Russ Phillips joins Crowdguard as Counter Terrorism and Risk Director

Crowdguard, the specialist in delivering a turnkey approach to hostile vehicle mitigation (HVM) and perimeter protection, has appointed Russ Phillips as counter terrorism and risk director, bringing more than 18 years’ counter terrorism and risk mitigation experience into the team.

A strategic appointment, designed to bring Crowdguard’s Plan-Provide-Protect event security model in-house, Russ’s new role will involve working with event organisers, venues and those responsible for the public realm to help them understand their risk factors and advise them on risk mitigation measures. Bringing expertise in threat, vulnerability and risk assessment (TVRA) and vehicle dynamics assessment (VDA) to the team, Russ will work alongside fellow directors, Deborah Ainscough and Iain Moran, to provide a proportionate approach to event security that considers risk, operational factors and budget.

With 30 years’ experience in the police, Russ was instrumental in managing the National Barrier Asset at Sussex Police; a specialist unit advising on hostile vehicle mitigation and event security,  and deploying HVM and perimeter protection at events of local, national, and international importance.

Following the 2017 terror attacks in London, the National Barrier Asset was moved across to NCTPHQ (National Counter Terrorism Police HQ) in London and Russ was seconded to Nactso (National Counter Terrorism Security Office) for the last five years of his policing career, as part of the National Vehicle Threat Mitigation Unit. His experience of risk assessment, risk mitigation strategy and HVM deployment encompasses a wide range of major events, including sports championships such as the 2021 FIFA Euros championships and the 2022 Commonwealth Games, various international summits such as G7 and COP26, political party conferences, and royal events, including the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and the funeral of her Majesty the Queen.

Russ’s experience with the police also includes working for several years as a counter terrorism security coordinator (CT Secco), which involved assessing risk and advising on appropriate tactics to police gold commanders. A member of the Security Institute, he has a Level 6 qualification in event counter terrorism risk management from the University of Cumbria and has completed NPSA (National Protective Security Authority) courses in hostile vehicle mitigation and vehicle dynamics assessments (VDA). He is also the author of the recently published counter terrorism chapter in the Purple Guide; an international handbook that is widely respected as a best practice guide around the world.

The appointment of Crowdguard’s first counter terrorism and risk director comes at a pivotal time in the company’s development. The business now has partnerships in place with market leading HVM and perimeter protection providers, including ATG Access, Unafor, Highway Care, ARX Security, Safetyflex Barriers, and CLD Fencing, and is working with clients across the public sector, sports and events industries to help them devise and implement security strategies and prepare for Martyn’s Law.

Russ comments: “As venues, event organisers and local authorities look ahead to what their risk management and security obligations might be when Martyn’s Law is in place, it’s vital that the process of protecting people begins with expert risk assessment. HVM protection needs to be based on a clear understanding of risk and a pragmatic approach to ensuring it is mitigated aligned to operational and commercial considerations. That takes experience, and I am delighted to be combining my experience with the expertise already within the team at Crowdguard. The company provides a true one-stop shop that includes planning, providing the right equipment, and protecting people and assets.”

Founder and director of Crowdguard, Deborah Ainscough adds: “We have worked with Russ as a consultant for some time and his expertise in this field, along with his understanding of operational considerations, means that he can be relied upon to provide practical guidance in mitigating risk, without threatening the viability of an event.

“We are delighted to welcome him on board as a director at Crowdguard as we continue to develop supply chain partnerships with the sector’s key suppliers, enabling us to offer clients a tailored solution to help them mitigate risk with an appropriate and proportionate response.”

Russ Phillips

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