Cardiff Students’ Union hosts first counter-terrorism exercise for Welsh security operatives

The Security Industry Authority (SIA), which is the regulator for the private security industry, ran the safety resilience exercise in the Great Hall of Cardiff Students’ Union. The SIA organised the exercise, which is the first of its kind in Wales, in partnership with South Wales Police and Counter Terrorism Policing Wales.

Phillip Dayment, Head of Venues at Cardiff Students’ Union, said:

“Ensuring the safety of our students is of utmost importance. We are thrilled to collaborate with the SIA and South Wales Police for this initiative, which will certainly enhance the security resilience for our venues and events at Cardiff Students’ Union. This training program complements our efforts towards promoting the well-being and safeguarding of our students.”

Inspector Jeff Lewis of South Wales Police said:

We are very pleased to support this exercise.  The Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) training is a very effective way for security operatives to improve and increase their skills. This has a direct effect on public safety.  Effective venue security is crucial and initiatives such as this, when combined with working closely with our partners, can only serve to help keep people safer and I thank all those who took part in today’s event.

The training event confronted security staff with a series of real-time simulations, involving actors, of possible emergency scenarios. These included a mass stabbing, an acid attack, a marauding terrorist attack taking place outside the club, and a suspect package.

John Sandlin, the SIA’s Senior Manager of Compliance and Inspections, said:

“We have run a number of these events across the UK. The event in Wales enabled security operatives to experience scenarios with a counter-terrorism theme in a training environment to better prepare them in the event of a real-life incident. We staged a number of scenarios, giving the venue staff and security operatives an opportunity to respond. There was an instant debrief from counter-terror experts, which was a great opportunity to provide feedback and learning. We know from previous events that operatives, and their managers, really appreciate what they learn from these events and find them worth their while. Any of these security staff could find themselves as the first responder at a serious incident, and raising awareness of how to respond to such incidents could prove invaluable in helping to protect the public.”

Paul Lucas, the SIA Criminal Investigation manager who co-ordinated the event, said:

“The main aim of exercises like this is to enhance public safety in the night-time economy by working with venues and security staff. It’s also to showcase best practice by putting the Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) security e-learning package, which we’ve been recommending to all SIA-licensed operatives, into practice. We’re really pleased with the commitment that all the security staff put into the exercise.”

This emergency planning exercise in Cardiff continues a programme of exercises and follows on from events in Windsor and Edinburgh earlier this month. A pilot event took place at Buxton in Derbyshire in October 2019.

Further information:

The SIA is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA’s main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.

For further information about the SIA or to sign up for email updates visit: The SIA is also on Facebook (Security Industry Authority), Linked In and Twitter (@SIAuk).

The Action Counters Terrorism (ACT) Security e-learning is specialised training for front line security operatives. This free course was designed by government counter-terrorism experts from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure and the SIA. The custom-built training provides up-to date counter-terrorism knowledge to help security professionals prepare for and respond to terrorist incidents whilst on duty.

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