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International Security Expo Q&A 20/09/2019

Q&A with Jaz Vilkhu, managing director at Marshalls Landscape Protection

  1. Traditionally there has been tension between installing Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) measures in public spaces and attractive protective street furniture design, how does Marshalls Landscape Protection approach this issue and what sort of solutions do you deliver?

We’re seeing security consultants, designers, architects and specifiers from across the public and private sectors all ask the same question - how can we provide the right levels of protection for the public without making the risk visible? 

This is where our business comes in. We’re the only manufacturer of purpose-designed, decorative street furniture products that are crash-tested. Our RhinoGuard® range, which includes planters, benches, cycle stands and litter bins, are built to protect against terrorist vehicle attacks, accidental collisions and criminal ram raids.

The reasons behind our approach are simple. Traditional, utilitarian choices, such as concrete blocks and metal barricades, serve to make an area feel fortified that can have the potential to lead to a drop off in visitor numbers and therefore can have a detrimental impact on local businesses.

Take Edinburgh, for example, where plans are being made by the City Council to replace the metal barriers with permanent measures that are designed to keep the public safe, without the threat being apparent.

  1. Testing is critical to HVM, what standards are your products tested to and how do you get them tested?

A key point for any organisation procuring protective measures is that simply opting for street furniture will not deliver the right levels of protection you need to stop a vehicle.

Our RhinoGuard® products are tested to the Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 68 and International Workshop Agreement (IWA) 14.1 - the industry specifications for measures used to assist in terrorism prevention. Accredited to the top level of these certifications, they are capable of stopping a 7.5 tonne vehicle travelling at 50mph.

But not all areas of risk require such a high level of protection. In lower risk environments where the aim is to mitigate accidental collisions or criminal intent, security products that are specifically designed to counter cars, vans and lorries travelling at lower speeds offer a more appropriate and cost-effective solution. A different standard, PAS170, offers a testing standard for vehicles up to 2.5 tonnes travelling up to 10mph or 20mph.

Testing for each of our products follows two methods. Firstly, our engineers use finite element analysis, which is a computer modelling technique that replicates the complex dynamics of the real world, to make sure we deliver an accurate view of how the product will perform when subjected to impact.

Each new product is then crash-tested at the Horiba Mira centre in Nuneaton, Warwickshire to ensure they stand up to the rigours of a range of possible impacts.

  1. What are the solutions to providing temporary HVM and what standards are these tested to?

We recently launched our RhinoGuard® Steel GateKeeper™, which is designed to protect places with temporary high footfall, such as Christmas markets, football grounds and events. Owing to its lightweight design, the system can be used as a temporary HVM measure as its elements can be quickly and easily removed allowing access for emergency services vehicles.

Similar to our permanent street furniture products, this is also certified to IWA14.1 standards and offers protection against vehicles weighing up to 2.5 tonnes travelling at 30mph without the intimidating knock-on effects that other measures provide.

  1. What is next on the horizon for landscape security?

The future’s bright, both for Marshalls Landscape Protection and the wider industry. It’s clear there has been a significant shift in recent years towards HVM products that fit seamlessly into, and quite often enhance, their surroundings. But continued innovation is key if the sector is to successfully meet client demands and tackle the evolving threat. 

One such example is our super-shallow mount foundation range. This offers buyers an aesthetic solution for town and city centre pavements where underground utilities and telecoms infrastructure located close to the surface had previously made excavation work costly and disruptive.

The range includes planters, seating, cycle shelters and bollards that require 100mm foundations – far less than the 150mm previously needed as a minimum. This ensures there’s now no longer an excuse to install products that have a detrimental impact to a busy area’s aesthetics.

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Fire Standards Board England website goes live 19/09/2019

INFORMATION ABOUT the new Fire Standards Board for England and its work to date are available on the newly launched website – www.firestandards.org

Consistency, learning from incidents and developing fit-for-purpose professional Standards is the core purpose of the Fire Standards Board which was formed earlier this year.

The Board will be responsible for development of a high-quality, useable framework of professional Standards focussed on achieving positive outcomes and driving continuous improvement. The Standards will be aligned to the work of the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and its national improvement programmes. Once developed, the Board will be responsible for the regular review of those standards.

The independent Chair of the Board is Suzanne McCarthy. She is a qualified lawyer and experienced non-executive director whose roles currently include working with the Valuation Tribunal Service and the London Mayor’s Office on Policing and Crime.

Alison Sansome is the independent Vice Chair. Alison brings non-executive experience from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Office of the Public Guardian, as well as an extensive career spanning the civil service, technology industry and health sector.

Other Board members include representatives from the Home Office, NFCC, the Local Government Association, and the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners.  The Board will be supported by the NFCC’s Central Programme Office.

The Chairs will both be attending the Emergency Services Show on Thursday 19 September 2019 and will be presenting an introduction to the Board at the Lessons Learnt Theatre at 10.35am.

Fire and rescue services in the Devolved Administrations operate against their own standards and inspection frameworks. However, they will be encouraged to engage in the standards development process, with the option of adopting all – or part of the professional standards – developed through the Board.

Representative bodies and a range of other stakeholders will be included in the development of standards through various means but formerly through the NFCC Strategic Engagement Forum.

The Board has now met three times. Terms of Reference are agreed; a standards development process and the component parts of a Standard have also been agreed in principle. These will be tested via a pilot process which is now underway and will lead to the first Standard being proposed for approval in early 2020.

The Board is now conducting a wider scoping and prioritisation exercise to map out the complete framework of Standards and to plan a Standards development programme. Updates on their work will be available in the News section of the website.

Forming a key plank of the reform programme, the Fire Standards Board (FSB or Board) has now been established and has met twice. The Board has a Chair and Vice Chair both independent from fire and rescue services and Government. They each bring a wealth of experience from their extensive and varied executive and non-executive careers.

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Forensic technology tasters 18/09/2019

It has been quite a few years since I sat in a hospital laboratory in a converted old second world war Nissen Hut manually testing the blood group of a blood sample. I was 6 years old and my dad ran the lab and had been called in for an emergency on a Saturday morning. The health and safety teams of today would have a heart attack if they knew what I was doing but I had watched dad do it on so many occasions and rules were different then. I decided there and then that that part of science and even forensic science were not for me, but a scientist by qualification I became. I studied applied science which allowed me to examine materials, explosives, organophosphate based chemicals, computers, nuclear samples and much more. 

It has been quite a few years since I sat in a hospital laboratory in a converted old second world war Nissen Hut manually testing the blood group of a blood sample. I was 6 years old and my dad ran the lab and had been called in for an emergency on a Saturday morning. The health and safety teams of today would have a heart attack if they knew what I was doing but I had watched dad do it on so many occasions and rules were different then. I decided there and then that that part of science and even forensic science were not for me, but a scientist by qualification I became. I studied applied science which allowed me to examine materials, explosives, organophosphate based chemicals, computers, nuclear samples and much more. 

A new part of this year’s International Security Expo is the first International Forensics conference where the policies, sciences and technologies behind the advances since I was 6 years old and a few years later, examined as part of my degree will be discussed and exhibited.  The technological advances of today are fascinating.

Anyone who has watched CSI or for me it was the X Files and Silent Witness, knows some of the techniques used.  Chemistry, physics, biological sciences and of course computer science, are all at the fore of modern forensic analytical techniques and technologies.  

Some of the classic tests still exist but are much more sophisticated and accurate with today’s technology and 14 areas to watch are:

1.    Fingerprint detection and identification.  Magnetic fingerprinting dust is a newer technology that allows investigators to get a perfect impression without compromising the fingerprint. These imprints are then digitised and can quickly be compared to fingerprints found to digital databases. 

2.    Blood detection. I am sure those that watch crime related programmes on the television will have seen the scenes of crime investigator looking for blood splatters with a UV torch. However, in 1928 a German Chemist called H.O. Albrecht discovered that blood is able to make a chemical called Luminol glow, it became an important part of the forensic investigators tool kit.  The reason that this is possible is thanks to the iron that is found in the haemoglobin of blood and acts as a catalyst that sets off the chemical reaction. The chemical will then give off a blue glow for about 30 seconds but in order to be visible the room has to be dark enough and forensic photographers have to work very fast.

3.    Hair Analysis. The average person loses around 60-100 hairs per day, so it is not unusual for criminals to leave hair samples at crime sites (as well as fibre from clothing and other samples). The human hair protein is like a chemical gold mine for forensic scientists and can even give indications of substance misuse going back over months.  

4.    DNA Sequencing and with it, Polymerase Chain Reaction. DNA is used to identify both criminals and victims by using trace evidence such as hair or skin. DNA strengths can vary depending on the sample taken but the process of Polymerase Chain Reaction (or PCR, allows sequences to be amplified hugely making the matching process easier.  The scientists are looking for unique matching sequences within the molecular structure.

5.    Drug Testing.  It is frequent that forensic teams come across unknown substances and there are lab tests that can identify quickly that there is a substance of interest present and then identify that substance.  Of note some of these tests that relied on sophisticated laboratory equipment’s, especially when detecting small molecule substances can now be done with selective antibody dip stick technologies and these will be briefed at the International Security Expo. This is an area of rapid growth especially with the legalisation of what were controlled substances in some states.  

6.    Ballistics is broken down into four main categories. These are internal ballistics, transitional ballistics, external ballistics, and terminal ballistics. In the field of forensics, ballistics is used to analyse the bullet itself and its impact to see if the information found can be used in a court of law.

7.    Link Analysis Software is used many investigations but in particular it helps forensic accountants track financial transactions. This makes it easier to see patterns of activity and identify illegal activity.  The same is used with other forms of computer and phone records. 

8.    Digital surveillance for gaming equipment.  The forensic analysis of computer hard drives is nothing new, but many criminals use connected gaming devices for criminal activities, and these can be surveilled in a similar way as they are in effect just different connected computer systems. This can also be said of supposedly uncrackable phones. There is no hiding in the digital world of cyberspace. 

9.    Facial Reconstruction. Many victims have been too badly injured or their bodies to badly composed for visual identification.  However, analysing the bone structure and using computer models for muscles and skin tones it is possible for forensic scientists to build a possible physical appearance thereby aiding identification.  

10.      Alternative Light Photography. Using blue and orange filters on lights as evidential photographs are taken, often allow sub cutaneous haematoma (bruising below the shill surface) to be identified quickly and this can aid rapid diagnosis and also be used for quick evidential purposes.

11.      Fire Investigations.  When arson is suspected at a site, it is not unusual for there to be traces of accelerants.  These are one of the first things looked for and current techniques make them relatively easy to identify.  

Two technologies the average lay person may not have heard of, adding to the list are:

12.      Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry.  Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) is used to put a jigsaw puzzle of broken glass back together in the computer there by helping  forensic scientists determine the direction of bullets, force of impact or even the type of weapon used if a crime has been committed. The LA-ICP-MS helps forensic scientists determine what type of glass is found and can match it to other types of glass in a database.

13.     Phenom SEM.  This is a piece of equipment that allows the rapid identification of gunshot residue. It allows gunshot residue particles to be identified against a confused background of particles and then characterises the residue using energy dispersive spectroscopy quickly distinguishing the gunshot particles from dust, dirt and other fibres, all automatically.

And finally.

14.    People Watching.  The one thing science hasn’t mastered yet is the ability to read people, their expressions, micro expressions, intonations and more. Often, where possible talking can reveal more than many scientific techniques. They can be used to reinforce what is discovered. 

Many of these topics will be covered by the experts at the International Forensics Conference on 3rd December 2019 as part of the International Security Expo and thanks to www.atascientific.com.au for thoughts on what to list.

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Borders and border security 18/09/2019

With the refugee crisis that hit Europe in recent years and the prominence border issues are taking in the Brexit debates, border security is at the front of many peoples thinking.  Philip Ingram MBE (PI) managed to sit down and chat with Berndt Koerner (BK), who is the deputy executive director of the European Border and Coastguard Agency, Frontex, and explore some of these issues from his perspective.

(PI) Berndt, European borders have been in the news recently with the mass migration of refugees that have come up from the horrific conflict in Syria and Iraq- how has this impacted on what you’ve had to do and how has it impacted on Europe?

(BK) I think looking at it from today’s perspective, we have to admit that those were unprecedented migration flows, that created challenges that we were not used to before. From today’s perspective, I think I can say that we have drawn appropriate conclusions, we have worked very hard and we have implemented certain measures.

Number one, we have come to the conclusion that we definitely need to know who enters. So there is an undisputable fact, we need to find out the nationalities, the identity of the people that enter.

Number two, we need to work together immediately after arrival in order to find out the case behind those people is. We need to do the interviewing, we need to do the finger-printing, we need to do the registration, we need to do the referral of the persons to the asylum procedures, in case they are looking for international protection. Or if they do not have any legitimate ground to stay within Europe, we also have to tackle the reason of return.

Number three, we have to work much more closely together. This goes first of all, between the number of agencies, we have since then developed much more closely co-operation with Europol and the Asylum Support Agency, but also in the international context, a very reliable partner in this context is INTERPOL, we are relying very much also on the INTERPOL data in order to search in the relevant databases and whether the people arriving due to their biometric identifiers, are not really the ones they claim to be when they immediately approach us.

The next ground is that we also have to look beyond the borders, we have to perform a much more thorough risk analysis in order to have an everyday up to date risk situation of the picture, to know what is coming, to know what is going on, to know what challenges will be approaching us, but the last, we also have to admit, that all those horrific conflicts that you were talking about, cannot be solved by matters of border management. So we need all together, a much broader approach in order to tackle the root causes, that cause those migration numbers.

(PI) Are we seeing the migration flow as being exploited by serious and organised criminals, and if so, how great a threat and risk is it?

(BK)  I think it’s a simple fact that those migration flows are mixed migration flows. There are people in there who are in legitimate search for international protection because they are coming out of war-torn territories. There are people in there who are, if I may say so, simple search for a better life and there are people also in there, who claim reasons that are not actually the reasons why they are actually travelling. So, border management and border control at the external border today, is a lot different from what it used to be in the past. We have to, as I have said, really, immediately, search for the identities of the people. We need to do interviewing, we need to do investigations in order to find out the reason for leaving their countries behind them and if we find out that there is a criminal record, if we find out that there is a criminal record for a reason, or the reason behind it, we immediately have to work together with the national authorities in order to implement the appropriate measures.

(PI) Have we got the right levels of co-operation internationally in place today, to understand who are legitimate refugees that are coming through and who are less legitimate, people seeking better economic conditions or who are people who are wishing to do us harm? Or is there more work to be done?

(BK) There’s a lot of progress, but if it’s sufficient, it’s the old story of reading the book backwards, you only know afterwards if it was sufficient or not. Within the justice and home affairs agency within the European Union, there is a much closer relationship than it used to be, we are on the ground with colleagues from Europol, colleagues from EASO, we are working very closely together, we have common work programmes, we have common working arrangements and common action plans that we are implementing. We are also working together on an international level, i.e. I can recall a very good relationship we have together with INTERPOL, where we are working on a common database for the identification of documents- which tends to be a very interesting, very internationally received issue, when it will go live in the near future.

What we could still enhance is the broad international co-operation, because the problems we are facing in Europe, might be similar to the problems that are occurring in many different parts of the world. We are increasingly in contact with all the different stakeholders in other parts of the world. But sometimes we find ourselves tackling the same problems without talking to each other sufficiently. So this international platform that was also discussed during the conference here, I think is something that we could all strive for.

(PI) The other aspect that there is here, is the inundation of technology- how much does technology help in the challenges that you’ve got today?

(BK) I think that technology is an indispensable factor in tackling the challenges that we have today, but I think we have to keep the balance, technology, even artificial intelligence, can help us in sourcing out those robotised parts of our work. The obtaining of situational pictures, the analysis of certain patterns, but the final decision will remain in the hands of well-trained, of adequately equipped and of well-placed-internationally border guards, but those border guards will have to take the final decision on the basis of all the information they have received. So, technology helps, technology can facilitate, technology can help us in obtaining the immense need for additional personal, but technology will never replace the human factor in border control.

(PI) Now I’m afraid I’m going to use a very rude word in a moment, are we seeing an increase in nationalism and Brexit being one of the examples of increased nationalism across Europe, is that impacting on what you’re trying to achieve and what progress you’ve made, is it time to rethink the Schengen Agreement for example?

(BK) I think this is an impression that you could quite easily get when you look at the level of the discussion from the outside. There is a kind of, stormy phase that we are going through. Which might be caused also by the migration crisis that we were addressing at the beginning. But I think if you are in the topic, if you look at today’s world, there is no way back and Schengen is not something that has been put on paper, so an agreement in the late 90s, but Schengen is something that is constantly evolving. So, if you see to rethink Schengen in order to update it, in order to bring it in conformity with today’s challenges- yes. But there is definitely no way back, because it’s a simple fact as once the high-commissioner said in a country that I had the privilege to visit, ‘today we are living in one globalised village, there is no way back from this one globalised village’ with this ever-increasing time in speed of travel. So we just have to cope with those challenges.

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Active counter drone measures authorised 18/09/2019

Gatwick airport hit the headlines again at the end of August when the Guardian reported, “an airliner carrying up to 186 passengers was forced to take avoiding action after a drone was spotted, a near-miss report has revealed.” They have been asked if their new counter drone capability worked or not and if not why? However, to date no answer has been forthcoming.

This comes after Gatwick Airport was closed in December 2018 for 36 hours through, according to Superintendent Justin Burtenshaw, the commander of the police force at Gatwick, “multiple simultaneous drone incursions.” This was just after a very sophisticated cyber-attack on the airport which, as NCSC admitted, hasn’t been publicly attributed yet.

In early January 2019 Heathrow Airport had to briefly close one runway. These incidents have brought airport security to the forefront of the international press and highlighted a threat from drones that it seems the UK Civil Aviation Authority hadn’t considered, the deliberate prolonged disruption of airspace for no reason but mischief.

EasyJet said that the Gatwick closure cost them £15 million with £5 million in lost ticket sales and £10 million in compensation for passengers caught up in the disruption. A total cost of the incident has not yet been calculated and the British police haven’t arrested any further suspects.

Dubai is said to be a ‘leader’ in drone regulation after it experienced one of the world’s first major airport closures linked to a drone sighting back in 2015 that lasted 55 minutes.  This experience and Dubai rapidly implementing new regulations and laws have given them this ‘leader’ status. 

The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA) estimated that the closure cost the airport $100,000 per minute given its international hub status.  With those numbers, it doesn’t take long for anti-drone technologies to come into the affordability bracket.

So, how do you deal with the Drone threat?  In essence, there are two elements to it, the first detect and the second is defend or disrupt. Detection technologies include: Radars, radio signal receivers, acoustic detectors, and optical and thermal cameras.  Remembering that many drones are small, made of plastic, fly fast and low “in the background clutter” and have few components to return a radar signature, detecting and tracking is not a simple as it sounds.

The next technologies designed to defend against incursion or disrupt an incursion are full of problems when it comes to their operation.  They come in 2 real sets, electronic disrupters and physical disrupters.

Electronic methods of disrupting drone use include jammers that can jam the control signal to the drone, or the GPS signal, spoofers throwing the GPS signal off, hacking the control signal, using sound waves or lasers to disrupt the drone or high energy electromagnetic pulses or microwaves designed to fry the drone’s electronics.

Physical methods include nets (fired or carried by another drone, or fired from a hand held device like a gun on the ground, individuals with shot guns (not recommended), birds of prey (as we have seen in the Netherlands) and as has gone viral on you tube, toilet rolls at a football match when an illegally flown drone had its rotors snagged by a well-aimed and very luck toilet roll thrown from above it.

The physical methods tend to be short range and often inaccurate, apart from the drone launched nets.  The electronic methods are fraught with difficulties caused by potential collateral damage.  Drone control frequencies are similar to WI-FI frequencies precluding the easy use of jamming technologies. The last thing you want to do near an airport is jam or spoof GPS, nor do you want to fire things that could fry electronic devices. So, whilst on the theoretical surface they seem the ideal solution, in reality they are almost impossible to use in an airport scenario.

In the UK it is even more difficult as the use of any apparatus, for the purpose of interfering with any wireless telegraphy, is an offence under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006. Application can be made to Ofcom for a licence to use a jamming type device, but until Gatwick it was considered highly unlikely one would be granted because of the danger of collateral damage. 

Superintendent Burtenshaw told me recently that, “I would need to break the law to use jamming and would have to apply to the Home Office to do that.  In December I applied to the Home Office to use that technology and that was granted but we never got the opportunity to use it, jamming technology is just not tested in this environment.  There is legislation in the pipeline catching up and we are hoping that legislation would allow action under a Chief Constables authority in the near future.”

Of all the regulations the UK Drone code, mirrored in Ireland is the most sensible set of instructions adopted anywhere. These are:

  • Keep the drone within line of sight at all times.
  • Fly no higher than 400 feet (120 m) from the ground and no further than 500 meters.
  • Be no closer than 50m to any person, vehicle building or structure that is not under the full control of the pilot.
  • Remain 150m from any congested area or large gathering of people.
  • Fly within 1km (0.62 miles) of an airport, but this is being extended to include the current Air Traffic Zone around airports, which is approximately a 5km (3.1 miles) radius, with additional extensions from runway ends.

From 30 November 2019 operators of drones between 250g and 20kg will need to be registered. It seems people forget that endangering the safety of an aircraft is a criminal offence which can carry a prison sentence of up to five years.

Gatwick and Heathrow will see a call for more regulation and the threat from illegal drone use is firmly at the forefront of airport safety across the globe and is a real trend.  The change in legislation and authorisation to use active measures on UK soil is believed to be a first.

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Free online counter terrorism training from SIA 19/09/2019

​SIA LICENCE-holders can now get free online counter terrorism training from the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO).

NaCTSO has created special password-protected access for the security industry to their ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) Awareness training.

ACT Awareness e-learning is a new counter terrorism awareness product designed for all UK based companies and organisations. It provides nationally accredited corporate counter terrorism guidance to help industry better understand and mitigate against current terrorist methodology.

Tony Holyland, SIA head of quality and standards, said, “This offer from NaCTSO means that everyone in the security field, from front-line operatives to managers and directors, can access up-to-date counter-terrorism guidance free of charge. 

We strongly encourage everyone in the industry to complete this course, as it will help keep you and the public safe in the event of a terror attack.  Please share this information with your colleagues and employees; it could save lives.”

Supt Adam Thomson, head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO), said, “Terrorist attack planning is harder to detect and is happening in a shorter timeframe.  This means that security operatives are increasingly on the front line of counter terrorism security.  It is very important that security staff, who are responsible for public safety, are able to recognise and respond to potential terrorist attacks.

We are delighted to be working with the SIA to offer this training to everyone in the security industry.  We hope this offer will be taken up widely, as it could make all the difference in the unlikely event that an attack happens.”

The training, which is modular, can be completed in approximately 45 minutes.  Learners are able to save their progress and continue later if they don’t have time to complete all the modules in one sitting.

Security professionals can follow the link here to request a PIN code from the SIA that will give them privileged access to the ACT (Action Counters Terrorism) e-learning.

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SIA commits to reducing costs 18/09/2019

THE SECURITY Industry Authority (SIA) ​is reducing charges to individuals from next month as part of its commitment to drive down costs.

From 1st October 2019 individual licences for all sectors will be reduced from £220 to £210.

The reduction applies to both new applicants and those renewing existing licences.

Licence holders applying for an additional licence after this date will pay 50% of the new reduced fee.

The licence fee has been set at £220 since January 2012; if adjusted for inflation over this period using the Consumer Price Index, the licence fee would be £257 at March 2019.

SIA chairman Elizabeth France said, “We have held current fee levels for seven years, and I am very pleased to now announce this reduction. We continue to seek improvements in the way we run the SIA and provide value for money for licence holders, approved contractors and the public”.

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Met teams with Facebook to prevent streaming terror 19/09/2019

THE MET is taking part in a cutting-edge project that aims to prevent live streaming of terrorist and firearms attacks across the world.

From October this year, the Met will provide Facebook with video footage of training by its Firearms Command, from the perspective of the officers, to help the company develop technology that identifies when someone is live streaming footage of a firearms attack.

Such technology could help Facebook notify the police of an attack early on and prevent the live streaming of such atrocities on the social media platform.

The footage will be captured on body cameras attached to firearms officers as they carry out their regular training, then shared with Facebook. 

The footage will also be provided to the Home Office, so that it can be shared with other technology companies to develop similar technology to stop the live streaming of firearms attacks elsewhere online.

Officers from the Met's world-renowned Firearms Command regularly train in how to respond to a wide variety of scenarios, from terrorist incidents to hostage situations, on land, public transport and water, so the footage they provide will show a “shooter” perspective in a broad range of situations. 

This varied imagery – combined with video from law enforcement in the United States – will help Facebook gather the volume of footage needed so their artificial intelligence technology can learn to identify live footage of an attack, and subsequently remove it.

The Met became involved in the project as a direct result of the national Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit’s (CTIRU) long-standing relationship with Facebook. This national team based within the Met Police - the first of its kind globally - works with service providers and social media companies like Facebook to ensure the removal of harmful terrorist material from online. The CTIRU actively assists hundreds of national counter terrorism investigations, identifying specific UK-based threats and then supporting investigations into the individuals or networks behind them.

As a result, Facebook reached out to the Met Police when seeking assistance with the idea.

Speaking about the project, the UK’s top-ranking counter terrorism police officer, assistant commissioner for specialist operations, Neil Basu, said, “Since the CTIRU launched almost ten years ago, it’s been at the forefront in terms of working with internet service providers and social media companies to tackle terrorism online. 

“As a result of the unit’s relationship with Facebook, coupled with the world-renowned expertise of the Met Police Firearms Command, the Met has been invited to take part in this innovative project.

“The technology Facebook is seeking to create could help identify firearms attacks in their early stages and potentially assist police across the world in their response to such incidents.

“Technology that automatically stops live streaming of attacks once identified, would also significantly help prevent the glorification of such acts and the promotion of the toxic ideologies that drive them.

“We welcome such efforts to prevent terrorism and its glorification and are happy to help develop this technology.”

Stephanie McCourt, Facebook’s law enforcement outreach lead (UK) said, “Facebook’s work tackling threats from terrorism and extremism never stops. We invest heavily in people and technology to keep people safe on our platforms. But we can’t do it alone. This partnership with the Met Police will help train our AI systems with the volume of data needed to identify these incidents. And we will remain committed to improving our detection abilities and keeping harmful content off Facebook.”

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ICO fines double glazing company 19/09/2019

THE INFORMATION Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined a Swansea double-glazing company £150,000 for making nuisance calls.

Superior Style Home Improvements Ltd called people over an 11 month period whose numbers were registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and who had not given their consent to receive them. The ICO has also issued an Enforcement Notice warning them to stop making the calls.

Dave Clancy, of the ICO’s investigations team said, ”Companies engaged in this illegal activity should take note,  we will take action against those that continue to disregard the law around electronic marketing via  phone calls, emails and text messages.  These cause a real nuisance - and often distress - to people who don’t want to receive them.  Company directors should also be aware that they can now be made personally liable for fines that we issue.”

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Commonwealth Games springboard for future fencing gold 18/09/2019

A CHAMPION Olympic fencer is champing at the bit for the opportunities afforded by the 2022 Commonwealth Games coming to Birmingham in three years.

High security fencing manufacturer Zaun Ltd supplied 23km of permanent fencing for various stadia at the London 2012 Olympics. 

And Zaun then secured the Athletes Village, Chris Hoy Velodrome, Celtic Park, Hampden Park, Troyglen, Kelvin Grove Lawn Bowls and the SECC at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Small wonder therefore that they are so excited about the Games coming to the Midlands next time out.

Owner, director and co-founder Alastair Henman says:  “The feedback we got from the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee, Police Scotland and the Home Office was very positive, and all were pleased with the security at the Games.

“So, we are hoping to capitalise on that, our London Olympics experience and a host of keynote political summits to secure more major events in the future.“

Innovation was the key to winning the initial Olympic work, thinking about the project in a different way using technical capabilities of existing machines to highlight potential savings.

Back in 2008, Zaun was an unknown in major events security and simply registered for two opportunities on the portal competefor.com, which has become an ongoing service used in the supply chain since its successful introduction for the London 2012 Games.

But that has all changed, as Henman explains: “The 2014 Commonwealth Games followed, with just a simple introduction letter and a follow-up call to the organising committee, who gave us details of who we should be speaking to.

“We now had a reputation for innovation, quality and delivery at the greatest show on earth, which was a passport to all sorts of other work.”

Zaun developed its PAS 68 MultiFence especially to resist hostile vehicle and mob attacks at the London 2012 Olympics.  The UK Intellectual Property Office has since granted Zaun a patent for it.

The two Games alone brought Zaun £35m of contracts over six or seven years.  But it was the introduction to all manner of other contracts that was the real prize.

Contracts as diverse as Edinburgh Castle, the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland, Fastlane nuclear naval base, the NATO Summit in Wales, Wimbledon, Calais, Windsor Castle, London’s New Year’s Eve celebrations and most recently US President Donald Trump’s State visit to the UK.

Zaun is actively pursuing opportunities with the 2022 Commonwealth Games and continues to look to a packed programme of world sporting spectaculars and major political and state occasions to provide its integrated high-security perimeter event overlay services.

Henman says: “I spent four years of my life delivering our largest ever contract for the London 2012 Olympics.  It was a fantastic time for us, and it opened up so many doors and opportunities.

“But a contract of that magnitude cannot be expected every year and the company needs to be founded on solid repeatable business.  The spectaculars are great for show, but don't necessarily bring home the dough, month after month, year after year. 

“Now we are focused on using the credibility and success of London 2012 and the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games to secure long term sustainable customers.”

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