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Recovering a loss

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Recovering a loss

Post by exploresecure on 29/3/2013, 13:00


The Basics of Recovering a Loss

When you lose a target during a surveillance serial the natural response is to manically scan and scour the environment. The over riding sense that you are about to let your team down, annoy the boss, miss that one bit of amazing ‘int’ and make yourself look unprofessional all transpire at once to make you want to move heaven and earth to recover that loss. This response is the worst thing to do.

To recover a loss relies heavily on remembering the basics, but the over-arching principle of surveillance stays true:

It is better to have a loss than a compromise.

If you panic during a loss situation you are far more likely to show yourself to third party and the target, so stay calm. There is a good chance they are right under your nose…

How do we recover a loss?

Basics first: One of the biggest mistakes of surveillance officers is to focus on just one or two identifying factors of their target. It is necessary to log as much info as early as possible, for when there is a loss you have the greatest chance of picking up the person or vehicle from a distance. Some points to note:

1.) Ensure you register a number of identifying features of the target and his companions: Don’t just focus on one piece of clothing or one color. The A-H is there for a reason. Use it and log it to memory.

2.) Note everything you can about the vehicle, not just the make, colour, and the VRN, but position of the aerial, light clusters, distinguishing marks, anything that will help you to identify it a glimpse and at distance.

Basics second: There are two general rules to think about:

1.) Most people follow a route or pattern most of the time. So historical direction of route is especially important. If they were traveling SE then continue to look generally SE. This is where studying a map will pay dividends, think about route patterns, cut through’s, possible destinations etc.

2.) Most losses will be recovered in the area of the loss. It sounds obvious but it is crazy how many times you think a target will never be seen again for them to just pop out where you lost them half an hour ago. Do not assume they have vanished, get someone to check the area of the loss thoroughly whilst other call-signs search. This is one reason why one should never panic during a loss, anti-surveillance will be looking for reaction to their action.

Some more basics: Time and Distance, this phrase will be drilled into every surveillance officer and that is for a reason. If you can accurately work out where a target could have gone in the time they were unsighted you can make informed and accurate decisions. To do this accurately requires practice and judgment, unfortunately in surveillance practice does not make perfect, it just helps.

Back to basics: See and not just look. During a loss, look down alleys, in shops, down side roads, in phone boxes, in car parks and learn to do it quickly in a covert manner. The difference between a loss and a recovery could be a millisecond glimpse of a rear brake light cluster turning. If you have a possible, check it.

Basic Comm’s: The biggest downfall of any loss procedure is poor communications within the team. As soon as there has been a loss ensure everyone knows the following:

• Exact location where the loss occurred
• The last known direction of travel
• Give landmarks, not just a map location

It is vital that the picture is painted accurately, fully and in a timely fashion. Your team members and team leader will be looking at maps, coming into the area, looking for alternatives and a multitude of options will come into play. If the information is clear and concise half the battle is won.

Basic laziness: With good communication a team can split and check different directions and locations. Loss procedure can be annoying and frustrating but never be tempted to just follow your team member down the same bit of road. Even if you are 99% sure that is where they will be, if someone is already checking that direction then be committed to where isn’t being checked. Even if it means that you are forced miles out of the way, check your option.

Losses will occur in surveillance, the time to beat yourself up about it isn’t whilst trying to recover the loss, it is during de-brief. Be assured in the knowledge that losses will happen, the trick is to learn from every mistake and do your utmost to recover the loss.

There is one more thing to remember:

Unsighted is not a loss. A loss is not unsighted.

What does this mean?

Do not be afraid to go unsighted to targets. Do alternatives, give them rope, and use tradecraft to your advantage. Do not feel that you must see the target at all times. But when there is a loss, when you are unsure of the targets location ensure that the necessary information is disseminated within the team immediately and accurately, it is through this action that the successful recovery of a loss is far more likely.

Happy hunting…

http://www.exploresecure.com/travel-safety-blog/surveillance-recovering-a-loss/

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Re: Recovering a loss

Post by Sabre on 29/3/2013, 16:20

Excellent post! Thanks


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Re: Recovering a loss

Post by Ted-Pencry on 31/3/2013, 07:25

great post. many thanks.

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Re: Recovering a loss

Post by sworks on 31/3/2013, 13:54

If you have a loss then call it as early possible, use the team to help recover. The longer the loss goes on the less chance of recovering.

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Re: Recovering a loss

Post by Charlie_Hungerford on 3/4/2013, 22:21

Good post and some great info.
It's even harder when your the only operator, there's no back up or help in case a loss occurs.

Not that it's happened to me....... Unsighted isn't a loss

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