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Prison officers say 3m investment in security ‘no replacement for staff’

The Prison Officers Association has told Sky News equipment is “no replacement for staff,” as the Government unveils a 3m investment in new technology to protect prison guards. The investment comes amid an increase in violence against prison officers and disturbances inside jails. Two million pounds will be spent on 5,600 body-worn cameras which will be made available to prison guards in England and Wales, following the successful roll-out of the cameras among 22,000 Metropolitan Police officers last October. Plans announced by the Prisons Minister Sam Gyimah also include 1m for new police-style handcuffs and restraints, which will reduce the need for staff to use physical holds to control aggressive prisoners. Four prisons – HMP Wealstun, HMP Risley, HMP Preston and HMP Hull – will also trial PAVA incapacitant spray, similar to pepper spray, to boost officer safety.

Image: Two prison officers were seriously injured last year at Wormwood Scrubs in west London

Mr Gyimah said: “Prison officers do an incredibly hard job . Assaults on prison officers are up 34% in the last year . Of course prison officers have got to be professional at all times but where these cameras could make a real difference is with prosecutions and also deterring assaults against prison officers.

“I am absolutely determined to tackle head-on the issues that undermine the safety and security of our prisons and to ensure our dedicated officers have the tools they need to do the job.” The Prison Officers Association welcomed the introduction of the new safety measures, but told Sky News the central issue remains the number of guards. In a statement, the union said: “Whilst we welcome protective measures such as PAVA spray and body worn cameras nothing can replace correct and safe staffing levels.

“The 30% cut to staff since 2010 and the increase in violence and riots during that period still has to be addressed and equipment is no replacement for staff.” The Government says 1,290 extra prison officers have been recruited, but admits that number is below its own target of 2,500. Former convict John Hirst told Sky News there needs to be a more widespread reform of the prison system.

He said: “What they need to do is improve conditions . Some of the prisons are still Victorian and they still use Victorian prison rules. “If you keep dehumanising prisoners when you put them into the system in the first place, how do you think they are going to behave?”

The Government says 10m has already been given to priority prisons to ramp up additional security measures including 24-hour patrol dogs, CCTV cameras, mobile phone detection technology and metal detectors.

Tight security in Barcelona ahead of Catalan independence announcement

Security is tight in a tense Barcelona – with just hours to go until Catalonia possibly declares independence from Spain. Police are guarding public buildings and have closed off a park surrounding the regional parliament – amid concerns that an attempt to break away from Madrid could be met with a harsh response from Spanish authorities. Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has not revealed the precise message he will deliver at 6pm local time (5pm UK time), but separatist politicians have said they expect a declaration based on the results of the disputed independence referendum on 1 October. Ahead of the announcement, Barcelona’s mayor said the Catalan referendum is not enough for the region to declare independence from Spain.

Image: Catalan President Carles Puigdemont presides over a cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning

Ada Colau said the results of the vote “can’t be a guarantee to proclaim independence but are the opportunity to build dialogue and international mediation”. She appealed to Spain’s prime minister and Catalonia’s political leader to “decrease tension on both sides”, adding that “now is the time to build bridges”. Ms Colau also urged Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to pull out the extra police that have been drafted in to the northeast region as a “gesture of state responsibility”.

Image: Highway management company Abertis is the latest firm to pull out of Catalonia

As many in Spain await what would be a major escalation in the constitutional crisis, more firms have said they are pulling out of the region. Highway management company Abertis and telecoms company Cellnex have joined a growing list of companies moving their headquarters elsewhere. Both are part of Spain’s Ibex 35 index of top listed companies. Abertis and Cellnex said they were pulling out for as long as there is uncertainty about the region’s future.

Image: People have marched for Spanish unity in recent days Image: Hundreds of thousands turned out in Barcelona

They join a slew of companies that are moving, including property group Inmobiliaria Colonial, Banco Sabadell, CaixaBank and energy firm Gas Natural. Publishing house Grupo Planeta also warned it will move to Madrid if independence is declared. Spain’s deputy prime minister earlier warned of a tough response if Catalonia’s political leader, Carlos Puigdemont, decides to announce a split from Spain. Soraya Saenz de Santamaria told COPE radio that “if they declare independence, there will be decisions to restore the law and democracy”. He added: “I’m calling on the sensible people in the Catalan government.. .

don’t jump off the edge because you’ll take the people with you.” The crisis in the region follows an illegal referendum that was condemned by many because of the heavy-handed approach by police. Around 900 people were reportedly hurt when officers seized ballot boxes, fired rubber bullets and forcibly dragged people out of polling stations. Catalonia’s leaders said 90% of the 43% who turned out voted ‘yes’. However, hundreds of thousands of people have turned out for anti-independence rallies, including in Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona1, since the vote. The region’s referendum law states that a declaration would start a six-month process of divorce talks with Spain and regional elections.

  1. Image: Barcelona may be the capital of the Catalan region but thousands gathered there on Sunday in support of unity
  2. Image: Organisers claimed a million people joined the march . Swipe through for more pictures

Mr Puigdemont appeared steadfast on Sunday, saying a ‘yes’ vote necessitated an independence declaration.

“We will apply what the law says,” he told TV3. Mr Rajoy has not ruled out the “nuclear option” of removing the Catalan government and calling fresh regional elections. Pedro Sanchez, leader of Spain’s main opposition party, is also backing the government’s response if an independence declaration is made. Mr Sanchez said “a unilateral declaration of independence doesn’t have a place in a state ruled by law”. He told reporters in Barcelona: “The same way that we are offering our hand for a dialogue, we will also support the state’s response if coexistence among Spaniards is broken unilaterally”.

References

  1. ^ including in Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona (news.sky.com)

Barclays delivers skills boost with Cyber Security Challenge UK competition

Barclays Delivers Skills Boost With Cyber Security Challenge UK Competition

‘The best way to learn about cyber security is to engage in realistic scenarios, such as the competition that we ve just hosted . Saturday s event created a scenario that really tested a candidate s ability to perform under pressure, think strategically, work as a team and display leadership skills’ This weekend, Barclays and Cabinet Office-backed security initiative Cyber Security Challenge UK1, hosted an immersive competition to test the skills of thirty cyber enthusiasts.

The competition required contestants to adopt the role of interns at a fictitious cyber security firm, who had to defend their company from a cyber-attack, triggered by an insider, all while their superiors were on a team-building canoeing adventure. >See also: The cyber security challenge for retail branch IT2 The competition is the last of 2017 s Cyber Security Challenge UK face-to-face competitions to unearth the UK s hidden cyber talent and place these individuals in public and private sector cyber security roles to fill the critical cyber security skills gap . Not only does cyber security offer an exciting and varied career, but a lucrative one too with roles averaging over 60,000 per year after training. The competition took place in national heritage site and grand country house, Radbroke Hall, which is also the current site of Barclays Technology Centre . In the scenario, the interns , who were staffing a fictitious security firm called Research4U , had to spring into action after a hacking group launched a large-scale cyber attack on the company, stealing confidential technology, source code and client data . The story saw hackers demand a ransom of 10m to prevent releasing the data to the press. Competitors had to infiltrate and stop the fictional hacker group in order to destroy the leaked information before it could be released to the press . Leading cyber specialists from Barclays and other leading industry organisations assessed the contestants on their vulnerability assessment, reconnaissance, attack strategies and espionage skills in order to rank their performance and suitability for careers in the industry.

>See also: The security challenges with the Internet of Things3 The winning team was team Wormhole: Carolyn Yates, Isabel Whistlecroft, Kajusz Dykiel, Peter Campbell and Waldo Woch. The eight contestants that have qualified for next month s Masterclass grand finale were: Cameron Howes, Asher Caswell, Tom Brook, Vlad Ellis, Mohammed Rahman, David Young, Rajiv Shah and Isabel Whistlecroft .

They will join the previous F2F winners from earlier in the year at Masterclass where they will compete against each other and have the opportunity to network with industry experts, in addition to winning career-enhancing prizes including degree scholarships, training courses, technology and gadgets and industry memberships. Nigel Harrison, acting Chief Executive of Cyber Security Challenge UK said: This year s scenarios have been varied in nature in order to demonstrate the range of cyber threats that this nation faces as well as the sheer breadth of sectors that need cyber security professionals from banking and finance, to automotive and even retail . Sponsors, like Barclays make this possible and, in turn, help to open the door to dozens more careers . I would like to encourage any budding cyber security specialist, or white hat hackers , to consider applying for our competitions . The nation faces a growing cyber security threat, so we are in real need of talent that can keep organisations, and the public, secure . Why not Challenge Yourself today?

>See also: Cyber security the unrelenting challenge for leadership4 The competition mirrors recent high profile attacks, such as WannaCry, where hackers held organisations to ransom across the globe . With the Public Accounts Committee revealing earlier this year that the Government s ability to protect Britain from high-level cyber attacks is undermined by a skills shortage, the need to find individuals with cyber skills has never been greater. Troels Oerting, Barclays Group Chief Security Officer (CSO) and Group Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) said: The best way to learn about cyber security is to engage in realistic scenarios, such as the competition that we ve just hosted . Saturday s event created a scenario that really tested a candidate s ability to perform under pressure, think strategically, work as a team and display leadership skills . A career in cyber security requires various skills, including the ability to second-guess hackers and make critical decisions quickly .

It was very encouraging to see students so immersed in solving the challenge we set them, and I wish all the candidates the very best in their careers.

References

  1. ^ Cyber Security Challenge UK (www.cybersecuritychallenge.org.uk)
  2. ^ The cyber security challenge for retail branch IT (www.information-age.com)
  3. ^ The security challenges with the Internet of Things (www.information-age.com)
  4. ^ Cyber security the unrelenting challenge for leadership (www.information-age.com)