International Security Expo 2018 - A platform to inform

The International Security Expo provides a unique platform for the entire security industry to come together to source products and share experience. Philip Ingram looks at the current threat landscape and why the International Security Expo is the perfect place to find the solutions and skills to combat them

As a car tore into barriers outside the Palace of Westminster having knocked over several cyclists beforehand, the country held its breath. Was this that start of another terror campaign like the one that tore across Europe and the UK in 2016–2017? Many cities across the globe were left reeling from a wave of extremism targeting people going about their normal lives and enjoying themselves and the often crudeness of the weaponry used belied the sophistication of many of the attacks.

How do we keep our iconic buildings accessible and safe? A question to ask the Deputy Head of Security Operations in the Parliamentary Security Department at the Houses of Parliament, Fay Tennet, who is speaking at this year’s Olympia based International Security Expo held on 28-29 November.

2018 has been successful for the security services with a number of attacks being stopped, but the UK Counter Terror Police continue to remind everyone that they have approximately 600 active investigations going on with over 3,000 people of immediate concern and another 20,000 on their radar. Many, if not most, of these investigations will be occurring in our cities and many of the subjects of those investigations are likely to be targeting our cities.

However, 2018 will already be remembered for a new type of attack, with the first use of a deadly, military grade nerve agent on the streets of the small sleepy English city, Salisbury. The nerve agent Novichok was used in an assassination attempt on a Russian former intelligence officer, Sergi Skripal and his daughter Yulia, in March.

This incident, that could be from the pages of a John Le Carrie novel but is now a vehicle for greater public-private security cooperation with many of the 1,200 police officers drafted in to secure contaminated sites, being replaced by security guards. The impact it has had on Salisbury is great but the impact such an incident would have on the streets of London, Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow or Belfast is unthinkable. Safer Cities is a leading conference as part of this year’s International Security Expo.

We have also seen an explosive drone attack on the Venezuelan President and recently the EU Counterterrorism co-ordinator, Gilles de Kerchove, told a conference at the Royal United Services Institute that terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and ISIS would soon turn to constructing biological weapons and possibly use drones to spread such infections. This year we have seen arrests in Germany linked to a plot to use the biotoxin Ricin in a terror attack. Its purity and quantity shocked the German security agencies.

At the same time, ISIS and Al Qaeda terror videos and propaganda are advocating the use of drones against crowded places. During the FIFA World Cup in Russia an ISIS propaganda video was released in which the terrorist group said that they would attack with drone bombs - thank goodness they didn’t. The recipe and design for chemical weapons and chemical dispersion devices is freely available in the extremist circles according to Aimen Dean, a former MI6 spy inside Al Qaeda in his book ‘Nine Lives.’ Drones will be a central theme to this year’s International Security Expo.

Aviation Security is examined closely and central to this conference will be Tom Willis, the head of Security from Heathrow Airport.

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