wise to check with other sources.
  • The facility manager engineer is an excellent source as they know the inside workings of the facility and can get you into most site locations.
  • The bellhop and doorman can be of great assistance during the arrival and departure. In many situations, this person is the one who controls the arrival and departure point. They also have good contacts with local police working in the area.
  • Hotel room and service personnel will need access to the executives’ room and/or meeting locations. They need to be identified in advance and arrangements made to identify them through a checklist or perhaps by providing them with some form of visible identification.
  • Any police presence in the arrival area, meeting rooms need to be informed of the event. Usually, the visiting site security person will have good contacts with these officers.
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