Foreign embassies are an essential part of establishing and maintaining peaceful cooperation, and collaboration between countries all over the world. They can also be the focus of tensions, peaceful and violent protests, terrorism, and many other risks, which mean that thorough and effective security solutions are essential to keep people, property and sensitive documents safe.
Usually located in capital cities, each foreign embassy is the workplace and often residence, of a Country Ambassador. They are used for important diplomatic meetings, holding events, hosting VIPs, and a range of other activities that focus on the political, cultural and social relationships with the host nation.
In some instances, foreign embassies even provide sanctuary to their nationals and individuals from other nations
In some instances, foreign embassies even provide sanctuary to their nationals and individuals from other nations, during times of trouble.
G4S security services in Jordan
“Anywhere in Amman, where a foreign embassy has outsourced their security, you can be certain that G4S is the company they have come to,” said Ashraf Abul-Hajj, the Managing Director of G4S in Jordan.
Ashraf Abul-Hajj adds, “We’ve been doing this for decades and have excellent, long-standing relationships providing security for many embassies in the capital city. We secure over 30 embassies at the moment, and we’ve been working with some of them for over 20 years.”
In fact, it was a small Jordanian security company, called Safe and Sound (now under G4S), which started to provide embassy security in Amman, Jordan, all those years ago, before it became a part of G4S, in 2004.
Embassy security services
G4S now provides a wide range of services to the embassies that it secures in Jordan. These include manned guarding, installing and maintaining security systems, such as CCTV, access control and alarms, secure escorting for VIPs, during their visits, with G4S vehicles and highly-trained drivers, and coordinating security for events, which are being hosted at the embassy.
“The main purpose of most of our security solutions is to ensure that nobody gains access to an embassy, who shouldn’t be there,” said Ashraf Abul-Hajj, adding “There are a lot of different risks that embassies face - big and small. Terrorist incidents, while very rare, remain a threat, so our security teams are trained to be vigilant and notice any suspicious behaviour.”
Securing embassies during protests
Protests at embassies are more common, when people disagree with the actions of a specific country"
Ashraf Abul-Hajj adds, “Protests at embassies are more common, when people disagree with the actions of a specific country. Protests, even peaceful ones, are volatile and have the potential to turn violent, so our security officers and systems are there to monitor tensions, continuously assess the risk levels and prevent breaches.”
Terrorism and protests are the more extreme examples of security threats, but day-to-day G4S security teams also deal with lower level threats that still need to be managed sensitively and professionally.
Ashraf Abul-Hajj stated, “People try to access their foreign embassies for a variety of reasons, often at times of personal stress or hardship, and can become distressed, and even aggressive, if they are not permitted to enter.”
He adds, “Sometimes, we have to deal with very unusual scenarios. At one embassy, a man turned up saying that he had been informed by the embassy that he had won a competition and he was visiting the embassy to collect his cash prize. It was obvious to the team that he was the victim of a con, but his behaviour became very challenging, when he realised this and could not gain entry. Our security officers had to try to calm him down, while stopping him from entering the embassy, without consent.”
Ashraf Abul-Hajj concludes, “This shows how varied the challenges facing our teams at foreign embassies can be. An embassy can be peaceful for a long time, but it can only take one negative news story or a single social media post, to spark a significant protest. With our security systems, highly trained security officers and extensive experience, G4S is more than prepared to meet those risks. We are proud to deliver such an important service, keeping foreign embassies safe and secure in Jordan.”