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AUCSO 36th Annual Conference hailed

A record number of 230 delegates including members and guests attended the recent 36th annual AUSCO (Association of University Chief Security Officers) Conference.

The conference at the University of Leeds was the first in-person one since 2019 for the leading UK-based body for security people working in higher and further education. The three days included a social networking event at the Royal Armouries in Leeds city centre; and an entertaining jousting session with knights in full armour battling ‘to the death’. Beside the Conference were over 40 exhibitors supplying services to the sector, including the personal safety charity The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, the crime reporting charity Crimestoppers and the university accreditation scheme ProtectEd.

AUCSO Chief Operating Officer Julie Barker, said afterwards: “The speakers for the Conference were chosen to reflect pertinent current issues and those emerging within the sector and wider industry today. It was fantastic to listen to Nicky Old from Universities UK talk about the opportunities and challenges currently facing the HE sector including; student and staff mental health and wellbeing, suicide prevention, drugs: supply, use and prevention, as well as sustainable funding for universities, fair access, quality and value, and the ongoing issues relating to pay and pensions. The Office of Students provided an excellent session and update on their work on ‘Harassment and sexual misconduct in higher education’, which was published in 2021. We are delighted with the breadth of content from all our speakers and that the Conference has been such a success. Here’s to next year’s!”

Among the speakers was Figen Murray, the mother of Martyn Hett, who was killed at the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in May 2017. Figen has worked tirelessly to promote peace, kindness, and tolerance by speaking at schools, colleges, and universities. Figen is the force behind Martyn’s Law, proposing publicly accessible locations should be legally required to protect against terrorism.

Nick Aldworth, former UK CT National Coordinator for Protect and Prepare and London’s CT Protective Security and Preparedness Lead during the 2017 terrorist attacks joined Figen on stage. In 2019, Nick joined forces with Figen and Brendan Cox to campaign for the UK Protect Duty.

Other speakers included: Dr David Rubens, CEO of the Deltar Group and Executive Director of the Institute of Strategic Risk Management (ISRM); Amy Norton, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the Office for Students; Detective Inspector Steve Leach who is part of the team that was responsible for creating the force-wide Cyber Crime Unit; Tim Lambon, CRISIS24 Director, Special Risks Response; Nicky Old Director of External Relations at Universities UK; and Liam Watson from

AUCSO Chair, Les Allan said: “The AUCSO 36th Annual Conference was an outstanding success and I would like to extend our gratitude to everyone involved in the behind-the-scenes preparation for the event. This includes our sponsors and exhibitors for their support, the guest speakers for their time and willingness to engage with AUCSO, but most of all to our delegates for continuing to participate in our Association and support our continued growth year-on-year.

“We are especially pleased that our engagement with speakers at our Conference is leading to new and enhanced collaborations with Universities UK, The Office for Students and the Suzie Lamplugh Trust.”

Laurence Perkins, Head of Security at the University of Leicester is AUCSO Midlands Region Chair. He said: “It was fantastic to be able to attend an in-person AUCSO Conference for the first time since pre-pandemic. Nothing beats engaging with colleagues and listening to speakers throughout the conference program, and it truly was a well organised, thought provoking event.”

On the last evening of the Conference was the Gala Dinner at the Aspire venue in Leeds, where the winners of the annual AUCSO Awards were announced. You can view the highlights of the conference on YouTube:

Plans are already under way for the 37th Annual Conference, in April 2023, to be hosted in Edinburgh by Heriot-Watt University. Visit

See also the May print edition of Professional Security magazine.


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