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Force develops platform to share real time intelligence with security firms

The City Security Council is a collective of security companies initially established to work in collaboration with and support the City of London Police.

City of London Police has developed a communication platform to share real time intelligence with the security companies who work in the Square Mile.

The City Security Council comprises the predominant security companies who look within the force boundary.

In the last year and a half they have been collaborating closely with City of London on a number of projects to increase intelligence sharing.

The partnership has led to the development of a shared information platform – CityINTEL, announced last year.

CityINTEL enables the force to communicate in real time to security companies who can then push messages out to relevant buildings.

The platform feeds in to both the force's Command and Control Centre as well as the Partnership Prevention Hub. At the moment the communication is one-way but development is in progress to make that platform a two-way sharing tool.

Not only can messages be sent out in real time - if there was an incident for example or advice for a known event (planned protest), but City of London can also access real time data about the buildings within the square mile.

It includes information on the number of people in buildings, the number of security officers, emergency trauma packs and first aid provisions.

Chief Inspector Ray Marskell explained. “If we want to increase visibility across the square mile then we can use the platform to push out some messages that we want to put on additional patrols or we want more security officers to be visible at the front of buildings. We can then share information if you've got protests, for example, or major incidents even.” 

Police Oracle asked how communication with security companies occurred prior to the sharing platform. Mostly it was done through conference calls which typically would occur monthly.

While that was useful for sharing information on what has happened or will happen – it’s missing the real time element.

“[The platform] is just completely modernising how we communicate with our security partners. You look at old fashioned conference calls to modern day technology where you just press the button. That’s where this has taken us to,” he explained.

The three key areas Chief Inspector Marskell says it will help with are sharing information on prevalent crime times and prevention and detection of them (including sharing images of known offenders), major incidents that have been planned such as protests and then awareness and information around incidents as they unfold.

The platform stemmed from a partnership which began with a joint High-Visibility patrol.

In May 2021, the first patrol saw around 60 officers patrolling with security officers around the buildings that they typically look after.

Patrols are short and range from 15 minutes to an hour but have given both sides the chance to build relationships as well as understand the challenges of the others’ role.

Chief Inspector Marskell told Police Oracle: ”If you look at the security industry, to a degree, they’re here for the same things we are  -  it's around protection of people, property and infrastructure.

“It's about relationship building, understanding challenges and understanding how they can work closer together at an operational tactical level.

“These hi vis days are beneficial but it’s what comes after that, what they lead onto is equally important.”

The idea behind the first one was to demonstrate to the public that the area has been kept safe during lockdown and that they are ready to be welcomed back.

There has been a further three since then and the vision will be to hold two a year moving forward.

As well as information sharing, the force has given training to around 100 security staff to date on how they can help support with major incidents. Primarily this has centred around the set up and management of Survivor Reception Centres.

It means that were anything to happen, security officers know how to best support the police in managing it.

For Chief Inspector Marskell : “We've got a very professional security industry in the square mile, we've got lots of capabilities we need to make most of - by having those joint high vis days, officers have understood more what the capability or the strategic can give to policing. There's real value in that

“If you look at the industry, they are our eyes and ears, when we're not out there […] if something happens, and we need to increase visibility across the square mile, they are a natural partner for us to reach out to

“The venues also have some high end technological capability, CCTV, for example, so it's around making better use of all of that. They develop a lot of intelligence in the background so we can touch onto that as well.”

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