The University of Leeds was the backdrop for this year’s 36th annual AUSCO (Association of University Chief Security Officers) Conference, which drew a record number of 230 delegates including AUCSO members and guests.
It was the first in-person Conference since 2019 for AUCSO, the leading organisation for security professionals working in higher and further education around the world.
The programme was packed with high profile speakers, and captivating subjects relevant to the tertiary education security sector.
The AUSCO Conference gave delegates the opportunity to participate, network and derive maximum benefit from the 3-day programme. The social networking event at the Royal Armouries was one of the highlights of the Conference, and delegates particularly enjoyed the entertaining jousting session with knights in full armour battling ‘to the death’.
The key focus of the Conference was evolving risks and the topical aspects impacting on the security sector across the world.
There was an excellent line-up of experts in the field of security and risk speaking at the Conference plus over 40 exhibitors supplying services to the sector, giving delegates the opportunity to explore new ideas and innovations. These included The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, Crime Stoppers and ProtectEd.
AUCSO Chief Operating Officer Julie Barker, said:
“The speakers for the Conference were chosen to reflect pertinent current issues and those emerging within the sector and wider industry today. It was fantastic to listen to Nicky Old from Universities UK talk about the opportunities and challenges currently facing the HE sector including; student and staff mental health and wellbeing, suicide prevention, drugs: supply, use and prevention, as well as sustainable funding for universities, fair access, quality and value, and the ongoing issues relating to pay and pensions. The Office of Students provided an excellent session and update on their work on ‘Harassment and sexual misconduct in higher education’, which was published in 2021. We are delighted with the breadth of content from all our speakers and that the Conference has been such a success. Here’s to next year’s!”
One of the key note speakers was Figen Murray, the mother of Martyn Hett, who was killed at the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in May 2017. Since the attack, Figen has worked tirelessly to promote peace, kindness, and tolerance by speaking at schools, colleges, and universities. Figen is the force behind Martyn’s Law, a legislation requiring publicly accessible locations to improve security against the threat of terrorism.
Nick Aldworth, former UK CT National Coordinator for Protect and Prepare and London’s CT Protective Security and Preparedness Lead during the 2017 terrorist attacks joined Figen on stage. In 2019, Nick joined forces with Figen and Brendan Cox to campaign for the UK Protect Duty, a law requiring venue operators to consider the risk of terrorist attacks and to take measures proportionate to the risk to protect the public.
Other key speakers included: Dr David Rubens, CEO of the Deltar Group and Executive Director of the Institute of Strategic Risk Management (ISRM), Amy Norton, Head of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the Office for Students, Detective Inspector Steve Leach who is part of the team that was responsible for creating the force-wide Cyber Crime Unit, Tim Lambon, CRISIS24 Director, Special Risks Response, Nicky Old is Director of External Relations at Universities UK and Liam Watson from Drugstraining.com.
AUCSO Chair, Les Allan said:
“The AUCSO 36th Annual Conference was an outstanding success and I would like to extend our gratitude to everyone involved in the behind-the-scenes preparation for the event. This includes our sponsors and exhibitors for their support, the guest speakers for their time and willingness to engage with AUCSO, but most of all to our delegates for continuing to participate in our Association and support our continued growth year-on-year.
“We are especially pleased that our engagement with speakers at our Conference is leading to new and enhanced collaborations with Universities UK, The Office for Students and the Suzie Lamplugh Trust.”
Laurence Perkins, Head of Security at the University of Leicester and AUCSO Midlands Region Chair said:
“It was fantastic to be able to attend an in-person AUCSO Conference for the first time since pre-pandemic. Nothing beats engaging with colleagues and listening to speakers throughout the conference program, and it truly was a well organised, thought provoking event.”
On the last evening of the Conference was the glittering Gala Dinner at the prestigious Aspire venue in Leeds, where the winners of the AUCSO Awards were announced.
Plans are already underway for the 37th Annual Conference 2023, which will be hosted in Edinburgh by Heriot-Watt University.