Tag Archives: Home Office

Fire door safety campaigners “step up first line of defence”

Through Fire Door Safety Week (FDSW), fire door safety campaigners are working to ensure public and private sector landlords and building owners stop risking the lives of tenants and ensure fire doors are correctly inspected, specified, fitted and maintained.

Fire doors are the first line of defence against devastating fires and, when properly built, installed and maintained, they save lives and protect property. Despite this, fire doors across the UK are still often badly fitted, non-compliant, left propped open or damaged and, as a result, could be putting millions of lives at stake.

The team behind FDSW 2018 (which runs from 24-30 September) is gearing up for its campaign that will continue to educate about the critical role that fire doors play in delaying the spread of smoke and fire and keeping occupants and firefighters safe.

The FDSW campaign – entitled: ‘Fire Door Five: Shutting the Door on Fire and Smoke’ – aims to draw attention to the importance of properly-fitted and accredited fire doors as well as raising awareness of the dangers of smoke inhalation and the role that correctly installed fire doors can play in preventing the spread of both fire and smoke.

Part of the activity will see campaigners explore the need to establish a Building Safety Fund to help pay for vital and potentially life-saving fire safety improvements in Local Authority and Housing Association accommodation.

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Informed decisions

Hannah Mansell, spokesperson for FDSW as well as being the British Woodworking Federation’s (BWF) head of technical research and insight, chair of the Passive Fire Protection Forum and a trustee of the Children’s Burns Trust, said: “Through Fire Door Safety Week, we will once more renew our efforts to ensure that residents, landlords and building owners across the UK are armed with the information they need to make informed decisions that will improve safety.”

Mansell continued: “There’s no doubt that, when fully-fitted with their correct and compatible components, properly installed and maintained, fire doors play a crucial role in saving lives in the event of a fire. The legacy of neglect means that more lives could be lost as a result of sub-standard fire protection measures. We know that the necessary corrective actions will cost money and that’s precisely why we are asking the Government set up a Building Safety Fund for Housing Associations and Local Authorities such that they can carry out replacement and repair works. Finance should not be used as an excuse. The stakes are too high.”

Mansell went on to state: “Tenants and the general public will, as always, play a key part and make sure their voices are heard by reporting fire doors that are propped open, damaged or in poor condition, rather than waiting for landlords or building owners to inspect fire doors. Indeed, as part of Fire Door Safety Week, we have created a Five-Step Fire Door Check to help people check their fire doors and empower them to report faults.”

Massive learning curve

Over the last year, there has been significant discussion about the responsibility of landlords, councils and Housing Associations to ensure the safety of their tenants, but according to Mansell there’s still a massive learning curve in terms of awareness about how fire doors that are correctly specified, installed, maintained and of course closed can limit the effect of fire and smoke, and what to do in the event of a fire.

“Due to this uncertainty, our focus for Fire Door Safety Week in 2018 is ‘shutting the door on fire and smoke’. We want to educate everyone on how effective fire doors can be in stopping the spread of fire and smoke.”

A national campaign, FDSW is run by the BWF, the BWF-Certifire Scheme and the Fire Door Inspection Scheme in partnership with the Home Office’s own National Fire Safety Campaign. Throughout the week, there will be numerous events and campaign activities designed to raise awareness about the importance of fire door safety.

*To access a free toolkit of fire safety advice resources to help run your own FDSW activities visit www.firedoorsafetyweek.co.uk

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Seven million-plus viewers watch counter-terrorism safety video as UK policing increases global CT presence

Counter-Terrorism Policing (CT Policing) has significantly increased its international presence in the last two years, with many more staff currently deployed overseas working with local authorities to help protect British citizens from the global terror threat.

As UK schools break up for the summer holidays and the travel industry prepares for one of the busiest periods of the year, the UK’s most senior counter-terrorism officers are asking holidaymakers to play their part by watching a short video instructing them what to do in the unlikely event of an attack.

CT Policing – in association with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Home Office and the Travel Association ABTA – launched the four-minute film just over a year ago and, since then, more than seven million people have learned how to keep themselves and others safe should the worst happen.

ABTA has also translated the video into 15 different languages for use in multiple countries to improve awareness among the holiday representatives, hotel staff and security officers who look after millions of UK tourists every year.

The video was first created after 30 British people tragically lost their lives in the 2015 Sousse attack in Tunisia.

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Since then, CT Policing’s international footprint has expanded significantly, with increases to the number of officers providing a range of security liaison and advice to other countries, ensuring they’re better prepared to keep people safe when overseas.

This is a ‘whole system approach’ to fighting the threat from global terrorism. By warning and informing citizens, training and advising industry and close liaison with domestic and international partners, each of these strands comes together to better protect the UK and its interests at home and abroad.

Everyone must remain alert

Chief Superintendent Nick Aldworth, national co-ordinator for Protect and Prepare, said: “The chances of being caught up in a terrorist incident are still low, but sadly we have seen atrocities take place in the UK and abroad, especially last year. That being so, it’s important everyone stays alert and knows what to do if the worst was to happen.”

Aldworth continued: “An important part of my job is deploying police officers and staff around the world to share the UK’s world-renowned security expertise and help better protect our citizens from harm. Now, we are asking the public to play an active part by taking the time to watch this video. We want people to think of this in the same way they do the safety film airlines show before take-off. They don’t expect anything bad to happen, but it’s a sensible safety precaution to show people what to do.”

Security Minister Ben Wallace MP stated:Fortunately, the majority of us will never experience a terrorist attack while enjoying a holiday abroad and there’s no need to be alarmed. However, it’s important that we all remain vigilant to the threat.”

He added: “I urge all holidaymakers to take a moment before heading off on their travels to view the ‘Run, Hide, Tell’ advice, which could be life-saving should the worst happen. I also urge everyone to read the small print on their travel insurance to make sure they have the appropriate level of cover.”

Check the FCO’s travel advice

Minister for Counter-Terrorism, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, observed: “We work closely with our international partners to ensure that British holidaymakers are safe overseas. While the chances of becoming caught up in a terrorist event are extremely low, it’s important that people remain vigilant.”

Lord Ahmed urged: “Before going away, do take a moment to check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel advice to make sure you’re aware of what’s going on in the country you’re going to. We encourage everyone to take sensible precautions while they’re abroad. If an incident occurs, remember the key advice to Run, Hide, Tell.”

Nikki White, director of destinations and sustainability at ABTA, concluded: “We recognise the importance of raising awareness and providing clear guidance for our members and their employees. We know that customers would look to those members of staff working in their hotels and resorts to take the lead and respond quickly to an emerging situation.”

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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.

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“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.”

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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.

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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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