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UCL Interview

by msecadm4921

You invest in CCTV, but is anyone watching the screens? You spend on security equipment, but do you know what your crime problem is?

These are among the questions raised in conversation with Prof Gloria Laycock. She is the director of the Centre for Security and Crime Science (CSCS, at University College London.

Yes, she is an academic, and a well-placed one – after attending The Security Institute merger do at St Pancras, she had a meeting at the Home Office as a member of the cash in transit (CIT) ‘round table’. Briefly, Home Office minister Vernon Coaker, the BSIA, CIT companies, police, and the GMB union meet, in an official response to rising CIT crime, particularly in London. It would be an interesting room to be a fly on the wall, with the union for instance fuming that its members are getting assaulted, threatened and shot, and the authorities seeking to show they are dealing with the problem – hence last year’s CIT charter and talk of action plans. Prof Laycock one suspects may be an uncomfortable voice for some at the meeting, with her insistence on getting data and getting to the bottom of a problem, rather than saying, we are solving the problem.

But I was visiting her offices earlier, one of many UCL buildings between St Pancras and the centre of London. The CSCS is the umbrella name for UCL people working in social science, and science, and includes the Jill Dando Institute for Crime Science (JDI), set up in memory of the murdered broadcaster. The JDI runs an annual crime mapping conference – the next, the sixth, runs in Manchester on July 29 and 30. Also offered are one-day, one-week and longer courses in crime science, understanding hotspots, and crime analysis. The takers are largely police, though the centre is keen to bring in private sector people. That need not be people with security in their title; but rather executives who need to know about business resilience, that being a topic for company boards now. At previous crime mapping conferences, public transport has shown use of crime mapping – software to show where crimes happen, when, allowing managers to better tackle the problem. Another application could be retail, or supply chains.

But to return to Prof Laycock’s idea of master-classes for senior executives, the one-day classes would seek to get execs to think about what crime is faced by their business, to prevent it – which is not quite the same as what law enforcers – and their data analysts – want to do, which is catch offenders. For one thing, do you let possible offenders know of the security measures you are taking, to warn them of the increased risks? Here she praises Phil Cleary of Smartwater whose forensic marking product makes strong and good use of publicity.

As featured in the March print issue of Professional Security Magazine, University College London are launching a masters degree in Countering Organised Crime and Terrorism. The launch is by Lord Stevens – who is a member of the CSCS advisory board – on April 22 from 530pm at the BT Tower, in central London. If anyone is interested in attending and/or taking the course, email Vaseem Khan at UCL Centre for Security and Crime Science at [email protected]

The course costs £5977 but there are five scholarships for tuition that UCL says must be taken up.

It’s not distance learning like other security MSc courses, though it is in central London. You can do it part-time over two years. Students to attend a half day or a day a week. Ideally, you should have a good first degree, though UCL says it will consider applicants on the basis of their professional experience.

For more details and to download the brochure:

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