Brian Sims

AUCSO unveils core theme for 2023 Annual Conference

THE ASSOCIATION of University Chief Security Officers (AUCSO), the leading organisation for security professionals working in higher and further education around the world, has announced that the theme for the AUCSO 2023 Annual Conference is ‘The Changing Face of Security in Higher Education’.

The 37th AUCSO Annual Conference, which is being held at the Heriot-Watt University Conference Centre in Edinburgh from Tuesday 18 April until Thursday 20 April, is open to members and member institutions.

Commenting on the event, AUCSO chair-elect Oliver Curran said: “Those of us who work in the higher education sector are being asked to provide more and more services in order to protect our communities. This is why our Annual Conference theme will focus on the ‘The Changing Face of Security in Higher Education’. We can discuss our new challenges and have our expert speakers provide us with some key insights in adapting our service.”

Conference is being opened by Professor Mark Biggs, vice-principal and Provost at Heriot-Watt University. There will be keynote presentations from Keith Brown MSP (Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans in the Scottish Government) and Cory Davie, vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region at Control Risks.

Presentations and a workshop are to be delivered by representatives from the Homeland Security Group at the Home Office and the National Counter-Terrorism Security Office, who will talk about defining Martyn’s Law for higher education.

Subject matter

Dave Wilson (regional modern slavery and organised immigration crime co-ordinator for the Regional Organised Crime Unit at West Midlands Police) is focusing his presentation on student vulnerability to organised crime influence.

Mick McNally (director of the Violence and Vulnerability Unit) is going to focus on initiatives designed to tackle the county lines issue and the associated violence and exploitation.

Mark Chesworth is senior officer for the Anti-Kidnap and Extortion Unit at the National Crime Agency. His presentation will centre on the rise of virtual kidnaps in UK universities.

Don Oakley (development director at the National Security Inspectorate) examines the benefits of third party certification for security managers operating in the Higher Education sector, while Dr Amy Clarke of the School of Criminology at the University of Leicester assesses the subject of hate crime in the higher education realm.

Accompanying exhibition

New suppliers and AUCSO partners will be supporting conference with a compelling exhibition of products and services. Delegates will be able to visit the exhibition between workshops and presentations.

A welcome event and an exhibitors’ fair take place on the Tuesday evening in the Conference Centre. A networking evening is planned for the Wednesday night. This is to be held at Edinburgh Castle.

Celebrating some incredible achievements across 2022, the black tie Gala Dinner and AUCSO Awards will take place on the Thursday evening.

AUCSO’s chief operating officer Julie Barker commented: “We are very much looking forward to our 37th Annual Conference. We have an excellent line-up speakers presenting on topical subjects. Last year, we enjoyed a record attendance. We’re determined to beat that in 2023.”

*Further information and registration details can be accessed online at Registration for this year’s Annual Conference closes on Friday 17 March

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