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Monday, May 9, 2016

Secret body scanners to detect suicide bombers in crowded places tests promising

Highly-sensitive surveillance equipment is being used to secretly screen crowds at football stadiums and shopping centres in a previously unused method of counter-terrorism, can reveal.

The cutting-edge technology, developed in Britain, is being used in more than 15 countries around the world and has been tested successfully in trials in the UK.

Operating differently to other body scanners, the clandestine cameras can remain hidden and scan crowds without interrupting the mass flow of people.

The technology is already being implemented abroad in public spaces such as football stadiums, airports and shopping centres.

But trials have also taken place in the UK and proved 100 per cent effective with discussions ongoing as to how the technology can become a permanent fixture.

Zak Doffman, the CEO of Digital Barriers, the company that developed the technology, told its success lies in its unpredictability.

He said it is the only technology of its kind that can be used to protect both secure locations and public spaces.

‘It’s mobile, it’s rapidly deployed,’ he said.

‘We set it up at a counter-terrorism exhibition in London three weeks ago and had it up and running in 20 minutes.’

One of the key differences between ThruVIS and body scanners used at airports is that it can be used without preventing the mass flow of people.

It is operated through a single, overt or covert, camera that then sends thermal imaging to a laptop.

It can also be moved and redeployed at short notice.

As well as being effective in bomb-detection it has also been used to identify drug smugglers at border crossings.

But Mr Doffman said it is best implemented alongside other technology rather than instead of it.
‘it would be inappropriate for me to comment on the recent attacks’ he added.

‘But one thing that separates this technology is that it is impossible to predict. It is mobile and fully covert, which means it is much harder to plan for or rehearse against.

‘It has had multiple successes in real-life situations.

‘The really exciting thing is that it is a British technology and people have not been aware of its existence. The job for us to make sure people are aware of its capability.’

The history of the technology lies in the European Space Project where it was originally developed to map the depletion of the Ozone layer.

Digital Barriers acquired it four years ago and now believe it has reached the level where it can be widely deployed.

‘What we inherited was functioning quality technology, but it was very much leading edge,’ Mr Doffman added.

‘It is now being used in more than 15 countries around the world in airports, in public places but it has only really been in the last year that it’s reached the ability to be deployed commercially at scale.

He added: ‘We see no reason why ThruVis should not be widely deployed in the UK now, including in London, given the current security context.

‘It’s the only technology of its kind that can protect both secure locations and busy public spaces, and it has been proven time and again to successfully detect threats to life concealed under clothing such as weapons and explosives.

‘It is being used in many locations around the world every day of the week to do exactly that.’


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