Building a secure world conference

Last December’s Building a Secure World conference and exhibition highlighted the growing need to tackle issues such as counter terrorism, border and transport security and critical infrastructure protection, in an increasingly integrated and more international way

The event was held at Olympia on 5-6 December 2006 and incorporated three main sectors: Airport, Port & Transport Security, Event & Venue Security and Infrastructure Security. For the first time a conference programme entitled Counter Terror World was added to this wide-ranging security showcase. As interest in homeland security issues continues to grow, organisers witnessed a dramatic increase in both visitors and exhibitors to this two-day event – it tripled in size compared to the previous year.

Top speaker line-up
More than 3,000 people visited the 2006 show – with around 400 delegates attending the conference programme which had attracted a prestigious line-up of speakers from across government, academia, security authorities and industry. The first day included a series of keynote speeches on terrorism and the nature of the threat. Chaired by the BBC’s Security Correspondent, Frank Gardner, topics included ‘Security Issues and Threats to the UK’ and ‘The Challenge of Terrorism to International Society and the Rule of Law’.

Sir Richard Mottram, Permanent Secretary, Intelligence, Security and Resilience, at the Cabinet Office delivered an insight into the complex and varied security issues and threats facing the UK today. While concentrating on the threat from terrorism in his talk, Sir Richard pointed out some of the less obvious risks such as a public health crisis, brought on by a flu pandemic, or environmental hazards caused by long term climate change, that also needed to be considered and planned for.

According to Sir Richard, preventing the next generation of terrorists is high on the agenda and Ministers, government and communities can all play a role in this process. This includes developing greater understanding of the process of radicalisation of young Muslims and the need to tackle the source of grievance and structural inequalities that could lead to radicalism. He added that one of the biggest challenges was finding the right balance between preventing terrorism and pursuing its current proponents.

The Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner, Tarique Ghaffur, took this theme a step further by discussing how globalisation has had such an impact on the police’s current thinking about organised crime, terrorism and new communities within the UK. Ghaffur said: “I believe that it is no longer useful to discuss terrorism without carefully considering the implications of organised crime and vulnerable communities.”

Globalisation has led to an increasingly accessible world, where activity linked to money, goods, people and technology is much more fluid and flexible. Linked to this there has been an unprecedented growth in the number of people moving around the world. The result of this is increasingly diverse and vulnerable new communities. Ghaffur said London was a prime example of this with more than 300 languages now spoken across the city. These new communities are more likely to suffer from: economic, social, health and educational disadvantage; overt and subtle discrimination and negative perceptions and expectations of policing, based on their experience of policing systems in their country of origin.

Added to this, the tightening up of control over financial transactions around the world means that terrorist networks are increasingly acquiring funding from illegal sources – often engaging in alliances or even direct conflict with existing criminal networks, particularly those involved in international drug trafficking. Recommendations for the way forward included tackling underlying causes of grievance, providing leadership and encouraging self-policing within communities and encouraging the creation of positive role models for young Asian men.

Debating forum
Debates on issues such as ‘Liberty vs. Security’ brought in panels of experts including Liberty’s Director, Shami Chakrabarti and Lord Toby Harris from the Metropolitan Police Authority and enabled delegates to really get their teeth into questioning a topic from all angles.

As well as Counter Terror World, conference streams covered aviation & airport security, maritime & supply chain security, event & venue security and infrastructure security. Topics included ‘Identifying and responding to the threat posed to airports and aviation’, ‘Human factors in aviation and maritime security: combating the threat from within’ and ‘The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – Ensuring World Class Security’.

A number of international speakers featured in these sectors including, Luke Beebe, FBI Agent with the Joint Terrorism Task Force at Long Beach, who delivered a detailed case study into proactive security initiatives at the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach. His talk covered examples of a ‘day in the life of’ the Port Squad as well as looking at the future of the FBI’s role in investigating and preventing maritime terrorism. Chief of Police with the Los Angeles Port Police, Ronald J Boyd added to this security scenario by discussing policing and border control strategies at the port.

Live demonstrations
Running alongside the exhibition floor, the organisers also ran a live demonstration programme. This was free to all visitors and aimed to offer practical, hands-on advice to delegates. There were several demonstrations by specialist dog handling experts showing how sniffer dogs were put on track to nose out potential explosives or drugs. Arrest and restraint displays and advice on ways of defusing and resolving conflict face-to-face drew in large audiences.

Coming up in 2007
Technology – its future applications and how to determine which technologies to deploy – played a vital role at Building a Secure World. The emphasis on cutting-edge technology will be increased at this year’s event following Reed Exhibitions Aerospace & Defence Group’s acquisition of the show in December 2006.

Reed announced it was creating a new series of international events to address the terrorist threats and homeland security challenges faced by governments, police forces and businesses around the world. Called ISNR – International Security National Resilience – the series will draw on the existing strengths of Building a Secure World while introducing an even more internationally diverse range of speakers, exhibitors and visitors as well as the greater focus on hi-tech systems and solutions.

ISNR London
The first event in the series will be ISNR London – a high level conference and exhibition showcase with practical seminars and live demonstrations. This will take place on 4 and 5 December 2007 at Olympia. ISNR London is founded on the rationale that there’s a paramount need for an integrated approach to security issues whether they relate to border and transport security, counter terrorism, critical infrastructure protection or emergency preparedness and response.For further information visit

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