The Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) is one of Europe's leading research institutes. Close to 800 researchers work here to develop complex sensor systems, generate studies and analyses dealing with security policy and create crisis management plans for catastrophic events.
FOI was formed in 2001, when the National Defence Research Establishment was merged with the Swedish Aeronautical Research Institute. They are headquartered in Kista, a suburb of Stockholm, but also have operations in Linköping, Umeå and Grindsjön, outside Stockholm. Here, different types of threats are analyzed and tools are created to help society adjust to the new climate.
One of the assumptions that FOI must start with is that there is always a threat hanging over them:
"Of course we are vulnerable to espionage, and I hope that we are, because if we don't generate interest from the outside world, we probably are not doing the right things. But this is nothing unusual – that people look for leaks in the research occurs throughout society, explains Per Jörgen Asp, Head of Security.
Since FOI is a public agency, which is required to purchase security services according to the Swedish Public Procurement Act, Securitas had to compete with other important suppliers, but has now won FOI's contract for a second time in a row.
"Securitas is a creative supplier that found a solution for technical service and maintenance that included Saab Systems AB. This led to cooperation between us and Saab, which we are extremely thankful for. In addition, Securitas has shown great flexibility and broad expertise to meet a number of our different needs in terms of security and service. So today we have security staff, receptionists, telephone operators and conference hosts from Securitas."
Since all of the facilities at FOI are classified as protected objects according to the Swedish Act on Protection of Essential Public Facilities, they are considered restricted areas for the general public. This puts a lot of pressure on Securitas as a supplier of security services. But they also need to be "outward facing" and to be able to switch quickly from acting as our service personnel to strict security personnel.
"And these security personnel more than live up to the job. To be prepared for the unexpected is part of the job, and it is not a bad requirement. However, we are also a public agency, which can wind up under the spotlight in a split second, which is why security personnel should not be unfamiliar with things such as sudden bomb threats.
A fire can also breakout in a building with the subsequent need to help with evacuation. Things happen all the time. People who come here should feel safe, and we are obligated to show them respect. However, it is important watch out for becoming too obsessed with security so that you believe everything is life-threatening. There should be some distance and a common sense in our approach to security”, says Per Jörgen Asp.