Business or travels to Baghdad - what applies?

November 12, 2019

“The security situation in Baghdad city, as at November 2019, is assessed as highly volatile in light of continuing demonstrations and widespread civil unrest in the city. Due to current tensions, careful planning and coordination is advised when transiting in the city. However, this latest protest wave represents a deviation from security trends seen in Baghdad in recent years which have been characterised by an overall decline in large-scale violence.”

That is part of the summary in one of the situation reports that we provide to a number of clients with ongoing business in Baghad or with staff travelling to the city. The situation report covers the following subjects:

  • Threat Matrix
  • Situation overview
  • 2019 demonstrations
  • Context
  • Key Actors
  • Outlook
  • Locations
  • Tactics and procedures
  • Current threats
  • Assessment and recommendations

We enhance the overall safety for our clients’ business and their staff travelling to Bagdad. Want to learn more? Contact us at info@vespergroup.se


Renewed certifications for Vesper

November 1, 2019

Being a provider of security services in high-risk environments is a big responsibility. Part of our quality assurance work is commiting to and working in accordance with the principles of International Human Rights and Humanitarian law. During the summer Vesper Group was reviewed by MSS Global and we are proud to have been re-certified.

The comprehensive review showed that Vespers Group's management system is compliant with the demands of ISO 9001, ISO 18788 and PSC.1. These certificates are a part of our commitment to live and work in accordance with the best practice of the security industry and to contribute to development and promotion of the standards. It also shows that we are serious actors who acts responsibly in the contexts where we operate as wells as towards our clients.

We have high standards when it comes to compliance, ethics and performance. Vesper Group is a member of International Code of Conduct Association, ICoCA, who oversees the private security services. We are also members of Security in Complex Environments Group, SCEG, a British special interest group that gathers companies that are well regulated, compliant and have embraced international security standards with human rights issues at the core of their business models.


Vesper Group's certificates.


15 years within the CIA, following the money

October 24, 2019

The topic of Vesper Group's autumn mingle was financial fraud and money laundering. Keynote speaker was Jeremy Mears, with 15 years of AML experience from the CIA, who provided a snapshot of the enormous global problems affecting both banks and businesses.

Mears talked about his work using the so-called "follow the money"-method, which involved everything from tracking down war criminals to intelligence gathering and analysis before imposing sanctions.

Efforts to combat crime are currently ongoing around the world, however loopholes continue to exist, and the creativity, incentives and capability of criminals remains significant. Unfortunately, the ability to fight back or prevent crime is not yet strong enough within the judiciary or amongst lawmakers, Mears said.

Mears, who is currently Vice President of the company Sovereign, also talked about new methods to combat money laundering. He highlighted the problem of increasing compliance costs for banks and financial institutions, as regulations and legislation place higher demands on preventing money laundering linked to international crime, terrorism and "rogue states".

Mears believed that one of the solutions of the future is artificial intelligence, AI, where it is possible to process large amounts of data and discover patterns that can lead to the detection of criminal transactions, while reducing the banks’ costs.

He pointed out that one can get to know the customer using AI by, for example, combining thorough background checks with AI interpretation of everything from emojis, syntax, dialogue style, slang and sarcasm. All in order to prevent the wrong customer from entering the system.

Since 2008 regulators have fined financial firms more than $28 billion for AML and sanctions violations, according to Mears.


Mr. Jeremy Mears, Vice President at Sovereign Intelligence


Vesper Group committed to preventing sexual exploitation and abuse

June 17, 2019

Vesper Group was one of the first security companies to become certified by the International Code of Conduct Assocation, ICoCA. The association governs and oversees the implementation of the Code of Conduct and promotes the responsible provision of private security services.

Vesper Group was present when ICoCA recently held a roundtable discussion in Geneva to address the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the recently published guidelines (PSEA) for private security companies on preventing and addressing sexual exploitation and abuse.

The roundtable discussions evolved around the challenges that private security companies face when preventing sexual exploitation in the context of operations. Amongst the topics were experiences and good practices within the security industry, but also lessons learned within the humanitarian sector from dealing with these problems.

Both private security companies and civil society organizations participated at the roundtable, all committed to addressing and preventing exploitation and abuse. Subject area experts were also present, and the day was a success with many fruitful talks and an open discussion.

One of the conclusions was that more cooperation is needed and will take place between private security companies and civil society organizations, in order to address the challenges and minimize sexual exploitation and abuse in relation to global security operations. Vesper Group is a committed member of ICoCA and the PSEA and will continue to support ICoCA on this important matter.

Facts about ICoCA
ICoCA’s members consists of seven governments, 87 private security companies, 32 civil society organisations and 34 observers. Read more about ICoCA: https://www.icoca.ch/en/association


Vesper Groups’ cyber security services acquired by Nixu

March 18, 2019

Vespers’ prospering cyber threat intelligence, CTI, was born as a start-up within Vesper Group and is in a strong growth phase. CTI is in need of a new setup in an environment with the ability to invest all focus solely within this field. Therefore, Vesper Group has sold the CTI services to the European cyber security company Nixu.

- Vespers’ cyber threat intelligence services is a success story, in only four years of organic growth it has become highly valued and sought for. The owner's group feels that the timing is right to let CTI take the next big leap, by giving them an environment focused in this field, says Erik Lewin, CEO of Vesper Group.

The CTI service will transfer to Nixu during the month of April along with staff, customers and partners. Nixu will strengthen their customer proposal with CTI and Vesper Group will still be able to offer the same services through a tight cooperation with Nixu.


Quality in the security industry

Nov 30, 2018

Erik Lewin, CEO of Vesper Group, spoke at the International Security Expo in London 28 November. It was the Security in Complex Environments Group (SCEG) who invited a number of speakers who all confirmed the high level of quality, the need for certifications and monitoring of the global security industry.

Erik Lewin talked about how the global security industry has developed since 2004 and how most dishonest actors have disappeared as the demands for quality, professionalism, licenses and certifications have been established. Erik Lewin described the hard work that has led to Vespers membership in in organisations such as SCEG, ICoCA and the certifications according to ISO 18788, ISO 9001 and PSC-1. He also warned for the risk of price dumping, which could lead to impaired quality and the return of dishonest actors.

Read more about Vesper Groups' close protection assignments.

Some of the speakers at the SCEG symposium.
                            
Erik Lewin, CEO Vesper Group                                              Paul Gibson, Director SCEG                        Glynne Evans, Senior Advisor Olive Group


At work in Baghdad

June 29, 2018

Name: Torbjörn

Age: 34

In private: hobby mechanic, enjoys steerage dancing

Key words: humbleness and constant change

How did you come across Vesper Group?
I was out on a mission while serving abroad with the Swedish Armed Forces when I ran into a Vesper team. That meeting inspired me. The team was small and independent in a high-risk environment and they worked very similar to military methods, but in a different way. It got me thinking and when the plan had matured I prepared myself for quite a while. Once I applied, I was both ready in mind and in good physical shape.

You have worked two years in the Middle East. Having a child in Sweden, how do you manage your professional and private life?
I work around eight weeks in a row and then I am on leave four weeks. That is not a problem for a single person, but it works almost impeccably even for me as a father. Of course, everything was thought of and talked through, planned and prepared familywise before I left.  And there are a lot of things I can support them with even from Iraq – for instance I have performed talks and meetings with physicians. Technology of today is a tremendous facilitator and to stay in touch there’s Skype and other things. My child and family get all my time and presence when I’m on leave. Then I’m truly present the whole time and I don’t carry a load of work stuff in my head.

Tell us about your background, your studies and work experience?
I worked eight years in the Swedish Armed Forces and some of those years in service abroad. I started within the infantry and finished by doing police service abroad. I have also completed the Police Academy and worked two years within the Swedish Police Authority.

In what ways do your experiences come to use at Vesper?
I must take a much bigger responsibility than I did in the big government authorities where I used to work.  It’s not possible to carry on based only on the first assignment of the day. For example, I need to be able to fix technical details on a vehicle or study the next day’s assignments. One day I will be digging and freeing a car out of a sandy trench and the next day I’m working in a suit and tie during a protective assignment. Just about everything that I have learnt and my personal qualities comes to full advantage. I must push my knowledge and social skills to the limit and I find such changes and variation very stimulating.

What is the best part of the job?
That we are a small, close and tight team. Also, that we have the same work moral and problem-solving attitude.

What is the hardest part?
We all have to work with our self-discipline. Some periods the work can be very monotonous and you must still deliver your best. The same goes for periods when pressure is high in a stressful environment.

What are your plans?
This is a long-term commitment for me. I want to learn new things and evolve myself, so I plan in one or three-year cycles. I want to stay at Vesper, at another place of service and a different position. For me, it is important to maintain self-discipline and structure.

 
Team leader prepares the team for a mission.    


In brief, the workday of a Close Protection Operator – as told by the team leader

A smooth and successful deployment consists of 90 percent preparations and clear routines. That makes everything easy, no matter what changes we will have to face.

Every mission is planned at least 24 hours ahead. We check everything and update our information and intelligence. We go through dress code, suitable image, equipment, routes and tactics for every task. Every permit needed must be in place and the latest information from the location retrieved. Also, we talk through and visualise the mission and tasks within the team. A good night’s sleep and exercise is key to being alert and prepared.

At the deployment it is crystal clear who oversees what. Everyone has their role and tasks. Everything is planned; each team member’s mental preparations, medical care preparedness and who is most suitable for which location and position. You stick to your role but must be flexible to adjust to major changes as well as smaller alterations.

Each assignment is followed by a short debrief and then the circle goes on as we go through success factors, challenges and evolvement. The same happens every night, going through the whole day and planning for upcoming missions. You can never relax or get into a routine behaviour.

Key qualities for a Close Protection Operator

Self-discipline, flexibility and capacity to adjust.
Good self-perception, personal maturity, humbleness and a great portion of willingness to change and improve.
Be perseverant, enjoy exercise, training, practice and preparations.
Must be a fan of team work.
Experience from Police or Military work, preferably in high-risk environments and in different cultures.


Vesper first Swedish personal safety company at the International Security Expo

April 12, 2018

The International Security Expo is expecting 12 500 visitors and 350 exhibitors during two days in November in London. The world famous expo, earlier known as UK Security Expo, aims to deliver the largest global security event and Vesper Group will be the first Swedish security company within personal safety to participate.

- Vesper has an excellent reputation and is considered to be one of the benchmark companies in the security industry¸ says Erik Lewin, CEO at Vesper Group. We want to contribute to raising the standards in the international private security sector and therefore it comes naturally for us to participate at the International Security Expo.

The expo has existed almost twenty years and has had different alignments over the years. In the past three years it has focused on national security and the private security sector and has since grown quickly by 65%.

- We will participate with other members of the Security in Complex Environments Group, SCEG, says Erik Lewin. It is a good surrounding for us since the members of SCEG are all well regulated companies with international security standards in place.

Read more about the International Security Expo: https://www.internationalsecurityexpo.com/

     

London Olympia hall.                        The SCEG pavillion.


Vesper Group appoints Security Advisor in Bangladesh

March 14, 2018

Vesper Group continues its presence in Bangladesh by providing security services to one of Europe's leading commercial vehicle and mechanical engineering groups. The mission will start mid-March.

- A comprehensive security operation in a complex risk environment similar to Bangladesh takes many years to set up, says Erik Lewin, CEO at Vesper Group. Our continuous presence in the region enables us to produce a threat assessment for each regional project, journey and activity in the shortest possible time. Before start of the mission we have analyzed the local and regional security situation.

Recently Vesper became the second non-British security company to be approved as member in Security in Complex Environments Group, SCEG. SCEG gathers companies that are well regulated, compliant and have embraced international security standards with human rights issues at the core of their business models. Vesper was also one of the first in the world to become certified by the international monitoring organization for security companies, the International Code of Conduct Association, ICoCA, who assures that their member companies respect and protect human rights, no matter where in the world they operate.

Vesper's continuous presence in the region enables a quick deployment of the mission, even in a complex risk environment such as Bangladesh.

Vesper Group at the International Conference of Iraq Reconstruction

Vesper Group is participating today at the Kuwait International Conference of Iraq Reconstruction and Development. The conference is organized jointly by the Kuwait Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the World Bank, the National Investment Commission of the Republic of Iraq and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development.

Investors from all over the world are attending to learn more about feasibility studies and licenses for 60 key investment projects. The World Bank will support projects by offering guarantees, compensation of first loss, and markets exploration. This conference is the first of its kind to be supported by the World Bank and targeting investments.

Read more about the one-day conference: http://www.kuwaitchamber.org.kw/KICRI/index.jsp?pageID=agenda#agenda
Live broadcast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-gsxVyPPh0

Iraq is open for business - International Conference on 13 February in Kuwait.