On December 2, I attended a London First briefing sponsored by RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) on “Lessons Learned from the Terrorist Attacks in Paris”. While we observed Chatham House rules, and thus I cannot relay details, what I did come away with was confirmation that public-private sector partnerships in communications and observations are required -now more than ever – given the heightened terrorist threats and the source of those threats.
What I learned from the experience shared from the Paris attacks was that the mechanisms for public-private sector partnership are not at the same stage in Paris as London. Granted London has experienced terrorist attacks for years. London also has recently held some significant events, not the least of which were the Olympics and royal weddings and anniversaries. What we did for the Olympics, through London First creating the Cross Sector Security Communications hub – to connect the private sector through-out the UK to one voice from the Met or Transport for London police, to speak with one voice with one truth to the private sector in the event – is a model that Paris could follow. Successful bridge calls and messages are going out regularly during the heightened alerts, and whilethe basis for those calls was established in calmer times, they are effective. It is not merely a government initiative, but well represented and supported by the private sector.
The importance of having the private sector as a partner in counter-terrorism efforts cannot be understated. When an event happens, it does NOT happen to a government. It effects people, businesses, and the marketplace whether a concert hall or a restaurant or a bus. Without strong leadership and partnership between the government/police/military and the private sector –businesses, communities or religious groups and more – we are failing to protect and mitigate, let alone respond.
The benefit of London First hosting these briefings isthe opportunity to hear directly from government and police leaders related to counter-terrorism. The more the private sector knowsthrough sharing between the public and private sector, the better our process will be to ensure that we can work as a team to maintain our lifestyle in the face of those whose goal is to destroy us.
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