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Brunei needs to improve security

Brunei needs to improve security

The Brunei Times - November 3rd 2013

By Quratul-Ain Bandial

BRUNEI’S security culture needs to improve for better protection of high-profile individuals including royals, said a UK intelligence and protection expert yesterday.

Alex Bomberg, group CEO of Intelligent Protection International Limited, said Brunei’s security personnel need more training to reach security protocols practised in Europe and the United States.

“I’ve witnessed in Brunei people giving information about the Royal Family that they shouldn’t be giving, even in general discussion, such as where they will be at a certain time and their whereabouts,” he said.

“People don’t necessarily know how valuable the information is or how relevant it is so they need to be educated to that,” said the former military officer, whose clients have included the British royal family, the United Nations and the US State Department.

Bomberg and other professionals from his firm are in the country to give expert testimony on royal security protocols at an ongoing trial in the Magistrates’ Court.

The UK-based firm provides intelligence and investigation services to clients in the security, banking and government sectors.

The former British royal aide said people often volunteer sensitive information without knowing it.

“Here in Brunei people are very keen to talk about things, they are keen to please... Because of the hierarchy, people below want to please people above. So they’re quite happy to give information,”

He added that there needs to be a change in the security culture, not just in Brunei, but in the region as well.

“The people that are involved in a lot of these security roles are not the most highly educated people around. Whereas in the UK, US (and) Europe the thinking is you have the best, brightest and sharpest doing that role.”

“Just because someone has been doing the job for 20 years doesn’t mean they have been doing it correctly for 20 years,” he said.

Bomberg said his company is looking to break into the regional security sector and is currently working with local law firm Sankaran Halim to identify prospective clients.

“There’s a lot of big businesses in Southeast Asia and we’re looking to do some training work, advisory. Not necessarily for the government but other companies and individuals in the region.”

The CEO said it was necessary for international corporations to have counter espionage training, to protect their companies from intellectual property theft.

“Every major company has issues with loss of intellectual property or loss of information.

“It only needs to happen once and then the whole house of cards will come down. Counter espionage as a service is like an insurance policy.”

“It’s about securing information, especially on big legal cases. Counter espionage advice can be the difference between losing or winning.”

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