Responsibility for security – right or duty

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13919497_sBy Nir Ran

The issue of responsibility for security and coping of organizations, systems, infrastructures and facilities with terror attacks rises from time to time in various aspects, both from the operative aspect – who is the executing factor, and the financial aspect – who finances the operation, and mainly the principal aspect – who is the body, if it exists at all, whose duty is to execute the situation assessment, the planning and implementation of the security plan that will fit the threats and  the possible ways of operation, the opponents and the threat levels.

It is generally accepted that the public security including war against terror are the responsibility of state defense authorities. And indeed the state defense authorities are doing all they can in order to cope with the terror organizations` threats on the citizens and their interests.

Anti-terror warfare is a general term referring to means, ways of action, tactics and strategies, that government, military and public bodies are adopting in order to fight against terror. Normally, the state coordinates the combat in the terror war against it, but the combat is not limited to one entity or service of the administration, and includes defense, political and civil entities at all areas and levels of the society and state. Security agencies, army and police, along with the law system, and not only they, are busy with thwarting the activity of terror organizations.

However, as effective the anti-terror fighting may be, the responsible authorities and the mentioned bodies are not able to ensure a total prevention of the terrorist activity and attacks. The multitude of terror organizations, their determination and scope of activity are a never ceasing challenge to those busy with the prevention activity. Even if they succeed in thwarting the major part of the terror organizations activity, the terror attacks happen quite often.

When there is specific information on planning of a terror attack, the security forces can act in order to prevent it, before its execution. But the security and intelligence agencies do not know about each and every planned terror attack – place, time, direction, method and intensity. Therefore, they cannot ensure prevention of each attack, and they do not promise the public presence of state security forces anywhere and anytime a terror attack occurs.

Here enters security guarding in the form of planned and coordinated proactive activity executed in order to thwart the attempts of opponents to plan and execute mischievous actions. While the global responsibility is on the state authorities, the operative responsibility for planning and execution of security guarding lies upon the management of the secured bodies.

Since, as stated above, the authorities are not able to ensure complete prevention of terror activities against the organizations operating the infrastructures, systems and facilities, and since terror actions are not rare, and since the state authorities do not secure actively those entities, the responsibility for security is upon the management of the organizations, namely on the threatened bodies themselves.

For comparison – the responsibility of law enforcement bodies to the well being of society in the criminal aspect is to fight against crime. But the police is not able to ensure presence of policemen everywhere and anytime in order to prevent robbery, theft, vandalism or violence actions, and it is not obliged to the society for such a presence. And indeed, the business owners lock their shops behind bars and locks, install advanced alarm systems and install guards. All this, as stated, is done in spite of the overall responsibility of the police for the well being of the public.

The state security authorities do not execute security activity in facilities belonging to authorities, companies and organizations, public or private (except for a limited and closed list of bodies with strategic national significance that are secured by the state authorities under responsibility of the ISA, Ministry of Defense or Police). Even if there is sometimes presence of policemen in public sites, in tourist attractions and densely populated areas’ these are intended mainly for demonstration of presence and guarding public order, and they are not deployed as part of a coordinated and official safeguarding program of the facility itself based on a professional process of risk analysis and planning of the security arrangement.

Furthermore, the state authorities are not able and not supposed to bear the financial expenses of security operations executed by commercial entities. Thus, for instance, it is clear that coping with the threat of bomb cars and powerful explosions, in terms of survivability, are based, among others, on securing the building and operations the purpose of which is to make the explosion center as far as possible, i.e. to prevent penetration of the car bomb into the building, according to the level of threat and danger. All the more so that the state security authorities do not execute actions of protection and reinforcement of buildings against car bombs and explosions in commercial organizations.  They do not establish and do not take care of installation of technological security means, such as gates, alarm systems or security checks. These are actions that have a financial and operative significance for the secured organization, and they are at the exclusive responsibility of the management of the infrastructure, system, company or facility.

The responsibility of the state and its security authorities is for fighting the terror and well being of the public in its broad meaning. The responsibility of securing an infrastructure, system, organization or facility is upon the management of the secured bodies.

The Israeli Police is responsible for the professional guiding, as well as supervision and control in the field of security of the bodies that are subject to “Security Arrangement Law” and “Business Licensing Law”. All the national infrastructure facilities, and not only they, are included and subject to this professional guiding. Bodies that are not subject to the above laws will normally execute their security tasks in an apparently voluntary way.

To summarize, the existence of an effective security plan and the existence of security means adapted to the threat level are, as said above, at the sole responsibility of the organization, the company and the facility. The Israeli Police is responsible for determining the standard label and professional guidance in the security area. Normally, the Police officers are also the ones who analyze and present the reference threats.

Execution of security activities is not an option, but an obligation of the organizations that need protection, due to their responsibility to the activity area they are responsible for, and security of their visitors. That means that the management of the organization is responsible for the existence of a security plan and the absence of such a plan. In bodies that are subject to “Security Arrangement Law” and “Business Licensing Law”, the security activities are executed under the regulation of the relevant statutory body, i.e. Security division of the Israeli Police. This does not mean that other bodies are exempt of securing their incomers, even if apparently they are acting voluntarily. Security, so as safety, is a need of the organization for protecting its assets and activity and it is an obligation of the organization management for protecting its workers and incomers.

A basic condition of each security plan is that will be adapted to the activity characteristics and needs of the organization. In order to realize its responsibility the management of the organization needs to employ a capable and trained security manager, or be assisted by an external consultant that will ensure that the security is planned professionally and carefully, while weighing the cost performance, and being focused on the threat and not impair the degree of service that the organization has to provide its incomers. Implementation of such as security plan will convey a relaxing message of control to the public and a decisive deterring message of readiness to the opponent. The organization is responsible, and it is also the most one enjoying it.

Nir Ran is the founder and head of the Homeland Security Academy at the Wingate College ( )  and the CEO of Axiom – HeySec, Security and Management Ltd ( ) . Formerly served as head of the Security and Combat Academy of the ISA.