London terror review

Security and preparedness need to be built into London’s fabric and effective protection against terrorist attack must be a city-wide endeavour, concluded Lord Toby Harris in a second review of London’s preparedness for a terrorist attack and implications of the covid-19 pandemic for the capital’s immediate and long-term preparedness.

Lord Harris has made 294 recommendations; covering funding of the emergency services and equipment; specialist training for teams to deal with types of attacks, and improving information sharing, given the shared responsibility of countering terrorism, including by businesses and civil society.

He said in a foreword to the report: “My broad conclusion is that very substantial progress has been made by the emergency services and other agencies in response to my 2016 report and in following up the lessons of the attacks in 2017 and subsequently. I have been impressed by much of the work that has gone on, and in the detail and care that has been devoted to analysing what happened in the attacks on Westminster Bridge, on London Bridge, at Finsbury Park, at Parsons Green, at Fishmongers Hall, in Streatham and, of course, at Manchester Arena.”

He went on to say that London bears the highest risk of terrorism in the UK, ‘containing as it does the largest number of high-profile targets and the greatest concentration of subjects of interest. I do not believe that this is always adequately recognised in the national allocation of resources’. While acknowledging the recent rise in police number under the Boris Johnson Conservative Government, he said this will mean ‘a disproportionately high number of officers with limited experience’ and a shortage of detectives.

The London Ambulance Service is particularly stretched, he wrote. However, many services, especially those in local government, are essential in preventing terrorism and ensuring preparedness. “Ten years of austerity has left youth provision, mental health services, and the voluntary and community sector under-resourced – in some cases woefully so. The consequences of further cuts will be to leave the network that enables society to respond to those who need support to avoid falling into violent extremism, and to respond effectively and rapidly to an emergency incident, spread worryingly thin.”


In July, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, commissioned the Labour peer Lord Harris to review of London’s preparedness for a terrorist attack. The backdrop; the changing nature of the threat of terrorism including online extremism, more referrals to the UK authorities’ Prevent programmes for concerns of extreme right-wing radicalisation, more people self-radicalising online and a possibility of hostile state-sponsored acts.

Lord Harris’s first review was commissioned by the Mayor in 2016. Over the last six months, Lord Harris has had over 100 interviews with the emergency services, the transport sector, City Hall, and local government, besides with civil servants from several central government departments, the Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle, and Parliament’s Director of Security.


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Cumbria Consortium appoints Mitie on £500 million IFM contract

MITIE HAS been awarded a new integrated facilities management (IFM) contract by the Cumbria Consortium, which includes Sellafield Ltd. The contract is worth up to £500 million. With an initial term of five years, and an option to extend for up to five more years, Mitie will provide all facilities management services across the sites, including security, engineering, cleaning, waste management, grounds maintenance, catering and specialist projects.


In addition to Sellafield Ltd, the contract will also cover locations across Cumbria and Warrington.

Mitie first began its relationship with Sellafield Ltd, Europe’s largest nuclear site, back in 2003 when it secured a cleaning contract for the facility. Mitie’s relationship with Sellafield has evolved over nearly 20 years as the service requirement has expanded through competitive tenders and awards to cover a full IFM offer across all of the Cumbria Consortium sites. Circa 650 Mitie colleagues now work on the contract.

As well as its significant experience gained in supporting the Cumbria Consortium and delivering services that comply with strict nuclear regulation, Mitie’s social value commitments were also key to its successful retender.

In line with Mitie’s commitment to support the development of future talent through apprenticeships, the business has also committed to upskilling at least 30 colleagues per annum via an apprenticeship, as well as supporting 20 apprentices within Mitie’s supply chain and wider business.

Further to this, the Mitie team will provide a number of work experience opportunities for young people resident in the local community.

Mitie plans to make significant investment in initiatives to support the local community, such as offering local entrepreneurs an opportunity to pitch for investment through a Dragon’s Den-style competition, as well managing a ‘Leader to Leader’ mentoring programme for up to 20 leaders of local SMEs and voluntary community social enterprise organisations.

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SASIG and UK Cyber Security Council tackle sector skills shortage

WORKING IN partnership with the UK Cyber Security Council, the Security Awareness Special Interest Group (SASIG) recently brought together hundreds of future cyber security professionals with leading employers in the sector at the third SASIG Cyber Security Skills Festival. The virtual festival showcased the challenges, opportunities and rewards available from a career in cyber security.



The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport recently revealed that employment across the cyber security industry rose by 13% during 2021, with more than 6,000 new jobs created, in turn opening up a raft of opportunities for individuals up and down the UK. This growth has witnessed the total number of people working in cyber in the UK rise to 52,700.

The SASIG Cyber Security Skills Festival attracted more than 600 delegates and featured an entire day of presentations and workshops. The jobs fair ran alongside the main event and hosted 37 organisations from all sectors, among them 73 UK universities and public bodies. The day engendered 865 conversations and realised 4,618 chat messages.

Delegates learned about building a successful career from both seasoned professionals and recent graduates. In addition, over 1,000 job applications were submitted at the jobs fair and helped fill vacancies being advertised by firms hungry to find new talent.  

Martin Smith MBE, founder and chairman of SASIG (and who began his cyber security career with the Royal Air Force back in 1981), has reiterated the fact that the Cyber Security Skills Festival’s key objective was to boost the profile of cyber security as a rewarding career and attract new entrants.

Smith explained: “Cyber security is every bit as much a ‘people’ business as it is one necessarily focused on technology. It embraces management, people and technical skills and, as demand grows, there are huge opportunities. This year, we made a strategic move to reach out beyond our traditional cyber security community and seek to attract new entrants from all areas. Whether you’re a historian, a musician or an engineer, there are opportunities at all levels. We want to help our community bridge the skills gap.”


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