Tag Archives: Home Office

Home Office consults on using body-worn video for police interviews

New Home Office regulations will allow police to use body-worn video to record interviews with suspects under plans now being consulted on. Police can already use evidence captured by wearable cameras, but the changes will mean that, for the first time, they can be used for suspect interviews away from the police station setting.

It follows joint work between the Home Office and the police to help maximise time spent on the front line by police officers and reduce unnecessary trips to and from police stations.

Metropolitan Police Officers, London, UK

Minister for Policing and the Fire Service, Nick Hurd said: “Having met officers across England and Wales, I’ve seen how technology is bringing 21st Century solutions to age-old policing problems. I want our police officers to have access to the best possible equipment and to be able to use it to bring greater efficiency to front line policing. We will keep looking for ways in which to save time and work more effectively, and we’ll do everything we can to support forces as they adapt for the future.”

By the end of this year, 60,000 body-worn video cameras will have been deployed by police forces across England and Wales.

As part of the new regulations, the Home Office is also strengthening the protections in place for interviewees and will require all interviews with suspects to be recorded when a working audio device is available.

The new plans set out in full suspects’ rights and entitlements and also include a definition of vulnerability such that it’s perfectly clear when interviews must be conducted with independent support for the suspect from an appropriate adult and, if one is requested, a solicitor.

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LOCKEN set to launch innovative applications and contactless technology at Security and Policing 2017

LOCKEN, a leading provider of cable-free access control solutions, will be announcing the launch of a new range of highly innovative security systems at the forthcoming Home Office-organised Security and Policing 2017 event, which runs at the Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre from 7-9 March.

Alongside the company’s prominent Electronic range, LOCKEN will be showcasing a new Mechatronic range of access control systems. Combining the advantages of an electronic access control system and mechanical solutions, the new Mechatronic range is based on contactless induction technology, providing maximum reliability and robustness while guaranteeing instant opening.

Thanks to a Bluetooth module combined with Locken’s MyLocken applications, the mechatronic key opens up an infinite range of services for the end user. The mechatronic cylinders are installed without cabling and resistant to all climatic conditions.

lockenmechatronic

“As a leader in the provision of security solutions and innovative access control systems across large single-sites companies and multi-site businesses, it’s important that we broaden our offer and continue to innovate in order to meet all end user demands,” explained Nick Dooley, managing director of LOCKEN UK.

Visitors at Stand E9 will also be able to witness LOCKEN showcasing the latest technical innovations behind its award-winning and highly successful Electronic CyberLock range.

Security and Policing is the official UK Government global security event and provides a platform for professionals from the UK and across the world to engage with the very highest level of security expertise and the latest technology. In addition, it engenders the level of industry engagement needed to enable UK Government to procure and deliver its national security priorities.

The Home Office is committed to working with partners in industry and academia to develop and collaborate on the products and services needed to cut crime, prevent terrorism, detect illegal immigration and promote growth. Being able to share needs while gaining a better understanding of the capabilities available is a critical part of this initiative.

*Opening times for the show are: Tuesday 7 March and Wednesday 8 March 9.00 am-4.30 pm and Thursday 9 March9.00 am-3.00 pm

**For further details access the event website

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TDSi’s md John Davies recognised by BSIA for Contribution to Exporting

John Davies, the managing director of integrated security manufacturer TDSi, has been awarded the 2016 BSIA Chairman’s Award for Contribution to Exporting during the BSIA’s Annual Luncheon, which was held at the London Hilton on Park Lane. The award recognises Davies’ significant contribution to promoting UK export initiatives within the security sector as chairman of the BSIA’s Export Council.

Commenting on the award, Davies told Risk UK: “I’m highly honoured to receive this special award from the BSIA. As the head of the Trade Association’s Export Council, my key task is to ensure that the British security industry understands the benefits and opportunities involved when it comes to engaging with markets around the world. Given the current political situation in the UK surrounding Brexit, it has never been more important for businesses here to understand and work with markets internationally.”

john-davies-contribution-to-exporting-2016

John Davies (left) receives the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Contribution to Exporting

Daren Wood, membership and export services manager for the BSIA, stated: “John Davies has been a driving force and a keen supporter of the BSIA’s Export Council, serving twice as its chairman. First elected vice-chairman of the Export Council back in 2008, John has worked very closely with the Association to provide advice and guidance to other security companies who were less experienced exporters.”

Wood continued: “John then took over as chairman of the Export Council in 2010, becoming a strong figurehead for the industry. Around the same time, he served on the UKTI DSO’s Security Sector Advisory Group, assisting the Government in identifying security export opportunities. John started his second tenure as chairman of the Export Council last year and continues to be a strong voice for exporting in the industry. He now serves concurrently on the Home Office’s Security Resilience and Growth Partnership as an authoritative voice on exporting in the security sector.”

Vital role to play

Davies believes the UK security industry has a vital role to play in markets as far afield as North America and Asia. “What has struck me, having worked with the BSIA [and TDSi on a commercial level], is how well respected UK providers and products are around the world. For instance, TDSi produces all of its products in the UK, but we have a very healthy sales pipeline into China, which fully recognises the quality and insight that features so heavily in our offer. Although China has a huge manufacturing base of its own, customers there are extremely shrewd and like to buy the best solutions on the market. They harbour a huge respect for UK suppliers.”

TDSi has a strong presence in many security markets around the world. For example, Davies has lead the company to considerable commercial success in the People’s Republic of China, including a deal signed last year for a five-year strategic co-operation agreement with China Rail Chen Bang Technology Ltd. This will see TDSi’s technology used on rail and metro projects throughout China, and will eventually include 20,000 stations on the China Railway network.

TDSi’s sales in China and Asia increased by 33% last year, and the company has a strong presence in markets such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. The business also has ongoing growth in West Africa, particularly in Nigeria, and is keenly looking to expand into other African territories.

The company’s French office, which is based near Paris, also provides access to the considerable French-speaking regions of North Africa and the Middle East, as well as being a hub within Europe. The business is also looking to expand its technical and commercial expertise further into the North American market in the very near future.

Huge scope for progress

Davies added: “The British and European markets are steadily expanding, but there’s huge scope in many other markets around the world. In my role at the BSIA, I’m very keen to ensure British security businesses fully understand the opportunities on offer and don’t let perceived language and cultural barriers get in the way of the exciting sales opportunities on offer.”

In conclusion, Davies informed Risk UK: “The UK has some of the best scientific and technological minds in the world, with a great reputation for quality and innovation. It’s a privilege to chair the BSIA’s Export Council. I’m passionate about its aims.”

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Reports of evidence loss on supposed eve of digital evidence mandate

Is it a coincidence that the revelations of evidence loss have hit the headlines as we approach the deadline of the Home Office mandate for digital evidence compliance, which comes into effect at the end of April? writes Jamie Wilson.

Given that, since the mandate was announced, there has been very little publicity surrounding the ‘stick’ approach towards driving forces to implement digital evidence management strategies, I suspect that it is indeed a coincidence.

The BBC has revealed the findings of a joint Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary report which says that there was a “widespread issue” involving the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) “misplacing discs containing sensitive evidence and information”.

For members of the public reading such an article it is sure to shock, but for those working in police forces right across England and Wales it may not be such a huge surprise.

JamieWilsonNICESystems2

Jamie Wilson

Discs are essentially physical pieces of evidence that need to be manually logged, booked-in, stored and retrieved, etc. With so many discs in circulation and physical storage space being limited, it’s perhaps not unexpected that on occasion they can be misplaced.

In 2014, the then policing and criminal justice minister Damian Green announced that by the end of April this year, all forces in England and Wales must be capable of sharing evidence digitally with the CPS and the courts.

One of the anticipated outcomes that this initiative would lead to was a significant drop in the use of discs as forces move towards lower cost, more secure and faster digital methods of capturing, securely storing and sharing evidence – recordings from Command and Control, body-worn camera feeds, videos and photos, etc.

What I’ve seen in the past 12 months from forces I’ve visited, or spoken with, has been hugely positive. There’s undoubtedly a concerted effort being made by senior officers to push forward the digital evidence agenda.

They’re being driven not just by a mandated obligation (if indeed this remains the case?), but a recognition of the operational rewards it can bring in closing cases quicker and making far better use of scant resources, enabling officers to do what they’re trained to do rather than creating, curating and couriering discs.

Jamie Wilson is Public Safety Marketing Manager (EMEA) at NICE Systems

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ADS Group Council member welcomes Home Office report on forensic science

Elizabeth Sheldon (Aerospace, Defence and Security Group Council member and CEO of Evidence Talks) has welcomed the publication of a Home Office report entitled ‘Forensic Science Strategy – A National Approach to Forensic Science Delivery in the Criminal Justice System.’

Drawing attention to some of the key conclusions in the report, Sheldon has identified the case for “real-time forensics to be at the heart of a new approach” as an encouragement to police forces to step up the use of techniques such as digital triage and reduce the backlog of cases.

“The report talks of a new vision which could enable a single forensic deployment to cover all requirements; from traditional evidence recovery to digital triage and basic crime reporting,” explained Sheldon. “It also stresses the importance of a consistent national approach, and anticipates an improvement in the delivery time of results and swifter criminal justice outcomes.”

ElizabethSheldon

Sheldon (pictured above) points towards supportive research on such observations, citing the paper from Overill, Silomon and Roscoe published by Elsevier in 2013 and entitled: ‘Triage Template Pipelines in Digital Forensic Investigations’ which drew attention to the burgeoning use of digital devices as a prime driver of the need for greater use of digital forensics by the police service.

The report included the following statement: ‘The very reliance of digital devices for the conduct of most people’s daily professional and personal lives has led to an overload on digital forensic examination resources.’

By way of an example, it refers to figures from the Metropolitan Police Service’s Digital Electronics and Forensics Service showing some 38,000 digital devices per annum being received for examination by a team of 80 staff.

Skills and technical capabilities

In a further reference to the Home Office report, Sheldon says the Home Office is right to focus on the fact that “the crime scene investigators need the skills and technical capabilities to allow forensic information to be collected and processed at scene and directed to the most appropriate database or end user.”

The good news, explains Sheldon, is that technology and training is readily available from industry specialists allowing police forces to get up-to-speed. Such solutions can be used by non-technical operators, after relevant training, to quickly and safely investigate the contents of devices within the desired charging time frame.

In summing up, Sheldon quotes from the Ministerial Foreword to the Home Office report, which is written by Mike Penning MP, the Minister for Policing, Fire and Criminal Justice and Victims. Penning states: “Digital technology has transformed how we live our lives. We need to ensure that those responsible for our protection continue to have the capabilities to investigate crime in this new technological age.”

Penning’s call to reshape the current landscape towards a modern forensic science provision, believes Sheldon, will be greeted with equal enthusiasm by police forces and the supplier community.

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UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner issues Annual Report 2013-2014

The UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s inaugural Annual Report outlines both the work the Commissioner, Tony Porter, has completed and his future plans.

The report explains how the Commissioner:

*continues to promote the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice to relevant and non-relevant authorities
*has launched an easy to use self-assessment tool for any organisation to demonstrate how they are meeting the principles contained in the Code
*has continued the work of his predecessor, Andrew Rennison, to simplify the CCTV standards framework in order to encourage the industry and operators of CCTV systems to meet minimum standards
*will be issuing guidance to users of domestic CCTV following his concerns about the growing number of complaints around the use of CCTV at people’s homes

Download a copy of the Annual Report 2013-2014

Tony Porter: UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner

Tony Porter: UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner

Foreword to the Annual Report

In the Foreword to the Annual Report, in which he addresses Home Secretary Theresa May, Tony Porter states:

“I am pleased to present to you the first Annual Report from the Surveillance Camera Commissioner. This report covers the period from the appointment of the first Surveillance Camera Commissioner (on 13 September 2012). I am grateful to my predecessor Andrew Rennison who undertook the functions of the Surveillance Camera Commissioner until his departure in February 2014. Much of his work is reflected in the body of the report and he has kindly attached an open letter which follows this Foreword.

“I intend to ensure that the Surveillance Camera Code of Practice (PoFA Code) is promoted to relevant authorities under S33 (5) of the Protection of Freedoms Act so that they fully understand and fulfil their duty to have regard to the PoFA Code. I also intend to explore other opportunities to promote the PoFA Code to non-relevant authorities, thereby seeking voluntary adoption across a broad range of sectors.

“According to a survey conducted by the British Security Industry Association on the number of cameras in the UK (published in July 2013), just 1 in 70 of CCTV systems are state owned. This reinforces that a major part of my role is to reach out to others who use overt surveillance in public space – not solely relevant authorities. I will detail plans later in the report, but I have already met with universities and spoken to some residential social landlords and the British Retail Consortium and will continue to reach out to others to whom the PoFA Code is applicable.

“The use of CCTV in domestic environments continues to cause concern among the public and is a high generator of complaints across various agencies. With a view to showing leadership in the sector, I have said publicly that I intend to explore ways of working with manufacturers, retailers, installers, consumers and the Information Commissioner’s Office to impart the principles of the PoFA Code.

“That said, there remains much to do to achieve that goal. I have worked with some relevant authorities, particularly public space CCTV managers in local authorities that show enormous enterprise in adopting the principles within the PoFA Code. However, it has been brought to our attention that the application of the PoFA Code is not consistent throughout all relevant authorities. We have been made aware of instances where some traffic enforcement officers, often using the same cameras as those used to deliver crime and disorder reduction strategies, do not deliver the same level of compliance to the PoFA Code. Accordingly, where dual use CCTV Operations Rooms are in use I intend to raise the obligations within the PoFA Code to encourage compliance.

“There remain a large number of surveillance camera system users who are not under a duty to have regard to the PoFA Code. By focusing on the larger scale operators via seminars, webinars and personal engagement, I intend to raise the profile of the PoFA Code. My aim is to secure voluntary adoption and achieve surveillance by consent across the broadest range of organisations.

“Application of the PoFA Code not only delivers benefits to society in terms of privacy, security of public safety, transparency and reassurance but also benefits business through better performance and cost reduction. This will be my mantra going forward.”

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“RIPA not fit for purpose” states Home Affairs Select Committee

The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000 – the legislation governing communications data – “needs a complete overhaul”. That’s the conclusion of the latest Home Affairs Select Committee report.

The Home Affairs Select Committee acknowledges the operational need for secrecy both during investigations and afterwards (so that investigative techniques more broadly are not disclosed). However, there has to be proper oversight and scrutiny. The Committee recommends that the Home Office uses the current review of the RIPA Code to ensure that law enforcement agencies discharge their RIPA powers properly.

The Committee noted that the Rt Hon Sir Paul Kennedy, the Interception of Communications Commissioner, launched an inquiry in October 2014 to determine whether the acquisition of communications data had been used to identify journalistic sources. He wrote to all chief constables and directed them, under Section 58(1) of RIPA, to provide him with details of all investigations that had used powers under Chapter 2 of Part I of RIPA to acquire communications data to identify journalistic sources. His office will undertake a full inquiry into these matters, report the findings to the Prime Minister and then publish them.

The Committee believes all local police forces must communicate openly and efficiently with the Commissioner regarding the information they give him about their work. The Committee considers that IOCCO should be given further resources to carry out its job in an effective and timely manner, particularly in respect of its inquiry into the use of RIPA powers regarding journalistic sources.

Keith Vaz MP: chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee

Keith Vaz MP: chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee

Updated Code of Practice

The Communications Data Code of Practice was drafted eight years ago and, unlike the interception or the Surveillance Code which were recently updated, contains no advice on dealing with professions that handle privileged information nor any guidelines on the use of confidential helplines.

The Committee notes Sir Paul’s recommendation to the Home Office concerning the need for improvements to the statistical requirements in the RIPA Code of Practice. It’s vital that the statistical requirements are enhanced so that the public can be better informed about the use which public authorities make of communications data.

On 15 October this year, the Home Secretary Theresa May announced that the Home Office was conducting a review of the use of RIPA in response to concerns over its deployment to access journalists’ phone records. The Government has stated that a revised Code will be published in draft form “this autumn” and will be subject to public consultation. With only 26 days until the New Year, the Home Affairs Select Committee has stated that the Home Office has failed to meet its own timetable.

Keith Vaz MP, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: “RIPA is not fit for purpose. We were astonished that law enforcement agencies failed to routinely record the professions of individuals who have had their communications data accessed under the legislation. Using RIPA to access the telephone records of journalists is wrong and this practice must cease. The inevitable consequence is that this deters whistle-blowers from coming forward.”

Vaz continued: “The recording of information under RIPA is lamentably poor. The whole process appears secretive and disorganised without proper monitoring of what is being destroyed and what’s being retained. We’re concerned that the level of secrecy surrounding the use of RIPA allows investigating authorities to engage in acts which would be unacceptable in a democracy with inadequate oversight.”

Home Secretary Theresa May

Home Secretary Theresa May

In conclusion, Vaz explained: “The Home Office has failed to publish its review within its own timetable, and not for the first time. It should hold a full public consultation on an amended RIPA Code of Practice. Any updated advice should contain special provisions for dealing with privileged information such as journalistic material and material subject to legal privilege. It’s vital that the Home Office uses the current review of the RIPA Code to ensure that law enforcement agencies discharge their RIPA powers properly.”

Response from Liberty and Big Brother Watch

Responding to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s report on RIPA, Isabella Sankey – director of policy for Liberty – said: “The secret use of RIPA to investigate journalists’ sources will chill anyone who values free speech and a free press, but what’s really disturbing is that the abuses detailed in this damning report are the tip of the iceberg. Records about your phone calls and e-mails build up an incredibly detailed data picture of every single one of us – who we are, where we go and what we do.”

Sankey added: “We urgently need safeguards to stop this valuable data being accessed without judicial warrant. What we’re getting is the Government handing itself even more powers to snoop in the form of the ill-targeted Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill.”

Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “When a senior Parliamentary Committee says that the current legislation is not fit for purpose then this simply cannot be ignored. It’s now abundantly clear that the law is out of date, the oversight is weak and the recording of how the powers enshrined in RIPA are used is patchy at best. The public is right to expect better.”

Emma Carr: leader of Big Brother Watch

Emma Carr: director of Big Brother Watch

Carr continued: “The conclusion of the Committee that the level of secrecy surrounding the use of these powers is permitting investigations that are deemed ‘unacceptable in a democracy’ should make the defenders of these powers sit up and take notice. At present, the inadequacy and inconsistency of the records being kept by public authorities regarding the use of these powers is woefully inadequate. New laws would not be required to correct this.”

Big Brother Watch’s director said: “While this report concentrates on targeting journalists, it’s important to remember that thousands of members of the public have also been snooped on, with little opportunity for redress. If the police fail to use the existing powers correctly then it’s completely irresponsible for the Home Office to be planning on increasing those powers. Failure by the Government to address these serious points means we can already know that there will be many more innocent members of the public who will be wrongly spied on and accused. This is intolerable.”

Watch a video of Emma Carr being interviewed on this issue by BBC News:

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