Global experts gather at SCTX18 to fight war on terror
April 2018 by Marc Jacob
Since the breakup of the caliphate in Syria, the terrorist threat has evolved as extremists now remain in their home countries and look to launch attacks from inside their borders. This has presented those tasked with protecting nations, businesses and the public with new challenges as security forces constantly fight to stay one step ahead of the threat.
10,123 visitors, 71international delegations and 304 exhibitors made UK Security Week at Olympia, London, the most successful ever. Security & Counter Terror Expo (SCTX), again featured leading forensics show Forensics Europe Expo, Ambition – the event for the emergency preparedness, resilience & response (EPRR) community – and for the first time, the People Movement and Management show.
Covering over 13,000 sqm, the show is the largest national security event in the UK, enabling 304 companies to showcase their latest products, technologies and services alongside 10 conferences, 2 live demo areas and the world-renowned, World Counter Terror Congress.
David Thompson, Event Director at UK Security Week, commented: “The threat posed by terrorists has never been more diverse from the simplicity of knives and hire vehicles to technologically-advanced cybercriminals. It’s vital that nations, security professionals and the public are fully informed of the most effective methods of protection to mitigate these threats – we specifically tailored this year’s programme to respond to these challenges.”
The World Counter Terror Congress
The showpiece of this year’s event was the World Counter Terror Congress, which was attended by over 700 VIPs, delegates and high-ranking police officers and chaired by Richard Barrett, Coordinator of the Al-Qaeda/Taliban monitoring team of the United Nations Security Council. The event featured world-renowned speakers such as the Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner, Mark Rowley; Sir Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union and Michael McGarrity, Assistant Director of Counterterrorism Division at the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
In Mark Rowley’s final public appearance before retiring, the UK’s national lead for counter terrorism policing, delivered a strategic overview of operations under his command, heavily criticising technology companies for their lack of proactivity in working with the police having failed to make a single direct referral to them about terrorist activity on their sites.
As part of the most international line-up the conference has ever featured, Michael McGarrity, reviewed FBI operations on detecting, deterring and disrupting threats to the United States while Christian Rousseau from the Government of Canda’s Integrated Terrorist Assessment Centre discussed the Canadian approach to the evolving terrorist threat.
Richard Walton, former Head of the Counter Terrorism Command for the Metropolitan Police Service added: “Extremist propaganda has changed course over the past year, encouraging attacks to be launched from home nations with terrorists opting for crude methods utilising everyday services such as hire vehicles. This has led to a whole new set of challenges for security professionals to address in order to prevent attacks and protect the public.
“Terrorism is a global challenge and it is vital that nations collaborate and work together on a global scale with events such as the World Counter Terror Congress which provides a vital platform for the sharing of best practice and the most effective counter terrorist strategies.”
In addition, SCTX provided a series of free-to-attend conferences focussing on the ever-growing cyber threat, infrastructure, border and transport security. Located on the show floor, the sessions were at full capacity on both days, with visitors keen to hear the latest thinking from the industry’s foremost experts.
Countering the cyber threat
The cyber industry, now worth an estimated £3.4bn, is one of the most rapidly evolving threats facing security professionals today. This year’s Cyber Threat Intelligence Conference, run in association with techUK and sponsored by Genetec and Darktrace, gathered cyber experts from all over the world to discuss how best to protect against cyberattacks whether on individuals, businesses, or governments.
Key speakers included: Sir Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union for the European Commission and NATO’s Merle Maigre, Director at the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.
Chairing the conference again this year, Talal Rajab, techUK’s Head of Programme, Cyber, National Security, added: “Every year, we face new and innovative attacks as cybercriminals look to exploit gaps in cyber protection. Now, we’re facing a new challenge in the fight against the dissemination of extremist propaganda online.
“Additionally, organisations must adhere to specific requirements with GDPR and the NIS Directive coming into force in May or face serious ramifications. SCTX is the best place to stay on top of the latest developments in the industry and learn about the most effective levels of protection for you and your organisation.”
Infrastructure and business protection
The Critical National Infrastructure & Business Reliance conference, sponsored by Surelock McGill and Pelco, brought together security experts in protecting businesses and assets essential for the protection of everyday life. Key speakers included Mr Chris Flynn, Security Operations Lead, Data Security Centre - NHS Digital and Dr Anja von Wulffen, Desk Office, Directorate II Risk Management; International Affairs - Federal Office of Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance (BBK).
A platform for innovation
SCTX saw a record number of product launches at the show this year with companies showcasing the latest, cutting-edge products from across the sector. On day one, Chemring Technology Solutions announced LORIS, the world’s highest energy radio initiator while BrainChip exhibited its AI video analysis software that find faces and objects 20 times more quickly than a human operator.
Catherine Pouret, Project Officer, EU Commission remarked: “We are delighted to be at the show which has been a great experience for us and our beneficiaries. It’s a really productive way of meeting such a diverse mix of people – all in one place. We’ve had some very good leads so far and look forward to doing more at the show next year.”
Integrating security solutions
The evolution of recent attacks has led the industry towards a more integrated approach combining capabilities across multiple security verticals. This type of multi-layered solution was demonstrated in action for the first time at SCTX’s Integrated Security Showcase.
Public and private sector buyers, influencers and government delegations from across the globe were guided through the feature to see how different technologies such as facial recognition scanners, blast doors and perimeter fences all work together into an operations control centre.
The showcase featured leading suppliers such as: Custom Consoles, Warrior Doors, Chemring Technology Solutions, Technocover. Bosch, BlokNmesh, Hill and Smith, Integrated Design Limited and Harp Visual Systems.
Detective Chief Superintendent Scott Wilson, National Coordinator for Protective Security, commented: "The current threat from terrorism, both in the UK and internationally, means it is vital police work closely with commercial organisations to improve our collective security.
"Events like SCTX give us chance to showcase the tools we have available to help companies increase their understanding of the issues and measures they should be taking.
"This year senior officers had the opportunity to meet many leading suppliers and experts working in protective security and this helps our understanding of the important innovations taking place in the sector. We look forward to attending again in 2019."
This year also played host to the inaugural Counter Terror Awards, run in association with Counter Terror Business magazine and hosted by Sir Michael Fallon. The awards were staged to recognise the efforts of both public and private sector organisations and their contributions to counter terror strategies in the UK and abroad.
Director of award-winner, Audax, Adam Liardet commented: “Having hosted The European Commissioner for Security Union, Sir Julian King, at our stand we were then thrilled to receive the Communications Systems Award at the Counter Terror Awards presented by Sir Michael Fallon.
“For an SME to be able to engage at this level, is evidence enough that the Security & Counter Terror Expo provides opportunities and delivers where other events just don’t come close, it will come as no surprise we have already booked for next year.”
Planning for the 2019 event
Clarion Events announced that the next edition of SCTX will return to London on 5-6 March 2019 for UK Security Week.
Event Director, David Thompson, added: “The 2018 show was our most successful yet and we’re looking to take 2019 to the next stage. We introduced many new features this year to ensure that the show remains the UK’s leading national security and counter terror event and at the forefront of strategic discussion and product innovation. This raised the bar yet again and we’re looking forward to working with our key partners over the coming months to maintain that success into next year’s show.”