Friday, December 9, 2016

Security Experts Advise UK Maritime and Ports Parliamentary Group

Threat from Terrorism and Organised Crime Highlighted in Meeting
Shipping News Feature
UK – Global consultancy The Maritime Group International (TMG) gave a joint presentation with maritime security experts State 21 to the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Maritime and Ports at the Houses of Parliament on Monday December 5. The presentation, titled ‘How secure is our coastline?’ brought to the groups attention issues that are undermining the UK’s coastal security amid increased threats from organised and serious crime, terrorism and people traffickers.

In the presentation, TMG Managing Director Captain Malcolm Parrott and State 21 Business Director Tony Birr outlined the host of agencies involved in coastal security, highlighted issues and raised potential solutions for discussion, including a new single Government agency, a single command and control structure, central intelligence gathering and analysis, and a central process for deploying resources.

With almost 14,000 kilometres of coastline the issue of coastal security has been raised by the Independent Reviewer of Terror Legislation, David Anderson QC, who said that British borders are being weakened by the poor records kept by ferry companies.

TMG’s and State 21’s proposals caused some comment amongst the All-Party group, with former First Sea Lord, Admiral Lord West of Spithead, saying that a centralised capability of command and control to improve inshore security was ‘…exactly what was needed and something [he has] proposed in the past’.

Jim Fitzpatrick, co-chairman with Lord Greenway, said the presentation was very valuable in raising questions about coastal security, co-ordinated activity, command structures and intelligence gathering and the group concluded that they would write to the Government about issues raised at the meeting to seek assurances from Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill MP about measures intended to bolster Great Britain’s inshore borders. A copy of the letter is also to be sent to the Shipping Minister John Hayes MP. TMG Managing Director Malcolm Parrott said after the meeting:

“The scale of the problem around our coast is becoming enormous. Our presentation successfully raised questions about the issue which members of the All-Party Group and attendees carefully considered, and proposed ways forward.”

Tony Birr added:

“Great Britain has excellent agencies with world class reputations and we hope the meeting was valuable in contributing to the debate about how these can be better utilised to secure our coastal borders more effectively.”

Photo: Delegation from TMG and State 21 for coastal security presentation at Parliament.

From left: State 21 managing director Richard Rowland, State 21 business director Tony Birr, TMG director and partner Les Chapman and TMG managing director Malcolm Parrott