Letter to the Second Clerk of the Committee
from the Chairman of Policy and Resources Committee, Corporation
of London (6 February 2002)
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to comment
on security and contingency planning post the tragic events of
the 11 September.
The Corporation of London, City of London Policy
and the City business community consider effective security and
contingency planning to be an essential part of their day to day
business. The level of preparedness within the square mile is
high and effective communication between partners to discuss the
threat level and best practice is established, and we are always
looking to improve our plans.
The events of 11 September have made us reconsider
our response to massive or multiple incidents and comments in
this latter relate to these types of disaster.
Massive or multiple incidents are best co-ordinated
by the emergency services and local authority in the immediate
area. They know and understand the community and local concerns,
and history shows they are able to provide an effective response.
If it is felt desirable to establish a further overlying authority,
as has been suggested, it will be very important that the roles
and responsibilities of each partner are clearly documented and
understood if we are to avoid confusion and duplication.
The local authorities and emergency services
within London have clear role and responsibility guidelines contained
within the London Emergency Services Liaison Panel Manual. Local
authority meetings are regularly held to raise awareness of major
incident issues and joint exercises are often organised. Following
the responsibility for emergency planning moving to the Cabinet
Office and the formation of the Civil Contingencies Committee
is will be important to ensure that these organisations' roles
and responsibilities are also clearly defined and do not hamper
those that are already well tried and tested.
During a protracted response to this type of
incident it may be necessary to request the assistance of staff
or equipment from other local authorities or suppliers to support
us. Whilst most boroughs have local agreements, a database of
available resources and a central co-ordinating organisation may
Following the response to flooding last year
a number of local authorities felt the method of claiming support
finance was over-bureaucratic and slow. At these times of massive
and personal disaster a more straightforward method of obtaining
this finance would be beneficial to the community.
London is currently looking at methods of mass
evacuation in certain geographical areas. This requires very precise
communication methods as does the message allowing the return
of these evacuated. It may be useful if a protocol was established
with local and national radio and television to ensure accurate
messages were relayed in a manner which did not over dramatise
the situation. This would also assist communication with those
who have evacuated internally
The utilities which supply the City of London
have been helpful in attempting to secure their key infrastructure
points and manhold provision against attacks from terrorists or
demonstrators. Many City companies have contingency sites outside
the City and it would be helpful if similar high levels of security
were encouraged or demanded in other districts.
Obviously prevention and/or deterrence is the
best way to avoid the huge cost and stress of dealing with this
type of incident. Regrettably the City of London has been the
subject of two of the largest bombs to be detonated on mainland
Britain in 1992 and 1993. Since that date the City of London Police
have worked tirelessly to prevent a further attack, but they are
hampered by the lack of finance and consequently the reduced number
of officers available to patrol. Increases in police funding may
enable more officers to be employed to patrol the City and prevent
the huge cost and personal tragedy of dealing with the aftermath
of another terrorist attack.
Following the Provisional IRA bombs in the City
of London in 1992 and 1993 the Corporation of London established
a Security and Contingency Planning Group which brought together
the skills of security, business continuity and emergency planning.
The Group, whilst advising the Corporation, also works closely
with the Business City to ensure they are aware of the threat
and providing their own effective business continuity.
The Group also provides a conduit between the
Business City and the Emergency Services to ensure a greater awareness
of each others roles, responsibilities and concerns following
a major incident. Joint exercises are also arranged which has
ensured a high level of awareness and preparedness in the square
Since 1993 we have established greater communication
in the City around contingency planning. This has also assisted
in communicating the progress of animal rights and anti-capitalist
type demonstrations. Our advanced warning pager system is now
used by over 1,500 companies and our security e-mail system covers
over 2,000 people.
Regular meetings are now taking place with the
Bank of England, Financial Services Authority and the Treasury
with the aim of providing specific information to the financial
The Corporation also organises regular meetings
of the `City Emergency Liaison Team'. This includes representatives
of the business community, utilities, transport, emergency services
and the Bank of England. It meets each quarter, or more often
at times of greater threat, to discuss contingency planning issues
and concerns. The meetings are well attended and provide valuable
information to all who attend.
Since the demonstration in the City in June
1998 we have been encouraging providers who use fibre-optic cabling
to ensure their service access manholes are secure from attack
by demonstrators and that they have effective business continuity
plans. As you are aware, fibre optic cabling supplies essential
computer connections enabling City businesses to function. Cabling
companies have responded superbly and provided double locking
to all their manholes.
Many areas of contingency planning are currently
being developed, but I have limited my response to strategic issues
which could be developed at a national level. I hope the information
provided is clear and useful. If I can assist further place do
not hesitate to contact me.