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New ‘ring of steel’ proposed

A new ‘ring of steel’ has been proposed by City of London Police for the City, as a 21st century version of the first, set up in the 1990s. While the first ‘ring’ captured the details of cars entering the Square Mile, the proposed new ‘ring’ would go one step further and do personal surveillance; as outlined by the City force’s Assistant Commissioner Alistair Sutherland, at a press briefing at the Guildhall yesterday.

The ‘ring’ would be part of a ‘Secure City’ programme. As AC Sutherland recalled, the first ‘ring of steel’ – CCTV and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) – dated from the 1990s against the Irish republican threat. Now proposed is what he termed a ‘wholesale remodelling’ of the CCTV and ANPR, which would support the introduction of a joint command and control room with the local authority, the Corporation of London.

AC Sutherland spoke of the force having the ambition to have ‘the most technologically advanced control room in the world; we are going to invest heavily in technology’. That would include facial recognition. The tech would also link with the Corporation’s ‘smarter city’ programme for management of the environment, such as street lighting.

He said that the force was travelling internationally to ‘scope what is out there’; for example in Detroit and Chicago in the United States; and the Far East. He described the force as wanting ‘world leading protective security regime’ supported by the control room.

The wide-ranging briefing also heard from the City of London Police Commissioner Ian Dyson, and covered the reporting line Action Fraud – the City being the lead force nationally for countering fraud; Project Servator, the policing tactic to deter and detect hostile reconnaissance by terrorists, and other criminals, begun in the City four years ago and now being rolled out to police forces across the country; the force’s corporate plan; and work by the City force to pilot nationally a ‘gold standard’ for the recruitment, training, development, and deployment of volunteers such as special constables. More in the May 2018 print issue of Professional Security.

Pictured by Mark Rowe; kiosk and ring of steel CCTV camera, Aldersgate.


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