London’s Olympic legacy continues thanks to a police-led communications partnership

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) played a vital role during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in keeping the public safe through the groundbreaking Cross-sector Safety and Security Communications (CSSC) partnership. One year on and the success of the CSSC is continuing.

Aug 15, 2013
By Website Editor

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) played a vital role during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in keeping the public safe through the groundbreaking Cross-sector Safety and Security Communications (CSSC) partnership. One year on and the success of the CSSC is continuing.

The first of its kind, the CSSC is a partnership between the police, government and industry that brings businesses and business networks together to ensure organisations receive the information they need, when they need it, to stay safe and secure. The MPS was instrumental in its launch and in its operation, with help from business continuity specialist Vocal Limited.

A team of advisers from the MPS, along with business membership organisation London First and the Home Office, formed the CSSC in the run-up to the Games in the spring of 2011, when they decided to initiate a communications and resilience platform that would ensure the capital was ready and able to meet the demands of the Olympics, Paralympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

“We were given a communications tool and told to make it happen,” said Steve Lemon, who heads up the MPS SO20 Counter Terrorism Protective Security Command’s business engagement.

“Part of the vision was that businesses could speak to the police about pertinent issues and pose pertinent questions. With CSSC, we can go into the heart of the operation and find the people that we need to speak to. Public communications can then be quickly adapted according to current activities, such as the recent public order events.”

The CSSC partnership included 25 business sectors across London, chosen for their security and continuity experience and their potential reach, and they formed a platform called the Hub that allowed businesses to speak to each other and key public sector personnel about relevant issues.

The communications platform was built around Vocal’s iModus business continuity planning modules.

“The beauty of the police operation room during the Olympics was that for the first time you had all levels of police sitting with communications experts, with information being disseminated by the CSSC and sent back through the same channels,” said Mr Lemon.

Following its success during the Games, the CSSC won the ‘Best Contribution to Continuity and Resilience’ trophy at the recent Business Continuity Awards for creating a new communications infrastructure for London leading up to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

One year on, MPS is continuing to use the CSSC and iModus for quick updates on developing incidents to keep partners and the public informed.

Since the Olympics, the CSSC has also sent pre-planning messages on: the TUC protest march and rally in London in October 2012; the student London march (October 2012); the London helicopter crash at Battersea in January; Operation True Blue for Baroness Thatcher’s funeral; the State Opening of Parliament; the May Day protests; the Woolwich incident in May; and the G8 protest in June. Decisions are made via Bridge Call – a cross-sector conference call involving 30 to 50 CSSC representatives.

“In the event of an emergency incident, a Bridge Call is held and we discuss the police operations, the impact of the event on transportation, what we are expecting and things that need to be considered,” explained Mr Lemon.

The CSSC also sent out messages via iModus when a gang was breaking into commercial premises to steal deep-fat fryers. “In a minority of cases the premises were left in a dangerous state,’ said Mr Lemon, “so we provided a strategic overview for security.”

The CSSC also works closely with the National Fraud Investigation Bureau and counter-terrorism and protective security sections of the police service and has used iModus to send out advice and information on good practice, including a message in December on The 10 Frauds of Christmas. The team also messaged six London boroughs affected by a crime gang that was using a particular method to gain access to banks.

Commander Richard Morris, specialist operations

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