High Risk Consultancy: The seeds of Chiron were sown during the Kosovo conflict when Chris Cobb-Smith was employed to assist a Sunday Times reporter as a safety and military advisor. The success of this concept led Chris to approach the BBC and suggest that by utilising a field consultant they could solve many of their logistical and safety challenges. In 2000, with the media industries’ recognition of the value of media safety consultants and with increased demand, Chiron was established. Since our formation we have successfully deployed field consultants with news crews to every conflict zone worldwide.
Back Watch: In 2000 the BBC also identified the benefits of employing security operatives as ‘back watchers’ on public order and domestic stories within the UK and asked Chiron to provide. This role became a licensable activity in 2006, and today Chiron has licenced operatives based throughout the UK who have supported media crews, sometimes with less than an hours’ notice
High Risk Advice: During the second Gulf War the BBC employed, through Chiron, a London based News Safety Advisor to work with the news managers to coordinate the consultants supporting crews in Iraq. The success of this position led to the establishment of a permanent Head of High Risk, a role that has now been mirrored in many international news networks.
Investigations: In May 2000 the BBC asked Chiron to assist in the investigation into the death of their driver, Abed Takkoush on the Lebanese/Israel border. Chiron also conducted the investigation into the death of James Miller for Channel 4 and in 2009 was tasked by the international media to conduct a parallel investigation into the murder of at least 34 journalists on Mindanao in the Philippines.
Training: With the mandatory Hostile Environment Training for journalists who deploy on high risk tasks, Chiron has been in demand to run bespoke courses. Many of Chiron’s consultants are trained and qualified instructors, some with good foreign language skills. Training has been conducted in Iraq (in Arabic), DRC and France (in French), Ukraine (in Ukrainian/Russian) as well as in Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia and Turkey.