Former SAS soldiers protect hub staff

Page 24 - North West Telegraph 30th May, 2012
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Former SAS soldiers protect hub staff

Former SAS soldiers are among those paid to protect Woodside staff and contractors building the proposed gas hub north of Broome.

Lockforce Consultancy International is a registered security company with a fluctuating number of personnel in Broome to provide round-the-clock protection.

Owner Troy Lockyer, an alumni of the SAS whose skills include maritime security, risk management and anti-piracy training, works between WA, Brisbane and Manilla.

Specialising in the oil and gas sector with interests in Australia, the Philippines and Indonesia. Lockforce offers to help "mitigate the risks that companies may confront - protecting staff safety, moral and company reputation.

All employers have extensive experience within the "maritime security sector" and are predominately for Australian Special Forces or specialist police.

Some workers in Broome have been decorated for their military combat and liaison work in places like East Timor, the Solomon Islands, Iraq and Afghanistan.

A senior employee and former SAS soldier said his workers provided emergency management and safety auditing to Woodside.

As well as accompanying staff and contractors to and from work, Lockforce also "desensitised" them so they didn't respond to heckling with violence, he said.

There's a lot of war veterans out there that were sick of being shot at in Afghanistan and Iraq ... obviously, if someone is just spitting on you or yelling at you, it doesn't get your heart rate up," the man said. "We're not going to over-react and thump someone ... if you get people that get hot-headed and worked up.

Broome residents have complained of feeling harassed and intimidated by the security workers, who film all their interactions with members of the public.

However, the man said they had been instructed to do under the direction of the police: "That's the only thing that's stopped us from getting prosecuted," he said.

"I see it portrayed that we've the big bad guys ... we get branded as Woodside's private army ... but on the other side, I've got my blokes getting pushed and hit and punched.

We're there to keep things moving along without people getting carried away - we don't physically intervene."

A Woodside spokesman said security personnel were expected to "act professionally and courteously" in dealing with the public at all times.

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Page 24 - NW Telegraph 30th May, 2012