>INSTINCT at HOSDB 2011

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This week myself and Paul attended the Home Office Sceintific Development Branch (HOSDB) exhibition in Farnborough, Hampshire. HOSDB in conjunction with UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisations is the UK’s platform for showcasing to the world the some fo the new security applications, technologies and solutions that are available to international law enforcement, agencies and public security professionals.

Now, not only was it probably the best day’s weather we have had for a long while, but the exhibition itself was actually quite good. Clearly there is very good reason and interest for the UK to market its wears and demonstrate some of its cutting edge technology and the usual companies and faces were there. But it was more the TD2 airport exhibition on the other side of the airbase that caught my eye.

In recognition of the role that technological innovation has to play in CONTEST, the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism (OSCT) with the support of The Ministry of Defence, HOSDB, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and the Association for Chief Police Officers (ACPO) established INSTINCT (Innovative Science and Technology in Counter Terrorism) INSTINCT is a cross-government programme involving more than a dozen departments and agencies and focuses primarily on improving our understanding of how technology can be best deployed to counter the threat of terrorism. Following a couple of foiled or failed attacks in the aviation environment INSTINCT commissioned its second Technology Demonstrator Project (TD2) and Thales UK was selected to deliver it.

The exhibition itself was laid out just like an airport terminal and by using your boarding card (show material, not actual) you progressed throughout the terminal being confronted by the security technology and of course any sales and marketing staff until your reached your airside area. Upon reaching airside (again, not actual) we were treated to a 10-15 minute presentation and Q&A session that visually demonstrated the process we had just undertaken, describing the joint up thinking and approach given to applying an intergrated security system that could enable early detection and identification of individuals posing a risks to airports and to protect passengers against those possible risks safely and with minimal or no intrusion.

For me this exhibition felt different than any other I’ve recently been to, as the providers of these applications were not necessarily selling their product directly, it felt more like selling the concept, which for me is a lot easier to ‘buy in’ to than the hard sale and of course in my opinion action always sounds louder than words. To those of you who didn’t get the chance to visit and want to know more about a strand of the CONTEST strategy that doesn’t seem to get much of a mention please take the time to visit the Home Office links provided.

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