In this second part of counter surveillance, we are going to look at setting up your counter surveillance operation. Just remember it is not only important for a business to have a counter surveillance program but concerned citizens, those who may have had to move because they are being stalked, or those who have been targeted or may be targeted because of age, gender or employment for example.
The setting up and the first 6 months are the most important and is where the majority of the hard work will take place. This set up time could be shorter if you already have an operation in place but it is an ad-hoc operation and not a dedicated one. The time frame for a private citizen will depend on the threat you are facing and your location but will be no less in-depth in its set up.
This set up phase of your operation is about learning about your environment, the ebb and flow everyday normality within your Tactical Area Of Operations.
Below are a few pointers to take into consideration:
* What sort of businesses are in your area?
* What delivery vehicles arrive at these businesses and at what times?
* What time do local businesses open for business, what time do staff and where do staff arrive, what entrance do they enter, are the premises guarded and does the business have external patrolled?
* What time does mail get delivered to your business and local businesses, are the mail personnel always the same, do you have an example of their I.D card and other businesses I.D cards?
* Where are the public car parks; are they manned, or road side car parking spaces, are they pay and display or parking disc, how often do traffic wardens patrol the area?
* How many residence parking spaces are there, where are they located and what does their parking badge look like?
* What sort of other vehicles frequent your area, depending on your location will there be construction vehicles, motorbike or vehicle couriers, law enforcement or EMS etc.?
* What people populate your location and specifically your business premises. Are they office workers, factory workers, tourists, market traders, garage mechanics, construction workers etc? who would stand out from your baseline?Do you know what your baseline is?
* What are the quiet times, build up times, busy times, slow down times and quiet times again, what is the environmental routine at these times, how long does each phase usually last for etc?
* Are there regular homeless people in your area, what do they look like, do they change from person to person, do they change location, if they disappear at times; then for how long, what clothes do they generally wear, do they use local amenities, shops, bathrooms etc?
* Where are the fire muster points of local businesses, if the muster points are close to your site then who clears these areas after a building evacuation?
This is only a short list of what you need to know to be able to be in tune with your TAOR. Without this, you will never be able to spot the abnormal from the normal and this is why you need a dedicated team of security personnel to carry out this role. The same reason why having an ad-hoc system will not work.
You will notice i mentioned residential parking spaces, pay and display or disc parking spaces and delivery vehicles among others. Your control room or your counter surveillance room should have an enlarged wall map or large digital screen map of your TAOR and an extended area. Your map should be populated with information such as business types, parking spaces, both residential and public with vehicle make, colour, registration, name of owner etc. Delivery vehicles which park up for periods should be noted as
well. Your initial set up is going to produce an immense number of photographic and video evidence of normal environmental life in your TAOR which all adds to your intelligence gathering operation.
Control rooms have a D.O.B, a Daily Occurrence Book and your counter surveillance operation should also have one of these. If as a private citizen you are undertaking an operation of this kind for self protection purposes then you should keep a D.O.B too.
Your TAOR should be split into roughly four quarters, each colour coded. Patrols are logged in your D.O.B, start and finish times, the area to be patrolled, any occurrences, what actions were taken, who was informed and signature of manager. Along with patrol reports, incident reports and intelligence reports the D.O.B is an integral part of your overall information gathering system. The D.O.B is also a quick reference for the location of counter surveillance operators should they need to be tasked to other areas due to operational requirements.
Manning - how are you going to run your operation? if you are a business then you will need operators in a number of roles, or if your budget will not stretch to individual roles then multiple roles may have to be covered by one person:
* Counter Surveillance Manager
* Counter Surveillance Operators
* Intelligence Gatherer & Analyst
If you are a private person you are going to have to fill these roles by yourself, but as it is on a much smaller scale this can be easily accomplished.
We have only covered a small amount of what is required to run a full counter surveillance operation and you can see why it may take up to six months to get this operation up and running fully.
Always remember - ABSENCE OF THE NORMAL, PRESENCE OF THE ABNORMAL!
In the next blog post we will have a look at each of the individual roles mentioned above.