Surveillance Detection Operator
The surveillance Detection operator, also known as a Behavioural Detection Operator or Counter Surveillance Operator are the plain clothed boots on the ground operators who's sole role is to look for and spot potential threats either before they get to your door or if you have a business which is open to the public; while they are in /on your premises.
In part two I wrote about familiarizing yourself with your environment, getting to know the ebb and flow, the everyday life of your T.A.O.R, well it's these operators who will be building up this picture of normality.
Their main job is patrolling the T.A.O.R and identifying potential threats and many who come into this role are under the impression that a patrol means you have to be walking around. Many managers are under this impression too. A patrol can be on foot, in a vehicle or static. For example, take a seat at a cafe close to your business, observe people, listen to what they are talking about, sit near people working on phones, laptops, Ipads, writing in notebooks or taking photos of your building. Are they working? if so what on, is your business location, the area or nearby businesses mentioned, are photographs being uploaded onto computers?
Does the same person visit the cafe often, at what times, how long do they stay there for and what can they see from where they are sitting?
One thing to mention here are 'Triggers'. Does a location give good views of your building, if so it may be a place where a surveillance operator would plot up and here they may 'Trigger' (Inform) of movements of security personnel or of their intended target etc.
If so then find a vantage point from where you can observe this place from, remember the surveillance operator will be on the lookout for any surveillance detection operators so choose your time wisely if you are going to be static for any period of time in a trigger point.
Noticing changes in appearance can be difficult at times and changing clothes is easy, reversible jackets, different coloured hats, glasses and even trousers carried in a bag, all easily interchangeable. The hardest item to change though are shoes, so if you are going to notice something about someone who piques your interest then note their shoes. Having said this, changing is also something the Surveillance Detection operator should also be doing, how many of you do this?
Case file. After a young girl had been followed we looked at the CCTV footage. Once she had spotted the man following her and she took a video of him he immediately changed jackets, different style and colour and left the area.
For communications; absolutely no hard wire earpieces and i'm not a fan of wireless ones either, why? it means you have to carry a radio which can compromise you, you can't carry a load of belt kit doing this job. see hostile recce story below. The best way to communicate is by group Whatsapp between D.S, CCTV, Intelligence analyst and the D.S Manager. Everything is instant and all can be kept up to speed on current events. Keep your kit to a minimum, phone, note book and pen, small bino's or monocular.
Case file: Hostile Recce, three men approached the estate while a CPO was on stag at a main drive-in entrance. Two of the men broke off to circumnavigate the estate while the third man approached the CPO and started to chat to him. While chatting the man patted the front of the CPO's chest area a couple of time on both sides of his chest. The threat was pretty high on the Principal and this was a definite attempt to see if the CPO was wearing body armour. The questions asked were not relevant to the estate or the area and the men were dressed like off duty or ex-mil, police types.
Patrols should be kept to a short duration, no more than one hour, as with the CCTV operators; short duration's keep you more focused. If manpower allows then when one or more D.S are on patrol then others should be on a break this way you keep dominating the ground.
Interview techniques. I have two trains of thought on this point. Both work and your circumstances and tactical situation will dictate what you do. Interview techniques though; need to be practiced, you have to be confident and be able to think fast to formulate questions to be able to catch someone out while questioning them. This is called Cognitive Overload, asking similar questions with minute differences to see if there are any discrepancies in the answers given.
Depending on your organisation, it is advantageous to have multiple people trained in behavioural awareness and surveillance detection. On close protection teams, uniformed security in department stores, museums or hotels etc.
1. S.D spots suspect, informs everyone by Whatsapp, approaches and interviews suspected person. This is taught as a standard procedure and is OK if manpower is in short supply.
2. S.D spots suspect and informs everyone by Whatsapp.. A different, but S.D trained operator then approaches to interview the suspect. The original S,D operator then observes the surrounding area to see if anyone is watching.
Remember the 'Come on'. This is why an S.D operator should not get involved in any emergency drills. Was the fire alarm set off on purpose, is anyone watching the evacuation, who is watching the muster point, who is watching EMS vehicle parking areas etc. This is the S.D's job in these situations, Keep your S.D's undercover.
Case file: Surveillance. A surveillance van was stationed across the road outside a secure parking garage at a Principals residence. CCTV spotted the van and tasked two CPO's and an S.D to investigate. The two CPOs investigated the van and the S,D patrolled the nearby area. It was a 'Come on' The surveillance team was further down the road where the S.D spotted them taking photos of members of the Close protection team. The S,D in turn took photos of the surveillance team's vehicle, number plate for future use.
This is why i prefer multiple operators as part of a team. Remember, those who are wanting to attack are in the planning phase of the attack cycle and at the CTR - Close Target Recce and possibly hostile recce/penetration testing stage just prior to an attack. This is where your Behavioural Awareness & Surveillance Detection trained operators earn their pay.
For our 5 day level 3 Behavioural Awareness and Surveillance Detection course check out www.vipatacticaltraining.com for future course dates.