Case Study: Leading Australian University
In September 2020, a leading Australian University engaged the services of First 5 Minutes to conduct a Security Review and Risk Assessment for their campuses. The review has been completed as part of a comprehensive analysis of the university’s security posture across all its currently operating campuses.
- Challenge: An Australian university needed a Security Review and Risk Assessment for their campuses, from a service provider who held the appropriate licences to do so in Australia.
- Solution: First 5 Minutes provides Risk & Threat Preparedness services tailored to each individual site, and holds the appropriate licences to provide Security Reviews and Risk Assessments in Australia.
- Result: The client benefits as gaps are identified at their campuses’ current security operations and recommendations are provided to be considered and implementations to fill in these crucial gaps.
The client is an Australian University which is impacted by relatively high levels of crime against property and people. All sites are bordered by high-density commercial buildings, with one of the sites being a shared occupancy.
There are improvements to policy, procedure and hardware that should be considered for implementation to further diminish the likelihood and possible consequences of serious crimes against the facility’s communities at the sites.
Risk & Threat Preparedness A Growing Concern
The threat and security environment has changed substantially, not specifically to the respective campuses for the client, but within Australia. In September 2014, the Australian Government raised the National Terrorist Threat Advisory Level from medium to high. In November 2015, this system was revised again to incorporate a 5-tier classification system, which is currently sitting at ‘Probable’. This indicates that Australian intelligence agencies have identified that elements exist within our borders that have both the intent and capability to conduct a terrorist attack in Australia.
Whether politically motivated or not, the risk overall has escalated due to increased criminal activity, mental illness, or active threat (terrorist-related or otherwise). Three terror attacks, which if executed, would have had catastrophic consequences, have been prevented in Melbourne over the last three to five years. In the same period, two hostile vehicle attacks have also occurred in Melbourne. While universities were not targeted in any of the aforementioned, the risk cannot be ignored when reviewing the current physical layout of the facilities.
Historically in Victoria we have had a number of Active Threat incidents over the last few decades at universities including:
- 1999 Latrobe University Shooting
- 2002 Monash University Shooting
- 2007 Latrobe University Stabbing
- 2021 Toy Gun produced at Swinburne University
Risk Assessment & Recommendations
First 5 Minutes developed a report covering key distinct security and risk concerns broken down with relevant visuals to provide easy to understand recommendations that applied to multiple areas of the University campuses.
The assessment covered the following areas:
- Physical security
- CCTV surveillance
- Electronic security
- Staff security
- Conflict resolution systems
- Entrance points
- Access control
- Key control
- Cyber security
- Safe rooms
- Emergency response procedures
- Security management plan
- Threat environment
- Active threat preparation & prevention
- Bomb threat management
- Threats to property
- Risk identification
- Risk treatment process
- SRA’s of off-site car parks
By breaking down each section into actionable chunks, the client was able to tackle each appropriately to ensure the security of their occupants.
A Streamlined Approach
From the outset, First 5 Minutes worked closely with the client to meet its unique property requirements and provided tailored solutions designed to meet diverse workplace needs:
- Open communication: First 5 Minutes immediately established an open communicative relationship with the client’s board of directors and other high level staff. They became known for their swift response times and ability to react to any changes quickly and professionally.
- Regular updates: The client and First 5 Minutes keep on top of the unique requirements in monthly meetings, where they review activities, look at training conducted in the last month and highlight new sites requiring training and evacuation plans. These regular status meetings are essential for First 5 Minutes to execute a smooth rollout of services when sites are added or removed from the portfolio.
- Easy reporting: The client also has a growing need for compliance visibility and reporting, especially with the heightening awareness of security threats. Its clients demand real live reporting – something First 5 Minutes is able to provide through its online portal. The client can log into the portal 24 hours a day, seven days a week for a comprehensive real-time view of evacuation documentation and training. This gives the client everything they need to report to their stakeholders on compliance.
This assessment found that the overall operational security of the University campuses in relation to protecting property and assets to be of a reasonable standard. However, the current national terrorist threat advisory level means that the existing security profile of the sites can be improved to afford greater protection of staff and students.