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‘How Safe is Your Business’?: Securitas shares latest solutions at security seminar

Businesses had the opportunity to discover the latest available security technologies and review their existing procedures at a recent seminar hosted by Securitas.

The seminar, entitled: ‘How Safe is Your Business?’, was held at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland on 19 November and enabled local business owners and security managers to gain an insight into current challenges, evaluate present threats and risks and learn how to mitigate them effectively.

Grainne Kelly, area director for Securitas in the North East, Cumbria and Scotland, commented: “The security marketplace has changed dramatically in recent years, with new options open to customers to ensure their premises are secure at all times. The seminar benefited from a line-up of expert speakers who were able to share their knowledge and answer lots of questions from our audience.”

Grainne Kelly speaking at the recent Securitas business seminar

Grainne Kelly speaking at the recent Securitas business seminar

Tackling metal theft

Speakers included Detective Inspector Glen Alderson from the British Transport Police (BTP), whose presentation centred on the constant threat of metal theft and the advances the BTP is making in countering the problem.

Delegates also heard from Securitas’ chief operating officer Shaun Kennedy, technical director Pete Brown and Dr Peter Speight CSyP, director of risk and consulting.

During the seminar, a range of new technology solutions were demonstrated which can be integrated with existing security packages to provide a superior solution while reducing budget.

Security workshops were also carried out which enabled delegates to discuss any potential security challenges they face.

Grainne Kelly added: “Security threats are ever-present and, with the increased terrorist threat level across the UK which now stands at ‘Severe’, we all need to be aware of the challenges our businesses face and how best to mitigate any risk. It has been a really interesting morning, and we hope our delegates have returned to work armed with new knowledge and a renewed focus on ensuring their businesses and employees are kept safe and secure.”

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Survey finds Londoners ready to tackle the terrorist threat

A survey has revealed that nearly three quarters (73%) of individuals who live or work in the City of London are concerned about terrorism compared to 68% of all London adults. An even greater number of Londoners (87%) think that members of the public are important in fighting terrorism, with nearly three quarters (73%) of survey respondents stating they’re likely to report suspicious behaviour to the police.

The survey, undertaken after the UK terrorist threat level was raised from ‘Substantial’ to ‘Severe’, shows that the message from the City of London Police to remain vigilant at all times is one shared by the public. The survey also highlights a gender bias, with 76% of women concerned about terrorist attacks compared to only 59% of men.

The City of London Police continues to pioneer a new and innovative approach to deter terrorism and detect crime through Project Servator. This involves joint deployments with the British Transport Police (BTP) as well as private sector security officers from hundreds of businesses to ensure a ‘Ring of Steel’ around The Square Mile.

Adrian Leppard: City of London Police Commissioner

Adrian Leppard: City of London Police Commissioner

Adrian Leppard – Commissioner of the City of London Police – explained: “Members of the public should be vigilant to the threat posed by terrorism. This survey shows that they are willing to work with the police to prevent such attacks. The people of London are resilient and knowledgeable about the risks from terrorism and know they are key to helping fight that threat.”

Commissioner Leppard added: “Project Servator’s success lies in the partnership between the City of London Police and British Transport Police working with the private security industry, businesses and the public to create a ‘Ring of Steel’ around The Square Mile.”

Project Servator: the detail

Project Servator uses behavioural detection officers and specialist teams to spot suspicious activity and has already led to a total of 98 arrests and 31 cars being seized since launch in February of this year.

Servator involves new tactics and cutting-edge training for police officers that will help deter people from carrying out hostile reconnaissance and detect those with malicious intent. It also increases the opportunity for interaction between police officers and members of the public, provides further reassurance to the public and helps deter and detect other criminal perpetrators.

Hostile reconnaissance is the purposeful observation of people, places, vehicles and locations with the intention of collecting information to inform the planning of a hostile act against a target. Criminals – whether extreme protest groups, organised crime groups or terrorists – have to conduct hostile reconnaissance in order to plan a successful attack. If they can be disrupted and deterred at an early stage, it’s likely that they will abandon their plans.

Following three years of intensive work and study by a Government organisation, the City of London Police ran an initial pilot scheme which heralded a change in the way police use tactics to deter hostile reconnaissance. Due to the way in which the scheme works, these tactics should also have beneficial effects on crime in general.

*Unless otherwise stated, all figures are from YouGov plc. The total sample size was 2,076 London adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 24-30 October 2014. The survey was carried out online. Figures have been weighted and are representative of all London adults (aged 18+)

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Fight against metal theft boosted by UK Government funding

The crackdown on the illegal trade of metal has been boosted by UK Government funding of £500,000.

The Home Office and Department for Transport have agreed to provide further funding for the National Metal Theft Taskforce. The taskforce develops intelligence, co-ordinates activity and targets and disrupts criminal networks – both the thieves and also the criminal market, including rogue elements of the scrap metal industry.

The funding follows a request from the British Transport Police (which leads the taskforce), and means the Government has invested more than £6 million in the initiative since it was launched in January 2012.

The latest funding, which runs to the end of September this year, will allow the taskforce to continue its hugely successful programme of co-ordinated national days of action.

These targeted operations against unscrupulous scrap metal dealers, in conjunction with police and local agencies, have so far resulted in more than 1,000 arrests for theft and related offences. Police have also seized more than 600 vehicles involved in criminality.

More difficult for thieves to profit from crime

Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: “The coalition Government has made it harder than ever for metal thieves to prosper. Our £6 million investment in the National Metal Theft Taskforce is reaping rewards.”

The minister continued: “Alongside our reforms to ban cash payments and regulate the scrap metal trade, the taskforce has helped to make it much more difficult for thieves and unscrupulous dealers to profit from crime. This additional Government funding will enable the taskforce to continue its programme of co-ordinated national days of action, which have so far resulted in more than 1,000 arrests and the seizure of hundreds of vehicles involved in criminality.”

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer said: “I am pleased we can continue to fund this nationally important organisation. The potential impact cable theft has on the railways is huge, not least the inconvenience to passengers. Network Rail has to compensate operators for the disruption. This is money that could be better spent on improving the network which is a vital part of our economic plan.”

In conclusion, Baroness Kramer added: “For the last two years the taskforce has had a big impact in reducing the number of cables being stolen. Network Rail continues to report that the trend is in decline, with delays to passengers being at an all-time low.”

Crackdown on the illegal trade of metal

The taskforce forms part of the Government’s programme of work to crack down on the illegal trade of metal, and its activities have been boosted by legislation.

Under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act, which came into effect in October 2013, scrap metal dealers are now required to hold licences issued by local authorities.

The licences set standards for record keeping and customer verification, and councils may revoke a licence at any time if they believe the dealer is no longer suitable to hold one.

Cash payments for scrap metal have been banned since December 2012.

Statistics published in November 2013 show that UK Government action is working. There was a 40% fall in the number of offences for the three months to the end of March 2013 compared to the three months to the end of June 2012.

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BTPA unveils national plans for policing Britain’s railways

Tube and rail passengers can expect even safer and more reliable journeys as targets to be met by the British Transport Police (BTP) are rolled out on a national basis. The British Transport Police Authority (BTPA), which oversees the work of the force, has worked closely with the British Transport Police to produce this year’s National and Divisional Policing Plans.

The plans outline the targets the British Transport Police (BTP) is expected to achieve by the end of the year. The targets encompass tackling passenger theft, preventing violence against rail staff and working faster to improve response times to incidents of crime so that disruption to passengers is reduced.

This year’s plans are the result of feedback gathered by the BTPA and the BTP, who have spent much of the last 12 months finding out what matters most to those who own, operate, work or travel on the railways.

As a result of consultation, the BTPA and the BTP also took the decision to restructure the geographical make-up of the force to better align operations with policing needs on lines of route – effectively allowing the rail industry to influence the ways in which police resources are deployed.

Millie Banerjee: chairman of the BPTA

Millie Banerjee: chairman of the BPTA

Previously the country was divided, with seven force areas policing Britain’s railways. It will now be split into three divisions with an assistant chief constable overseeing the work of each division.

The restructure is expected to deliver better value for money and improved performance which is good news for passengers, as well as encourage better integration with the rail industry.

Each division will have sub-divisions (eight in total on a national basis) with corresponding local policing plans which will reflect policing needs on all levels.

2014-2015 targets set for the BTP

The 2014-2015 national targets for the BTP are as follows:
• Reduce crime by 4% on last year’s figures
• Reduce police-related delay by 6%
• Achieve passenger confidence ratings of at least 77.5%
• Spend at least 60% of budget on frontline resources
• Non-suspicious fatalities to be cleared in 90 minutes
• Tracks with four lines should be partially re-opened after no more than 45 minutes
• Less than 7.3 days per employee off sick

The BTPA, which celebrates its ten-year anniversary in July, has commended the BTP on successfully reducing crime on the railways year on year while passenger confidence continues to rise since the Authority was set up in 2004.

Millie Banerjee, chairman of the BTPA, said: “We have kept our ears to the ground listening closely to feedback from those who own, operate, work or travel on the railways resulting in policing priorities that match needs at a local level. We have also ensured the savings made last year have been ploughed back into frontline resources including investment in 180-200 more officers and new technology to ensure an efficient and effective policing.”

Paul Crowther: the BTP's acting chief constable

Paul Crowther: the BTP’s acting chief constable

Paul Crowther, the acting chief constable of BTP, added: “As a police force, we are always looking at how we might better meet the needs of the industry and the travelling public. Last year, we piloted two approaches to fatalities and disruption to see how we might create a more effective response. By working with stakeholders and targeting intervention at vulnerable people, with support from the appropriate health authorities, Op Avert was very successful at reducing the number of fatalities. This new approach will continue in 2014-2015.”

Crowther continued: “In addition, we have looked at how we might reduce the impact fatalities have on delays on the network, while ensuring we can carry out our investigations sensitively. The partial opening of track, where possible, has successfully reduced delay minutes to the industry and the impact on passengers. This approach has enabled BTP to continue to carry out our work sensitively and appropriately, but with a reduced impact on services. The partial reopening of lines, at key sections of the network, is now a target for 2014-2015.”

Crowther concluded: “Throughout 2014-2015, we will continue to look at ways in which we can evolve our approach to deliver the responsive, effective policing service passengers and the industry deserves.”

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BTP investigation launched following sale of fake Beyonce tickets

Detectives from British Transport Police are investigating more than 100 cases of ticket fraud relating to Beyonce’s recent concerts at the Phones 4U Arena in Manchester.

Detective Constable Mike Dermody commented: “It seems that someone has been selling fake tickets to concert goers who only realise the tickets aren’t genuine when they reach the venue. We believe there have been more than 140 sets of fake tickets sold, though only seven victims have come forward so far.”

Dermody added: “In most cases, the tickets have sold for at least £100 each and each victim has bought at least two tickets, so we are potentially looking at a fraud worth more than £28,000.”

Each transaction has taken place over the Internet using public selling websites, with the victims arranging to meet someone in Manchester to pick up the tickets.

Beyonce: currently on tour in the UK

Beyonce: currently on tour in the UK

“We believe the victims of this fraudster will be spread far and wide as people travel from all over the UK to see Beyonce,” commented Dermody. “Therefore, we’re appealing to anyone who has been sold fake tickets but has not yet spoken to the police to come forward. We have a number of leads, but need as many people as possible to get in touch.”

If you have any information about the fraudulent tickets please call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40.

In all calls quote BTP log NWA/B5 of 28/2/14.

About the British Transport Police

The British Transport Police is the specialist, national police service for Britain’s railways. BTP deals with major and minor crime, disorder and incidents and covers the rail system in England, Wales and Scotland (including London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, the Glasgow Subway and the Midland Metro and Croydon Tramlink systems).

The BTP’s 2,880 police officers, 376 Police Community Support Officers, 251 Special Constables and 1,451 support staff are recruited and trained like those of local forces and have the same powers. Find out more at: http://www.btp.police.uk

The North Western Area of British Transport Police covers the National Rail system throughout the north west from Stoke to the Scottish border. It employs 263 police officers, 36 Police Community Support Officers, 24 Special Constables and 63 support staff.

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Sir Ian Johnston joins the SIA’s Board

Sir Ian Johnston has joined the Security Industry Authority (SIA) as a non-executive Board member.

The appointment – which was ratified on 5 February – will see Sir Ian work closely with the SIA’s executive team to ensure the Regulator carries out its duties effectively and to the highest possible standard.

Sir Ian was appointed by the Home Office after an open competition and will serve as a non-executive member of the Board for a three-year term.

Sir Ian’s knowledge and experience in the field of policing and security will be invaluable as the SIA moves towards the introduction of licensing for security businesses.

Sir Ian Johnston

Sir Ian Johnston

On his new appointment, Sir Ian Johnston said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed as a Board member for the SIA. The private security industry has a growing role to play in keeping people safe. Therefore, helping to raise standards is an immensely worthwhile task.”

Sir Ian concluded: “I’m very much looking forward to contributing towards enhancing the quality of what the industry delivers in the years to come.”

Career history to date

Sir Ian is a Deputy Lieutenant for London, a trustee of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust and a member of the Audit Committee for the British Museum.

Previously, he served as the director of security for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

That role followed on from a 44-year policing career, including eight years as chief constable of the British Transport Police and seven years as assistant commissioner with the Metropolitan Police Service.

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BTP pledges to safeguard travelling football fans during 2013-2014 season

As the new Premier League and Football League seasons begin, the British Transport Police (BTP) and train operating companies have pledged to step up their efforts focused on ensuring fans and other passengers have trouble-free journeys on match days.

Police are urging rail staff to report all incidents of anti-social behaviour in order to ensure a better focused and co-ordinated police response with officers in the right place at the right time to deal with such incidents.

The British Transport Police (BTP) believes a significant amount of football-related anti-social behaviour passes by unreported, maybe because rail staff think it is ‘just part of the job’.

“The majority of travelling fans cause us no problems, and we want to encourage them to use the railway as a safe and convenient means of travel,” said the BTP’s assistant chief constable Steve Thomas, who’s also a former lead on football policing for the Association of Chief Police Officers.

“However, there’s still that disruptive minority who cause problems for fellow fans and other rail passengers. We need rail staff to report all instances of anti-social behaviour so that we have the full picture and can respond immediately where necessary. We also use that information to decide how we deploy resources for future games.”

The British Transport Police and train companies have pledged to step up their efforts in ensuring fans and other passengers have trouble-free journeys on match days

The British Transport Police and train companies have pledged to step up their efforts in ensuring fans and other passengers have trouble-free journeys on match days

Thomas continued: “We can’t have police on every train, but with good intelligence from front line rail staff and the public, we can become better at having the right numbers in the right place at the right time to prevent any trouble. Abusive and drunken behaviour, travelling without tickets or violent behaviour are not acceptable at any time, and travelling to or from a match is no excuse. Rail staff and passengers shouldn’t have to put up with this. I think the public are less and less tolerant of this sort of behaviour, with recent posts on YouTube having rightly horrified people.”

The BTP officer went on to state: “This season, we’re making renewed efforts working with the rail industry to identify the small number of violent, drunken, disorderly or racist individuals who give clubs and football in general a bad name. If they are very drunk, they will find themselves refused travel. If they’re disorderly, they will be removed from trains. If they are violent or racist they will be arrested and we will seek banning orders against them. We will use CCTV, uniform and plain clothes officers to identify those responsible and then take action against them. Passengers can also ‘discreetly’ report crime and disorderly behaviour using BTP’s 61016 text number.”

Travelling without risk to safety and security

Andy Odell, the police and security liaison advisor for the Association of Train Operating Companies, said: “Train companies welcome law abiding football fans onto the network and will do all they can to ensure supporters enjoy a safe journey this football season. All rail passengers deserve to travel in comfort and without risk to their security, and we are working with the police, the football authorities and individual clubs to ensure that happens. Rail staff too should not be subjected to intimidation, threats or abuse by so-called football fans, which is why the industry is cracking down on such behaviour.”

As well as calling on rail staff to feed back more information, the BTP has stepped up co-ordination with train operators, instituting regular joint football and events planning co-ordination meetings and identifying single points of contact for football-related issues within each company.

The BTP has also contributed to the Association of Chief Police Officers’ review of football disorder, which is being carried out by DCC Andy Holt, ACPO’s lead on football policing.

Rail staff are able report incidents via their company Control Rooms and also have a dedicated direct line into the BTP.

For their part, members of the public can report non-emergency incidents on Freefone number 0800 405040 and may also text the BTP on 61016.

Football-related offences recorded by the BTP

Football-related offences recorded by the BTP rose 38% in 2012-2013 compared to the previous year (up from 590 to 812). Similarly, arrests increased this season by 23% (up from 632 to 780), largely due to dedicated police activity to combat disorder and anti-social behaviour.

Most offences are recorded post-match, the peak hour being between 7.00 pm and 8.00 pm with the peak age for those arrested being 20.

Alcohol is, not surprisingly, an aggravating factor in disorder with over a quarter of incidents flagged as alcohol related (26%).

The BTP continues to pursue Football Banning Orders where possible, and believes they are an effective tool in deterring violence and disorder. 22 banning orders were obtained during the 2012-2013 season – a lower number than in previous years, in part attributable to recent case law challenging whether or not incidents were football related.

The latter point is of particular relevance to the BTP since most incidents occur post-match, outside of the immediate stadium footprint.

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