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Terrorism and cyber threats key topics at Security & Counter Terror Expo 2016

Published on 26 July 2016
354 companies showcased their latest products, technologies and services, alongside a series of seminars and the eagerly anticipated World Counter Terror Congress
Security & Counter Terror Expo 2016 discussed ISIS and future terrorist threats

Following an increase in terrorist activity across the globe, a record number of security industry professionals gathered in London for Security & Counter Terror Expo (SCTX) 2016, to discuss how to tackle extremism and prevent future attacks.

9,517 security professionals from 109 countries travelled to London in April for the latest instalment of SCTX, which incorporated leading forensics show Forensics Europe Expo and Ambition – the event for the emergency preparedness, resilience & response (EPRR) community. The event organisers, Clarion Events, reported that the number of visitors was up 17 percent on the 2015 event, with one in ten representing a police or counter terror force.

354 companies showcased their latest products, technologies and services, alongside a series of seminars and the eagerly anticipated World Counter Terror Congress.

David Thompson, Event Manager at Security & Counter Terror Expo, commented: “This year’s event was extremely important due to the recent events in Europe. Many countries have a high threat level in place and it is vital to be implementing the best strategies to tackle extremist behaviour and prevent future attacks from happening. We developed the SCTX programme around these themes, ensuring international security professionals went away with a clear idea on how they can better protect the public and infrastructure.”

The World Counter Terror Congress

One of the main attractions of this year’s event was the World Counter Terror Congress, which was attended by almost 1,000 high level delegates, including diplomats and high-ranking police officers. Covering policy and strategy in a number of key areas, such as de-radicalisation and preventing attacks, the congress featured dozens of high profile speakers, including Sir Malcolm Rifkind, Jamie O’Shea (NATO), Rob Wainwright (Europol) and Scott Wilson of the National Counter Terrorism Policing HQ.

Naturally, ISIS was high on the agenda. Jorge Berto Silva, deputy head of counter-extremism for the European Commission, discussed the “justified concern” that ISIS was planning attacks using chemical or biological weapons, while highlighting strategies to stay one-step ahead of the group. Rob Wainwright, the head of Europol, also revealed a belief that the extremist group was keen to carry out more spectacular attacks in Europe.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Foreign Secretary and former chairman of the Intelligence & Security Committee of Parliament, said: “With the safety of millions of people on the line, security professionals have an increasingly important role to play as the threat evolves. Events such as the World Counter Terror Congress provide the ideal platform to discuss the latest advances in counter terror tactics and to debate how far is it possible for the UK and its security services to protect the country from terror.”

Bob Broadhurst, former Gold Command for the Metropolitan Police Service during the London Olympic Games, added: “Groups like ISIS are intent on causing as much disruption as possible and it’s no surprise to hear that they’re thinking about planning sophisticated future attacks. What’s clear is that nations need to be prepared to prevent these atrocities from happening. The World Counter Terror Congress provides an excellent forum for experts across the globe to present their latest research, strategies and advice to governments and police forces, as well as those tasked with protecting businesses and infrastructure from attacks.”

Protecting infrastructure and businesses

Alongside the congress, SCTX provided four additional, free-to-attend conference streams that focused on infrastructure, cyber threat, transport and advanced technologies. Located on the show floor, the sessions were at capacity throughout both days, with visitors keen to hear the latest thinking from internationally recognised experts.

The Critical National Infrastructure & Business Reliance conference featured a series of presentations examining the policy and strategy responses to today’s terror threat. Among the 20 high-ranking officials and academics who presented was Thomas Wuchte, head of anti-terrorism issues, action against terrorism Unit, OSCE. He discussed the latest initiatives of the regional organisation in the protection of critical national infrastructure in Europe.

“We rely on a sophisticated electric energy infrastructure to bring us water, light, heat, and the power to run the many tools and devices we use almost every minute of our waking lives. If it were to stop functioning, so would life as we know it,” said Wuchte. “The lesson we need to learn is that it is crucial to be aware of the vulnerability of the infrastructure we rely on. We need to invest thought, time and money into its protection. The key to ensuring that a disaster will never happen is minimising the possibility that it could.”

SCTX provided four additional, free-to-attend conference streams that focused on infrastructure, cyber threat, transport and advanced technologies
The Critical National Infrastructure & Business Reliance conference featured a presentation examining the terror policy and strategy 

The evolving cyber threat

The techUK-sponsored Cyber Threat Intelligence Conference brought together those who work to prevent cyber terrorism and crime – one of the security industry’s growing concerns. Among the topics discussed was an overview of global cyber security threats and how to mitigate against them. Key speakers included Chris Gibson, Director at CERT-UK; Richard Parris, Chairman and Chief Executive of Intercede; Professor Chris Hankin, Director at the Institute for Security Science and Technology; and representatives from the National Crime Agency’s National Cyber Crime Unit.

Talal Rajab, Programme Manager for techUK's Cyber, National Security and Criminal Justice programmes, added: “What was once considered a niche area in the wider national security debate has emerged front and centre in many government's priorities. Security & Counter Terror Expo offers us the ideal platform to present the latest, invaluable thinking from some of the most prominent figures.”

Preventing transport attacks

With transport links increasingly a target for terrorists, aeroplanes, mass transit buses, rail terminals, ports, vehicles and transport facilities all face the risk of future attacks. The SCTX Transport Security Live sessions focussed on discussing effective solutions to prevent and detect future atrocities. Key stakeholders from the government, police, aviation, maritime, public transport, and rail sectors attended the sessions that featured international case studies and the latest developments in protecting transport networks, hubs and passengers.

Highlighting the latest technologies

Public and private sector buyers, influencers and government delegations from across the globe attended SCTX to explore how the latest technology can be matched to their current and future needs. Advanced Technologies Live played a key role in delivering this as visitors were able to see and hear more about innovative solutions that the industry has to offer through a series of live demonstrations.

Day two of the event saw a focus on drones. With technology developments enhancing their capabilities, the devices are becoming increasingly important to the security industry. As a result a number of leading businesses, including Yuneec, UAS Flight Ops and Aeraccess, showcased their latest solutions at the show.

A platform to source the latest services, solutions and technologies

The exhibition at SCTX has established itself as an international hub where the industry elite come together to identify the security sector’s most significant innovations and new product launches.

This year was no different with a wide range of product innovations on display, including the latest in high security fencing, cybersecurity modelling, simulation and training platforms, surveillance control systems and drone technology. Geoquip, CLD Fencing, NEC, Aselsan and Jacksons Fencing were among the major companies at 2016 show.

Among those showcasing new technologies was Yuneec International, one of the world's most influential high-tech companies in electric aviation. It showcased the new Typhoon H at SCTX, which incorporates a 720p down link and extensive new features, including capturing 4K video and 12 megapixel images, making it one of the most advanced available.

BBI Detection demonstrated its simple to use IMASS (Integrated Multiplex Assay and Sampling System) platform for Biothreat Detection and Explosive Detection at the show. It also discussed its development pipeline which includes a new Chemical Warfare Agent Detection system, which is due to launch next year.

LOCKEN, a pioneer in cable-free access control based on a unique digital smart key, showcased its new Bluetooth enabled electronic Cyberkey, Wi-Fi capabilities and the MyLocken mobile app at this year’s show. Meanwhile, Abloy UK showcased its PROTEC2 CLIQ Connect system, which includes a range of compliant and secure electric locks, and LPCB-rated padlocks.

Globalstar, which provides mobile satellite voice and data services to governments, commercial users and individuals around the world, presented a number of solutions including SPOT Gen3 that provides security and peace of mind for remote and lone personnel who carry out activities in areas with unreliable or no mobile coverage. The pocket-sized GPS messenger is a rugged and affordable device that uses the company’s low earth orbiting satellite network to allow remote workers to send an SOS with just the touch of a button. Emergency services instantly receive GPS location information and help is immediately dispatched to the person or people in distress.

Planning for the 2017 event

During the event, Clarion Events announced that the 2017 edition of SCTX will return to London at the later dates of 3-4 May.

David Thompson added: “The 2016 show was highly successful and we aim to build on that next year by providing a conference programme and exhibition that ensures the world’s security professionals can source innovations and identify new tactics and strategies. We look forward to working with all our key partners over the coming months to develop an event that serves the needs of all our stakeholders.”

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