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Published: December 19, 2018

As another year draws to a close, what might we reflect on with regards to security and the challenges we face?

Many different issues have come to the fore in 2018, including:

Cyberattacks and data breaches:
These continue to disrupt, affecting financial and national infrastructure and loss of consumer and corporate confidence. Hacking attacks were suffered by major businesses including British Airways and Ticketmaster this year. Money laundering and phishing attacks are also on the rise.

Mass movement of peoples and political unrest:
We’ve seen a threat of return to autocratic government in Eastern Europe, splits between friendly governments and lack of adherence to agreed human rights protocols which puts individuals and NGOs trying to apply the principles at risk. Uneasy times are developing as splits have appeared between the USA and Europe and the UK and Europe. This threatens a coordinated security response and creates an environment where hostile countries and parties may seize the chance of sowing discord and disruption.

Wars and trade wars:
For example, trade disputes between the USA and China; war in Yemen and Saudi vs Iran politics, which lead to further instability in the region and beyond. We’ve seen the threat of nuclear instability between the USA and Iran, Russia and North Korea and the threat from Russian occupation of Crimea leading to armed conflict and political instability. Afghanistan is in constant turmoil with sectarian attacks and attacks on NGOs and more recently on G4S.

States and individual attacks:
In the UK this year, fears that some States feel able to do whatever they wish were raised with accusation pointed at the Russian state for the Novichok poisonings in Salisbury, and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by hitmen during a Saudi consular visit in Turkey.

Terrorism and street violence:
Terror attacks this year included hits on Nigeria, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and in Pittsburgh. Shootings in the US and stabbings in the UK continue to be a big problem.

These are, of course, just a few of the major events we’ve faced this year. While such challenges are admittedly daunting, we can mitigate the risks, as all our clients know, with careful preparation and training, which offers strong protection to our everyday activities, allowing life and business to go on.

In terms of our response and services, we’ve seen increased take-up of consultancy to protect organisations against the kinds of trends and events we’ve seen this year, with an increasing demand from less traditionally hostile places, especially the USA, London, Western and Eastern Europe and the Far East.

We’ve also seen an increased demand for workplace and workforce security leading to a wider expectation of what is now better described as the risk management of duty-of-care. Pilgrims has responded with a further increase of quality training and manned guarding initiatives. Our training Academy has expanded its services and we are now able to run courses in not just security, but also medical skills, travel safety, personal safety, GDPR, fire safety, health and safety and environmental protection. We also run a series of ISO (the industry standard) certification courses to ensure an excellent standard of training for security operatives at all levels.

Lastly, we were extremely proud to end the year with wins for Pilgrims Group in two categories at the prestigious Security and Fire Excellence Awards (SEAs), for both our Manned-Guarding and Training services. This kind of recognition of best practice and innovation is extremely important to us, and reflects the hard work of all our staff to support our clients’ wellbeing and their ability to sustain operations in whatever circumstances they face. We will further develop our offerings in the years to come and are continually working to deliver solutions to new challenges.

Thank you to all of our clients and colleagues.

We wish you all a safe, peaceful, and happy Christmas, and much success in 2019.

By Richard Lovell-Knight, Director Global Operations, Risk & Information Services, Pilgrims Group Limited.