Meet Crowdguard’s new Counter Terrorism & Risk Director
Here at Crowdguard we offer a wide array of temporary, semi-permanent and permanent HVM and perimeter protection solutions, but we are much more than a supplier of kit: we are a turnkey partner that combines risk assessment with specification and deployment. Our new Counter Terrorism and Risk Director, Russ Phillips, has an enviable track record of event security, risk assessment and counter terrorism security strategies. Here we talk to him about his experience and the reasons why he has chosen to join Crowdguard.
How did your career in counter terrorism begin?
I was a police officer with Sussex Police, which was the force responsible for managing the National Barrier Asset; a resource of hostile vehicle mitigation equipment and perimeter protection that was deployed to protect events of local, regional and national importance. I was assigned to this specialist unit, which was also responsible for assessing risk and advising on hostile vehicle security.
How did it progress from there?
I worked for several years as a counter terrorism security coordinator (CT Secco), which involved assessing risk and advising on appropriate tactics to police gold commanders. After the London terror attacks in 2017, when the National Barrier Asset was moved across to NCTPHQ (National Counter Terrorism Police HQ) in London, I was seconded to Nactso (National Counter Terrorism Security Office). I remained there for five years as part of the National Vehicle Threat Mitigation Unit, until I left the Police in 2022 to set up my own consultancy business, carrying out threat vulnerability and risk assessments (TVRA) and vehicle dynamics assessments (VDA), advising clients on their hostile vehicle security strategies, and training security professionals.
Did you need much training for those roles?
In addition to my police training, I have completed a number of courses. It’s important that the people I’m advising know that they can trust me to provide guidance based on the most up to date knowledge and substantial experience. I have a Level 6 qualification in event counter terrorism risk management from the University of Cumbria and have completed NPSA (National Protective Security Authority) courses in hostile vehicle mitigation and vehicle dynamics assessments (VDA).
What other credentials do you bring to Crowdguard?
I’m a member of the Security Institute, and I also wrote the counter terrorism chapter in the Purple Guide, which was published recently. It’s an international handbook that is widely respected as a best practice guide around the world, so I was very honoured to be asked to write that chapter.
What have been the highlights of your career so far?
There are many too many to mention, but it was a privilege to be involved in the security for the late Queen’s funeral, and to protect so many world leaders at COP 26.
How do you think Martyn’s law will change the events industry?
Martyn’s Law needs to be seen as an opportunity rather than an obligation – it’s all about understanding the potential threat and taking proportionate steps to mitigate risk, while considering operational and commercial factors. That’s why Crowdguard’s PLAN, PROVIDE, PROTECT model works so well – it takes a joined up and tailored approach to keeping people safer.
What made you decide to join Crowdguard?
I am passionate about what I do and I will only work in an environment where the main priority is providing the right advice and the best solution, rather than simply offering the most profitable response. Crowdguard shares that integrity, and within a relatively short period of time the company has gone from being a start-up to a leader in the sector because the team cares about helping customers make the right choices.
What does the future hold for you at Crowdguard?
It’s certainly going to be busy! Crowdguard works nationally across a wide array of sectors, from helping local authorities to secure public spaces, through to working with sports venues on Zone Ex and fan zone environments, and with event companies for festivals, parades, markets….you name it! As my new job title suggests, I will lead on risk assessment and mitigation strategies, working with the other Crowdguard directors to continue growing the business and supporting clients across all sectors with a response to their requirements that is both proportionate and effective.