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Securing cities in troubled times: A herculean but not impossible task

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Photo -- 1-compressedBy Sangeeta Saxena

New Delhi. 15 October, 2015. As low intensity conflict continuing to haunt the nation, safety and security of cities needs to be top on government’s agenda. While there is a lot of talk about Smart cities,  making cities safe, is imperative to build the security component for them, is the need of the hour.

Security Watch India (SWI) organised the seventh edition and showcased  an exhibition exposing the latest technology and technique available to professionals in this vitally important arena.

Gen JJ Singh (Retd), Former Governor of Arunachal Pradesh and Former Chief of Army Staff while inaugurating the event reiterated the importance of securing cities for citizens.  “The task of protecting people and assets is multifaceted and this conference presents a vast canvas to address some of the concerns. It also confers recognition to various organisations for their excellence, innovative thinking and law enforcement,” he said.

Urban areas  around the globe are increasingly becoming targets for a wide range of threats from terrorism, natural disasters and man- made catastrophes . With rising GDP comes an increase in urbanization, leading to a further growth in threat level. And this  brings us to ponder whether the  city authorities are able to protect their citizens  keeping in mind their straining city budgets and bare minimum use of  security technologies.

Meenakshi Lekhi, spokesperson, BJP  while delivering the  keynote address spoke about the importance of this initiative and said, “The private sectror is a national asset, which needs to be protected in addition to public facilities.” She further added that, “the public at large is also responsible for supporting the security personnel engaged in this task. Proper and certified skill training is imperitive and there is a need to change the definition of security personnel from unskilled labour.”

Photo -- 2 compresseedThe requirements of a secure city could be mapped around the Indian Police functions pertaining to Law & Order, Crime, Investigation, Counter Terrorism, Counter Insurgency, Coastal Security, Industrial Security, Critical Infrastructure Protection, Intelligence, Cyber Crime, Economic Offences, Traffic Management, Women & children. A focus on primary source grassroot intelligence collection process, can use automated web-intelligence collection engines, data mining, and qualitative research methodologies for analysis. These inputs are then mapped for risk-triggers and decision-points using advanced tools such as scenario gaming, real options, and game theory. Hope the conference dwells on these issues.

During the conference discussions were held on several topics of interest and relevance with eminent panelists. The speakers and panelists were representatives from the Government, Security forces, Police and Disaster Management sector and industry. Topics of discussion at the sessions were Intelligent Security and Resilience in Urban Ecosystems,  Security Risk Management and Critical Infrastructure Protection, Disaster Management and Emergency Response and Securing cities from global threats.

Mahindra Special Services Group getting the reward

Mahindra Special Services Group getting the reward

Harry Dhaul, Director General, SWI wherein he mentioned that “one of the biggest threats to security is the disparity between the various sections of society. Objective is to create a neutral platform to discuss the diverse initiatives in India to enhance internal security and to discuss the way forward in creating smart and secure Indian cities and ensuring citizen well being. The event is a great opportunity for policy makers, law enforcement agencies and industry officials to share their practical and unique experiences as well as the best practices for the betterment of citizen safety.”

With attacks on the common man and places thronged by them becoming a frequent, the need of the hour is to create an integrated security system with centralized information network. An integrated public security system should ideally encompass three main elements – Monitoring, Communication and Mobility solutions. These aspects are linked together by the fourth element – a Command and Control Center Solution (PSIM) to mitigate risk across the city environment by providing actionable intelligence and enabling speedy security incident resolution.

Maroof Raza, Mentor, SWI, highlighted the relevance of smart and safe cities and stated, “While there is a lot of talk about Smart cities, we are looking for Smart cities that are safe, for this it is imperitive to build the security component into Smart Cities. To keep India’s citizens and its industry secure from terrorists is a major challenge for the government and security forces today. The Secure Cities Conference and Exhibition 2015 aims to bring the key stakeholders in the internal security domain onto a common platform and share valuable ideas, technology innovations to ensure public safety and security, and create excellence in public-private partnerships for national security.”

As part of the event, SWI announced the winners of “Innovation and Excellence Awards for Security and Policing2015”, to recognize and salute the excellence, competence and contribution of security personnel towards making India’s cities safer. The Awards honoured law enforcement organizations and projects/initiatives, which were exemplary and innovative in enhancing the level of internal security of India .The winners of the awards were felicitated by  KPS Gill, Former DGP Punjab and PC Sharma, Former Member NHRC and Former Director CBI.

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