Tag Archives: Afghanistan

Army veteran secures role with Visual Verification following traumatic IED episode in Afghanistan

Army veteran Lamin Manneh was left fighting for his life after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) while deployed in Afghanistan. After surviving his injury and defeating all the odds, Manneh – who’s now a triple amputee – has landed a new role with Visual Verification, one of the UK’s leading remote security monitoring specialists.

Manneh’s new position as a security monitor marks his first employment since being discharged from the Army.

“Life can throw challenges at you and it certainly did with me,” said Manneh. “However, I believe everything brings its own opportunities, and I was determined to make the most of the new future I faced.”

visualverificationlaminmanneh

This fighting spirit helped Manneh to win a Bronze Medal at the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida earlier this year. Organised by Prince Harry, the Games feature wounded and medically discharged servicemen and women from around the world competing in the sports arena.

Manneh was also part of Nick Knowles’ DIY SoS team, helping to transform an abandoned street in North Manchester into a veterans’ village, which is now known as Veterans’ Street. This event was supported by both Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge.

“My whole life has been about aiming to be the best I can, and having a job is no different,” Manneh continued. “Many people have supported me when times have been tough, so I owe it to them and my family to achieve all that I can.”

Mark Rooke, general manager at Visual Verification, stated: “In the short time he’s been with us, Lamin has impressed with his abilities and really positive attitude. He’s a great team player and we’re delighted to have him working at Visual Verification.”

Visual Verification is part of Security Monitoring Centres Ltd and UTC Climate, Controls and Security, itself a business unit within the United Technologies Corporation.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Risk UK News, Uncategorized

Pilgrims Group’s Afghanistan project wins Security and Fire Excellence Award for International Achievement

For the third year running, international security specialist Pilgrims Group has won a prestigious Security and Fire Excellence Award (SEA), this time around for its work on protecting an international aerospace electronics client in Afghanistan.

The project involved the very rapid mobilisation and full operation of a training school and maintenance centre providing the foundation for teaching Afghan engineer instructors and engineers to support the secure communications equipment provided to every major organisation in the Afghan Security Forces.

The Security and Fire Excellence Awards’ Judges clearly recognised the excellent teamwork required and the challenges of delivering such a project on time in the extremely challenging security context in Afghanistan. Also, they recognised the significance of the outcome – a sustainable capability of secure communications across all forces engaged in the fight against terrorism.

pilgrimsgroupseas2016

Pilgrims Group COO David Freear pictured (centre) with event host Jimmy Carr (right) and a representative of category sponsor Hanwha Techwin

Pilgrims Group COO David Freear commented: “This award recognises the abilities of our teams working in some of the most challenging locations in the world, and we’re delighted and extremely proud to accept it. Their achievement is all the more impressive as this year has been particularly competitive, with entries for the Security and Fire Excellence Awards up by 17% compared to last year. Winning an award like this demonstrates that our peers in the industry acknowledge the quality of what we do. It’s a great testament to our staff who work so hard for our clients around the world.”

Last year, Pilgrims Group won the International Achievement Award at the Security and Fire Excellence Awards for its work having won the security contract in support of the British Consulates in Nigeria, redesigning the contracted security team configuration and transforming their performance, in parallel with enabling the continued development of the individual through innovative learning methodologies.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Risk UK News, Uncategorized

Help for Heroes announced as The Security Institute’s Chairman’s Charity in 2015

The Security Institute has announced that its designated Chairman’s Charity for 2015 will be Help for Heroes. The charity offers comprehensive support to British servicemen and women who have been wounded or injured in the line of duty – a cause that’s clearly close to The Security Institute’s heart in light of the fact that many of the organisation’s members have served their country across the Armed Forces.

Since its founding in October 2007, the money raised by Help for Heroes thanks to hugely generous public backing has been used to support the wounded, but there’s still so much more to do.

Soldiers, sailors and airmen injured today will still need vital support tomorrow and in the days that follow.

The Security Institute director Richard Bell commented: “We try to select a charity partner that will be highly relevant to our membership and which we believe is making a significant difference to the lives of the people it aims to help. Many of our members have served in the military and while they have been fortunate to be able to forge new careers in security upon leaving the Armed Forces, many of their former colleagues face significant challenges as a result of injuries suffered in the line of duty.”

The Security Institute's designated Chairman's Charity for 2015 is Help for Heroes

The Security Institute’s designated Chairman’s Charity for 2015 is Help for Heroes

Bell’s comments were endorsed by The Security Institute’s chairman Emma Shaw CSyP. “We are immensely proud to be supporting a charity that has achieved so much in a relatively short space of time,” explained Shaw. “Last year, we raised almost £30,000 for our charity partner PTSD Resolution I’m confident we can surpass that figure in 2015. We have a number of fund-raising activities planned throughout the coming year and will be seeking to raise awareness of Help for Heroes at all of our events.”

Bryn Parry, co-founder of Help for Heroes, added: “We’d like to thank The Security Institute for choosing Help for Heroes as its Chairman’s Charity for 2015. The Institute’s support will make a huge difference to the lives of some very brave men and women. The war in Afghanistan may be nearly over but, for many members of the Armed Forces and their families, their battles are just beginning. We will not let them battle alone.”

*For further information access the Help for Heroes website

Leave a comment

Filed under Risk UK News

Alex Younger appointed as next Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service

With the agreement of Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has announced that Alex Younger is appointed as successor to Sir John Sawers as Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service. Younger will take up the appointment in November.

The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), often known as MI6, collects Britain’s foreign intelligence. The Service is based at Vauxhall Cross in London and provides Her Majesty’s Government with a global covert capability to promote and defend the national security and economic well-being of the United Kingdom.

Philip Hammond stated: “I’m pleased to announce that Alex Younger has been appointed as the next Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service. The work of MI6 is world class and its operation vital to the safety and security of the United Kingdom. Alex brings a wealth of relevant experience to the role, including his work in Afghanistan and helping keep the country safe during the London 2012 Olympics.”

Hammond added: “I’d also like to thank Sir John Sawers for his strong leadership and personal commitment to a modernising agenda. I wish him well for the future.”

Alex Younger: the next Chief of MI6

Alex Younger: the next Chief of MI6

Commenting on his appointment, Alex Younger said: “I’m delighted and honoured to become Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service and lead one of the best intelligence agencies in the world. Our dedicated staff work tirelessly against an array of threats that this country faces. They do so in close partnership with both MI5 and GCHQ with whom I’m looking forward to co-operating very closely.”

Younger also commented: “I would like to pay tribute to John Sawers for his lifetime’s dedication to the country and particularly to his time as Chief of MI6. He brought us into a new era, and I’m determined to build on this and bring my ideas for a modern Service to life.”

In response, Sir John Sawers said: “I’m delighted that my colleague and friend is taking over from me. He has played a vital part alongside me in modernising the SIS and ensuring that the Service is in the best possible shape to play its part in defending the country’s security and our values.”

Alex Younger: the Curriculum Vitae

Alex Younger is a career SIS officer and has been in the Service since 1991.

For the last two years he has been overseeing the Service’s intelligence operations worldwide. Younger has held overseas postings in Europe and the Middle East and was the senior SIS officer in Afghanistan.

He has filled a variety of operational roles in London, including leading the Service’s work on counter-terrorism in the three years running up to the 2012 Olympic Games.

Before joining the Service, Younger – an economics graduate – served as an officer in the British Army.

Leave a comment

Filed under Risk UK News

‘Threat level from international terrorism raised’: Statement by Prime Minister David Cameron

On Friday afternoon, Prime Minister David Cameron gave a statement to the national media about the international terrorism threat level in the United Kingdom being increased from ‘Substantial’ to ‘Severe’.

The Home Secretary has confirmed that the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has increased the threat level in the United Kingdom from ‘Substantial’ to ‘Severe’. This is the first time in three years that the threat to our country has been at this level.

My first priority as Prime Minister is to make sure we do everything possible to keep our people safe. Today, I want to set out the scale and nature of the threat we face and the comprehensive approach that we are taking to combat it.

We’ve all been shocked and sickened by the barbaric murder of American journalist James Foley and by the voice of what increasingly seems to have been a British terrorist recorded on that video. It was clear evidence – not that any more was needed – that this is not some foreign conflict thousands of miles from home that we can hope to ignore.

The ambition to create an extremist caliphate in the heart of Iraq and Syria is a threat to our own security here in the UK. That’s in addition to the many other al-Qaeda inspired terrorist groups existing in that region.

The first ISIL-inspired terrorist acts on the continent of Europe have already taken place. We now believe that at least 500 people have travelled from Britain to fight in Syria and, potentially, Iraq.

Poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism

Let’s be clear about the source of the threat that we face. The terrorist threat was not created by the Iraq war ten years ago. It existed even before the horrific attacks of 9/11, themselves some time before the Iraq war. This threat cannot be solved simply by dealing with the perceived grievances over Western foreign policy. Nor can it be dealt with by addressing poverty, dictatorship or instability in the region, as important as these things are.

The root cause of this threat to our security is quite clear. It’s a poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism that is condemned by all faiths and by all faith leaders. It believes in using the most brutal forms of terrorism to force people to accept a warped world view and to live in an almost medieval state. A state in which its own citizens would suffer unimaginable brutality, including barbaric beheadings of those who refuse to convert to their warped version of Islam, the enslavement and raping of women and the widespread slaughter of Muslims by fellow Muslims. As well, of course, as the exporting of terrorism abroad.

Prime Minister David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron

This is about a battle between Islam on the one hand and extremists who want to abuse Islam on the other. It’s absolutely vital that we make this distinction between religion and political ideology. Islam is a religion observed peacefully and devoutly by over one billion people. It’s a source of spiritual guidance which daily inspires millions to countless acts of kindness. Islamist extremism is a poisonous political ideology supported by a minority. These extremists, often funded by fanatics living comfortably far away from the battlefields, pervert the Islamic faith as a way of justifying their warped and barbaric ideology.

Now this is not a new problem. We have seen this extremism before here in our own country. We saw it with the sickening murder of Lee Rigby and with the home grown 7/7 bombers who blew up tube trains and buses. The links between what happens overseas and what happens here have also always been there. Many of those who sought to do us harm in the past have been foreign nationals living in Britain or even British citizens who have returned from terrorist training camps in Pakistan or elsewhere around the world.

What we’re now facing in Iraq with ISIL is a greater and deeper threat to our security than we have known before. In Afghanistan, the Taliban were prepared to play host to al-Qaeda, a terrorist organisation. With ISIL, we are facing a terrorist organisation not being hosted in a country but actually seeking to establish and then violently expand its own terrorist state. With their designs on expanding into Jordan and Lebanon and right up to the Turkish border, we could be facing a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO member.

We cannot appease this ideology. We have to confront it at home and abroad. To do this we need a tough, intelligent, patient and comprehensive approach to defeat the terrorist threat at its source. Tough in that we need a firm security response whether that is action to go after the terrorists, international co-operation on intelligence and counter-terrorism or uncompromising measures against terrorists here at home.

Requirement for an intelligent political response

It also must be an intelligent political response. We must use all resources we have at our disposal – aid, diplomacy, political influence and our military. Learning the lessons of the past doesn’t mean that there isn’t a place for our military. The military were vital in driving al-Qaeda from Afghanistan, and we support the US air strikes against ISIL in Iraq. The key point is that military force is just one element of what we can do. We need a much wider approach, working with neighbours in the region and addressing not just security but also politics.

We know that terrorist organisations thrive where there is political instability and weak or dysfunctional political institutions. We must support the building blocks of democracy, the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary, the rights of minorities, free media, free association, a proper place in society for the army and show perseverance. Not just because these building blocks take time to put in place, but because we are in the middle of a generational struggle against a poisonous and extremist ideology that I believe we’ll be fighting for years and probably decades.

We will always take whatever action is necessary to keep the British people safe here at home. Britain has some of the finest and most effective security and intelligence services anywhere in the world. We will always act with urgency where needed, as we did with the emergency data retention legislation which is already yielding results.

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

We’ve already taken a whole range of measures to keep our people safe. We are stopping suspects from travelling by seizing passports. We’re barring foreign nationals from re-entering the UK. We’re depriving people of citizenship and we are legislating so that we can prosecute people for all terrorist activity, even where that activity takes place overseas.

We’ve also stepped up our operational response. Since last year, we’ve seen a fivefold increase in Syria-related arrests. We’ve seen port stops and cash seizures grow by over 50%. We’ve taken down 28,000 pieces of extremist material from the Internet this year alone, including 46 ISIL-related videos. We made clear that those who carry ISIL flags or seek to recruit to ISIL will be arrested and the material seized. We’ve also seen a 58% increase in referrals to our de-radicalisation programme called the ‘Channel Project’.

Listening to the Security Services

People are rightly concerned about so-called ‘foreign fighters’ who travel from Britain to Syria and Iraq, take part in terrorist acts and then come back to threaten our security here at home. The scale of this threat is growing but there will be no knee jerk reactions. We will respond calmly and with purpose. We’ll do so driven by the evidence and the importance of maintaining the liberty that is the hallmark of the society we defend, but we have to listen carefully to the security and intelligence officers who do so much every day to keep us safe.

I recently chaired a meeting with our intelligence and security services and we agreed that the answer to this threat was not to dream up some sweeping new power that would be ineffective in practice. However, it’s becoming clear that there are some gaps in our armoury, and we need to strengthen them. We need to do more to stop people travelling, to stop those who do go from returning and to deal decisively with those who are already here. I’ll be making a statement in the House of Commons on Monday 1 September. This will include further steps to stop people travelling with new legislation that will make it easier to take people’s passports away.

As well as being tough, patient and intelligent, we also need to take a comprehensive approach. Dealing with this threat is not just about new powers. It’s about how we combat extremism in all its forms. We need to tackle that ideology of Islamist extremism head on at root before it takes the form of violence and terror. That means challenging the thinking of extremist ideologues, identifying the groups in this country that push an extremist agenda and countering them by empowering the overwhelming majority who believe in the British values of democracy, the rule of law and respect for minorities.

Beating the scourge of extremism

That is why, as Prime Minister, I have driven a new approach to tackling radicalisation and counter-extremism in Britain, focusing on all types of extremism and not just violent extremism. I set this out in my Munich speech in 2011 and I’ve driven this forward through my extremism task force. This has included stopping the funding of organisations that promote extremism, banning hate preachers and ensuring that every part of Government and the state from schools and universities through to prisons is focused on beating the scourge of extremism. This task force will continue to meet on a regular basis.

Britain is an open, tolerant and free nation. We are a country that backs people in every community who want to work hard, make a contribution and build a life for themselves and their families. We cannot stand by and allow our openness to be confused with a tolerance of extremism, or one that encourages different cultures to live separate lives and allows people to behave in ways that run completely counter to our values.

Adhering to British values is not an option or a choice. It is a duty for those who live in these islands. In the end, it is only by standing up for these values that we will defeat the extremists, protect our way of life and keep all of our people safe.

Leave a comment

Filed under Risk UK News