Official letter of Prof. George Popper – President of IBSSA

 to the IBSSA members and associated organisations in connection with acts of terrorism

The world was shocked by the terror acts happened in Norway on the 23rd July 2011, which had around 80 adults and children innocent victims.

Nearly 10 years passed since the tragic terrorist attacks on the 11th September 2001 that changed the world. After the terror acts in New York increased security requirements have been introduced worldwide, practical application of solutions for prevention and averting terrorist attacks was significantly increased.

The IBSSA, the determining international organization of the civil security sector has also made remarkable progress particularly in the field of educating security professionals, integrating the accentuated training of terror threat-related information and actions into the syllabus.

Over the past 10 years we have seen that immediately after the occurrence of acts of terrorism the safety regulations were stiffened everywhere and observance of these rules were taken seriously and checked. Then after some time the rules were eased up significantly. The most visible manifestation of this is the system of airport security checks worldwide!

In respect of terrorist acts it is known that among the highly endangered and target countries we find the United States of America, Israel, the United Kingdom, France, Iraq, Afghanistan and, unfortunately, an even longer list of countries. However, a number of competent leaders of numerous countries try to reassure their citizens that their country does not belong to the terror-prone countries, this includes Hungary and till 23rd July 2011 Norway too!

In recent years, many experts dealt with the examination and characteristics of terrorism as a phenomenon, since this is one of the prerequisites of successful prevention.
It is a known fact that among the primary causes and motivations of terrorism are the political, religious fanaticism, racism and mental illness!
The Norwegian tragedy reminds us all that the terrorist threat exists in every moment and can occur anywhere in the world. Perfect prevention and protection does not exist, but a lot can be and have to be done for preventing the danger and interfering the terrorist acts!

It is obvious that installing modern security equipment, and extension of more complete control in space and time can contribute significantly to reduce the risk and filter out such attempts – and this is principally cost issue! The other important factor is man himself, since all equipment are treated by people, they perceive the signs, and successful intervention can depend on their quick, precise and correct actions!

We have also more to do with the training of professionals – employed in the security field!

I think that our professional tasks apply to the following main areas:

1. The continuous training of employees in the security field for identifying terror-suspect phenomena, behaviour, etc.. and for taking the necessary correct measures in such cases.

2. If a terror act set off – preparing for the behaviour and reactions appropriate to the situation. (This includes the necessary situational exercises too.)

3. Intensifying the training of the population – using the school education and opportunities of the media – to what to do and what is the appropriate behaviour for civilians during and after the terror actions!

4. The so-called “Partnership” program is highly appreciated, that is the cooperation among the official law enforcement, the other law enforcement agencies and the civil security sphere, which are strongly related to organisations of disaster relief, first aid and fire fighting in close contact.

We know that in point of their impact terrorism and natural disasters are very similar, the crucial difference lies in the fact that root cause of natural disasters is independent of human factors. However, in both incidents there are early warning signs that if detected in time and without loss of time the appropriate measures are taken – the damage and losses caused by the disaster can be mitigated, moreover the terrorist attack can be possibly thwarted!

Many examples show that in several cases the suspected terrorist acts were although predicted, the authorities did not show sufficient attention to the signals, and unfortunately the situation has arisen! Same way, in some cases the predicted disasters have not been started in time for evacuation, or not taken seriously enough the task, and it has not been implemented in a professional and disciplined way!

Dear IBSSA members, dear leaders and colleagues of associated state and non-governmental organizations,

with the above thoughts I wish to draw your attention that much has to be done in order to live in peace and without fear with our families and children in our rapidly changing world full of dangers, even if we choose a village, a small town or a metropolis. We can safely let our children go to the cinema or to other venues, that we can safely go to shopping centres, sit on an air-plane, or train, or boat, etc..

Please think it over in the spirit of the above-described what needs to be changed or improved in your own area, what new methods have to be introduces and applied, what equipment are need to be installed and used in order to adapt to the present circumstances. But more importantly, to make the collaboration among our organisations much closer and more frequent!

It is vital and urgent to elaborate and operate the everyday mechanism of this cooperation. This is clearly a state responsibility, for which only government agencies have powers around the world!

We, the representatives of the civil security sector hereby declare again that we are ready to fully cooperate and perform the duties entrusted to us, according to our best knowledge and conscience!

Budapest, 25th July 2011

Prof. George Popper
President of IBSSA