The new DPG sector inspectors
The Diplomatic Protection Group has adopted a new ‘neighbourhood policing’ strategy in the biggest change to the organisation since its inception, embassy security staff were told at a recent seminar held at Scotland Yard.
A new style of geographic policing will replace the previous ‘regional’ system, where liaison inspectors had responsibility for missions from world regions, scattered throughout London.
Outlining the new strategy, Chief Inspector Mark Hardman told diplomats the new system would focus on “local officers for local issues” and that better engagement with missions would enhance protection.
London’s main diplomatic quarters will be divided into four sectors, with each neighbourhood assigned a dedicated sector inspector who will be on hand to deal with any local concerns that may affect the security or the normal functioning of an embassy – such as a big demonstration outside your embassy or a neighbouring mission. If the residence or consulate is located in a sector other than the embassy, they will be protected by the embassy’s sector unit.
The units will work closely with the local Met police and embassy security personnel in order to build up detailed knowledge of the neighbourhood, identifying issues of concern and potential threats.
“This will mean more proactive policing and more efficient protection of diplomatic properties,” said Inspector Hardman.
Embassy have been are encouraged to keep the DPG informed of any events, both in London or back home that may affect the security situation, so that the threat could be assessed and any necessary preparations or additional patrols arranged.
Get in touch, stay in touch
Linked to sector policing is a new messaging system called ‘DPG Messenger’ through which the DPG will pass general information to the diplomatic community via email, and will include invitations to seminars, events and other messages of interest.
Embassies and High Commissions are asked to provide their Liaison Inspectors with a suitable email address or to forward their details via email to Katie McGill, SO6 Media and Communications Manager on: Katie.firstname.lastname@example.org. If no details are received, the email addresses will be taken from the Foreign and Commonwealth site list.
DPG Messenger will not replace the joint FCO-DPG secure messaging system. In the event of a disaster/national incident, the mission’s contacts will be notified and kept up to date by text message. If there have been any changes to mobile numbers, staff are asked to notify their Liaison Inspector immediately.
Alison MacMillan, the FCO’s deputy director of Protocol, also urged security staff to inform the FCO of their mission’s ‘single point of contact’ – or SPOC.
Threat level severe
Superintendent Bernie Verrier reminded embassy staff that the UK threat level had been raised to ‘severe’ meaning that a terrorist attack is considered ‘highly likely’.
Supt Verrier stressed it was essential that embassies are prepared for disruption with robust business continuity plans.
Inspector Kevin Bolton of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) gave a briefing on counter-terrorism operations and recommended that embassies run simulations to test their emergency plans. For advice on business continuity plans, visit www.nactso.gov.uk or contact your Liaison Inspector.