Monday, 27 May 2024

Detica boss calls for a radical reform in UK’s approach to security

Martin Sutherland, Managing Director of information intelligence company Detica, has called for a radical reform in the UK’s approach to security. Mr Sutherland, while speaking at the recent Homeland and Border Security Conference against the backdrop of public sector spending cuts and growing public unease about our ‘surveillance society’, outlined the opportunity to transform our approach to deliver security more efficiently and effectively, with less cost and reduced intrusion.

Sutherland advocated a re-balance in the competing needs of security, privacy and economy and said reform should take the form of a proportionate approach to security which would use an intelligent risk-based methods to focus on where the risk is highest and remove further invasive analysis of those who pose little or no risk.

Mr. Sutherland said: “With all minds focused on reducing the fiscal deficit, we need to have a new debate on how we can maintain a proportionate approach to security at lower cost. There is a firm need for Government - in areas as diverse as immigration and border control, revenue collection and taxation, counter terrorism and countering other types of organised crime - to change its approach to security. 

Sutherland however, observed that at a time when the need to change has never been stronger, we have run out of money, adding the state is caught between a rock and a hard place.  On the one hand, cuts to security, policing, immigration, vetting and barring or other places could allow criminals to get away with doing harm to our society.  On the other hand, if organisations continue to use existing labour-intensive methods to attempt to strengthen their approach to security in all of these areas, they will be unable to deliver the magnitude of savings needed by the Treasury.”

Mr. Sutherland further remarked: “Those entrusted with our security have access to vast amounts of data. Rather than collecting more, and spending more time and money having to analyse it, we have an opportunity to make a clean break—to use what we already have in a more intelligent way.

He said: “We need to adopt new ‘lean’ solutions and services that are more appropriate to the needs of the twenty-first century.  This means rationalising and joining up data already held within government, to transform the way we exploit information and communications technology to enable dramatic improvements in the way security is delivered both in and across organisations—at lower cost and in a proportionate manner.  By taking this approach, rather than a narrow focus on cuts, we can turn a crisis into an opportunity.”

Mr Sutherland outlined a set of lean principles for smarter security in tighter times. These included an earlier focus on high value targets to work out the root causes of their crimes, automation of labour-intensive manual processes and rationalisation of data, tools and processes across organisations.

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