Tag Archives: Police Service

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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Reliance High-Tech announces record-breaking annual financials as revenues rise by 24%

Reliance High-Tech has delivered record annual results thanks to the company’s continued focus on operational excellence and IP technology designed to provide a new breed of solutions for its corporate and public sector end user customers.

A continued orientation towards high security customers across the police service, the utilities, the lone worker and corporate markets, coupled with solutions infused by specialist technology, has resulted in a diversity of new applications and a leading position in high security markets for the Reading-based integrated security specialist.

“By focusing on the right technology and markets and coupling this with strong execution, we’ve created a unique position and advantage,” affirmed managing director Terry Sallas. “We’re winning new customers. Our revenues have grown by 24% and operating margins have improved by 6%.”

Reliance High-Tech has enjoyed a record-breaking year

Reliance High-Tech has enjoyed a record-breaking year

Consolidating its position as a leading solutions provider for both demanding and regulated environments, Reliance High-Tech continues to build on its solid and strong reputation for addressing complex security and technology issues, in turn creating long-term relationships and securing major framework agreements.

“A long term view allows us to capitalise on technology trends and invest in our customers,” urged Sallas. “We will continue building our eco-system of partners and creating new services and value for end user customers, particularly in the era of the cloud.”

In conclusion, Sallas told Risk UK: “By any measure, our performance over the last year has been outstanding. We’re now building on that success. We will continue investing in processes, IT infrastructure and people as we focus on moving even closer to our customers and delivering industry-leading solutions and service levels.”

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Remote Video Response co-locates with Custodian to deliver complete CCTV monitoring solution

Remote Video Response (RVR), one of the UK’s leading CCTV monitoring operations, has successfully completed its move to Nottingham in order to co-locate with Custodian Monitoring Services, in turn offering enhanced services for customers. 

Remote Video Response and Custodian are trading names of Security Monitoring Centres Ltd in the UK and parts of UTC Building and Industrial Systems, a unit of United Technologies Corp (NYSE: UTX).

RVR also recently achieved a significant milestone, recording its one millionth operator-managed alarm since the business’ launch 15 years ago. That figure does not include the millions of automatically handled alarms that are generated and managed each year.

“There is clear logic in having the CCTV monitoring business RVR and the intruder alarm monitoring business Custodian under the same roof,” explained Colin Walters, general manager at RVR. “The commonality of our installer and end user customers and the ability to share resources – including people, technology and monitoring platforms – improves our ability to effectively serve our key segments. In particular, the co-location enables us to leverage the capabilities of dedicated administration and sales teams and deliver the highest levels of customer service.”

Technological advances enabled the co-location by freeing up space within the Nottingham Monitoring Centre to allow the integration of the CCTV and intruder alarm operations to become possible.

Remote Video Response has successfully completed its move to Nottingham in order to co-locate with Custodian Monitoring Services, in turn offering enhanced services for customers

Remote Video Response has successfully completed its move to Nottingham in order to co-locate with Custodian Monitoring Services, in turn offering enhanced services for customers

The move also will allow installers to access and manage their portfolio from any PC, tablet or smart phone, live, any time of the day or night. They can update information remotely, leading to further enhancements in false alarm management.

One of the key benefits, for example, is the opportunity to manage key holder information through an online portal.

Previously, RVR used its own platform. Now, both intruder and CCTV alarms can be managed on the same platform with a common reporting style and log that enables installers to have complete visibility across their entire client base. It also has the ability to apportion separate alarm signals from a specific site to a single operator.

Fully-integrated software solutions for customers

“Our customers will see many other benefits,” added Walters. “We’ll be working more closely with another related business, Mentor Business Systems, to provide a fully-integrated software solution that enables key holder changes to migrate seamlessly to their CASH system and out-of-hours calls from their Custodian answering service to go direct to their engineers’ PDAs. In effect, this affords them the ability to better manage all aspects of their business.”

New staff have been recruited at the Nottingham location while RVR maintains its status as an official National Open College Network (NOCN)-accredited training school.

“We will also be looking to expand still further, which is why the additional space will be important,” asserted Walters.

RVR protects businesses across the UK by monitoring images from CCTV cameras, responding to alarm activations and liaising with the police or private response services to provide security 24/7.

*For more information visit: www.remotevideoresponse.co.uk

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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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Home Secretary Theresa May introduces Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill

Home Secretary Theresa May has introduced “urgently-needed legislation” which will give the UK some of the toughest powers in the world to tackle the increasing threat from international terrorism.

According to the Home Office, the all-new Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill will bolster the UK’s already considerable armoury of powers to disrupt the ability of people to travel abroad to fight, reduce the risks they pose on their return and combat the underlying ideology that feeds, supports and sanctions terrorism.

The collapse of Syria, the emergence of ISIL and ongoing instability in Iraq present significant dangers not just in the Middle East but also in Britain and across the West. Many of the 500 British citizens who have travelled to Syria and Iraq have joined terrorist organisations alongside foreign fighters from Europe and further afield.

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

Home Secretary Theresa May MP

The Bill, which will be enacted at the earliest opportunity, will disrupt those intending to travel by:

*Providing the police with a temporary power to seize a passport at the border from individuals of concern

*Creating a Temporary Exclusion Order that will control the return to the UK of a British citizen suspected of involvement in terrorist activity abroad

*Enhancing the UK’s border security by toughening transport security arrangements around passenger data, ‘No fly’ lists and screening measures

Enhancement of existing terrorism prevention and investigation measures

To deal with those returning to or already in the UK, the Government is:

*Enhancing existing terrorism prevention and investigation measures, including the introduction of stronger locational constraints and a power requiring individuals to attend meetings with the authorities as part of their ongoing management

To support those at serious risk of succumbing to radicalisation, the Government is:

*Creating a general duty on a range of bodies to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism

*Putting Channel – the voluntary programme for people at risk of radicalisation – on a statutory basis

To help disrupt the wider activities of these terrorist organisations, the Bill is:

*Enhancing vital investigative powers by requiring communications service providers to retain additional information in order to attribute an Internet Protocol address to a specific individual

*Amending existing law to ensure that UK-based insurance firms cannot reimburse the payment of terrorist ransoms

Use of these powers – which are consistent with all of the UK’s existing international legal obligations – will be subject to stringent safeguards. These include appropriate legal thresholds, judicial oversight of certain measures and a power to create a Privacy and Civil Liberties Board designed to support the work of David Anderson QC, the current Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.

Removal of terrorism-related material

The Bill will sit alongside the existing range of tools already used extensively to combat the terrorist threat, including powers to withdraw the passports of British citizens, bar foreign nationals from re-entering the UK and strip British citizenship from those who have dual nationality.

The Government is also working with the Internet industry to remove terrorist material hosted in the UK or overseas. Since February 2010, the Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit has taken down more than 65,000 pieces of unlawful terrorist-related content.

Speaking about the new Bill, Home Secretary Theresa May said: “We’re in the middle of a generational struggle against a deadly terrorist ideology. These powers are essential to keep up with the very serious and rapidly changing threats we face. In an open and free society, we can never entirely eliminate the threat from terrorism but we must do everything possible in line with our shared values to reduce the risks posed by our enemies.”

The Home Secretary added: “This Bill includes a considered and targeted set of proposals that will help to keep us safe at a time of very significant danger by ensuring we have the powers we need to defend ourselves.”

Shami Chakrabarti: director of Liberty

Shami Chakrabarti: director of Liberty

Responding to the Home Secretary’s announcement that the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill will oblige Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to retain information linking IP addresses with individual users, Liberty’s director Shami Chakrabarti commented: “There’s no problem with the targeted investigation of terrorist suspects, including where required the linking of apparently anonymous communications to a particular person. However, every Government proposal of the last so many years has been about blanket sur‎veillance of the entire population. The Snowden revelations demonstrate that they were even prepared to act outside the law and without Parliamentary consent. Forgive us if we look for the devil in the detail of this new Bill.”

Big Brother Watch director Emma Carr added: “There are key issues to be addressed with these IP-based proposals. For example, there are questions over whether or not this will be technically feasible. Proper safeguards must be introduced to ensure that these techniques are used transparently, that there’s a proper level of authorisation and that the oversight and redress mechanisms can function effectively. Also, if such a measure is introduced, time should then be allowed to ensure that its effectiveness in relation to law enforcement investigations can be evaluated with due care and transparency.”

Disruption of terrorist attacks

The National Policing Lead for Counter-Terrorism is Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley of the Metropolitan Police Service. As far as he’s concerned, countering terrorism has for too long been thought of as the sole preserve of the police service, the security agencies and the Government.

Rowley is calling for people and businesses to be prepared to play their part in keeping the country safe. He said: “The danger posed by violent extremists has evolved. They are no longer a problem solely stemming from countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, far away in the minds of the public. Now, they are home-grown in our communities, radicalised by images and messages they read on social media and prepared to kill for their cause. The tragic murder of Lee Rigby last year was a stark warning to us all about how real and local the threat really is.”

Rowley continued: “Police officers and our partners are continuing to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to protect the UK from a terrorist attack. So far this year we’ve disrupted several attack plots and made 271 arrests following counter-terrorism investigations, but the eyes and ears of law enforcement and other agencies alone cannot combat the threat.”

The UK’s counter-terrorism strategy CONTEST focuses on four key areas: Pursue, Prevent, Protect and Prepare. Most of the publicity around terrorism is based on Pursue and Prevent, as these involve arrests, the disrupting of actual attack plots and turning people away from extremism.

AC Rowley is keen to stress that everyone can be doing more to Protect and Prepare, ensuring security in crowded places, the monitoring of our borders and being ready to respond to a terrorist attack.

“We don’t want to scare people, but we do want them to understand the threat and be vigilant to things that are out of place or suspicious and report it to the police. We need businesses to check that their security measures are effective and train their staff to detect potential threats and, if necessary, respond to an attack.”

Metropolitan Police Service Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley

Metropolitan Police Service Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley

AC Rowley also stated: “Experience shows us that terrorists target busy, well-populated places to ensure that attacks have a maximum impact. Businesses, particularly those in crowded places, have an invaluable role to play in our fight against terrorists, violent extremists and other criminals. Their staff are often the first people to spot signs that something is wrong.”

The police regularly hold security events with businesses, and the Metropolitan Police Service alone gave 29 presentations during 2013 and 2014.

Since the UK terror threat level increased on 29 August, reports of suspicious behaviour have nearly doubled. This is a direct result of reporting by members of the public, and every one of those reports is investigated.

However, AC Rowley wants more members of the public to have confidence in reporting their suspicions. “Please tell us if you know or suspect something,” he urged. “Your information could save lives. We will deal carefully with all of the information passed to us and respond sensitively and proportionately.”

*The Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill is the seventh major counter-terrorism law introduced in Britain since 9/11. The Bill can be accessed here

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Reliance High-Tech achieves further growth within integrated solutions market

Reliance High-Tech has realised strong year-on-year growth by way of the company’s focus on advanced security and IT solutions specifically designed for mission-critical projects involving end users across the corporate and Government sectors.

The strategy of delivering sophisticated, IP-based solutions for high end customers has resulted in an increase in profits, sales and revenue, with a number of important contract wins contributing to this growth.

“By focusing on both technology and delivery we are winning new business,” commented Terry Sallas, managing director at Reliance High-Tech. “Our workbook has grown significantly through strong sales in core markets with new customers in addition to organic growth derived from our existing client base.”

Reliance High-Tech has proven itself particularly capable in providing solutions for the police service, the utilities, the pharmaceuticals sector and customers in the critical infrastructure space, with integration and remote monitoring as well as specialist solutions such as lone worker protection and digital interview recording all coming to the fore.

Over the past six months, the company has won significant new contracts across its core markets and also in the manufacturing, financial and water sectors, in turn delivering major security solutions for QinetiQ, Thames Water, SGN and the Metropolitan Police Service.

Last month, Reliance High-Tech also announced that it was opening an additional Business Centre in Leicester designed to be a new hub for solutions development, product testing, system demonstration and training. Terry Sallas has confirmed that further investments will follow.

Reliance High-Tech specialises in the design, delivery and management of electronic security and remote monitoring solutions

Reliance High-Tech specialises in the design, delivery and management of electronic security and remote monitoring solutions

“Our performance over the last twelve months has been very strong and we’re already building on that success,” affirmed Sallas. “We’re investing in our processes, IT infrastructure and people as we focus on increased capability and, most important of all, customer satisfaction.”

Reliance High-Tech: the Partner of Choice

Reliance High-Tech’s Mission Statement is: ‘To be the partner of choice for organisations where security is mission critical’. The company works with many large organisations across the corporate sectors, the utilities, the custodial and criminal justice sectors, healthcare and higher education, in all cases providing end users with security solutions that protect people, property, information and physical assets.

The security industry has changed almost beyond recognition in recent years. The continued convergence of security with IT, the proliferation of disruptive technologies and threats that continue to evolve rapidly has seen the requirement for a new type of security integrator.

Reliance High-Tech is at the forefront of helping customers benefit from that convergence of physical and IT security solutions. Whether it’s through leveraging the power of IP systems across the corporate network or delivering integration and the management of a unified identity across physical and logical systems, Reliance High-Tech helps its customers establish a consolidated and more manageable view of their organisational assets and security provisions.

Terry Sallas: md at Reliance High-Tech

Terry Sallas: md at Reliance High-Tech

Reliance High-Tech defines the security agenda by realising a multi-dimensional approach to the subject that addresses the full spectrum of security issues for its customers, from the protection of physical and logical assets right through to the monitoring and remote management of critical systems and the protection of lone workers. This multi-dimensional approach to security is something the company refers to as ‘720Security’.

Through the development of a strong understanding of its end user customers’ unique security challenges, the company is readily able to identify the right technology for delivering security solutions that can both reduce cost and add value back to the business as well as minimising risk and optimising protection regimes.

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