Gavin Stephens appointed to lead National Police Chiefs’ Council

CHIEF CONSTABLE Gavin Stephens has been appointed to lead the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) from April 2023. Current chair Martin Hewitt will leave the post in March next year after serving a four-year term.

Chief constables were invited to apply for the post of NPCC chairin October. Chief constable Gavin Stephens applied for the post and, in accordance with election rules, has been appointed.

Stephens has worked in policing for nearly 30 years, first joining the Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 1993 and then Surrey Police in 1996, where he has been working for over two decades now, serving in every rank up to the role of chief constable.

He was initially based in East Surrey on neighbourhood policing and went on to roles in serious and organised crime, professional standards and local policing.

On a national level, Stephens has played a major role in developing and modernising neighbourhood policing. He led the implementation of the Neighbourhood Policing Guidelines in 2016.

Stephens is currently chair of the NPCC’s Finance Co-ordination Committee, as well as chair of the national Communications Advisory Group.

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NBCC launches national week of action targeting business crime

THE NATIONAL Business Crime Centre (NBCC) is holding a national week of action to support businesses and reduce business crime across the country. The week of action runs from Monday 17 October and involves police forces and partners working together to hold targeted operations in towns and city centres, running high-profile media and social media campaigns and engaging with local businesses, retailers and the community in a determined bid to raise awareness of business crime.

The City of London Police, which plays host to the NBCC, is holding a Safer Business Action (SaBA) Day to deliver a focused operation featuring joint patrols, the targeted intervention of offenders and a range of crime prevention activity. The latter includes raising awareness of local issues with members of the general public.

SaBA Days represent a joint approach by police, business, private security, Business Crime Reduction Partnerships and Business Improvement Districts working in partnership to focus resources into a designated location and create a significant impact that leads to crime reduction.

Partnership working and days of action are all part of normal activity for police forces and their partners. Although locally based, SaBA Days bring with them a national reach. Through the SaBA Steering Group and the NBCC, there are links to a national network of contacts. Best Practice can be shared and extra resources from private businesses with a national footprint may be able to assist with a given event.

Bringing police and partners together

Superintendent Patrick Holdaway, lead for the NBCC, said: “The week of action is an opportunity to bring police and partners together to tackle the key issues of business crime in their communities. Each police force taking part will be holding various crime prevention activities and initiatives designed to increase engagement with local businesses and retail outlets and tackle some of the most prolific offenders.”

Businesses trading on High Streets and in town centres are also encouraged to become involved and display the ShopKind messaging in their stores. All of the ShopKind materials are free to download online.

Edward Woodall, the ShopKind campaign’s co-ordinator, stated: “We encourage all businesses to support the national week of action and share messages about ShopKind with their customers and colleagues.”

The NBCC social media channels on LinkedIn and Twitter will have updates of the activity taking place throughout the week.

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International Security Expo proves huge success for Nineteen Group

THOUSANDS OF security professionals – including staff from FTL Secure Solutions – representing more than 70 countries descended on London’s Olympia from 27-28 September as the Nineteen Group-organised International Security Expo – for which Security Matters served as Lead Media Partner – returned to showcase the very latest technological innovations designed to protect people, businesses and the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure.

With more than 300 companies demonstrating thousands of the most cutting-edge products and solutions, attendees were provided with an unmissable opportunity to gain in-person demonstrations and insights, in turn helping them to understand how technology can meet current and future challenges.

Demonstrating the event’s invaluable role in facilitating new product launches, many exhibitors took the opportunity to unveil their latest innovations, sharing all-new technologies and refreshed solutions to a packed audience of buyers from the UK and international territories.

Among them, Apstec Systems announced the launch of a new version of its Human Security Radar. Version 4 of the innovative system provides high-throughput, low-contact security screening and ensures a “seamless” security experience for people being screened. It delivers “proven and effective” functionality in an attractive, smaller and more mobile unit that’s perfectly suited for deployments at prestigious locations.

Elsewhere on the show floor, Apex Vanguard demonstrated its Hecate ruggedised tactical camera system – a specialised IP67-rated multi-platform camera system featuring a wide view day camera, IR night camera and a FLIR thermal imaging camera all-in-one system. It’s supported by an integrated COFDM microwave transmission module with all the video and data transmitted to a fully functional ergonomic hand-held receiver unit.

Demonstrating two new product launches, LINEV Systems UK revealed its PROTEUS range of baggage X-ray security systems. The range is fully equipped with the latest Artificial Intelligence features to help detect pyrotechnics, flares and smoke bombs.

The company also showcased its Clearpass C.I, itself an X-ray scanner designed for smaller spaces. With a footprint of just 0.85 m², the technology offers “exceptional” mobility and “the fastest scan acquisition time available on the market”. It’s available with advanced contraband detection software and designed to detect contraband ‘on’ or ‘in’ the human body. By allowing selective area-focused screening, the solution also reduces screening and overexposure to other parts of the body.

Speaking about this year’s event, Tim Betts (sales and marketing professional at LINEV Systems UK, said: “International Security Expo is an essential event for us. The engaging show floor packed with attendees allowed us to network and generate new leads following our rebranding. Simply put, the International Security Expo is the flagship event for us in the UK.”

Analytics and investigations

X-ray capabilities were also the focus of the Videray stand where the company announced its new PX Ultra – the “most powerful” handheld backscatter X-ray imager on the market. After nearly three years of development and testing, the PX Ultra uses the first 160 keV X-ray source, enabling operators to see through up to 10 mm of steel. It features the same ergonomic form factor and intuitive software used by the popular PX1, reducing its scatter and leakage measurements by a factor of two.

Meanwhile, Canadian defence and security start-up, Patagona Technologies demonstrated its THREATDESK analytics and investigations platform. This solution provides OSINT analysts with the tools to combat co-ordinated information operations by state and non-state actors. It allows analysts to gain deep insights into online threats such as co-ordinated influence operations, online radicalisation and information security threats by dint of leveraging hundreds of online data sources from news, forums and social media platforms. Once collected, it uses advanced Artificial Intelligence methods to identify and respond to co-ordinated inauthentic behaviours.

Across the show floor, product demonstrations helped to bring the latest security technologies and solutions to life. In the LPCB Live Testing Lab, crowds gathered to witness a team of professional forced entry specialists put a range of physical security products through their paces.

Located in the show’s Perimeter Protection Zone, supported by the Perimeter Security Suppliers Association and sponsored by Barkers Fencing, the line-up included products from exhibitors including Eagle Automation, CLD Fencing, the Bradbury Group, Jacksons Fencing, Lochrin Bain and Surelock McGill.

Elsewhere, the Product Innovation Theatre provided a vital platform for the likes of QinetiQ, Greyscan Australia, T3K.AI, Pimloc Limited, Everbridge and Global Security Solutions to share an in-depth look at the rationale behind their latest innovations and the challenges they’re designed to meet. For example, Smiths Detection showcased its Canary Biological Detection Technology, which uses a genetically engineered immune cell called a ‘biosensor’ to identify and bind to a specific target. When a pathogen is found, a reaction starts causing the biosensor to luminesce. By measuring light output from the cell, it can determine if the target biological is present in the sample.

Returning to the Product Innovation Theatre on Day Two, members of the Defence and Security Accelerator team introduced three suppliers funded under the Innovative Research Cell 2020 for Explosives and Weapons Detection. The suppliers – Iconal Technology, Fraunhofer UK and IRSweep and Metrasens – shared insights into the innovative projects funded through this competition and the opportunities for like-minded businesses to become involved.

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CPNI launches “pioneering” course for security Control Room operators

IN ITS role as the national technical authority for physical and personnel protective security, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) has launched a new training course aimed squarely at security Control Room operators.

The course and associated guidance produced by the CPNI enables businesses and organisations alike to plan and prepare for – as well as respond to – terrorist incidents, thereby increasing the capabilities of security Control Room operators and other security personnel.

Uniquely based around research undertaken since 2017, the course offers “world-first” immersive exercises that simulate multiple terrorist incident scenarios, enabling delegates to practice decision-making in real-time as if they were in a real Control Room environment.

The course is informed by the recently updated guidance, developed through detailed analysis of previous terrorist incidents, extensive research that has included live simulations of attacks (as part of the CPNI’s ASCEND trials) and surveys of existing Command and Control capabilities.

Importance of security Control Room operators

Through five years of research, the CPNI has found that most casualties in a terrorist incident occur within the first few minutes. During the initial period before the Emergency Services have arrived on scene, the security Control Room is the front line of defence, leading and organising the initial response to the terrorist incident.

Every second counts during an attack and every second that passes is an opportunity to keep the threat as far away from people as possible, assist those who need urgent help and work with the Emergency Services.

Effective Command and Control is critical for mitigating the impact of terrorist incidents. Sites are unlikely to provide an effective response to a terrorist incident unless: 

*Security Control Room personnel are provided with the appropriate equipment, policies and procedures.

*operators are given the necessary training and time to practice and exercise the response

Worryingly, the CPNI’s research has shown that UK businesses and organisations are not sufficiently prepared for terrorist incidents. Security Control Room operators are often unclear on what tasks need to be completed and whose responsible for each task, duly resulting in duplication of effort and essential tasks.

Terrorist attacks are perhaps the most challenging types of incidents an organisation will ever face. Fortunately, they are also rare and most people will never encounter one. That said, training and rehearsal are often the only ways in which security Control Room operators can gain the necessary skills and begin to practice them ahead of a real incident.

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NSI appointed regional independent audit body for TAPA EMEA

THE NATIONAL Security Inspectorate – the independent specialist third party certification body which approves over 2,000 UK providers of security and fire safety services – has been appointed as a regional independent audit body for the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA) in the EMEA region.

As a result, and with immediate effect, the Inspectorate will now be offering certification for TAPA EMEA’s three primary standards: Facility Security, Trucking Security and Parking Security.

A global not-for-profit industry association, TAPA was founded back in 1997 and helps manufacturers/shippers, logistics service providers, freight transport and security services companies when it comes to minimising losses from supply chains due to cargo theft.

Within the EMEA region, the UK is one of the most highly impacted countries for recorded cargo crime. From 1 January 2020 to 30 June this year, no fewer than 5,751 incidents of theft from supply chains were reported to TAPA EMEA’s Intelligence Systems operation in the UK. Of those which stated a financial loss value, 50% of crimes equated to a loss of over £100 million.

On average, over £100,000 worth of goods are stolen from supply chains in the UK each day. Given the majority of cargo crimes in the UK pass by unreported, these figures represent only a fraction of the real picture.

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Graeme Biggar CBE appointed director general of National Crime Agency

HOME SECRETARY Priti Patel has appointed Graeme Biggar CBE as director general of the National Crime Agency (NCA). Biggar has led the NCA on an interim basis since October 2021, during which time the organisation has reported record disruptions against key threats and targeted an increasing proportion of those criminals causing the most harm.

Appointed on a five-year term following an open recruitment process, Biggar will now lead the NCA’s drive to advance the UK’s fight against serious and organised crime: a national security threat that includes people smuggling, cyber crime, illicit finance and drugs and firearms trafficking.

The director general takes charge of the NCA’s 6,000 officers based in the UK and overseas and is responsible for setting its operational priorities, ensuring that the organisation is operating effectively and shaping the entire UK law enforcement response to serious and organised crime.

In 2021-2022 alone, NCA activity has delivered prison sentences for criminals totalling more than 2,379 years and presided over the freezing or seizure of £358 million in criminal assets/ The NCA’s efforts have resulted in the arrest of 244 people smuggling offenders outside of the UK and led to the seizure of 241 tonnes of Class A drugs. Further, the organisation has spearheaded the implementation of a cross-law enforcement ransomware threat group, thereby protecting the UK’s economy from losses of at least £600 million.

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Security boss ordered to pay £164,000 Confiscation Order

ON TUESDAY 5 July, Christopher Browne of Scarborough was ordered by York Crown Court to pay a £164,000 Confiscation Order within three months or face an 18-month jail sentence following a Proceeds of Crime action. The amount is the realisable funds from the sale of his Scarborough house which is currently subject to a Proceeds of Crime Act Restraint Order. Browne was also sentenced to a £200 fine and a £20 victim surcharge.

The sentencing follows Browne’s conviction on 9 February last year at Scarborough Magistrates’ Court for working as an unlicensed company director of Scarborough-based Coastal Security Ltd.

The prosecution was brought by the Security Industry Authority (SIA).

Browne held a valid SIA security guarding licence up until 15 February 2016. After his licence expired, he refused to apply for a new security guarding licence even after repeated attempts by the SIA to help him to engage with the regulator’s licensing process. Browne continued to work as an unlicensed director of a company supplying security for more than four-and-a-half years between 15 February 2016 and 21 August 2020.

Browne responded to a request for information when he gave a full and frank account during an interview under caution on 20 August 2020 and admitted that he had knowingly acted as a director of a company supplying private security industry services without an SIA licence.

Browne was a director of Coastal Security Ltd for 21 years from December 2000. The business supplied CCTV, security equipment and security officers, but the company has now been put into liquidation.

Jenny Hart, one of the SIA’s criminal investigation managers, said the court order reflects the seriousness of Browne’s failings to engage with the SIA and get licensed. “We did everything possible to engage with Browne, but he failed to renew and apply for a licence to operate. He was negligent and put the public at risk as he refused to become licensed. His non-compliance has exacerbated the situation, which could have easily been avoided.”

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CNI-focused organisations “must lighten load” on cyber security teams.

UK CRITICAL National Infrastructure (CNI) organisations must take steps to ensure cyber leaders have the right budget, skills and ‘tech stack’ to build out and implement an effective cyber security strategy or they risk an exodus of skilled cyber security professionals. That’s according to new research conducted by UK cyber security services firm Bridewell.

The research, which surveyed UK cyber security decision-makers in the communications, utilities, finance, Government and transport and aviation sectors, reveals that 95% are experiencing factors that would make them likely to leave their role in the next 12 months.

Over four-in-ten (42%, in fact) of respondents feel that a breach is inevitable and don’t want to tarnish their career, while 40% suggest that they’re experiencing stress and burnout which is negatively impacting their personal life.

The prospect of people leaving jobs is particularly problematic for CNI organisations at a time when the threat of attacks remains high. Over two-thirds of UK CNI cyber leaders state that the volume of threats and successful attacks has increased over the past year, while 69% believe it’s now harder to detect and respond to threats.

Fears of staff leaving are also compounded by the ongoing skills shortage in the sector with 68% of respondents saying it has become harder to recruit the right resources to secure and monitor systems over the past year.

Skills for Security and SecuriGroup forge strategic partnership

SKILLS FOR Security has forged a new strategic partnership with SecuriGroup whereby the skills body will become the latter’s preferred fire and security apprenticeship provider. Going forward, Skills for Security will be working with SecuriGroup on assisting the security business during the recruitment process for new apprenticeship positions and also on ensuring that learners receive maximum support throughout their course.

Skills for Security is recognised as the leading fire and security apprenticeship training provider in the UK. The organisation currently supports over 400 apprentices across its centres located in Warrington, Birmingham, Scotland and Oxford, with its Watford centre opening in mid-2022.

Given the huge skills shortage in the fire and security industry’s at present, Skills for Security works with employers right across the UK to provide the next generation of engineers with the necessary tools and knowledge they require for a successful career.

Ranked in the top 1% of UK security companies approved by the Security Industry Authority, SecuriGroup is an award-winning security business specialising in the provision of security guarding, augmented security and systems solutions, mobile patrolling and key holding, events security and close protection services.

SASIG calls for greater focus on real-life cyber resilience

The most common form of cyber attack was phishing attempts (83%), although of the 39% of businesses mentioned, around one-in-five (21%) identified a more sophisticated attack type such as a Denial of Service, malware or ransomware-focused episode.

Within the group of organisations reporting cyber attacks, 31% of businesses and 26% of charities estimate that they were attacked at least once each week and one-in-five businesses (20%) and charities (19%) say they experienced a negative outcome as a direct consequence of each cyber episode.

Issue for the business community

Martin Smith MBE, founder and chair of the SASIG, said: “It’s clear from these latest Government findings that cyber attacks are still very much an issue for British businesses, be they small or large in scale. The findings illustrate that the impacts of these attacks are operational and financial, with the estimated average cost of attacks in the last 12 months amounting to £4,200 and rising to £19,400 when looking specifically at medium and large-scale businesses. The Government itself admits that these figures are also probably underreported, which is extremely worrying.”

Smith went on to comment: “While many businesses are working to prevent such attacks and put plans in place to deal with them when they do occur, it’s abundantly clear that more work needs to be done in this area.”

The survey has identified key areas of weakness, which include the fact that almost half of businesses (46%) had not taken action to identify cyber security risks in the past 12 months. There are broader supply chain issues in terms of cyber security and a lack of understanding of cyber risks at Board level.

Smith concluded: “Threats are constantly evolving, so it follows that having clear and concise cyber security procedures that are respected and adhered to business-wide is going to be key for building robust resilience.”

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