The Security Conundrum for Every Port

An Interview with Martin Clark, Head of Security, Associated British Ports.

The Security Conundrum for Every Port – Balancing Security Compliance and Facilitation

Q: Martin, you’ll be giving a presentation at Transport Security Expo. Can you tell us something about what you will be saying?

A: The title of my presentation is “The Security Conundrum for Every Port – Balancing Security Compliance and Facilitation” and I’ll be covering three areas. First, the customer experience where I’ll be focusing on the passenger side of our business and how we balance their expectations about the start of their holiday with requirements from the Department for Transport (DfT) to screen people entering restricted areas before they board the cruise ship.

Second, I’ll be considering the requests made to us by the control authorities – including the police, border force and national crime agency – to assist them with their law enforcement, crime detection and crime investigation activities.  How do we balance those requests with our own responsibilities to safeguard the personal data we hold on our employees, our contractors and our customers?

Then in the third part, I’ll be looking at finding a balance with the Corporate Communications department, whose role is to promote ABP as a business, and the importance of not divulging our security arrangements.

Q: Are you able to expand on your role within Associated British Ports?

A: My original role, as Group Security Manager, was focused on compliance with DfT requirements under the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code and on co-ordinating the activities of our Port Facility Security Officers in the regions. But the role has developed and we’ve now amalgamated cyber, personnel and physical security into one department which I’m responsible for as Head of Security.

So the role still very much supports the PFSOs in their mandatory regulated functions but we take a holistic view of security and how we protect the business. For that reason, we also have strong links with the business resilience team that was created following the floods in December 2013.

Q: Does ABP have a relationship with all of the UK’s ports?

A: ABP owns 21 ports across the UK, but there are in total some 400 port facilities in the UK. Many of those UK ports are subject to the ISPS Code which, depending on the scale of the facility and the nature of its business, requires them to maintain a certain level of security. And recent legislation has mandated the creation of port security authorities that bring together a number of port facilities in a particular geographical area. For example, I’m the Chair and Port Security Officer for the largest authority that ABP is involved in which is on the Humber and has 21 members.

These authorities are bringing together ports which are potentially commercial competitors but because they are operating on the same body of water, they are now required to work together to ensure the security of all of those facilities and the waterways that connect them.

I also represent ABP as a member of the National Maritime Security Committee (Industry) which works with the sector leaders and regulators to monitor and adapt the counter measures required to meet the ever changing threat.  One of the ways in which we do that is participation in the Department for Transport-led Risk Assessment Matrix workshop and as a member of the Port Security Working Group, all sub-groups of the NMSC(I) tasked with specific work streams.

Q: So how has the development of Government strategy towards port security affected your role?

A: Following 9/11, the initial response was the development of the ISPS Code. Written by the International Maritime Organisation, it was issued as an addendum to SOLAS, the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, and was enacted in the UK in 2004. The Code covers a number of critical areas, including search regimes, physical barriers and methods of monitoring and verifying both people and cargo entering a restricted area.

Then in 2009, the Government ratified a European Directive which extended the requirements of the original Code to include the wider port area. Initially the ISPS code was primarily concerned with the ship-to-shore interface but today, with the creation of the new port authorities which I mentioned earlier, the focus is on bringing a more holistic approach to port security and a more consistent application of security measures.

More recently the UK Maritime Security Strategy recognises the importance of maritime cyber security and both Government and industry are working together to develop clear and practical guidance to business as to how they can best protect themselves.  ABP has been working with several Government agencies over the past 18 months to help them understand the UK maritime domain and the impact to the supply chain a successful cyber-attack could bring.

Q: What can you tell me about new technologies being installed in UK ports? Will this be a particular area of interest for you at Transport Security Expo?

A: Certainly. Part of my reason for going to the Expo is to understand some of the new technologies that are available. I have recently been talking to people in the aviation sector where some of the latest technologies have already been deployed.  One of the great benefits of Transport Security Expo is the opportunity to see what technologies are being used in other industries. We can’t afford to rely solely on what our business partners and competitors in the maritime and ports industry are doing.

Q:  Are there any other reasons why you have decided to get involved with Transport Security Expo this year?

A: It’s a show I have attended previously in my former career as a Counter Terrorism Security Adviser with Humberside Police and I greatly valued the information I gained from those previous visits. But there is a further reason.

ABP takes compliance very seriously and we take the view that the safety and security of port users and the environment they operate in is key to how we deliver our business. In order to make that happen, it’s vitally important that I engage not just with the regulators but also with other industry stakeholders and with experts from across the security spectrum. In my experience, the best place to do that is at events like Transport Security Expo.

Martin Clark will be speaking at Transport Security Expo:
The Security Conundrum for Every Port – Balancing Security Compliance and Facilitation

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