Tag Archives: UK Home Office

Countdown begins to UK locksmithing and physical security industry’s biggest Trade Expo

The Master Locksmiths Association (MLA) is set to host Europe’s largest trade exhibition for the locksmithing and physical security industry. From 2-4 October, suppliers and manufacturers will meet visitors from all over the world at the International Centre in Telford.

The theme of this year’s MLA Expo is ‘Tomorrow’s Locksmithing Today’. This is designed to help encourage and develop a future generation for the historic profession.

Nearly 100 exhibitors have already signed up for the biennial event, which sees locksmiths meet with suppliers, exhibit their products and services, discuss industry trends and take part in training courses.

MLA development director Dr Steffan George said: “MLA Expo is a truly global exhibition involving people from within the locksmithing industry. 2015 marks the event’s eighteenth incarnation and is set to be the biggest yet.”

George added: “MLA Expo is one of the most anticipated events in the security industry’s calendar, offering a fantastic opportunity for locksmithing and security companies and professionals from around the world to come together. They can showcase their products and services, network, share knowledge and make new contacts.”

Dr Steffan George of the MLA

Dr Steffan George of the MLA

Representatives from the police service, the insurance industry and Neighbourhood Watch will also be at the sold-out event along with newly-qualified apprentices as the MLA strives to secure the future of the industry and ensure locksmithing is seen as a potential career.

ASSA Abloy – one of the world’s biggest supplier of locks and security solutions – has joined forces with the MLA and Skills for Security (the skills body for the security sector) to support an apprenticeship scheme. The locksmith apprenticeship was set up in January last year with a view to generating the first nationally-recognised qualification for the locksmith sector, as well as securing its future by encouraging more young people to consider locksmithing as a profession.

The MLA was established over 50 years ago to set and promote standards of conduct, practice and materials within locksmithing. The organisation is recognised as the authoritative body for locksmithing by the police service, the Home Office and other leading organisations such as the British Standards Institution.

As a not-for-profit association, the MLA ensures its member companies undergo strict vetting procedures such that members of the public, the Government and industry receive the appropriate service and advice.

The MLA’s members share the ethos that ‘skill and integrity’ remain paramount in locksmithing and are able to provide sound advice based on knowledge and experience.

*For a list of approved MLA companies visit www.locksmiths.co.uk

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Zaun exports British security expertise to northern France’s Longuenesse Prison

British high security fencing manufacturer Zaun has exported its expertise across the Channel to secure a prison in the north of France. The company has supplied almost 1,000 metres of its original HiSec security fencing with the popular ‘358’ welded mesh configuration to repel would-be intruders and keep those residents within secure.

The HiSec system’s attributes make it an excellent solution for high security applications, reflecting in its use by the Home Office for UK prisons. Unusually, for the Longuenesse Prison in the Pas-de-Calais department of northern France, the deployed fencing is powder-coated white. This affords the prison a more relaxed feel when compared with English institutions, an impression enhanced further by a MUGA and three rooftop exercise areas with a ball court and angled fencing merged into the sloped roofing angles.

Zaun designed six metre-high fencing with a crank on top clad by 1 mm-thick steel sheet cladding for the 215 metres of internal perimeters, then 450 metres of five-metre high fencing beyond a five-metre ‘dead zone’ between the two fence lines.

The internal fence line includes a half-metre high, 100 mm-thick concrete ‘kicker board’ sunk 250 mm into the ground to prevent tunnelling.

Zaun has also supplied special gates with electronic locks automatically activated from a central Control Room and HiSec cladding to upstairs windows as part of the €200,000 fully-integrated security system.

Zaun worked on the €8.3 million prison for 85 residents alongside leading French construction company Spie Batignolles, which boasts annual revenues of €1.8 billion.

HiSec’s close mesh pattern means that it’s difficult to cut and almost impossible to climb.

Zaun is one of the largest and most dynamic manufacturers of high security perimeter protection systems within the UK. With regional offices in France and Dubai,the organisation boasts an extensive range of temporary, PAS 68-rated and permanent fencing solutions as well as expertise in integrating CCTV and PID systems.

Zaun was founded in 1996 by directors Alastair Henman and Paul Painter and remains a privately owned company, manufacturing in the UK at its state of the art five-acre production facility in the West Midlands.

The company manufactures to ISO 9001:2008 standards and is a member of the ethical supply chain initiative designated Sedex. The business is also a member of the Perimeter Security Suppliers’ Association, the Fencing Contractors’ Association– with Alastair Henman a director and council member of these organisations respectively – and the Sports and Play Construction Association.

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Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude visits cyber security specialist Advent IM

The Rt Hon Francis Maude MP has visited West Midlands-based cyber security consultancy Advent IM as part of the MPs’ remit as the Minister for Cyber Security. 

Maude met with Mike Gillespie and Julia McCarron, the co-founders of Advent IM, to find out more about the cyber security work the company delivers as one of the UK’s leading independent information security consultancies, the company’s history, its ethos and the business challenges faced by the organisation as an SME.

Topics for discussion on the day were both wide and varied. Mike Gillespie explained the principles of a holistic and risk-based approach to security and the MP was particularly interested in how this translates into solid governance in business.

Maude was also keen to find out more about threat convergence, how cyber threats can now impact our physical environments and steps that can be taken to mitigate those threats.

The team expanded on Advent IM’s development of cyber security training courses specifically for the police in the areas of SIRO and IAO responsibilities and accountability, general cyber security awareness training opportunities currently being developed and Advent IM’s mentoring approach to consultancy delivery, ensuring the company is seen by those involved as a business enabler.

The Advent IM team members meet Francis Maude MP

The Advent IM team members meet Francis Maude MP

The G-Cloud procurement process

Maude and the team discussed the merits of the G-Cloud procurement process and how there’s room to improve the perception that it’s more for technology purchases than consultancy, and how Government is starting to drive the requirement for Best Practice information security and ISO 27001 (more of which anon) through its outsourced service providers.

Changes to the Government Security Classification Scheme and the lack of understanding around its application were touched upon, as were the issues being confronted by local authorities in connecting to PSN and how the latest changes would impact on those either connecting or acting as a provider.

The Cabinet Office Minister also took the time to discuss areas of work with Advent IM staff from the consultancy, marketing and sales teams and the challenges they face when it comes to implementing and promoting cyber security across the UK.

“We greatly appreciate the time Francis Maude has taken to visit us,” said Advent IM’s operations director Julia McCarron. “As cyber security specialists, a number of us have attended events where Mr Maude has been present but we’ve rarely had the opportunity to discuss with him what’s happening in the market or air our views fact-to-face. To be singled out and given the chance to discuss our company, the industry and involve all of our staff in that forum was an honour for the team.”

Advent IM's Mike Gillespie talks cyber security with Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude

Advent IM’s Mike Gillespie talks cyber security with Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude

Holistic security management solutions

Advent IM focuses on holistic security management solutions for information, people and physical assets across both the public and private sectors.

Established in 2002, Advent IM is a Centre of Excellence for security services, promoting the benefits of Best Practice guidelines and standards and the ongoing need to address risk management in order to protect against potential threats.

From offices in the Midlands and London, the company’s consultants work on a nationwide basis and are members of the CESG Listed Advisor Scheme, the Institute of Information Security Professionals, The Security Institute, the Business Continuity Institute and the British Computer Society.

Advent IM consultants are also lead auditors for the international standards on Information Security Management (ISO 27001) and Business Continuity Management (ISO 22301), practitioners of PRINCE2 (a recognised project management methodology widely used within the public sector), CISSP-qualified and also Home Office-trained physical security assessors.

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Advent IM confirmed as cyber security solution supplier to Her Majesty’s Government

Holistic security consultancy and a member of the Malvern Cyber Security Cluster, Advent IM Ltd has announced its confirmed status as cyber security solution supplier to Her Majesty’s Government.

The announcement follows on from the company’s long-standing and successful supplier relationships with several Government departments.

The cyber certification scheme is administrated by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and enables certified cyber security suppliers to Government to be able to publicise the fact. This offers a distinct advantage to those businesses, further enables the Government’s plan to work with more SMEs and also supports the export of UK cyber security expertise.

Speaking about the news, Advent IM director Julia McCarron told Risk UK: “The supply of specialist IA consultancy services to the UK Government is the foundation upon which Advent IM was built and this remains a very important sector for us. As an SME, we value the relationships we have with Her Majesty’s Government’s departments and agencies. Being awarded this status is important for our continued partnership development in this area and we’re delighted that we’ve been recognised as an official cyber security solution provider.”

Advent IM joins other members of the Malvern Cyber Security Cluster who have been recognised for their contribution to UK Government cyber security by being part of this scheme.

Advent IM has announced the company’s confirmed status as a cyber security solution supplier to Her Majesty’s Government

Advent IM has announced the company’s confirmed status as a cyber security solution supplier to Her Majesty’s Government

Holistic security management solutions

Advent IM is an independent specialist consultancy focusing on holistic security management solutions for information, people and physical assets across both the public and private sectors.

Established in 2002, Advent IM is a Centre of Excellence for security services, promoting the benefits of Best Practice guidelines and standards and the need to address risk management to protect against potential threats.

From offices in the Midlands and London, Advent IM’s consultants work nationwide and are members of the CESG Listed Advisor Scheme (CLAS), the Institute of Information Security Professionals (IISP), The Security Institute, the Business Continuity Institute and the British Computer Society.

Julia McCarron: director at Advent IM

Julia McCarron: director at Advent IM

Advent IM consultants are also lead auditors relating to the international standards for Information Security Management (ISO 27001) and Business Continuity Management (ISO 22301), practitioners of PRINCE2 (a recognised project management methodology widely used within the public sector), CISSP-qualified and Home Office-trained physical security assessors.

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‘Christmas crime bonanza could cost the UK’s economy over £1 billion’ states The Shield Group

While the current trend is for general crime rates continuing to fall, shoplifting is on the rise. According to Home Office figures, the number of shoplifting offences in 2013-2014 has risen by 6.7% when compared to the previous year.

The Christmas period usually sees very little crime in most business sectors, but there’s one great exception: the retail industry. Since the recession in 2008, the holiday ‘free-for-all’ has become considerably worse with the increased footfall during the festive season something of a double-edged sword for UK retailers.

True, an influx of customers does cause sales to skyrocket, but it also leads to overcrowded shop floors, in turn providing the perfect cover for shoplifters.

Shoplifting is often considered a victimless crime. However, research shows this isn’t the case. The economic effects of shoplifting during the Christmas period are massive, with thieves stealing an average of £37.04 from every family.

In addition to these costs, for the staff working in shops and stores who are threatened with or subject to physical violence when confronted by thieves, this can have dire psychological effects.

The majority of retailers will encounter some form of security threat over Christmas, but it’s the large department stores that are targeted the most. This is due to them stocking those products most commonly found on the thieves’ wish lists. Items such as tablets, game consoles, perfume, women’s clothing and jewellery are most popular.

This doesn’t mean smaller shops shouldn’t watch out, though, as the thieves often approach smaller and more vulnerable retailers because they stock alcohol, Christmas decorations and, in some cases, high value food items, etc.

John Roddy: CEO at The Shield Group

John Roddy: CEO at The Shield Group

Being aware of the issues

John Roddy, CEO at The Shield Group, said: “Dramatic increases in shopper numbers creates the potential for serious problems. There are also some consumers who derive a thrill out of stealing. They typically pocket a ‘free’ gift during an otherwise legitimate shopping trip. However, traditional criminals also get in on the act as shops become so packed that it’s much harder for security teams to be aware of the issues. Add to this mix a thriving black market and the lure of swift financial gain is potentially all it takes to motivate the criminally inclined.”

Threats to retailers are not just external. During this time of year figures consistently show an increase in employee theft. This type of theft alone cost the UK economy over £300 million in 2013.

Temporary staff are often employed over the Christmas period, of course, and research recently conducted by First Advantaged shows that significantly more inaccuracies can be found in the CVs of seasonal workers when compared to those of their permanent staff colleagues.

Nearly 50% of education verification tests carried out on seasonal workers uncover discrepancies, while a third of employment history verifications turn up inaccuracies and discrepancies of some form.

According to Roddy, the solution to this issue lies with the retail owners themselves.

“Security should be every shop owner’s number one priority,” asserted Roddy, “not only to ensure that nothing is stolen, but also to guarantee the safety of both customers and staff alike.”

In conclusion, Roddy added: “By implementing appropriate security measures and reviewing the temporary staff that are being employed, there ought to be no reason why crime should be allowed to ruin the Christmas holidays.”

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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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Home Office plans next stage of engagement with suppliers on ESN

The Home Office has announced that it will be engaging with suppliers on detailed requirements for the new Emergency Services Network (ESN).

A Prior Information Notice has been published in the Official Journal of the European Union stating that the UK Government Department will engage suppliers regarding four separate parts of the contract for the new ESN, namely user devices, air-to-ground service and devices, vehicle installation and Control Room upgrades.

Minister of State for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims Mike Penning said: “A modernised communications network is vital to help the emergency services protect the public and save lives. We are on track to deliver this critical part of our national infrastructure by 2017.”

The MP added: “We have seen strong interest in providing the new emergency services network and its supporting elements. I’m confident that the organisations we select will create a communications network that’s the best in the world.”

The Home Office has unveiled further plans for the Emergency Services Network

The Home Office has unveiled further plans for the Emergency Services Network

Tenders for the contracts will be submitted in the near future and will then be subject to detailed evaluation. Contracts will be awarded in 2015 and the new ESN will go live from 2017 as existing contracts expire.

The new network is being developed in close partnership with the emergency services and will add broadband data capabilities that will help save lives. Further information is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-emergency-services-mobile-communications-programme

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