Like anything trying to look at dealing with how best to support the security sector with evolving risks and threats, we need to understand what they are. The ‘traditional’ threats from criminal behaviour will likely continue the downward trend Joe Traynor from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) described in the latest Crime Survey for England and Wales, when he wrote:
“Over recent decades, we’ve seen continued falls in overall levels of crime but in the last year the trend has been more stable. The latest figures show no change in the total level of crime but variation by crime types.”
Then we get the more complex threats including cyber and terrorism; there is an inevitability that these will continue to evolve in the way we have seen them do so over the past few years. Several factors will influence this through 2019.
The first factor is the dreaded BREXIT and the effect this may have on the ability for security organisations to share and get information and intelligence to and from the rest of Europe. However, the UK is more of a net contributor to the overall European threat picture as opposed to net user, so there is a real urgency for European agencies to maintain the UK’s access.
Slightly more worrying is the impact BREXIT may have on Irish Republican terrorism. In 2016/17 Northern Ireland saw 8 murders, 55 bombs, 113 shootings, 80 guns recovered, 53kg of explosives recovered and 244 terror- related arrests. The trend over the 20 years since the Good Friday Agreement was signed is similar and averages out as approximately one terror-related event every four days. This is almost wholly Northern Ireland focused, with the threat level to Great Britain set as Moderate. However, any increase in terror activity in Northern Ireland because of post- BREXIT border issues carries the potential for that to spill across the Irish Sea.
2018 has highlighted three ‘new’ risk areas that are likely to continue through 2019. These are information and data as a weapon, the ‘return’ of hostile intelligence agencies as a recognised threat, and the potential for further use of chemical, biological or radiological weapons.
All event providers can do is provide a platform that allows all of the issues the security industry is facing to be discussed, so that best practice can be outlined, and shared, new and existing technologies introduced so end users can assess the most appropriate solution for the risks they need to mitigate, the latest regulations outlined and as important as all of that, people can put names to faces and meet. Security is a people process and built on personal relationships as much as technology and processes.
Peter Jones, CEO of Nineteen Events who deliver the International Security Expo, describes his approach: “As an event organiser I am not and can never be a security expert, but my team and I take the view we want to make a difference and add value so we can help make the world a little safer for our families. It is that philosophy that drives us to deliver the best event we can, and an integral part of my team is my 40+ strong advisory council of high-level security experts and practitioners.
“We focus on the latest relevant content, getting senior officials and decision makers to the event and providing the platform for best practice and ideas to be shared. It’s adding value that lets me sleep more secure but also encourages the exhibitors and visitor we need to have a successful event.”
The Nineteen Events approach sums up the best way event providers can support the security industry. People, platform and content all working together, but it’s getting the right people, the right content and a progressive platform all together at the right time. The focus must be on adding value to all attendees.
Philip Ingram MBE BSc MA. Journalist