The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Co-ordinated CCTV with a Better Focus

08 April 2016 | Updated 01 January 1970

Jeff Little of SERIFM - Security and Resilience in FM (which will hold a major conference in September which you can attend - see below) says that the failure to identify suspects in the Brussels’ Zaventem airport attacks demonstrates a need for CCTV collaboration between commerce and the police - and a huge upgrade to the technology currently employed.

On Thursday April 7, the Belgium authorities released more visual surveillance footage of a man in a white jacket and hat who is urgently sought because of his suspected involvement with the suicide bomb attacks at Brussels’ Zaventem airport last month.

After much trawling of CCTV recordings, the man has been detected walking around for almost 2.5 hours between 07.58 hours and 09.50 hours when cameras lost him following his return into the City after the attack.

Two surprises emerge.

Firstly, despite the depth of the visual evidence now available, the man has still not been recognised. This suggests he is a ‘clean skin’ and not known to the Belgium security service. If, however, he is known to the authorities, then questions have to be asked why he has not been apprehended and these will need some serious answers.

Secondly, the question of speed of response yet again occurs. Readers will recall that Saleh Abdeslam was stopped and questioned by French police near the Belgian border a number of hours after his part in the November attacks in Paris - and was then released. The passage of intelligence and information simply has to be speeded up if we are to defeat this new threat. The way to achieve this is remove the human eye from the system and allow software to identify persons of interest and to alert users when those individuals next appear. This can only be achieved if the feed from privately owned security systems are allowed to merge with feeds from those operated by national and local authorities in a dedicated intelligence collation centre. And of course it all depends on the quality of the imagery being sufficiently good to allow recognition and identification against a known datum to take place.

Millions of pounds of money is being wasted currently on surveillance systems which produce poor quality imagery and the overall effectiveness of the ‘system of systems’ is questionable as they do not currently talk to each other.

A national 24/7 dedicated intelligence monitoring capability is now essential. As soon as a major incident occurs, first responders are expected to deal with the consequences, save lives and put cordons into place. These officers and their command centres are just too busy to begin extrapolation and analysis. What is needed is a separated, highly secure and dedicated surveillance receiving centre which, within seconds of a major incident, begins to search for actionable intelligence data and imagery and has the connectivity and communications to cue response forces onto the suspects.

Time is of the essence, the technology is available and only the will is now required.



We all live and work in an increasingly hazardous and unstable world. It is a world of ever diversifying and more complex threats, changing alliances and volatile commodity markets. This creates a business environment which is unpredictable, uncertain and at times, frankly downright chaotic. Directors and CEOs are frequently asked to make decisions and provide recommendations based on ambiguous facts, misleading data or incomplete information. These risks are exacerbated by the glutinous soup of natural and man-made extreme weather events such as flooding and storms, organised and lone criminal activities including fraud, terrorism, cyber attacks and industrial espionage. In addition, our national infrastructure may be robust but it is also fragile and will be more vulnerable once exposed to the Internet of Things. Strategic shocks such as the Arab Spring, 9/11 and the financial crisis lie in wait. The first cyber Pearl Harbour is not far away and the criminals are calling the shots.

Facilities management organisations find themselves on the front line of this complexity, maintaining systems and services in an open, democratic society whilst preserving freedoms and rights of individuals. Significant changes lie in wait with the advent of mature robotics, artificial intelligence additive manufacturing and the reduced police resources now available following austerity implementation.

On the positive side, however, new technology such as facial recognition, safer cities, improved biometrics and far better quality visual surveillance systems can adjust the balance back in favour of the community and business. To achieve this re-balancing, however, the free movement of data and the sharing of intelligence and information will be essential if the evil is to be defeated.

It is the intention of SERIFM to help enable this sharing.

SERIFM’S inaugural conference will set the UK’s strategic resilience picture as seen through the eyes of the Metropolitan Police, the Cabinet Office, academia and the security services. The date and location to be advised.

In order to attend the conference and to join SERIFM, simply email or call Gilly Crichton on 0771 947 1214

Picture: Better and more integrated technology is required to track potential perpetrators of harm



Article written by Jeff Little | Published 08 April 2016


Related Articles

Tax You Lot - Time to Put Your Money Where Your Clout Is

This morning’s announcement in Washington by UK Chancellor George Osborne that the five largest economies in Europe will in future share financial data in an effort...

 Read Full Article
Safer Cities - a Complex, Global Issue

This article explores many of the challenges facing the global society and focuses on some of the many solutions that government, public and private sectors and the...

 Read Full Article
Soft Targets Need Hard Approach

With terrorists looking to attack the places where people come together to socialise to attract the  biggest headlines and sense of fear - all at the lowest cost -...

 Read Full Article
SERIFM - the New Voice in FM Resilience

SERIFM will hold its first conference on Wednesday 28th Septermer 2016, London location to be advised. The initiative is spearheaded by TWinFM in conjunction with...

 Read Full Article
Istanbul Attacks - Another Lesson to be Learned

In light of the dreadful attack on Instanbul's Ataturk airport, SERIFM's Jeff Little says we need to stop with the referendum blues and party squabbling and start...

 Read Full Article
A Lack of Situational Awareness in the Information Age?

We live in the so called information age. Numerous communication means are now open to us. And yet still, when things do go horribly wrong, organisations are utterly...

 Read Full Article
Stormy Weather Ahead for UK Resilience Resources?

There can be few who can continue to deny the existence of climate change. Higher sea levels, regular flooding, the frequency of extreme weather events and sea...

 Read Full Article
Heathrow Under Siege - In-house Teams & Blue-Light Services Respond To Exercise

The Metropolitan Police, emergency services and Heathrow Airport carried out a major live-play exercise at Heathrow to test their joint response to a terrorist incident....

 Read Full Article
Northern Ireland - IOD Placed at Primary School

A 'significant device' has been seized following a security alert outside Holy Cross Girls Primary School in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast on Sunday...

 Read Full Article
Old Hoax Caller Caught?

Detectives from the Kensington and Chelsea division have arrested an alleged hoax caller on Wednesday March 22. The a 36 year old man was picked-up at a residential...

 Read Full Article