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Securing our cities

Security experts gathered at the Global Resilience Summit last week to hear from a world-class list of speakers covering the issues affecting the safety, security and resilience of our major cities.

With urban populations swelling at an unprecedented rate, there are growing challenges of how to respond to natural disasters, terrorism, public order and cyber-attacks.

A superb introduction to the challenges facing countries, cities and corporations was given by Jamie Shea from NATO. He stressed that neutrality and geography don’t protect cities from the cyber age anymore, as cyber criminals need as little as £2,000 for equipment it, adding to an age of insecurity.

In particular, Jamie talked about Isil and their use of social media, with 800 videos in the past month. “Isil is a terrorist organisation, but it has aircraft and tanks and generates £5million a day” he warned.

Brian Donald gave the view from Europol that shed a fascinating insight on the barriers that law enforcement faces when dealing with issues such as migration and digital security.

“We need our national and international legal frameworks brought into 2015 not 1815.  Europol has valuable intelligence but its mandate makes it difficult to share” he said.

Dr Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, who formerly commanded the British Army’s Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) regiment, gave a stark warning about the threat posed by ISIS, saying:

“Isis have made it known they want to acquire weapons of mass destruction,” he said.

“They run a sophisticated and successful psychological warfare campaign and are now basing that on CBRN weaponry – the ultimate weapon in the terrorist arsenal.”

His comments received coverage in the Sunday Express.

The role of business in helping deal with crises in cities was hotly discussed but an exhibition of 15 companies and a host of corporate speakers added weight to the need for public-private co-operation in the all-important field of resilience.

Contact: Robert Hall, rhall@londonfirst.co.uk

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