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Head of Content, IFSEC and FIREX

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Charlotte Geoghegan (nee Wright) is Head of Content for the Protection & Management portfolio, which includes IFSEC and FIREX live events and IFSEC Global.com
June 11, 2015

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The Video Surveillance Report 2022

Managing Security at CrossRail [Video]

How do security measures compare in concert halls and construction sites? What’s the difference between security in a grade 1-listed museum and a high-tech, smart office?

To answer these questions, Protecting London has gone on a behind-the-scenes tour of landmarks across the capital, to revealing how they operate on a day-to-day basis.

For Protecting Episode 3 we meet David Buck, Security Manager at Crossrail Ltd.

The high frequency, high capacity railway project is Europe’s largest infrastructure project; a complex operation with 40 sites, 40,000 workers and 42km of new tunnels under the busy streets of London.

The setting for the interview is Farringdon; one of the many sites David is responsible for. He tells us the key threats here and across Crossrail are terrorism, criminal (both organised & opportunist) & protest. David’s response to these threats is simply ‘Define. Deliver. Assure.’ He defines the problem, delivers the solution and assures colleagues that threats are understood and managed.

David’s experience and responsibilities

David joined Crossrail in 2010 with plenty of security experience under his belt; he spent 30 years in the police force and several years managing security on other construction projects, including London 2012 Olympic Park.

His Crossrail responsibility spans all central section sites, where contractors provide a security manager, a security provider and guards (the number of which varies from site to site).

And no matter where he’s working, David’s mantra is always the same: ‘Physical, electronic, back it up with the guarding.’

[mk_image heading_title=”DOWNLOAD: PROTECTING LONDON” src=”//www.ifsecglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Cover.png” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”false” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” link=”https://www.ifsecglobal.com/protecting-london-download?cid=article” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”center” margin_bottom=”10″][mk_button dimension=”three” size=”large” outline_skin=”dark” bg_color=”#0084ff” text_color=”light” url=”https://www.ifsecglobal.com/protecting-london-download?cid=article” target=”_self” align=”center” margin_top=”0″ margin_bottom=”15″]Download[/mk_button][mk_image src=”//www.ifsecglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/PL-goes-behind-the-scenes-blue1.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″] [mk_image src=”//www.ifsecglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/An-insiders-take-on-protecting-the-BM.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″] [mk_image src=”//www.ifsecglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Behind-the-scenes-red1.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″]
[mk_image src=”//www.ifsecglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Farringdon.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”outside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″ desc=”Farringdon Station February 2014″]

The mantra explained – physical, electronic & guards

Physical security measures David points out at Farringdon are the hoarding, gates and entry points – ‘the locks and bolts of how sites are secured’. He shows us a PTZ (pan, tilt and zoom) camera which is set on a patrol and monitored by guards. There are also discrete cameras that give a view of hoarding lines.

He then explains the electronic system of access control, which, in this case, includes a hand biometric for access through turnstiles and a zoning system, which means those who need easy access to work areas have it, whilst others are restricted.

Supporting the final part of the mantra are guards, who man the front of house, look after the access control system, monitor CCTV, engage with the logistics operation and do patrols.

Security responsibilities at Farringdon

But it’s not just the security managers, providers and guards who are responsible for security at Crossrail. When asked ‘how many people onsite at Farringdon are responsible for security?’ David’s answer is ‘everybody’.

‘If an operative sees an open gate and nobody there I would expect him at the very least to close that gate and report it… We are a team. And not only are we in a team within Crossrail, but we’re in a team with the contractors and individual guys as well…It’s about working together.’

At the same time, security teams take responsibility for health & safety, and work closely with deliveries teams for mutual benefit too.

‘Our lorries have to meet a standard and the drivers are trained. Now that’s primarily a health & safety, logistical operation, but I get quite a lot of security benefits from that because we know who’s coming and when they’re coming.’
Access control is another measure which equally benefits security and health & safety.

‘We want to restrict access in the site as to who can go where. The office workers don’t really have a need to go beyond the office so that turnstile which takes people down into the work areas will be zoned. So your card will allow you through the front door and will get you into the offices but if you don’t need to go any further you won’t be able to use it on one of these turnstiles. And that’s, again, a health & safety benefit, but it’s a security benefit as well.’

[mk_image src=”//www.ifsecglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Security-quote1.jpg” image_width=”828″ image_height=”403″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″]

Dealing with trespassers

Working adjacent to operating railways is a challenge they face at several of the sites. Being in such close proximity means they encounter people want to get off the railway to avoid revenue.

‘But’, David explains, ‘our measures then provoke a response, they’re intercepted. The health & safety training will kick in, they’ll be transported off site safely, and they won’t be allowed to travel somewhere where it’s unsafe, either through excavations or moving parts. We will also then call the police, they will attend and deal with them as they see fit.’

The same applies for protestors who might climb over hoardings in an attempt to reach tower cranes – a traditional target for opportunists wanting to hang banners from lofty heights. So protect the cranes (and anyone attempting to climb them), bases are secured with hoardings and a gate.

Fortunately, David adds, trespassing has been a rare occurrence on Crossrail sites.

Thefts during construction

Plant theft is a familiar concern in the construction industry, so now plant is registered and various covert marking schemes are used for tagging equipment.

‘But the issue’, David says, ‘is not so much the larger pieces of equipment you see here in this environment, but the smaller types of equipment like jet washes, which are more easily movable.’

‘If you want to move that [points to a large digger] I’m not saying it couldn’t be done, and I’m sure they have lost cranes like that, but certainly not from a Crossrail site. Because the logistics in moving that crane are quite difficult, and this site tends to be [operating] 24/7.’

‘The smaller items, the jet washes, maybe small fuel tanks and generators, which are still on wheels, are more vulnerable because they can be moved around’.

To mitigate the risk of this kind of equipment being stolen there’s a strict processes around sign-out sheets, and as with a lot of the security measures, it relies heavily on processes, rather than ‘big lumpy cameras and big butch guards.’

[mk_image src=”//www.ifsecglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Crossrail-photo-2.jpg” image_width=”800″ image_height=”350″ crop=”true” lightbox=”false” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″]

Severe threat level for international terrorism in the UK

With the London on a high state of alert, Crossrail engages closely with the Metropolitan Police and the City of London Police to mitigate terrorist activity. Staff receive counter-terrorism awareness briefings as well as document awareness training for spotting ID and passport forgeries.

There’s also a strict pre-employment screening process and all guards must be licensed by the SIA (Security Industry Authority).

Personal safety training is on offer to those that require it, David explains. ‘So if they’re working in areas of London where they might not feel safe travelling to and from work out of hours, or we have lone working, we can offer training and advice and certain equipment to support them perform in those roles.’

Security by Design is another key to mitigating terrorist incidents. While it’s not something David has personally overseen, he tells things like glass fragmentation, blast impacts and hostile vehicle mitigation measures have all been taken into consideration in the design process.

The end of David’s responsibilities

David is employed by Crossrail as part of the delivery team, which means he finishes when there’s a handover to operating railway.

‘There will be a date when this site will be handed over to an infrastructure manager, and they will then take on. What we leave and what we strip out is still to be agreed…But there will be the basics. There will be a hoarding, there will be some cameras, there will be an access control system. How they use that, how they improve that will be part of their security plan, which I will discuss with them and they will build on.’

While the date isn’t fixed and we don’t know what’s next for David, his experience is sure to benefit future construction projects, including HS2 and Thames Tideway, who he and many of the Crossrail team are already advising.

Check out Protecting London Episode 1 which goes behind the scenes at The British Museum and Protecting London Episode 2 which goes behind the scenes at the Royal Albert Hall.

Listen to the IFSEC Insider podcast!

Each month, the IFSEC Insider (formerly IFSEC Global) Security in Focus podcast brings you conversations with leading figures in the physical security industry. Covering everything from risk management principles and building a security culture, to the key trends ahead in tech and initiatives on diversity and inclusivity, the podcast keeps security professionals up to date with the latest hot topics in the sector.

Available online, and on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, tune in for an easy way to remain up to date on the issues affecting your role.


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June 11, 2015 2:30 pm

The fantastic third episode in a fascinating series. I can’t wait to meet the stars of the shows next week at IFSEC!