Brian Sims

Sector professionals hail triumphant return of International Security Expo

ON 28 AND 29 September, International Security Expo – the dedicated security event for representatives of Government, industry, academia and the end user community – returned for the first time in nearly two years. Co-located with the newly-launched International Cyber Expo, these events welcomed thousands of security professionals, among them senior representatives from Heathrow Airport, the British Army, the Bank of England, Tesco Stores Ltd, BAE Systems, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure, Dell, Neptune Energy and the National Counter-Terrorism Security Office.

Damian Hinds MP, the recently appointed Minister for Security and Borders, was also in attendance and delivered a keynote address, in turn clearly demonstrating the importance of the International Security Expo to the security sector at large.

The international audience at London’s Olympia comprised visitors from no less than 36 countries including Israel, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Belgium and Australia. That cohort encompassed senior delegates from NATO - HQ AIRCOM, Germany, the Government of Gibraltar, the US Army RCCTO, the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police and the Embassy of the State of Kuwait.

The overwhelming feedback from visitors and exhibitors alike underlined a strong desire for the opportunity to reconnect, source new products and take advantage of in-person learning opportunities.

Speaking about the appeal of the events, Harry Forsyth (risk and intelligence analyst at Kings Secure Technologies) said: “Both the International Security Expo and the International Cyber Expo were excellent for reconnecting with people in the industry. They gave me the opportunity to listen to some great presentations and broaden my horizons. The quality of the products and solutions on display was also very noticeable.”

Fellow visitor Rob Cochrane CSMP MBA (security and risk consultant and security manager at Ferrero) attended Olympia to form a better understanding of what’s currently on offer across the security market. He said: “The International Security Expo is a great event. This year’s show has delivered everything I need. It’s very broad in terms of its sell. There’s plenty on offer from physical security measures right through to cyber solutions.”

Rachael Shattock, event director at organiser the Nineteen Group, added: “The overwhelmingly positive feedback from visitors and exhibitors alike is testament to the reputation of the show and the value it gives to all those who attend. We were delighted to see so many visitors and exhibitors excited to be back at Olympia and reuniting with their peers. The energy in the hall spoke for itself, while the breadth of product launches demonstrated how the industry has continued to focus on R&D. It’s constantly innovating to improve safety and security. We’re already looking forward to an even bigger and better event in 2022 and welcoming back many of our international exhibitors and visitors who were unable to attend due to the pandemic.”

Government-backed event

The specialist Government Zone was a key part of the International Security Expo and demonstrated significant support from UK Government and associated agencies. It provided a central meeting point for visitors to network and discover the latest projects and plans for the future devised by organisations including Accelerated Capability Environment, Border Force, the British Transport Police, the Civil Aviation Authority, Counter-Terrorism Policing, the Defence and Security Accelerator, the Joint Security and Resilience Centre), the aforementioned National Counter-Terrorism Security Office, the National Security Technology and Innovation Exchange, Police Crime Prevention Initiatives, the Research and Intelligence Support Centre, the Security Industry Authority and UK Defence and Security Exports.

Demonstrating the increasingly sophisticated smuggling techniques used by international drug traffickers, Border Force carried out a live demonstration involving a seized Ford Kuga that uses a sophisticated magnet system to open a concealment area within the rear of the vehicle.

Elsewhere, the British Transport Police provided attendees with the opportunity to witness an experienced dog handler and trained explosives search dog demonstrate the capability and effectiveness of responding to such a threat. Officers in attendance also highlighted a selection of equipment including firearms, less lethal devices, door entry apparatus and medical supplies used to actively deter, detect and disrupt terrorist and criminal activity across the railway network in London and, indeed, other major cities.

In addition to exhibiting, several high-profile Government officials took to the stage to present insightful sessions across the two days. They included Mark Goldsack (director at the Department for International Trade), Angela Essel (head of the Joint Security and Resilience Centre), Tracy Buckingham (deputy director of security and cyber security exports at the Department for International Trade), Kevin Knappett (cell broadcast delivery lead for the Digital Infrastructure Directorate within the UK Government) and Shaun Hipgrave (director of the Prepare, Protect, CBRNE and Science Directorate within the Homeland Security Group at the Home Office).

Helping attendees to understand the role of the Government in advising and providing strategic support, Mark Goldsack (director of UK Defence and Security Exports) spoke about the market intelligence available for those businesses looking to do business abroad. He shared insights on the role of his department to promote and encourage trade, provide information and analysis on the business landscape in regions around the world and deliver access to a network of trade advisors for UK businesses).

Following Goldsack’s session, Shaun Hipgrave highlighted the key priorities and areas of responsibility for Homeland Security in the UK and stressed how the diverse make-up of the security industry is absolutely critical to its success.

On Day Two of the conference programme, Damian Hinds’ address highlighted how events like the International Security Expo and the International Cyber Expo bring the security community together to inspire and be inspired. The MP commented: “In the security field you have to keep on innovating because the threat, in terms of what we’re up against, keeps on shapeshifting and changing.”

Hinds duly reflected on the industry’s resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic, its remarkable ability to innovate and the importance of a close working relationship to achieve a safer and more secure society.

Speaking after his keynote session had ended, Hinds added: “I think it’s really important for people to join together, learn from each other, see what’s happening in the market, make connections and ascertain how we can all work together to improve our overall safety and security postures.”

Exclusive insights from experts

International Security Expo’s free-to-attend and Continuing Professional Development-certified educational programme saw over 90 inspiring sessions and 120 speakers deliver insightful sessions across five theatres. For its part, the Global Counter Terror and Serious and Organised Crime Summit was packed with attendees out throughout the two-day event.

One of the most popular sessions was delivered by Nick Bailey, a retired detective sergeant who was involved in the investigation focused on the Salisbury Novichok poisoning. Bailey took attendees on an emotional journey by talking through the events of 4 March 2018 and the impact this episode exerted on his mental health. Discussing the uniqueness of the poisoning in terms of it being a state-sponsored attack, Bailey spoke to attendees about coming to terms with trauma, resilience and the damaging effect that losing control of many aspects of his everyday life has had in reality.

In another session, Philip Ingram MBE (former senior intelligence and security officer and now an industry commentator), Protect Duty campaigner Figen Murray and Aaron Edwards (senior lecturer at the Sandhurst Royal Military Academy) formed a panel to discuss the blurred lines between terrorism and organised crime. Moderating the session, Roy McComb (director of Inquisitio Consulting Ltd and a former deputy director of the National Crime Agency) addressed questions to the panel members. ‘Are we spending too much money on terror and organised crime at the expense of other issues?’ ‘Should we negotiate with terrorists?’ and ‘How do we cut off the financial stream to terror and organised crime?’ were some of those dealt with on the day.

The International Security Conference was sponsored by Adani and Patriot One and featured speakers from the British Transport Police, the City of London Police and the Imperial War Museums, duly providing attendees with insights across Critical National Infrastrucrure, transport and aviation sector. On Day Two, attentions turned towards the night-time economy, the public sector and security for major events.

In a session entitled ‘The State of Aviation Security’, Philip Baum of Green Light Limited and Coventry University reflected on mental health being “a major challenge” for the industry. He spoke about the importance of behavioural analysis, describing it as “the first and foremost measure we ought to be implementing” to mitigate future threats, before reflecting on the new challenges brought about by the pandemic and the introduction of social distancing when it comes to operations such as airport security screening.

Across the hall in the Disaster and Resilience Conference (sponsored in 2021 by Everbridge), senior leaders from Unilever, the Joint Security and Resilience Centre, the Ministry of Defence, Public Health England and the London Fire Brigade took to the stage to offer the audience actionable insights on responding to a crisis. In one particular session, Tony Thompson (Fellow of the Institute of Civil Protection and Emergency Management) helped attendees address how they should monitor and respond to events in real-time, use integrated technology solutions to drive greater efficiencies and cost savings and also deliver a unified security platform.

The inaugural Global Cyber Summit welcomed major names in cyber security. Tracy Buckingham spoke about the UK’s role in cyber security capabilities on the global stage and how collaboration between Government, industry and academia (a trio Buckingham described as “the cornerstone of the UK’s approach to cyber security”) is vital for the ongoing strength of the UK’s cyber security industry.

Professor Ciaran Martin CB of Oxford University (and former CEO at the National Cyber Security Centre) delivered a session on the current cyber threats and priorities. Underpinning Martin’s speech was the belief that we have unconsciously polluted the cyber environment, resulting in the need for a rethink to make it a safer place for habitation. He explored five key areas that require change, namely people, money, rules, technology and skills.

Platform for product innovation

Visitors perused exhibition stands occupied by the likes of Adani, Marshalls Mono, Audax Global Solutions, Bastion Security Products, Leidos, Patriot One, Rapiscan Systems, HS Security Group, PointWire, Pitagone, Smiths Detection Group, Tripwire, Heras, Leonardo, APSTEC Systems, Jacobs, Astrophysics, Intqual and Mitie with a view towards sourcing solutions from a wide range of security products. The show floor was recognised as a hotbed for innovation, with many exhibitors taking the opportunity to launch new products.

For example, Apstec Systems showcased version 4 of its Human Security Radar (HSR V4) which combines a sleek design, smaller footprint and improved mobility with enhanced Artificial Intelligence, additional detection capabilities and flexible integration. Meanwhile, Everbridge showcased its Global Critical Event Management Certification Programme with formalised standards for assessing an organisation’s enterprise resilience.

As well as highlighting its range of protective street furniture options, Marshalls Landscape Protection used the event to launch its new seating range, designated Verso. The full range has been tested to IWA14-1 using a 1.5-tonne M1 vehicle and a 7.2-tonne N2A vehicle travelling at 30 mph. Models in the range can be used to create a variety of configurations that blend seamlessly into all environments.

Meanwhile, Lochrin Bain introduced its industry disrupting B3(SR2)-rated fencing system, namely Lochrin Combi SL2. The fence offers the same attack delay times as other systems of the same level, but no specialist tooling or training for installers and security professionals is needed. For its part, Bastion Security Products announced the launch of its new single and double steel doorsets which feature BastionCORE attack-resistant materials to mitigate cut through attempt and thwart cylinder guard removal attacks.

Rebecca Hughes, country marketing manager (UK) at Heras, explained: “Heras was delighted to be a Premier Partner Exhibitor at the International Security Expo and support an event where the UK security industry could come together, showcase the latest innovations in physical and cyber security and discuss key issues whereby effective security can be beneficial for UK plc. We’re delighted that our new innovations were so well received at the show and generated strong interest. We expect this to translate into a solid order book.”

Solutions for emerging cyber risks

The inaugural International Cyber Expo also played host to new launches, among them a solution from the Senetas Corporation that allows employees to download files from the web without risk or hidden threat. Votiro Secure File Gateway leverages patented ‘Positive Selection’ technology for anti-malware and anti-ransomware protection, while also preserving 100% file functionality and user workflow.

Chris Pinder, chief operating officer at the IASME Consortium, observed: “This has been a great show for IASME. We’ve had both the quantity and quality of visitors we’d hoped for, with a great range of people representing our client base. We’re looking forward to following up on some promising leads and interesting contacts.”

Catherine Craig, channel manager at 3M, added: “We’ve had consistently good engagement and conversations on the stand. It’s been so helpful to be able to tap into a wide range of different markets and people all in one place. It has been a great show. Indeed, we’ve already signed up to return in 2022.”

Attendees grabbed the opportunity to take a deep dive into the latest new launches in the Product Innovation Theatre. Here, exhibitors including Exeon Analytics, Census Labs, Robin Radar, 3M Privacy Solutions, Heras, Safetyflex Barriers and Smiths Detection took to the stage to deliver a range of insightful sessions on current systems.

Christoforos Papachristou, strategic account manager for Census Labs, provided attendees with insights on how the Internet of Security Things – a network of sensors, wearables and Internet of Things devices that use cloud and edge computing – create a cohesive security force. On Day Two, Jeremy Tettmar (sales manager at Safetyflex Barriers) revealed the next generation of crash-rated street furniture from ultra-slim profile, shallow mount anti-terrorist bollards through to cost-effective and large perimeter Hostile Vehicle Mitigation equipment.

Live and interactive demos

Visitors were also able to witness live and interactive demonstrations within specialist zones. The LPCB Live Testing Lab gave visitors the opportunity to witness a team of professional forced entry specialists attempt to break through physical security products including mesh fencing systems from the likes of ARX and Fastline, key safes from Burton Safes, glazing units developed by Selectaglaze, hinged gates from Lochrin Bain and turnstiles manufactured by Frontier Pitts and Eagle Automation.

At the International Cyber Expo, the realities of a cyber attack also came alive with a number of interactive features. CrisisCast in collaboration with Cyberprism, for example, carried out a theatrical live cyber attack on a high-tech revolving stage.

Brian Mitchell, lead producer for CrisisCast, said: “It has been great to see visitors and fellow exhibitors embrace the essential role storytelling has in engaging with audiences and demonstrating the role Cyber Prism plays during a live cyber attack. Presenting an immersive demonstration that brings to life the real-time battle between defender and attacker has been a great way in which to impress upon clients how the software works. We’ve had some great conversations and will be leaving the show with some really strong leads.”

Visitors were able to engage in the dialogue from both sides of the attack and understand the psychology and motivating factors from two perspectives: that of the attackers and the host entity’s Boardroom.

In addition, Cyber Griffin offered attendees a National Cyber Security Centre-certified immersive training experience through its award-winning tabletop exercise designed to explore the decisions that people take in order to protect their businesses from modern day threats.

Place to network

The International Hosted Buyer Meeting Programme at Olympia enabled senior buyers from around the globe to do business. In conjunction with the Department of International Trade’s UK Defence and Security Exports operation, the free-of-charge personalised matchmaking service gave qualified buyers an exclusive space away from the show floor to speak to hand-picked solution providers. The sessions ran both virtually and physically in order to meet all participants’ needs.

Rachael Shattock concluded: “I cannot describe how fantastic it feels to reunite the whole security industry after over 18 months without a physical event and provide a platform for networking, learning and discovery in relation to the latest security solutions from the world’s leading suppliers. This year is also particularly special as we successfully launched the first International Cyber Expo with its own dedicated Global Cyber Summit Conference.”

*International Security Expo and International Cyber Expo will return to Olympia in London on 27-28 September 2022. Further information is available online at

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