|Quick assembly and any length ...|
Never has security been so strict and the means of enforcement so close at hand, but now the Security Expo 2017 has completed its 2 day record breaking run at Olympia, the complex exhibition stands ripped down and a legion of security firms and highly specialist operatives melt into the night and out of public view.
It is now possible to give an candid overview of where we are today, writes Julian Bray Aviation expert, broadcaster and journalist, who presented on Day One as part of the Aviation and Border Security Conference: Facing up to International Threat Levels and The Enemy Within ....
The news today (Friday) that a viable improvised explosive device has been delivered but successfully intercepted at a Christmas market at Potsdam, Germany (part of the former East Germany GDR) demonstrates just how fast moving the international security industry now needs to be.
|VAW mitigation quickly installed but free access for passenger foot traffic and cyclists|
The perils of Brexit came up for discussion, dubbed by many as the 'elephant in the room.' The general feeling being that clearly not enough has been done, and even less, little involvement of UK based experts has been canvassed.
Many delegates suggest a hard Brexit outcome is still on the cards, pointing to the fact that many banks and financial institutions in the UK have already identified new premises within the EU and are in the process of recruiting local staff. On security, many reception areas in these new offices are being fitted with Kevlar reinforced desking and portable acoustic screens with a Kevlar core.
It is clear that terrorism and the threat of terrorism remains one of the major international factors needing to be addressed, by our young and mainly inexperienced politicians, I say that as few currently treading the floors at Westminster, physically experienced the IRA London campaign at its height, and the older politicians have either shuffled off to the Lords, retired, departed, but few have seemingly passed on their experience to the current Westminster intake. This is viewed by some as a serious lapse.
|Concrete blocks which interlock are being increasingly employed at arena events|
This is also reflected in the numerous think-tanks that proffer advice, to Governments worldwide, indeed some presented their thoughts during the several internal conferences, the expert audiences listened politely.
Many commented that whatever happens the 'Good Friday Agreement' needs to be maintained or we politically regress to 'a time none of us or our families, wish to encounter.'
Some 200 industry speakers, experts and advisers were on hand over the two days to put their targeted messages over in a non-stop series of back-to-back 25 minute presentations, panel discussions and discreet one on one high -level closed briefings.
If you wonder where recently retired highly trained military, aviators and police/MI5 specialists go, then Olympia has never seen so many chiselled chins, well presented physiques and close cropped haircuts packed into the vaulted canopy of the Olympia National Hall.
Many freely admitted that they had piled into Gyms all over west London at some ungodly early hour before heading for the exhibition halls.
There was also high attendance by those holding diplomatic status, but however high in the security management chain of command, it cut no mustard with the ever alert service dogs unusually on show stand duty, but one just rolling over on his back, with all on display.
|The curious case of the snowbound Christmas trees outside Olympia, a closer look the snow is fake, and is there A VAW ( Vehicle as a Weapon) mitigation device behind them? We will never know...|
One such group under the commercial name of Wagtail UK Ltd www.wagtailuk.com who work in partnership with UK Border Force, (have an impressive number of specialist detection dogs) the ones on duty specialise in explosives, money, cadaver, humans, and drugs but many other 'noses' are employed depending on the perceived threat.
They are highly specialist, with their dogs trained to detect an impressive range of threats and even money! Managing Director Collin Singer says that large arenas, football grounds and mass transit areas are increasing using Wagtail UK dogs, as large areas can be professionally covered very quickly.
Slightly amusing, as one particular delegate attracted immediate professional interest by the assembled dogs. The word is the gentleman concerned was given 'a serious talking to'.
|The discreet entrance to the Olympia Conference ( the snow on the Christmas tree array is totally fake), possibly covering up a security defence system....|
They recently added new resources following the Paris and Manchester major incidents and have highly experienced dog search teams ready to sweep large arenas, airports, ports and even cruise ships.
The speed these highly intelligent animals work is impressive, but their highly trained dogs are even faster (old joke but it works for us).
An increasing number of City centres are building in VAW (vehicle as weapon) mitigation aids. The new series of substantial seats gracing city centres and ornamental pillars may not be just be as innocent and decorative as they seem. Practical demonstrations, from the complex to inexpensive. The examples on show by Marshalls demonstrate how this is developing.
On the www.Zenatek.com stand, bulk/ low value cargo loads can now be real time tracked anywhere in the word simply by opening up a laptop. The sophisticated tracker unit about the size of an average 3 series boxset container is waterproof and disposable and can be set/installed by anyone with three minutes of training. Units about £190 each for small quantities and overall costs depending on intensity or length of tracking required.
All very annoying, as some 20 years ago I had an idea along these lines, admittedly on the back of an envelope, hoping to pitch it to an early edition of the Dragons Den TV show but have to admit the Zenatek version is light years ahead...
Determined demonstrators who block runways, roads and pavements by linking their arms and supergluing hands together and also encasing their arms in a variety of protective sleeves, such as drain pipes covered in carpeting then set in concrete (the individuals having finally superglued their hands to each other - not to be recommended) will be dismayed to hear that officers can with new techniques, and cutting hardware that 007s' Jaws would be in awe of, the three hours of disruption, it used to take to safely cut those demonstrators free, is now down to just 70 minutes, and less... and that a new non-invasive solution removes superglued fingers and hands, in just 18 minutes. Hardly worth protesting !
We know, as we watched a live demonstration. For them just another day at the office, or the more technical term 'sandpit' as there was a simulated unexploded device also to be tacked, then a fingertip search of a Volvo truck cab, and it was ,just the cab, the demo model being minus wheels and mounted on a swivel wheeled bogie...
A dedicated Drone Theatre showed in a series of live demonstrations how the latest eight propeller UAV or drone can approach a threat, travelling at some 100 miles an hour, immediately hover, send back data and retreat from theatre also at 100 miles an hour ...
It was also shown that inexpensive (£2K) drones tethered say at a permissible 200 ft operational altitude can use the tether or tie line as an immediate 200ft transmitter aerial for radio communications AND stay in the air for upto 24 hours rather than the normal 1 hour duration, as the tether could also be used to supply power direct to the UAV.
In addition, arrange a series of these drones around an area of interest, an instant radio communications array, with a minimum of set up time, real time mapping of a threat area can be achieve in minutes.
We learned Police forces throughout the country all have different Drone UAV protocols , there is no national single purpose drone system, but specialists say this is being worked on by a group based in Wales.
Alarmingly Police tend to rely on Google maps, but as was pointed out, Google data in some areas is some six years old, but an immediate real time mapping not more than an hour old by UAV is now possible, and the software to decode is already in use.. many, many, hours saved and the mapping data is fresh, accurate and in a format ready for court evidence.
Many of the exhibitors have already booked their stands for the next show in 2018 and this innovative event may have to be moved to a larger hall at Olympia, such is the initial impact.
|And heading home....Spectacular Christmas Decorations are alight in Regent Street and St James London|
JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... Travel & Holiday Guru www.aviationcomment.com, ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121 ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment, ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476