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Eye On DNA

by msecadm4921

They have clients around the world and have worked for Government, international aid agencies, commerce and industry as well as private individuals.

I have heard it said, writes our regular interviewer Una Riley that Capital Eye is one of the best-kept secrets in the security profession … but no more.

Simon Imbert, Managing Director of Capital Eye founded the company in 1997 with his father, Lord Imbert QPM JP, former Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. Many of you will know either Simon or his father from the wider world of security and some will know them through their involvement with the Company of Security Professionals. Lord Imbert is an Honorary Life Member of the Company and Simon is Middle Warden. While both men are heavily involved with charity, they have a string of successful businesses to run. Simon is well qualified to be directing these organisations having attained his degree in business management in 1982. Simon has experience in other sectors including the building materials sector and the IT industry. He became involved in the security profession in the early 90s, as the sales and marketing director of smoke product firm Smokecloak.

Policing support

Simon is also a Director of Fraud-i Ltd the developer and supplier of the fraud awareness and compliance software package of the same name as well as Policing Support Services Ltd (PSS). Simon said: "PSS deploy former police officers and civilian staff with UK police services and other organisations on short and medium-term contracts. This company complements some of the work we do with Capital Eye, which includes a vast array of services including, policing services that are primarily aimed at the police and justice sector of developing, or post-conflict countries whereby assistance is provided by mobilising teams of former police and support personnel. Assistance is available across all policing specialist and generalist areas to aid and enable the development of personnel, systems and the legal framework within which they operate, including: community-based policing, investigations and intelligence gathering and analysis. We also offer policing strategy development training along with related topics such as finance and administration including HR, where we have developed our specialised DNA profiling product specifically, as an HR tool. By marrying up with the police work, the security industry can be of great use to the police and as a result … the country. We are very proud of the UK police service and promote it overseas. Perhaps the foreign office should consider sending former officers with all their experience overseas instead of sending serving police officers. This strategy can be most effective from a wider resource perspective.” That seems a good idea under the present circumstances and seems to fit perfectly with the ‘wider police family’ ethos. With all your involvement with the different companies it can’t leave much time for anything else, I asked. Simon laughed and explained that he is married, with three children and is a member of the Mid-Life Crisis Sporting Club, playing football, golf and badminton; all keep him extremely busy!


What about the industry involvement and participation? I asked. "I have been involved with a lot of different organisations within the profession and have accrued considerable knowledge of the security and policing sectors as a result from both a UK and international perspective. I am a past chairman of a UK trade association, The Association of Police and Public Security Suppliers (APPSS) Management Committee and am the deputy chairman of their Security Export Focus Group. I also sit on the UK Department for Trade and Investment, International Sports and Leisure Infrastructure Advisory Group and a member of the Association of Security Consultants … along with my Livery activities of course.” Having caught up with Simon I wanted to know more about the DNA product that Capital Eye was promoting. Simon explained. "DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid), is the body’s genetic blueprint, and is found in each cell of our bodies. With this we pass on to the next generation information which establishes features like eye and hair colour. Children inherit half their DNA from their mother and father respectively, but siblings inherit different DNA combinations, so except for identical twins, each person’s DNA is unique. DNA profiling is a sensitive scientific process that can accurately identify each person, but it doesn’t provide any other data about an individual that could be considered confidential. Capital Eye considers this a vital resource tool for both corporate organisations and SMEs sending their personnel abroad. As you are aware corporate executives of major organisations are required to travel all over the world, often at short notice. Given their personal status and the profile of their organisations, many attract risks, but it is not only at the executive level where these risks lay … events can also conspire against the tradesmen and lone workers in remote locations. These days accidents, natural disasters, war, terrorist attack, and organised crime are rarely out of the headlines. Getting caught up in an incident, whether going to work in London, lying on a beach in Turkey, or traveling to a meeting somewhere in South America or the Middle East, disaster could strike, it may be statistically unlikely, but it happens. A company can take great care over working conditions, health and safety, security in the office, but when they send their people overseas they can still be vulnerable to ‘events’, over which they have no control. It is sad to recall but Identifying victims in the first few days of the 2004 tsunami was a huge challenge. In one hospital, digital photos were stored with bodies that helped to positively identify many people. As time passed, personal effects such as ID cards, jewellery, and mobile telephone SIM cards, were used, with some success. However, as the body count grew, it became increasingly difficult and in those areas where there was a concentration of foreigners, there was no one to on hand to identify them. It is uncomfortable to consider, but a few days after a disaster, decomposition distorts facial features and prevents accurate fingerprinting. In many cases injuries, the presence of blood, contaminants, or just dirt, especially around the head, will reduce the chances of recognition and therefore positive identification. Following the Bali bombing, about one-third of victims were initially incorrectly identified. Inevitably this leads to dire consequences. Legal problems affect compensation, insurance, inheritance, difficulties in repatriation and most importantly increases psychological distress for survivors or relatives seeking closure. When foreign tourists or businessmen are concerned, diplomatic tensions and the media may also get in the way, adversely effecting and slowing down the identification process.


With the support of the British government after the tsunami, an identification centre was established in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where bodies of foreigners found on the eastern holiday resorts, were sent. Over 150 bodies were examined and through analysis of dental records and DNA, they were successfully identified and shown to come from 18 countries. Fingerprint, dental forensic techniques and increasingly DNA analysis are effective because they can help to identify damaged or decomposed bodies. However such methods do rely on comparative data being available. Fingerprints rely on comparison usually with criminal records and although most people in the western world will have had some dental treatment, even then physical comparison and expert judgement is still required. As I mentioned earlier corporate executives are travelling all over the world, to places where not only is the threat high from natural disaster, it is often higher, where the threat is human inspired. While you can’t know all the risks, should the worst happen, you can remove the uncertainty and the anxiety that can prevent identification of personnel. In Capital Eye’s experience of undertaking intelligent risk analysis and implementing risk management procedures in organisations we believe that DNA profiling presents a key element in HR record-keeping, demonstrating duty of care. In the 21st century the willingness to employ the best of technology for staff and their dependents is a benefit and investment in their people by the company that they work for. In the midst of a dark period, this strategy presents the organisation in a favourable light, but more importantly, it provides a prompt and accurate way of providing closure for the relatives and colleagues affected by such an incident within a company. Significant distress can be caused to families and individuals asked to provide DNA samples as comparators for proof after a loved-ones death, the alternative is that DNA is kept as part of the HR record in a library ready for direct and instant comparison. Capital Eye is taking the protection of travellers seriously. As an organisation we are dedicated to our clients and provide practical risk analysis and management to business and authorities with advice about mitigating risks abroad and about looking after what are the most important assets of any organisation; its people.” There is no doubt that like most security products from the ‘grudge’ purchase of an intruder alarm to the perceived intrusion of CCTV, our products and service provision is an essential part of modern day life and can in fact make life easier even though that may not be the initial perception.

IT: ‘get a move on’

To close, I asked Simon about his thoughts for the future of the industry: "II am disappointed at the slow uptake of IP-addressable systems. We are security professionals and have an expertise and skill that will be overlooked if we do not move faster in to this area of business. I have experience in the IT industry and if we do not get a move on regarding this type of technology then we could see a penetration of our market place by the IT providers". Capital Eye and its services will no longer be the best kept secret in the industry … pass it on!

About Capital Eye

You can email the Dorking-based consultancy at [email protected] The firm was featured in the December 2006 issue of Professional Security for its work protecting a commission seeking to crack down on frauds in Nigeria. The Fraud-i launch appeared in the August 2005 issue of Professional Security.

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