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AUCSO 2022 conference: Wednesday

The University of Leeds is this week’s unseasonably cold, even sleety, venue for the chiefs of university security association Aucso’s annual conference, writes Mark Rowe.

It wasn’t the most original thing to say, but it was good to be able to see people in person, as Aucso held its first conference since Easter 2019. That meant today was the first occasion that Simon Davis, head of security at Royal Holloway, University of London – actually Hogwarts-like and based in Egham in Surrey – had to report on his international exchange, in autumn 2019, with an IACLEA member, Dan Sarrasin, security and emergency response manager at Red Deer College, Alberta, Canada.

While the exchange as in previous years was made possible thanks to sponsors, as Simon related to the audience, on an exchange you’re an ambassador, not a visitor; and it shows the reason for travel, even in the age of the internet. That can stand for the higher education sector, which relies on international students. Aucso and the North America-based IACLEA (International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators) are looking to re-start the exchange.

As further signs of collaboration, IACLEA’s California-based president-elect Chief John Ojeisekhoba is due to give an update tomorrow (as an aside, Terry Branch, Head of Security, Imperial College London, is the IACLEA international director); and Roger Ringham, chair of the National Association for Healthcare Security (NAHS) is at the conference, after Aucso’s chair and deputy Les Allan and Ollie Curran attended NAHS’ November 2021 conference in Birmingham, a sign of the links between the two sectors (many healthcare trusts having ‘university’ in their titles).

If anything the Aucso gathering is even more of a considerable affair than pre-covid, both in size of exhibition floor and length of event – two full days of conference speakers, after this morning’s AGM; and two evenings of get-togethers, first at the Royal Armouries in Leeds city centre tonight and then the dinner with awards presentations tomorrow night.

If anything, the theme of today was what campus security has become in recent years – welfare and well-being of students and all on campus, including security officers; and part of the necessary kit is communications equipment, whether apps or two-way radios or smartphones or some combination.

More in the May print edition of Professional Security magazine.

Photo by Mark Rowe; left to right, Aucso deputy chair Oliver Curran, University College London; conference speaker, Dr David Rubens, founder and chief of the Institute of Strategic Risk Management (ISRM); and Les Allan of Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Aucso chair.

The 2023 conference is due to be hosted by Heriot-Watt. Visit www.aucso.org.


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