An exclusive interview with Miranda Coppoolse, Founder of MC Global Security Consulting on the importance of human behaviour analysis.
In October 2020, a survey conducted by YouGov found that the public perception of security officers as playing an ‘essential role’ in the UK was ranked ninth out of ten in a list of essential services.
The survey’s objective was to understand the current perception of security officers amongst the British public and to understand the extent of the key issues they face, namely potential lack of respect, recognition and underestimation of their role.
While 31% of those polled believed that security officers are fundamental to keeping the UK safe and secure, with 41% indicating respect and a feeling of safety due to the work that security officers carry out, the role of the security officer ranked 9th out of ten essential services, behind postal workers and pharmacists and just ahead of traffic wardens, who were ranked 10th. When asked about these roles during COVID-19, security officers were not mentioned at all as an essential service.
Results such as these show that the public’s perception of security professionals isn’t what it should be. Therefore, it’s important for individuals working within security to have a passion for what they do and be committed to helping others.
This brings us to Miranda Coppoolse, Founder of MC Global Security Consulting and one of the leading figures in the field of behaviour detection. Security Journal UK caught up with Coppoolse to look back on her fantastic career so far and the amazing work she is doing to stop human trafficking.
Never give up
Coppoolse has been working in various capacities throughout the security industry for more than 30 years now. After roles in retail and aviation security, she moved into law enforcement in the Netherlands, working for the Ministry of Justice where she was Chief of a police unit.
Looking back on her career, she said: “I loved my work, but I felt somewhat restricted in my learning process, and I had an ongoing thirst for wanting to learn more. One of my character traits is being curious and I also felt that as a woman in a male dominating field, I had to prove myself even more, improve my working knowledge even further.”
Consequently, Coppoolse decided to move to a professional employment organisation to gain experience of working across different sectors. She explained: “I grew tremendously over that ten-year period but what I kept missing was the human behaviour side of things. For me, it was second nature. Because of things I had encountered in my younger years I had developed that sixth sense. I therefore decided to start my own security consultancy, MC Global Security Consulting, where human behaviour analysis is inextricably linked to all the services I offer now.”
When asked what her proudest achievements were so far, Coppoolse was quick to answer: “Never giving up on my passion of human behaviour analysis and using my life experiences to help others, which is what I love to do.”
Alongside her consultancy work, Coppoolse volunteers for Children’s Rescue Initiative, CRI, an organisation which helps to prevent human trafficking. It is clearly a subject that is very close to her heart: “There are some really sick people out there who just have no soul. Educating people about being recruited for terrorism, drugs trafficking, sexual exploitation or forced labour is of the utmost importance.
“For instance, I teach people how to recognise the signs of traffickers or victims as well as how to investigate and report it. We all have vulnerabilities and predators are always looking for them, for example, people need to be careful about what they share online as that can act as “food” for predators.
“The other important part of my role is to help the victims of human trafficking. They always ask why they were the victim or why they couldn’t see what was happening to them. I help them to deal with their guilt and to grow stronger mentally. The organisation provides them with psychological and medical care, clothing, food and a safe place in an effort to prepare them for their freedom.”
It is undoubtedly an incredibly important cause with a study in 2016 finding that at any one time, more than 40 million people worldwide were in modern slavery. Coppoolse is clear about what needs to be done to prevent human trafficking: “We need to educate from early on. We have to start in schools to talk about grooming and what it really is, the do’s and don’ts of what to do online, for instance. Social media, dating sites and the gaming world are the biggest places for grooming.
“We need to educate people and various industries on how to recognise the signs of trafficking and we absolutely have to create safe places where those who have fallen victim can report their experiences, are heard and take shelter. I think financial institutions, the travel, hospitality and entertainment industry, governments, security and law enforcement agencies need to start working together a lot more in order to stop this. Follow the money, or the cryptocurrency nowadays. We have to do a lot more to get ahead of these traffickers.”
Proactive rather than reactive
It is abundantly clear from speaking with Coppoolse that she holds a fantastic passion for human behaviour and the analysis of it. She believes that this behavioural analysis can help every organisation and industry to significantly boost their security.
She stated: “Behaviour analysis enables an organisation to take a proactive approach to security in which all relevant activity is monitored, allowing deviations from normal behaviour patterns to be identified and dealt with quickly. It’s all about recognising if a particular behaviour pattern matches or stands out from the expectations given the situation.
“For organisations, implementing behaviour analysis should already start with onboarding, end with offboarding and take in everything in between. Organisations can use behaviour analysis not just for their employees but for anyone who has (ever) been given access, as they are all vulnerable. What I now still often see is that when events, like an insider threat or crisis happen, the security, safety and contingency plans are still very much focused on the strategic, operational and logistical side. Embedding behaviour analysis in plans, protocols or procedures and any organisational training will be a huge step forward when it comes to improving security. There also are some great technical tools and software out there to help with this but this is only as good as the person installing, using and responding to it. If you have a technical or power failure or a breach, you are lost.”
For any budding behaviour analyst, Coppoolse has some very helpful advice: “It seems like behaviour analysis is now portrayed as some sexy profession but the most important ingredient for any analyst is life experience. If you really want to go into the profession, experience life because you need to know how to interact with people and recognise different cultures and social skills.”
“Studying is important and I would encourage everybody to get their qualifications but do yourself, your organisation and the victims a favour by gaining as much life experience as you can. It really is an amazing profession but if you don’t have a passion for it, it will quickly become very challenging due to long days and working in challenging environments.”
The brilliant work of security professionals such as Miranda Coppoolse often goes unnoticed by members of the general public but if they were to have the opportunity to speak with her and understand her passion for her profession, there is no doubt that the results of that YouGov survey would be very different.
For more information, please visit: https://mcglobalsecurity.com/
This article was originally published in the July edition of Security Journal UK. To get your FREE digital copy, click here.