Security Knowledge Hub

Postal Threat Assessments

Postal threat assessment

Do you need a post and delivery threat assessment?

 

Physical security is extremely important to a business and you may already have key cards, restricted areas, CCTV, or use security guards in place, however you should never overlook your incoming mail/delivery processes; regardless of the size of your business.

If you are responsible for your business or organisation’s security and have found this article following an incident or if you are reviewing your existing security procedures, then we have written this article for you.

Why we offer a threat assessment

Prior to procuring an X-Ray machine or replacing existing equipment we recommend an onsite threat assessment visit. We produce a confidential report and visit your premises to get the best understanding of your organisation’s current incoming mail/delivery processes.

With this information we aim to show you how to combat any potential postal threats and protect your staff and premises by detecting concealed threats.

Threats include chemical/biological agents in powder and liquid form, explosive or flammable items designed to inflict physical and/or psychological harm. This can sound very scary, but with the right training and equipment even the most basic mailroom security can effectively protect your staff, premises and assets.

To assist with choosing the right plan for your business, this invaluable report will help to identify improvements and ensure compliance with best practice.

Within our visit we will assist with:

  • Understanding the UK’s threat level and understanding the implications on your business.
  • Assessing the current risk to your business, site and staff.
  • Understanding incoming mail volumes and types of mail.
  • Questioning the processes/procedures currently in place for incoming mail, deliveries, bags and personnel.
  • Training requirements - Do your staff know what to look for? Is their training adequate and up to date?  
  • Action plans – Are your plans current and in line with local rules?
  • How to record incidents.

If you are looking to implement X-Ray equipment we cover:

  • How many users of equipment would there be?  
  • Is the proposed positioning of a machine the correct place?
  • Logistics of placement, installation and ensuring it’s a workable space.

If you are already using X-Ray security equipment then we will also cover:

  • Maintenance – is it up to date and does it meet IRR17 requirements?
  • Radiation Protection Supervisors (RPS).
  • Radiation Protection Advisor (RPA).
  • Registration with the HSE.
  • Detection capabilities of powders and liquids.
  • What containment products are in use.

 

Your Threat Assessment Report

 

The UK’s threat level and understanding the implications on your business

Threat levels are designed to give an indication of the likelihood of a terrorist attack. They are based on the assessment of a range of factors including current intelligence, recent events and what is known about terrorist intentions and capabilities.

LOW - an attack is highly unlikely
MODERATE - an attack is possible, but not likely
SUBSTANTIAL - an attack is likely
SEVERE - an attack is highly likely
CRITICAL - an attack is highly likely in the near future.

Learn more about the Current national threat level

 

Assessing the current risk to the business, site and staff

As part of managing the health and safety of your business you must control the risks in your workplace. To do this you need to think about what might cause harm to people and decide whether you are taking reasonable steps to prevent that harm.

 

Understanding incoming mail volumes and types of mail

It is popular belief that Royal Mail and courier companies screen mail prior to delivering to your site. This is not the case, there are paid services available that offer off site screening, but this can be very restrictive for any business; due to costs, slow receipt of post (important documents received late) lost post and issues with chain of delivery. Many organisations find the most effective way to ensure all post and all deliveries are received in a timely manner is to screen them yourself.

 

Are you doing enough to ensure all incoming items are safe?

When we visit to do a Threat Assessment, many people find that it has been a very long time since they have audited their incoming post and are quite shocked by the number of deliveries per day, the types of mail received, how mail is distributed around the building and where it is stored.

The other consideration is the frequency, volume and variation of personal deliveries being handled which have implications when trying to locate the intended recipient of an item as part of the screening process.

Other implications include items being carried in and out of your premises. The use of X-Ray cabinet scanners and conveyor scanners can be an extremely effective way of screening bags and luggage as they enter your premises, and for detecting theft from your premises.

 

Training requirements, is training up to date?

What training do the post room staff have? And is that training up to date? If there has been a high staff turn-over since the last training session or if training has not been completed recently then are they aware of the potential dangers. Your post room staff are the front line, so keeping their training up to date is crucial.

Where required, our Safe and Suspect courses are available for singular members of staff or for groups.

Do all staff know what to look for when receiving post?
Who in your building accepts post and deliveries? Does some of it arrive via your post room or goods in and some at reception? And would these members of staff know to look for grease marks, visible wiring and tin foil, excessive wrapping; or if it feels heavy for its size and has an unusual odour?

 

Action plans and recording incidents

Do you have an incident book? Do staff know who to contact in the event of an unsafe item being received? During a Threat Assessment we can assist with creating Local Rules, a list of procedures to follow in the event of an incident.

Any new X-Ray security device should come equipped with the ability to email images directly from the device; and can be invaluable when reporting a suspicious package as the operator can ask for a second opinion without bringing more staff into a potentially dangerous environment.


Assessment when implementing X-Ray Security

 

With the right support, implementing X-Ray screening for post and deliveries is effective, affordable and simple. If you are looking to implement X-Ray equipment you may also find our frequently asked questions useful.

 

How many users of equipment would there be?

Will it just be your mailroom team using the equipment, and do you want everyone in the team trained or just senior members of staff? Using the equipment is intuitive, but training is very important for identifying potential threats and knowing what to do if a threat is discovered. The assessment helps you to answer these questions and provides advice.

 

Where should the equipment be placed?

If a device is not already in situ, when we visit and carry out a Threat Assessment we look at potential places for the installation of equipment. Our advice is that an X-Ray unit should be installed as close to the entrance of the building as possible, so that items are not taken into the heart of the building before being screened.

Obviously, we would not recommend placement in a main pedestrian walkway or near any highly populated areas. If an evacuation needs to take place, then the route for exiting need to be away from the potential danger; could the police access this location with minimal disruption.

Other considerations for placement of a postal security X-Ray system is the location of your organisation’s utilities, data and communications.  

 

IRR17 requirements and Radiation supervisors

In 2017 the Ionizing Radiation requirements changed and now any site in the UK using X-Ray screening equipment should have an onsite Radiation Protection Supervisor, and an external Radiation Protection Advisor. We offer courses for this and can make recommendations to ensure you meet these requirements.

 

Maintenance and registration with the HSE

X-Ray security equipment requires maintenance cover and bi-annual visits to ensure the safety and effectiveness of your equipment. If you want to switch to a new supplier for maintenance, then during a visit we would be able to inspect the equipment to ascertain the condition, conformity with HSE requirements.

 

Do you have containment products on site?

We offer a range of containment products that enhance the staff and site security should a threat be discovered. During a Threat Assessment we will make recommendations for suitable products and where best to situate these products.

 

Logistics of placement, installation and ensuring it’s a workable space.

Depending on your requirements, an X-Ray security conveyor scanner can be very large and very heavy. Having space to work is very important when operating a conveyor scanner as you need to ensure each side of the tunnel is accessible. Retractable X-Ray Conveyors are an alternative, and are an effective solution where space is at a premium.

A key part of an onsite Threat Assessment covers not only the type of equipment required, but will also anticipate the logistics of installation. Are doorways big enough to get equipment in? And is the proposed location big enough to work all areas of the machine?

A Cabinet X-Ray Scanner is much smaller however we still cover delivery restrictions, and any access difficulties such as stairs.


Summary

Our equipment is used by a wide variety of organisations and even private individuals. The locations that our equipment is used in is just as varied, so our experience ensures that we can provide you with the best information to make implementing a new security device easy and cost effective.

If you would like to arrange a Threat Assessment or have any questions about your organisation’s security then please contact us on 01322 288890. We are happy to book onsite meetings or where applicable we can do online.

 

Threat Assessment officerLindsey Mepstead
Senior Threat Assessment Officer

 

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