The G7 summit scarcely needs introduction; the annual meeting of the G7 (Group of 7) leaders is an internationally recognised event, attracting global media coverage. The 2021 summit hosted by the UK government, was attended by leaders from the world’s seven largest advanced economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and the United States, in addition to representatives from the European Union, India, South Korea and Australia.
Responsibility for delivering the event fell to the government department charged with protecting British interests – The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), for whom Atalian Servest has delivered security services since March 2016.
“I just wanted to add my own personal thanks to all of the teams, especially Evans at the PSS (People Search Site) and Gary Corben at Venue 2 (Tregenna Castle) – where I spent most of my time. Both of them were very focussed and on top of things and dealt with any issues effectively. They were both supported well by their supervisors who l could see were experienced and effective operators also. The operatives based at the PSS lanes, were polite and courteous as well as helpful and proactive. Many thanks again and looking forward to doing it all over again at COP26.” Sue Hewer, FCOD Major Events Team
Scope of works
Following a competitive tender process, Atalian Servest was awarded the contract to provide security for the G7 event (and the subsequent global climate change conference COP26 in Glasgow) in February 2021.
The G7 summit was held in Carbis Bay, St Ives Cornwall from the 11th-13th of June 2021, starting with a dinner at the Eden Project, attended by world leaders, the Queen and members of the Royal Family. Atalian Servest were required to provide security throughout the event, at the two main venue hotels, Newquay Airport, a Media Centre, personal search site (PSS) and a remote vehicle search site (RVSS).
The contract and service provisions covered the pre-build stage, the duration of the summit and a parallel State Event hosted at the Eden Project. At peak, Atalian Servest successfully deployed a total of 748 security officers across all venues, with a dedicated contingency force of a further 120 officers. Roles included Venue Commanders, Deputy Managers, Supervisors, Scanning & Searching Officers, Static Guarding, Patrol Officers, CCTV Operators and Rapid Reaction Officers. In addition to having a large, fully trained security workforce, the latest security systems and technology were also deployed, including but was not limited to the following:
- 18 x baggage X-ray machines
- 18 x Archway metal detectors
- 3 x Evolv Edge machines
- 246 x perimeter intrusion detection systems
- 2 x mobile control vehicles
- 24 x CCTV towers with thermal imaging capabilities
Working in partnership with Devon & Cornwall Police, Atalian Servest Security Officers were stationed along all public access routes and outer security perimeter zones. Officers protected various access points surrounding each venue and were alert to any suspicious or potential unauthorised protestor activity. They were also briefed on how to engage with members of the public in a polite and friendly manner, ensuring the safety and comfort of local residents.
Stop and search
Due to the enhanced security requirements, the stop and search process was critical. Deploying highly sophisticated Evolv Edge machines, the first purpose-built system to screen people for mass casualty threats, significantly enhanced the efficacy of this process.
With the ability to scan 600-800 people per hour, the machines processed visitors swiftly and efficiently, mitigating the risk posed by large groups of people massing together. As an added benefit, the automated system provides colour coded results indicating specific threats. Additional search lanes were in place at a further four venues. Officers carried out Home Office accreditation and screening checks, and bag searches on all delegates before directing them to dedicated, COVID-19 secure transport to the main venues.
CCTV and remote monitoring
Atalian Servest deployed 246 Perimeter Intrusion Detection (PID) systems in total, an armoured, portable and visually verified alarm system. If triggered, an instant alarm notification was generated with video footage and location details, allowing for our rapid response teams and officers to react immediately. Atalian Servest security engineers also installed 24 CCTV towers, equipped with thermal imaging technology to support 24/7 surveillance (night and day). We also deployed two mobile rapid response vehicles to monitor cameras, supported by operators in our dedicated off-site control room for added resilience.
Challenges and solutions
Disruption to local communities
To minimise disruption to local communities, particularly in the Carbis Bay area, Atalian Servest supported the police and FCDO in local resident pre-engagement activities, addressing any concerns raised by community members. For example, Gary Corben, Atalian Servest Security Supervisor and Venue Commander at Tregenna Castle, engaged with a local school located adjacent to the castle, ensuring the Head Teacher, staff, students and parents felt safe, secure and confident throughout the summit. So successful was this activity that, several local businesses reached out to offer support, with one allowing Atalian Servest and the Police to use their property as one of many security welfare hubs.
As officers were spread out across seven locations, it was of imperative Atalian Servest ensured there was access to welfare facilities for all officers, at all times. To meet this, Atalian Servest and supply-chain partners established a transport network, built accommodation facilities, installed toilet and shower blocks, ensured officers had access to hot and cold running water, and provided a catering service accommodating dietary choices, cultural and religious requirements. Officers were all given regular breaks, 3 meals a day, water, sun cream and other essential amenities.
The risk of a COVID-19 outbreak was increased by the fact delegates had travelled from all over the world to attend. To minimise the risk of officers transmitting the virus, all officers were required to take a COVID-19 Lateral Flow Test (LFT) test one week, 3 days and the day prior to their arrival in Cornwall.
Thereafter, they had to complete an LFT every morning, and provide proof of a negative test prior to starting work. Atalian Servest also provided separate accommodation in the event an officer tested positive and was required to self-isolate. Contingency planning included plans to mitigate the impact of a widespread COVID-19 outbreak. Within the accommodation villages, daily cleaning and waste management systems, including recycling waste streams, ensured high standards of cleanliness and mitigated the risk of COVID-19 transmission. COVID-19 compliance was also incorporated in the camp lay-outs, utilising one-way systems to minimise contact, and installing automated sanitising stations throughout.
The remote location and limited infrastructure in the area created significant challenges in terms of recruitment, accommodation and transportation. To successfully meet the client’s sustainability requirements, including for the summit to be carbon neutral and sustainable, Atalian Servest worked in partnership with local supply chain partners where possible.
This included two of Cornwall’s largest ACS registered security agencies; Aventail and Coast 2 Coast. The use of local firms reduced travel times, provided local employment opportunities and retained the economic benefits of the contract in the local area. FSI Worldwide and SGC Security also provided further support to Atalian Servest, as long-term partners, they both played an integral part in the combined workforce efforts.
Recognising the need to provide accommodation, Atalian Servest appointed a specialist Logistics Manager, Simon Bramwell. It was his remit to source and build two standalone accommodation villages, within a limited timeframe. Simon’s appointment was pivotal to the success of the project. He successfully managed the construction of both villages; Trink Farm (St Ives) housing 380 officers, and Falmouth Rugby Club accommodating a further 80. Construction involved the installation of portable generator units, 230 Bunkabin two berth cabins, laying fresh ground surface, and designing and installing a grey water system, optimising the use of recyclable materials. Toilet and shower blocks, hot and cold running water, heating and a full catering service, offering three meals a day were also provided.
Engaging with stakeholders
Prior to the build phase, Atalian Servest engaged with Cornwall Council and local stakeholders, to ensure everyone was aware of what we were doing, and why. We carried out research into health and safety requirements and fire prevention protocols, implementing detailed policies and procedures to support these. This included engaging with local emergency services to ensure compliance with UK Government regulations.
Establishing a transport network
Trink Farm was approximately 2.5 miles from the main G7 venues, and Falmouth Rugby Club 1.1 miles from the Media Centre. To ensure officers were dropped off in time for shift handover procedures, and then collected afterwards, an extensive transport network was created to mitigate any issues arising. All officers were issued with crib cards, detailing drop off and pick up zones and times.
- Recording & escalation of incident reports
- Action Counter Terrorism (ACT)
- Trespasser removal techniques
- Equality & diversity
- Supplier sustainability
Atalian Servest’s operational management and Learning & Development teams delivered in-person training to all 748 security officers on the 5th and 6th June, prior to the summit starting. In addition to an event briefing and overview, they also delivered a number of training modules bespoke to G7. The delivery of pre-deployment training provided officers with a solid knowledge base, allowing in-person trainers to focus on modules requiring face-to-face delivery. This included the following:
- Suspicious packages
- Edge detection machines and handheld metal detectors
- Badge scanning app
Although training was delivered prior to the summit starting, Regional Operations Manager Stuart Beards and L&D Security Trainer Sheikh Waziri stayed on-site throughout, supporting delivery of ad-hoc refresher training, and providing further clarification as and when required.
Prime Minister and G7 Host Boris Johnson personally thanked Atalian Servest’s security management team for keeping the world leaders in attendance, delegates and the public safe during the G7 summit. To receive this vote of thanks was testament to Atalian Servest’s proven ability to deliver an outstanding security events package, one that successfully stands up to international scrutiny. In spite of the summit being subject to widespread protests over the course of the 3 days led by umbrella group Resist G7 Coalition, arrests were minimal and no major security breaches were recorded.