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23 July 2009

This year Golden Shield celebrates 20 years in the ever- developing security sector
As the notion of security has progressed, then so has the portfolio of Golden Shield and their facilities now embrace CCTV expertise; central alarm monitoring; office security; close protection; reception duties; key holding and uniformed guards – all managed from new purpose-built offices in Eltham, South London.

The continual recruitment of high calibre personnel has also been a feature of the Golden Shield success story.

The chairman of the Golden Shield Security group, HRH Y F Bala-Tonglele PhD, recently had the honour to arrange a memorably conducted tour of the City of London Police headquarters for His Excellency Dr Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, the Nigerian High Commissioner to the Court of St James’s. This was organised in furtherance of the objective of Golden Shield in seeking partnership with the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, the new capital city of Nigeria.

Tim Ashenden was the host for the visit focused on the CCTV control of the most famous square mile in the world. It also took the shape of a dignified overview of all of the aspects and history which comprise this ultra professional police service at the hub of our great city of London.

One of the many anomolies of the City is that only 8600 people actually reside there – but 300,000 people go to work there every day – not least amongst the 450 international banks – and over four million visitors to the area each year. And of course, it stages all manners of traditonal events which require restrained yet careful police presence. Hence the need for the new, advanced control room which oversees the network of both the City and Greater London located cameras. The cameras are positioned to capture images of the traffic management scheme and pedestrian movements. They are also deployed to monitor planned and unplanned situations which make up the fabric of major cities everywhere.

As Tim Ashenden explained to his guests “ our technology truly never stops developing, and we are proud of the fact that we were the first Force in the world to introduce ANPR – Automatic Number Plate Recognition – which , working through the national database can alert us within four seconds if we need to take appropriate action againsts a particular vehicle. And aside from this role, we can monitor anything from an evacuation of an underground station to the likes of the G20 demonstrations - and many people are unaware that the camera system could be seen as self-financing by virtue of the fact that the tangible evidence saves significant resources and Court time when bringing prosecutions...”

By way of complete contrast, the High Commissioner, accompanied by the team from Golden Shield moved on to view the mounted unit, where the “stars” – ten beautiful mature horses – lead a very stable existence in every sense. It is not always realised that these are based at Wood Street. As with the camera system, the horses are managed by a dedicated and specially trained team who really care about what they are doing and the part that they play. The mounted police are in considerable demand all over the UK – often travelling as far as Wales. Given that many such units are being reduced, for various reasons, they are now making something of a tactical comeback. The Essex force, has, for example, turned to City of London for guidance as regards setting up their own division.

And the finale of the visit was a guided tour of the compact and highly visual Museum. This embraces the very rich history of the City of London Police since its creation in 1839 with allegiance to the City and not the Crown, taking us through its own early hospitals and ambulances – no longer there – the development of uniforms - Olympic Gold at the tug-of-war! – the Jack The Ripper period – major casualties in the Second World War including the complete destruction of the Moor Lane station . . . and right through, of course, to the bombings on July 7, 2005.

All in all, a truly meaningful morning, and Dr Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, in the company of the Golden Shield party formally bid farewell to the Assistant Commissioner Frank Armstrong, after a light refreshment.

Golden Shield can be contacted at 020 8294 0800; email or visit

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