South West Conservative Party Annual Conference, Plymouth, 9 February 2019

Wednesday 13 February 2019

John Casson coordinates the security and police liaison for this important regional conference.

You might think that there would not be a potential security risk at a regional political party conference in Devon, but you would be mistaken!

Though there wasn’t a direct threat to this conference, events across the United Kingdom could not be overlooked, as John Casson realised.

With feelings running high over Brexit, the emergence of right-wing and violent political groups, and the constant vigilance needed against terrorism, nothing could be left to chance, and John offered to give up his time to coordinate the security for this event – an offer that was gratefully accepted by Peter Booth, the South West regional chairman of the Conservative Party.

Peter Booth, South West regional chairman of the Conservative Party

John is a board member of the Terrorist Information New York Group and recently attended a Servator conference with senior police and intelligence agency officers in London. Researched and implemented by the police and intelligence services, Servator is a strategy for thwarting terrorists and other hostiles who wish to attack or disrupt events and public venues.

Applying Servator, John planned and delivered the security for the conference, closely liaising with the Metropolitan Police diplomatic and close protection teams, Devon and Cornwall Police, contract security, the venue management, and Peter Booth and his team.

Those attending and speaking at the conference included Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary; Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary at the time; and many MPs.

John said: ‘I was delighted that the security operation went so well. All the organisations involved with the security aspect of this conference, including the police, were very cooperative and helpful. I am grateful to them and particularly Peter Booth, who supported me fully throughout and who gave me total autonomy.’

After the conference, Peter Booth wrote a letter of appreciation to John on behalf of the Conservative Party. John said: ‘It was one of the kindest and most generous and complimentary letters that I have ever received.’