Tag Archives: Terrorism

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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UK’s Security Commonwealth set to deliver presentation on ‘Grey Spaces’ at IFSEC International

The UK’s Security Commonwealth will be hosting its first public event on Tuesday 19 June at IFSEC International 2018 to introduce the concept of ‘Grey Spaces’ and discuss precisely why they should be secured.

‘Grey Spaces’ is the term used to label the undefended areas between security protected zones. In a grey space, a criminal or terrorist can prepare for their attack feeling unobserved, safe and with a low risk of detection.

The current threat Level from international terrorism in the UK is set at ‘Severe’. The 2017 terrorist attacks at the Manchester Arena, Westminster Bridge, Finsbury Park and Borough Market were initiated in ‘Grey Spaces’.

The conference session will consider how security design, security personnel and technology can help turn grey spaces into defensible spaces in order to create a perception of risk for a perpetrator planning an attack.

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Joe Connell, chair of The Security Commonwealth, said: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to host this event and I hope it will generate some keen interest among attendees. It’s also a great opportunity for us to raise awareness of The Security Commonwealth and its objectives in the wider security community”.

The Security Commonwealth is an umbrella organisation of independent membership bodies across the security profession. It provides a forum to consult and co-operate in the common interest and in the promotion of professionalism, Best Practice and information sharing to enhance UK security.

The Security Commonwealth aims to be the all-inclusive industry advocate on security issues in the UK, create lasting networks and alliances and promote and lead the security industry with a single voice.

There are currently 40 member organisations which include most of the major security membership bodies in the UK. For further information visit www.securitycommonwealth.org

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‘Technology at the Edge’: Axis Communications unveils Top Five Trends to shape 2018

Surveillance specialist Axis Communications’ CTO Johan Paulsson has outlined the Top Five Trends that the company feels will shape the New Year. 

Paulsson stated: “As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus said: ‘The only one constant in life is change’. There’s perhaps no better example of this than the technology industry, where innovation is so rapid that even the most fantastic of imagined futures seem like they could become a reality in the not too distant future.”

Axis Communications has put together five top technology trends that the Lund-based business feels will have a great impact on the security and surveillance industry now and in the years to come, helping to facilitate a smarter and, of course, safer world.

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Johan Paulsson: CTO at Axis Communications

(1) A move towards the edge

“Two of the greatest trends that have propelled our industry forward in recent years,” observed Paulsson, “are cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), both of which are delivering undeniable benefits to businesses and consumers alike. That said, they also come with implications, namely the rise in the amount of data being transferred, processed and stored. Going forward, we anticipate that ‘edge’ computing will become ever popular, alleviating this issue by performing data processing at the ‘edge’ of the network, closer to the source of the data. Doing so significantly reduces the bandwidth needed between sensors, devices and the Data Centre.”

(2) Cloud-to-Cloud

Paulsson observed: “Despite the move towards edge computing, the cloud will continue to play a significant role in IT infrastructures. As an increasing number of companies offer cloud-based services, the cloud ecosystem is increasingly becoming the preferred point of integration, rather than the traditional on-premise system. One benefit of integration between clouds is the significant potential reduction of in-house IT services required, in turn creating great cost benefits.”

(3) Deep and machine learning

According to Paulsson: “We’ve now reached a stage where the full benefits of deep learning architectures and machine learning can begin to be realised. The explosion of data available to analyse is helping businesses become increasingly intelligent. As applications develop, there are significant opportunities for predictive analytics which could facilitate incident prevention: from terrorist incidents to slip and fall accidents; from traffic issues to shoplifting and even the tragedy of rail suicides.”

(4) Cyber security

“Once again,” outlined Paulsson, “cyber security must appear on the list of trends for the next 12 months and beyond. The constant enhancement of cyber security will be a never-ending task. This is because well-resourced cyber criminals will never stop looking to exploit vulnerabilities in any new technology. As the number of connected devices grows, so too do the potential flaws that, if left unaddressed, could provide the opportunity for networks to be breached.”

Embellishing this theme, Paulsson said: “Legislation is being created to address these concerns. In the European Union, the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation – the deadline for compliance for this being 25 May – will unify the protection of data for individuals within the EU, wherever that data is held or used.”

(5) Platforms to realise the full benefits of the IoT

In conclusion, Paulsson informed Risk UK: “The IoT has reached a point where it’s crucial to use scalable architecture to successfully collect and analyse data and manage the network of connected devices. Such an IoT platform allows equipment from different node vendors to co-exist and easily exchange information to form smart systems using existing network infrastructure. There are numerous companies, both well-established providers of technology and new market entrants, that are enabling platforms to support IoT devices. The next 12 months will see further maturation of this process.”

*Read more: https://www.axis.com/blog/secure-insights/technology-trends/

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Record number of businesses to benefit from free Manchester Security event

‘Manchester Security: Safe and Secure for Business’ takes place on Wednesday 20 September at St Ann’s Church in Manchester with a record number of businesses set to attend. With more than 250 pre-registrations to date, the event will provide the North West business community with valuable insights into current security issues, offering the latest advice to help better protect them against threats and acts of crime.

The day’s programme includes a formal opening by Assistant Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine and a presentation by Detective Chief Inspector Paul Hitchen (deputy head of intelligence for Counter-Terrorism Policing North West on the ‘Partnership Approach to the Threat from Terrorism in the UK’.

ACC Vanessa Jardine

ACC Vanessa Jardine

Gary Hibberd (managing director of Agenci) is to focus on ‘The Dark Web – A Real Journey into a Virtual World’, while Chief Inspector Gareth Parkin of Greater Manchester Police concentrates on ‘Policing the City’. A representative from SelectaDNA is going to be talking about ‘Using Synthetic DNA to Convict Criminals’.

The event is completely free to attend. Doors open at 8.30 am. Refreshments and breakfast snacks will be provided and the event will conclude at around 11.30 am.

SelectaDNA, Window Security Solutions and Noonan Services Group are sponsoring the event and their crime prevention products will be on display.

‘Manchester Security: Safe and Secure for Business’ is organised by the Manchester City Centre Crime Prevention Panel with the support of Greater Manchester Police, Manchester City Council and Atmaana Business Consulting.

*Limited places are still available at:  https://manchestersecurity2017.eventbrite.co.uk

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Europe is the world’s top tourist destination… but are tourists safe?

Worldwide, tourist travel is on the rise. Indeed, international tourism actually dwarfs any other type of leisure business in terms of growth. One of the global regions benefiting the most from this trend is Europe: the world’s first tourism destination.

Central to the dynamism of European tourism is accommodation: hotels, B&Bs and online-rented space, but due to a loose legislative framework for safety, which is rapidly becoming obsolete as our habits as tourists evolve, hotels might also become European tourism’s Achilles’ heel.

Of all the dangers posed to a tourist’s safety in a European hotel, fire remains the biggest. Currently, the legal basis on the matter is a 1986 EU Council Recommendation on fire safety in hotels. Since EU Recommendations are, by their very nature, non-binding legal acts, this has resulted in mainly localised and incomplete measures. Fast forward 30 years later, and it’s clear that the Recommendation has had limited effect on hotel safety in Europe: a fact acknowledged by hotel federations and consumer associations alike.

The main issue is that local self-regulation resulting from the EU Recommendation hasn’t guaranteed an even level of safety across the EU. Enforcement varies considerably from country to country, and even from city to city, including in the same region, and largely depends on the size of the hotel. All-too-often, small hotels are less well scrutinised, and somewhat more ill-equipped than bigger ones to deal with fires. Local laws frequently link the number of rooms with compliance to the Recommendation.

Global trends

An analysis of global trends in tourism shows that, as our tourist habits evolve, the risk resulting from the current situation increases: more and more travellers choose to go ‘off the map’ opting for smaller hotels rather than big chains. This new type of tourist also tends to visit exactly those countries where safety in hotels is less controlled.

Add to this the relatively unregulated development of increasingly popular online ‘homestay’ networks, such as Airbnb, and you have a flammable cocktail. The situation seems to be calling for a fast reaction.

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The most recent attempt to initiate binding legislation on tourism accommodation safety arose in October 2015. A Resolution of the European Parliament called for a consistent European approach around risks related to fire. Reactions to the Resolution from various Brussels-based influencers highlighted a novel situation. All parties involved – ie consumer associations, hotel federations and Euralarm, the European Trade Association representing the electronic fire and security industry – now seem to agree that a legally binding EU Directive would be the right solution to address the issue.

Industry-led survey

Unfortunately, the initiative derailed due to a lack of reliable supporting data. The exact level of risk existing for the flows of tourists travelling to and inside Europe remains a question mark.

Outside of empirical observations, statistics on safety in tourism are notoriously hard to come by, with reputational issues hampering self-reporting. An EU Commission-initiated data collection programme launched in 2008 resulted in a blatant failure.

The focus now is on a survey led by the industry, rather than the EU. Among others, Euralarm has asserted its readiness to help with new data collection efforts. The organisation has also offered to provide support and expertise to the EU Institutions and the CEN-CENELEC European standardisation platform for the development of the relevant legislation and necessary standards needed to improve fire safety in hotels.

Progress in European legislation and standardisation is often slow unless the issue makes it to the news headlines. In 2004, after a number of tunnel fires with resulting casualties, the EU Commission was forced to publish a Directive on tunnel fire safety. Should we wait any further before adopting a Directive on tourism accommodation safety?

Time to act

Any failure to act quickly could lead to another cost for Europe. As tourism is now more globalised than ever, competition becomes fiercer, and parts of the world with more stringent and well-established regulations for safety in tourism accommodation might hold a key advantage.

In the United States for example, a Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act has been in place since 1990. Potential future incidents resulting from poor regulation could hit Europe’s tourism industry particularly hard. Its reputation as a safe destination has already taken a blow due to recent terrorist attacks.

Tourism is one of the engines of the European economy and an important source of jobs. Eurostat reports that one-in-ten non-financial enterprises in Europe belong to the tourism industries, and that these 2.2 million enterprises employ an estimated 12 million people. That’s more than one-in-five of individuals employed across the services sector.

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Pilgrims Group’s Afghanistan project wins Security and Fire Excellence Award for International Achievement

For the third year running, international security specialist Pilgrims Group has won a prestigious Security and Fire Excellence Award (SEA), this time around for its work on protecting an international aerospace electronics client in Afghanistan.

The project involved the very rapid mobilisation and full operation of a training school and maintenance centre providing the foundation for teaching Afghan engineer instructors and engineers to support the secure communications equipment provided to every major organisation in the Afghan Security Forces.

The Security and Fire Excellence Awards’ Judges clearly recognised the excellent teamwork required and the challenges of delivering such a project on time in the extremely challenging security context in Afghanistan. Also, they recognised the significance of the outcome – a sustainable capability of secure communications across all forces engaged in the fight against terrorism.

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Pilgrims Group COO David Freear pictured (centre) with event host Jimmy Carr (right) and a representative of category sponsor Hanwha Techwin

Pilgrims Group COO David Freear commented: “This award recognises the abilities of our teams working in some of the most challenging locations in the world, and we’re delighted and extremely proud to accept it. Their achievement is all the more impressive as this year has been particularly competitive, with entries for the Security and Fire Excellence Awards up by 17% compared to last year. Winning an award like this demonstrates that our peers in the industry acknowledge the quality of what we do. It’s a great testament to our staff who work so hard for our clients around the world.”

Last year, Pilgrims Group won the International Achievement Award at the Security and Fire Excellence Awards for its work having won the security contract in support of the British Consulates in Nigeria, redesigning the contracted security team configuration and transforming their performance, in parallel with enabling the continued development of the individual through innovative learning methodologies.

 

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VCA’s analytics energise security and operations for oil and gas sector

Video analytics is increasingly being used as a powerful tool to help remotely monitor and protect vulnerable facilities such as gas and oil pipelines. According to Michael von Hauff, CEO of Osprey Informatics, it can also assist operations managers to improve productivity for the host organisation.

Since it was established in 2012, Osprey Informatics has been on a mission to revolutionise the use of video to automate and remotely manage industrial operations. Unlike traditional video surveillance models, the company believes that visual information should not be the exclusive domain of corporate security, but rather seen as an asset that can be used throughout an organisation, with a measurable return on investment.

Indeed, it’s this philosophy that has resulted in Osprey Informatics acquiring a long list of prestigious clients, among them Husky Energy and the Pembina Pipeline Corporation.

“A recent report published by MarketsandMarkets Research estimates the oil and gas security and service market will grow from a value of USD26.34 billion in 2015 to USD33.90 billion by 2020,” said von Hauff. “Perhaps this isn’t surprising given the ever-increasing sophisticated activities of organised criminal gangs, as well as the risk of terrorist attacks which can result in major disruption to supplies and potential loss of life, as well as damage to the environment.”

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Continuing this theme, von Hauff stated: “With this in mind, our clients are looking to invest in the latest video surveillance technology to ensure they can respond effectively to any threats. We have helped our clients achieve this objective by relying on VCA’s analytics solutions to play a key role.”

Event detection

VCA analytics, developed in the UK by a team of computer vision scientists, can detect movement within very small areas of a video image and provide operators with a powerful ‘exception’ reporting tool to help identify suspicious activity and, when appropriate, despatch security officers or quickly report the incident to one of the Emergency Services.

The ability to do this is significant as it’s widely acknowledged that operators can miss important events after monitoring video for more than 30 minutes or so. The possibility of this happening is increased when individual operators are tasked to view multiple screens.

Not to be confused with Video Motion Detection (VMD), which works on the basis of detecting changes in the light scales of pixels within a video image, VCA analytics is able to provide a far more reliable and accurate solution. It does so by analysing on a frame-by-frame basis the metadata related to the motion and properties of objects within a video stream. The result is a high detection rate and a dramatic reduction in the kind of false alarms that can be generated by VMD software.

Productivity, safety and security

“As part of an integrated video surveillance solution, VCA analytics can provide immediate access to images relevant to urgent operational events, allowing operators to respond quickly to production and environmental incidents as well as security threats,” added von Hauff.

“Companies operating in the oil and gas sector understand the need to protect the environment. They also take the responsibility of creating safe working conditions for employees very seriously and recognise the importance of compliance with Health and Safety policies. VCA analytics can clearly help in these areas. The same technology can be deployed to identify opportunities for improving operational efficiencies. It does this by providing accurate data on a wide range of activities, such as the movement of vehicles and personnel at facilities and remote sites.”

von Hauff cites Pembina Pipeline Corporation, which has grown into one of Canada’s largest integrated energy infrastructure companies over the last six decades, as an excellent example of one of its clients that has embraced video analytics as a way of protecting its investment in the infrastructure used to transport oil and natural gas across North America.

Using its own brand of HD IP cameras and domes with VCA analytics on board, Osprey Informatics has supplied a state-of-the-art monitoring solution that provides the Pembina Pipeline Corporation with a high level of situational awareness through the use of innovative, user-friendly technology to protect its people, assets and the environment.

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