Companies are now paying more attention to the safety of their staff and their operations in such places as Frankfurt, Paris, Brussels and London, said a director of the risk consultancy Control Risks after the March 22 terror attack on Westminster Bridge and the Houses of Parliament. He is Jonathan Wood, who told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme on March 23 that businesses were not only considering their headquarters’ security, but where their staff are having dinner, or places where staff might find themselves caught up in an incident, where those staff are only indirectly targeted.
As that implied, employers since the Paris terror attack of November 2015 are regarding themselves as having a duty of care outside the workplace to employees: “Companies are absolutely starting to think about this,” Jonathan Wood told Today. That might include employees commuting to work in a city where a major incident might result in a lockdown or a security cordon that disrupts business. Hence a business is looking at it from an operational viewpoint, and training employees in scenarios such as a marauding terrorist. “We have seen companies invest in what we may call operational security protection manmagement of their traveller population.”
One of the biggest differences in recent corporate security has been that the security around employees in the Middle East or Asia has also been set up in western Europe.
It was suggested to Jonathan Wood that as the terrorist’s aim is to disrupt business, might a company just not do business in the City of London? As an aside, a long-time theme of Control Risks’ work is setting out for clients how they might be able to do business in risky parts of the world, by mitigating risks. And Jonathan Wood replied that companies might only find routine business untenable where the threat of terrorism comes with ‘active conflict’.
The consultancy is holding a breakfast briefing in Denver on March 29 on the ‘nexus of terrorism, radicalized insiders and workplace violence’.