The Charity Commission’s (CC) inquiry into Oxfam GB was published on 10 June 2019, and having analysed the report, whilst many of our clients are not in the charitable sector, many of the findings have common read across to international development sector companies given their activities.  The CC described Oxfam as “operating internationally, across multiple legal jurisdictions and cultural contexts and in the midst of humanitarian crisis”, and the same descriptions can be applied to most businesses in our sector.  This will no doubt give clear implications as to how the development sector should conduct itself.  The wider points from the inquiry are as follows:


• Protecting people and safeguarding responsibilities should be a governance priority for all charities.

• Protecting people from harm is not an overhead to be minimised.

• Failure to take reasonable steps to protect people cannot be excused by the difficult context a charity is working in, nor can incidents of harm be justified in relation to the importance of the cause.

• An effective culture of keeping people safe identifies, deters and tackles behaviours which minimise or ignore harm to people.


By embracing a comprehensive security risk management program, you can clearly demonstrate you are more than ready to fulfil the expectations set out in the above report, that will no doubt be cascaded down from the foreign aid donor community to their suppliers in the coming months.


To read a copy of the full report, click here.

Dan Hooton

Managing Director

Spearfish Security

+44 7976 438042/+441962 869813/


Spearfish HEAT Courses Summer 2019

This summer we have HEAT courses taking place in the UK, US, Nigeria and Kenya. Our courses are about empowering the individual. Our classes are built around the students requirements and experiences. We all react differently under pressure or even just out of our comfort zone, we teach you how to best used that reaction to help yourself and those around you.

For more information contact us at

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Spearfish Friday Field Notes: Indian General Election May 2019

Following the BJP party’s ‘landslide’ victory in India’s general election, emotions are likely to be heightened in the immediate term. Spearfish advise the following basic risk management steps:

  • Consider where you discuss your political views in public. If amongst strangers, this could cause arguments or unwanted attention

• Be mindful that celebrations, or even protests, are possible in the immediate term. It is advisable to avoid crowds

• Closely monitor local media sources for any further developments

Boat show beginnings - 10 YEARS OF SPEARFISH

Spearfish Founding team in 2010, Quentin Brook, Grant White & Dan Hooton

Spearfish Founding team in 2010, Quentin Brook, Grant White & Dan Hooton

Spearfish started business in April 2009, initially specialising in maritime security with a particular focus on super yachts. But the days of attending the Monaco Yacht Show are all but over for the company and today its maritime work consists of onboard training courses, and surveys and hardening plans for specialist units in high risk areas.  Spearfish is also involved in other nautical work such as marine investigations and providing expert witness services to past hijacks.

From its modest beginnings, Spearfish has grown consistently and now conducts the majority of its work outside the maritime sector. The company’s team now stands at over 30 people across the globe, from Environment Awareness Trainers to Regional Security Advisors, primarily delivering risk advisory and consultancy services to businesses operating in high risk environments.

Spearfish UK 2019 Team

Spearfish UK 2019 Team

Spearfish West Africa 2019 Team

Spearfish West Africa 2019 Team

In the last year a subsidiary, Spearfish West Africa, has opened in Abuja, Nigeria, with a team of 10 while a Spearfish South Asia office in New Delhi, India is set to open in the near future. The company aims to expand its global footprint further with other partnerships and subsidiaries.

 At the UK head office in Winchester, Hampshire, the team continues to develop, exploring new ways to support clients efficiently while ensuring their duty of care to them remains a top priority. Global Analyst, Andy Munro, has been developing the company’s Overwatch platform, while Mat Schraeder, Head of Training and Partnerships, has rebuilt the Spearfish training program over the past 6 months, making it more flexible and easier to tailor to clients’ needs. Lisa Ifould, Finance Manager, will gain her ACCA accountancy qualifications in the near term while Senior Security Advisor, Darren Kelly, has been increasing company relationships with project managers and client teams, both overseas and in the UK.

The Board of Directors remains a huge asset for Spearfish, with Chairman Lord West of Spithead, and Non-Executive Directors John Smith and Grant White supporting the company’s ongoing growth and development.

Dan Hooton, Spearfish Managing Director Speaks at ADMEI Emergency Preparedness Conference in Frankfurt


This week Dan Hooton, Our MD was invited by ADMEI to lead a 1 Day Course on Emergency Preparedness Certificate Program, with guest speaker Adrain Powell, Solicitor/Partner with Proelium Law, will discuss Liability and Duty of Care.   This course was followed by IIMEX, The worldwide exhibition for incentive travel meetings and events.

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The Emergency Preparedness Certificate Program (EPCP) is developed by ADMEI in collaboration with global leaders in security, intelligence, training, and investigative services .

The one day course covered many facets of emergency preparedness including:

  • Emergency Planning Mission with a focus on prevention, mitigation, and recovery

  • Basics of Emergency Operations Planning

  • Comprehensive, team approach to assist in building or revising an Emergency Operations Plan

  • Extensive scenarios to explore emergency situations and appropriate responses

  • Liability and Risk Management issues that can occur

  • Additional planning considerations and risk assessments tools

  • Current events and trends impacting the event and travel industry

Throughout the course, attendees participate in group exercises encouraging problem-solving from different industry perspectives.  In addition, attendees receive a variety of tools/handouts to customise for their use.

This course, focused on global strategies, is designed to develop emergency & risk management specialists within your company.

International airlines are transitioning operations to the new international terminal at Abuja airport.


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All international airlines except British Airways and Air France have moved their operations. The move date for BA and Air France is yet TBC as they reportedly have some operational/security concerns regarding the new terminal. The old terminal arrival and departure procedures remain extant for BA and Air France until further notice.

 Arriving passengers into the new terminal need to follow signs to ‘Domestic Departures’ once they leave the arrivals hall. This will bring them outside the building where they should then find their ‘meet & greet’ drivers (see diagram below) For the time being and until the car park and airport rail terminal developments have been completed, this exit point is also the entry point for passengers departing via the new terminal.

Spearfish & the Carta Rallye 2019

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Spearfish provided support & logistics to the Future Terrain Team across the desert

Spearfish have just successfully completed a job in the deserts of Morocco with a new client. Our motto: “Operating in an uncertain world” was really rather on point during the Morocco job, considering the frequent sandstorms, vast openness and general terrain of the desert.


Dacia UK looked to Spearfish to support their journey to the far eastern edges of Morocco to watch a charity for injured/disabled veterans and ex-servicemen they sponsor called Future Terrain participate in a desert rally race not unlike the famous Dakar rally races.

The support we provided focused on facilitating our clients need to achieve their objective of following the rally race participants with the least number of disruptions & obstacles possible.


In addition to the Dacia UK team, we supported a camera crew & journalists from Auto Car magazine as they filmed, photographed and wrote about the race. This meant driving the majority of the actual rally stages to “get the shot”.

While Morocco is relatively easy & safe to travel in and through, it can still pose threats and risks, however there are very real and distinct challenges to the region that can certainly have a significant influence on travels. Not least being the terrain and vast distances to cross.


We covered roughly 2,500kms across all manner of terrain, travelling from Marrakech over the high Atlas Mountains through Ouarzazate to Boudenib, Merzouga, M’Hamid and a number of points in between and back and forth to Marrakech a couple of times.

The Spearfish team managed & organised, drivers, hire cars, lodging and all other ancillary requests to providing a smooth as possible journey for our clients.

The end result being very positive feedback from the client Dacia UK, as well as Carta Rallye race organisers, the Future Terrain team and a desire within Spearfish to consider expanding our operations into more ventures like this.


2019 Carta Rallye

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Life on the Desert Road with Dacia and Future Terrain

By Mat Shcraeder, Head of Partnerships and Training

01 April 2019

I arrived in Marrakech last Thursday the 28th of March just a day ahead of the arrival of our latest client, representatives from a large automotive manufacturer and three journalists who were travelling to Morocco to witness the culmination of months of work and collaboration with the UK based charity Future Terrain, participate in the Carta Rallye, an event not dissimilar to the world-famous Dakar Rally.

Future Terrain is a charity that works with and supports ex-servicemen, many of them dealing with the traumatic effects from their service. Spearfish Security is also a supporting and sponsoring partner to Future Terrain.

Prior to leaving Winchester, the Spearfish team prepared for the tasking. Building a country-wide Security Risk Assessment, Route Planning, safe-havens identification, emergency contact numbers, contingency planning to manage unexpected events.


We secured & confirmed essential kit and equipment required for the task from satellite trackers and phones, camp cots and sun protection and any other logistics and administrative details to facilitate a smooth as possible trip for our client.

Once the client team and journalists arrived at the airport the following day, a two-day road-move to the Rallye start point over the high Atlas Mountains to the edge of the Sahara Desert began.

Arriving in Boudenib we met up with the Future Terrain team who had driven all the way from the UK to Morocco over 5 days.

Over the course of the week I escorted the client team and accompanying journalists across the Moroccan Desert as we followed the Future Terrain as they competed in the Carta Rallye. All the while, the Winchester office were tracking our movements and keeping me updated and informed with changes to the evolving security situation in the country.

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03 April 2019

I’ve just returned from a 2 and half day round trip to Marrakech where I’ve delivered our client team and two of the journalists for their return trip home and am now back in the far east of Marrakech near Merzouga continuing to support the remaining journalist and an additional photographer as the Carta Rallye progresses.

It’s itinerary which includes changing bivouac sites every other day, resulting in driving more than 7 hours of driving time as they navigate their way through the Sahara Desert to their next staging site.


Spearfish's Global Security Analyst Visit's Beirut


I’m writing above the cacophony of the busy roads, enjoying the hotel’s panoramic view of Beirut’s sprawling, and rapidly expanding, skyscape.

The week has been busy, meeting with two client projects at opposite ends of the city. Country visits are crucial, allowing a personal understanding of the issues that local staff face and first-hand analysis of the security situation.

It quickly became apparent that, although the situation at the time of visiting was largely calm, albeit potentially disturbed by the arrival of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the final day, civil unrest can erupt rapidly. Its under such scenarios that a need for robust contingency plans, covering everything from a medical emergency, to a full evacuation out of country, was reinforced. Only in 2006, military action by Israel led to thousands of international visitors being evacuated by various embassies out of Beirut. Aside from the looming prospect of civil unrest, Beirut as a whole has been extremely welcoming, with vibrant nightlight and excellent food. I experienced the ruthless competition between falafel shops; each claiming to be the city’s best, while enjoying the convenience of coffee shops which remain open until the early hours. I’ll be sad to leave.

Global Security Advisor visits East Africa team

A busy few days visiting our client's key locations in East Africa. The focus this trip was Kenya, Mozambique and Ethiopia where the tempo of projects and also associated risks are picking up. As well as assessing the overall security situation and travel risks we also made time to review current procedures, office and accommodation location security.

Through our Regional Security Advisor network and the project teams on the ground I was able to meet more great contacts who will be on hand to assist us in further extending our security network and aiding our clients. Overall, a very busy and successful trip fuelled in part with great coffee which the office is now enjoying. At the current rate of consumption it won't be long until I'll be required to travel again.

Another week of HEAT courses

Last week saw a Spearfish successfully running HEAT courses in the UK and and in the US . Our Head of Training ran our course in Hampshire with our newest member of the team Lorraine . Over in Washington DC we had Cath running a course of 13 in our onsite training venue which is based just over an hour outside of the capital.

This month saw the launch of our new timetable. At spearfish we understand how important it is to keep modifying and updating our course material to suit the needs of people operating in high risk areas. We also had film crew down with us at our training site in the UK which we look forward to sharing with you soon.

In the next couple of weeks we will be concentrating our HEAT courses in Abuja and , pending election outcome, Bauchi. Our Spearfish West Africa team are putting these courses together , we will be using both our international training team as well as our in country training team to take on these upcoming courses.

If you would like to know about our upcoming courses or if you would like discuss a bespoke course for your in country projects please contact us at

Nigerian Elections - The weekend before the big day - not just the rugby

Written by

Neal Peckham - Senior Security Manager in Nigeria

An interesting week! The last-minute postponement (0245am on the day) of the elections by the Chairman of INEC was met by some anger, much derision, but mostly with stoicism by the vast bulk of the Nigerian population. Many had travelled considerable distances to make their vote in their place of registration. The realisation that the voting dates had now been put back one week left many with the conundrum of whether to lose a week’s salary by staying put or accepting the additional cost of having to return a week hence.

For our client, all offices had closed two days ahead of the vote and staff were working from home. The fact that the country had remained largely peaceful following the postponement announcement meant that everyone was able to return to work on Monday. However, the company’s risk mitigation measures have simply been re-cocked and I write this from my flat where I am hibernating until voting is over, the count is done and we are able to gauge the reaction to the voting outcome.

At least last weekend was a useful practice of our communication measures with both WhatsApp and the bulk SMS keeping staff informed. The Government have said that they will not tinker with the Internet as it is critical to the nation’s critical security infrastructure. However, should insecurity bloom in the wake of the election, I am concerned that they may choose to switch off GSM networks. This would seriously hamper our communications as for many, the internet is only available via GSM.

Whilst preparing for the worst we hope for the best. This includes hoping that England beats Wales tomorrow in the 6 Nations – despite tomorrow’s curfew I will be able to pop across the road to take advantage of the Serendip restaurant’s DSTV sports channel (kick off at 1745 local) and, of course, a refreshing bottle of Gulder lager! Have a good weekend everyone!

Dan Hooton, Spearfish's MD visits Abuja ahead of Nigerian Elections

Following close on the heels of our Senior Security Advisor, Darren’s visit the week before, I spent last week in Abuja with the team checking on our preparations for the forthcoming election period.  A strange air of uncertainty had descended on Nigeria, with no one quite sure as to how the next few weeks will play out.  Would the voting pass off peacefully, or will a closely contested vote descend into a battle of lawlessness and instability?  The truth is that no one really knows and that the best thing to do was to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Our team in Abuja, Gombe and Bauchi have all spent the last two months busily ensuring that our clients (and our own) business continuity and evacuation plans have all been written but more importantly, adequately resourced.  A policy of restricting travel plans, working from home and having robust contingency plans in place for civil unrest and medical emergency have formed our main mitigation strategies, achieving the fine balance of keeping people out of harm's way whilst allowing their businesses to operate to as near to normal as possible during the elections.


Our team in Abuja, Gombe and Bauchi have all spent the last two months busily ensuring that our clients (and our own) business continuity and evacuation plans have all been written but more importantly, adequately resourced. 

A policy of restricting travel plans, working from home and having robust contingency plans in place for civil unrest and medical emergency have formed our main mitigation strategies, achieving the fine balance of keeping people out of harm's way whilst allowing their businesses to operate to as near to normal as possible during the elections.

For more information about the type of services we can provide please contact us or visit our website site