Tag Archives: Police

SmartWater forensic solution used to tackle surveying equipment thefts

Risk management company the SmartWater Group is working with The Survey Association (TSA) and survey equipment manufacturers alike to help tackle the growing problem of surveying equipment theft.

Increasingly, criminal gangs have been targeting building and transport construction sites to steal expensive surveying tools. SmartWater Technology, itself a division of the SmartWater Group, has been working with TSA on mapping organised criminal gangs targeting surveying equipment nationally and providing support to police investigations.

Members of TSA report their crime data to SmartWater’s team of experienced intelligence analysts who study the information and build up informed patterns of criminality, but this is just one part of the work they do.

The construction industry is similarly targeted by the same criminal gangs. When businesses lose valuable equipment, projects can be seriously disrupted and livelihoods lost.

SmartWater proactively uses the data to build as full an intelligence picture as possible, helping to pinpoint the activity of organised crime groups.

In support of the partnership between TSA, equipment manufacturers and the police, SmartWater urges those in the construction industry suffering from high value equipment theft to report their crime incidents to  donotreplyanalysts@smartwater.com

TSA president Adam Bradley noted: “It’s vital that TSA members, and indeed those in the wider construction industry impacted by theft, continue to provide SmartWater with the data needed to disrupt organised criminal activity. Reporting every incident of theft and attempted theft to SmartWater helps to build the evidence required to make arrests and recover stolen equipment.”

Gary Higgins, chief operating officer at SmartWater Technology, added: “SmartWater is making it much harder for criminal gangs to target surveyors. As well as continuing our partnership with the TSA, we’re working directly with the three major manufacturers of surveying tools and police forces across the UK. Stolen equipment can be easily identified, enabling legal cases to be brought against criminal gangs. Our new CIAP Centre is helping to prevent thefts from happening in the first place by providing intelligence to clients.”

SmartWater is currently the only forensic system compliant with the Home Office Forensic Science Regulator’s Code of Practice and, therefore, the only solution currently admissible in a Court of Law.

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Radiation detection company Symetrica lands £4 million investment to accelerate international growth

Symetrica, the manufacturer of radiation detection products for military and homeland security applications, has closed a £4 million funding round. The round was led by Parkwalk, the investor in start-ups spun out of UK universities, with participation from other existing investors and the management team. It includes a provision for a further £2 million commitment from a specialist defence and security investor.

Symetrica was founded back in 2002 by the former head of Physics and Astrophysics at Southampton University. The company now manufactures, supplies and supports a wide range of devices, from hand-held and backpack-mounted sensors through to vehicle-based detectors and drive-through scanners. Its solutions are used by customs, border protection, law enforcement, the Emergency Services, military personnel and first responders, enabling them to identify threats and respond accordingly.

According to the business, its proprietary Discovery Technology – a combination of patented algorithms and hardware – enables Symetrica detectors to be two-to-three times more accurate than equivalent conventional detectors.

Every day, the technology removes radiation alarms not of regulatory interest and provides police and customs officers alike with high confidence nuclear material identification in hand-held isotope identifiers with smart phone-like connectivity to technical authorities for operational assurance.

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Accelerate global growth

Symetrica operates from offices and manufacturing sites in both the UK and the US and employs 75 members of staff. The new funding will be used to accelerate global growth by enhancing the company’s international sales programme.

Symetrica already supplies its products to Government departments in the UK, the EU and the United States, as well as to partners worldwide. Its technology is employed by the US military.

Commenting on the impact of the funding for the business, Heddwyn Davies (CEO at Symetrica) explained: “In these extraordinary times, this investment gives us the capacity to increase our sales and business development resources and sell more into international markets where we’ve already won prestigious contracts. It also enables us to capitalise on multi-year procurement opportunities. We’re pleased to have our existing investors follow on in this round, and also very excited to see what we can achieve with their continued support.”

Neil Cameron, investment director at Parkwalk, said: “Symetrica’s Discovery Technology is a huge leap forward for radiation detection and testimony to the high-class science and engineering capabilities of the team, as well as to the importance of patient capital for R&D-rich companies. We’re pleased to be leading a round that will enable the team to capitalise on some significant customer wins and accelerate international growth.”

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Reliance High-Tech names Blue Lamp Foundation as chosen charity for 2020-2021

Reliance High-Tech, the independent security technology integrator and provider of lone worker protection services, has announced that its chosen charity for 2020-2021 is the Blue Lamp Foundation

The Blue Lamp Foundation was founded in 2010 by PC David Rathband after he suffered life-changing injuries having been shot at close range by Raoul Moat. The charity helps those from the Emergency Services who’ve been injured, physically or emotionally, in the line of duty by providing funding and support towards treatment, rehabilitation and out-of-pocket expenses.

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Throughout the year, Reliance High-Tech’s employees will engage in a range of activities to generate funds and put them towards the vital work that this charity transacts. Last year, those activities raised a magnificent £2,090 for SSAFA, the dedicated Armed Forces charity.

David Walton, finance director at Reliance High-Tech, told Security Matters: “SSAFA was our first ever charity of the year and I’m really proud of how the Reliance High-Tech team undertook a variety of fundraising activities, from the ‘Big Brew’ through to climbing the equivalent of Everest at our head office in Bracknell. This year, we invited nominations from the team as to which charity we should support and the Blue Lamp Foundation was chosen. Given Reliance High-Tech’s close working relationships with a number of police forces and, indeed, the NHS, this is a perfect fit for us to give something back to such a worthwhile cause and ably assist the brave men and women of the Emergency Services who sacrifice so much for us.”

Peter Sweeney, chairman of the Blue Lamp Foundation, responded: “We would like to thank everyone at Reliance High-Tech for choosing to support the Foundation over the next year. In the current climate, we know that Emergency Services personnel, along with many more key workers, are really stepping up to the plate to meet new levels of demand. At some point, their coping mechanisms will slow down and, on top of the physical assaults many are experiencing, they will reach a point whereby they can no longer effectively function with front line duties and will need support. Sponsorship from Reliance High-Tech will help us deliver that support.”

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Meggitt CEO Tony Wood appointed president at ADS

Tony Wood, CEO of Meggitt and former president of Rolls-Royce Aerospace, has been appointed president of the ADS trade organisation for the security, defence, aerospace and space industries. Wood succeeds Colin Smith. The appointment comes ahead of the 2020 Farnborough International Airshow, where the spotlight will be on the UK’s aerospace, defence and space industries, the latest developments in sustainable aviation technology, and attracting future engineering talent.

Wood commented: “It’s an honour to be appointed ADS president and I look forward to championing the industries we represent: industries that connect people across continents, ensure our national security and put advanced technology into space.”

He continued: “2020 marks a year where both sustainability and social purpose will be high on our agenda, underpinned by the innovation that continues to be the hallmark of the industries we represent. We’re looking forward to working with the new Government to take forward our industrial partnerships, investing to create a more sustainable future and deliver a national space programme. We keenly anticipate contributing to the Government’s planned Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Review and ensuring that our industries remain equipped to provide outstanding levels of support to our Armed Forces, the police and the Security Services.”

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Tony Wood

In addition, Wood observed: “We’re also looking forward to the 2020 Farnborough International Airshow and the opportunity to showcase to an international audience the fantastic products, services and innovations created by our members.”

ADS CEO Paul Everitt enthused: “It’s a great start to 2020 for ADS to welcome Tony Wood to the role of president. He brings extensive knowledge of our industries. His experience and drive will be an asset to ADS and to our members.”

Everitt also stated: “I would like to think Colin Smith for his support, advice and dedication in his two years as ADS president, which have seen our members continue to grow, the development of our industrial strategy partnerships with Government and a first Farnborough International Airshow at our new Exhibition and Conference Centre.”

As president, Wood leads the ADS Board, which is composed of representatives from each of the UK’s aerospace, defence, security and space sectors, including vice-presidents from each industry. The appointment of ADS president is made for a two-year term.

Wood has been CEO of Meggitt since January 2018, having joined the company as chief operating officer in 2016. He was Rolls-Royce’s president for aerospace from May 2013 to January 2016, and previously spent 16 years with Messier-Dowty.

Wood is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and of the Association of Project Management.

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Metro Security wins Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of M.A.R.S

Metro Security has won a 2019 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the Innovation category for the development of M.A.R.S (Metro Analytic Retail Solution), an integration software that brings retailers’ risk data into one location at the click of a mouse.

Managing director Trevor Wallace, who attended a reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday 11 June, enthused: “This award is a real honour for Metro Security. We’re a company that has been able to build a strong reputation off the back of British-designed software and hardware development.”

The M.A.R.S solution, which integrates retailers’ existing technology – including Electronic Point of Sale and CCTV data – to deliver transparency of information in order to detect theft and fraud, came to the attention of the Queen’s Award adjudicators after a number of High Street and petrol forecourt retailers reported transformative loss reduction results following its deployment.

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Trevor Wallace (left) and son Darren at Buckingham Palace

The technology allows businesses to remotely access and deep dive into data with the support of CCTV evidence to build criminal cases for the police to prosecute, which also assists in reducing police investigation time.

Wallace, who established the Romford-based business back in 1978, continued: “Our technology is a collaborative effort with our customers. They tell us what management information they want and how they want it packaged. We then work with them, and their other partners, to deliver it. We see ourselves as a kind of Q character from the James Bond franchise. We quietly work in the background to enable technologies to work together to catch the bad guys. We’re not quite on Her Majesty’s Secret Service, but this Royal recognition is a major boon for the business and an acknowledgement of the hard work and long hours put in by the team. This prestigious accolade is a true recognition of their enterprise.”

The Deputy Lord Lieutenant will be visiting the business in Ashton Road to bestow the Queen’s Award for Enterprise certificate and crystal award.

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Police set to use Artificial Intelligence to help predict spikes in hate crime

Following the news that the police service is setting up a new ‘Hate Lab’ using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help predict spikes in hate crime on the streets following Brexit, Andy Davies (consultant on police and intelligence services at SAS UK) has highlighted the importance of using data to mitigate preventable or predictable trends.

Davies has stressed the need for law enforcement to find new and innovative ways to make analytics and resulting insights accessible to officers. Ultimately, AI and data analytics has the power to help police do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

“Law enforcement operates in an increasingly complex environment, with investigators facing unprecedented amounts of data,” said Davies. “Social media has further complicated this environment in the last ten years with data being published online at an unmanageable rate. Clearly, the police are overwhelmed and overworked. The new ‘Hate Lab’ is no silver bullet for eliminating hate crime, but it’s a clear step in the right direction to mitigate preventable or predictable trends.”

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Davies continued: “Making sense of this data and understanding the underlying connections is critical in any investigation or intelligence-development activity. Data analytics is already reviewing huge volumes of intelligence data rapidly so that police officers can cut through the noise and focus on real and emerging threats. AI and data analytics can help the police to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively, so we need to find new and innovative ways to make analytics and resulting insights accessible to today’s officers.”

Davies referenced Gloucestershire Constabulary, which has employed analytics software to improve policing strategies, gain real-time insight into incidents and identify crime ‘hotspots’.

“Gloucestershire officers will now be able to draw together data from numerous systems and sources, including its electronic incident log, phone system, GPS-capable radios and demographic data from other sources. Using analytics, it will also be able to use the data available to identify crime ‘hotspots’, monitor trends, forecast future crime/incident levels offenders across the county and see a live breakdown of crime statistics.”

In conclusion, Davies told Risk Xtra: “It’s vital that the police service looks for every opportunity to operate more efficiently and use the latest data-driven tools in the fight against crime. By using data analytics, our police forces will be in an even better position to derive intelligence from multiple sources of potentially life-saving information.”

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Small Business Network advocates use of private security firms to support police

Following the latest budget, which highlighted increased funding for terrorism prevention despite recent cutbacks in other areas of police funding, the Small Business Network (SBN) of professional security companies has highlighted an opportunity for the private security industry to support public services.

“While the Budget saw extra money for the prevention of terrorism, the selling off of other police assets and the reduction in officers on the street has made life difficult when it comes to the prevention of other criminal activity,” commented Abbey Petkar, spokesperson for the SBN and managing director of Magenta Security. “The police are doing a fantastic job with limited resources and, for our part, we are perfectly placed to support them.”

Through client contracts already in existence, security companies across the UK can deliver for their clients while working in partnership with local police forces to spot and stop criminal behaviour.

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Abbey Petkar

“Whether it be a CCTV supplier, an alarm company or security officers, the industry is already working to prevent criminal activity. We are on the look-out for vulnerabilities in the community that could affect clients as well as opportunists looking to make the most of any situation. A closer working relationship with the police can only improve this,” continued Petkar.  “In fact, there’s even an opportunity for those companies who have been properly certified to undertake work on behalf of the police, supplementing their forces and needs as appropriate.”

Ultimately, the SBN believes the current challenges faced by police forces across the country are an opportunity for the security sector. The Security Industry Authority’s ongoing desire to improve quality in the sector means the companies exist with the requisite skills and oversight to support public services in a professional and cohesive way. The SBN fundamentally believes that public security should not just be the responsibility of the police. Instead, everyone should do their part, working together to ensure safety for all.

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Send For Help recognised in prestigious ‘FT Future 100 UK’ listing

Send For Help (the lone worker protection business providing 24/7 emergency response via personal safety alarms) has been featured in the ‘FT Future 100 UK’ list recently published in The Financial Times and on FT.com. The prestigious list selected by an expert panel led by FT journalists features fast-growing UK companies that are also making an impact on their industry or, indeed, wider society.

The list is built on data from the ‘FT 1,000: Europe’s Fastest-Growing Companies’, in which Send For Help featured in April this year with a ranking at 625.

To make it into the first edition of the ‘FT Future 100 UK’, businesses had to excel in one of four categories: Environmental, Social and Governance, Disruption, Diversity and Consistent Growth. Send For Help was selected for the Disruption category, where the judges took into account measures such as R&D spend as a proportion of revenue and the company’s own pitch as a disrupter.

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Operating through its subsidiary brands Skyguard, Peoplesafe and Guardian24, Send For Help supplies keyfob-sized GPS personal safety alarms and smart phone apps providing 24/7 protection to over 150,000 lone workers.

Send For Help’s Monitoring Centre has direct links to police Control Rooms, so it can bypass the 999 system and receive a faster emergency response if clients are threatened, attacked or are otherwise in some form of danger.

The Surrey-based tech firm has a varied client roster across a large number of private and public sectors, including over 180 NHS Trusts and major High Street retailers, City banks and national pub chains, estate agents, the police service and more than 200 local authorities.

“It’s very encouraging that Send For Help continues to receive national and international awards from such prestigious publications,” said James Murray, CEO of Send For Help. “Our strategy as a disruptive company which delivers innovative services at competitive prices is clearly working. The whole team should be proud of what we’ve achieved.”

*For the full list visit https://ig.ft.com/future-100/2018/

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Fly-tipping costing UK’s security industry “thousands of pounds” in clean-up and insurance claims

According to the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the illegal dumping of waste by criminal gangs is costing the UK’s security industry thousands of pounds in clean-up costs and insurance claims.

The costs, which might be borne by the landlords of fly-tipping ‘hotspots’ if they’re not covered by insurance, can routinely reach hundreds of thousands of pounds. Indeed, claims have been known to regularly exceed this figure.

Companies who fail to adequately protect their assets, or have been victims of fly-tipping in the past, could find their insurance cost rising. Some of these costs are met by taxpayers. According to the Local Government Association, the cost to taxpayers of clearing up fly-tipping rose to £57 million in the past year. That’s up 13% on the previous 12 months.

Restrictions on the tipping of waste and the inevitable dumping to avoid paying for waste processing are key factors underpinning this unlawful behaviour. In recent times, a far larger and more costly crime is occurring on an almost daily basis. This involves the unlawful occupation of land followed by large-scale collection and disposal of waste. There have also been many cases of industrial units rented on short leases which have then been filled with illegal waste and left for the landlord to clear up.

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The recent surge in fly-tipping is put down to an influx of organised gangs offering cheap disposal services to businesses and then simply fly-tipping the waste to avoid the payment of landfill tax which is currently set at £88.95 per tonne*. More sophisticated fly-tippers have also been setting up dummy companies advertising cheap skip rentals. They take out short term leases on warehouses then fill them from floor to ceiling with waste before moving on ahead of the landlord realising that rent hasn’t been paid.

Focus on serious crime and terrorism

Tony Cockcroft, chair of the Security Guarding Section at the BSIA, said: “This activity is being conducted on an enormous scale and involves the tipping of hundreds of tonnes of waste. The waste is collected from building sites and garden and house clearances. It’s a criminal activity netting large amounts of money for those involved in the process.”

Cockroft continued: “In most cases of land tipping, the perpetrators are evicted from the site only to move on to another close by and repeat the same activity again and again. The police and other agencies seldom make arrests, prosecute individuals or confiscate vehicles largely due to their already overstretched resources having to be focused on serious crime and terrorist threats.”

Gideon Reichental, chair of the Vacant Property Protection Section at the BSIA, told Risk Xtra: “Fly-tipping isn’t just an unnecessarily expensive eyesore. It can also be dangerous. Tipped rubbish has been known to include specialist and clinical waste which may be hazardous. Mixed waste can spontaneously combust. This harms the environment through airborne pollution and contaminated fire-water run-off, which is why it has never been more important to tackle the problem head on.”

Reichental added: “The BSIA’s Vacant Property Protection Section has had a keen interest in this problem as it affects many of our clients in the public and private sectors on a day-to-day basis. They’re working closely with the Association’s lobbying team to see what additional Government support or legislation might be provided in order to help address this issue.”

Protecting large areas of land

Protecting large areas of land can prove difficult, but there are a number of fairly simple and inexpensive measures that should be considered as it’s far better, and ultimately cheaper, to deter a person from entering land rather than having to subsequently evict them and restore the site.

As a minimum, the BSIA recommends the installation of strong metal gates with toughened steel padlocks and anti-lift hinges. If the site is vacant, block all vulnerable access points with concrete barriers. Secure the perimeter with strong fencing, posts, earth mounds or trenches and frequently check the site and the perimeter.

The BSIA also advises landlords of industrial units to put in place robust procedures to identify if the persons looking to rent a property are fit and proper to do so.

It’s also worth contacting the police on 101 if there’s a suspicion that land is being illegally occupied, though police officers harbour only restricted powers to deal with people who breach civil law by trespassing. In certain circumstances, a direction to leave may be made and, in the event of non-compliance, arrests may follow.

However, the powers to remove trespassers are discretionary and will not be used by the police unless considered absolutely necessary. If trespassers don’t leave a site when requested to do so then landowners should go through the normal channels of civil recovery as quickly as possible to mitigate the potential damage and resulting costs.

*All figures quoted in this release have been provided by Dougie Barnett, head of mid-market and customer risk management at AXA Insurance

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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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