Groundbreaking safety technology to tackle protestor activity, women’s safety and crime at University campuses

29/05/2024

HALO Solutions, the UK’s leading crowd safety and security platform, is to make its award-winning safety technology available to help make universities safer places and to help protect female students, tackle crime and protestor activity. It comes at a time of mounting concerns for the wider safety of female university students and following the recent outbreak of protest activity, with protestors barricading themselves into an exam room at the University of Manchester. 

It also comes at a time when Mi5 director general Ken McCallum recently briefed university leaders on the threats from foreign states targeting UK universities in order to undermine national security and encourage political dissent and unrest. Threats from politically motivated protestor groups are predicted to increase across other UK university campuses.  

Halo, which is currently providing its technology to Birmingham City University campuses, is in discussions with a number of universities across the UK following growing concerns about female safety on campuses, criminal activity and a spate of non-student protestor activity in protest over the war in Gaza.

CEO of Halo Solutions Lloyd Major, a former National Counter Terrorism Police Officer and crowd safety specialist, said:

“Whilst legitimate protests are allowed to take place, and the cornerstone of any vibrant, thriving democracy, the recent protestor barricade over Gaza at the University Of Manchester, which was carried out by a large group of protestors (many of whom were not students), has highlighted how vulnerable UK universities are to such actions. Only last month, police in public order uniform (riot gear) stormed Columbia University in New York and arrested 100 protestors.”

The Halo technology provides a “whole university” approach to delivering enhanced safety and security on campus by delivering safe and secure environments for students, staff and property across the entire estate. The Halo system, which is widely used to protect the public across stadiums, arenas and across travel and transport infrastructure, is also designed for use across university campuses and higher education faculties. 

Halo’s technology, which recently won a King’s Enterprise Award for Innovation, is also an essential crowd safety and security technology that addresses the requirements of the upcoming “Martyn’s Law” (Protect Duty). This UK-wide legislation that places a requirement on venues and those operating public spaces to consider the threat of terrorism and implement appropriate and proportionate mitigation measures to protect the public.  

The system provides real-time monitoring of incidents for security teams and university staff across multiple campuses and provides reassurance for students and staff on campus on security and safety. Uniquely the Halo system offers student “self-reporting” of incidents without the need to log onto the Halo system. By synchronising multiple feeds of information, from security checks and CCTV to body cams and other key communications it Improves decision-making and enables faster response times to incidents, especially in critical events such as university lockdowns or emergencies.  

Halo is keen to point out that its safety and security technology is central to ensuring the safety of students, staff and property. 

Lloyd Major added:

“Halo has public safety and security at its core, so that when a dynamic and fast-moving incident occurs it can be managed quickly and effectively with the safety of staff and students first and foremost. The protection of property, buildings,  infrastructure and facilities is exactly what Halo is designed to do at its core. 

We designed Halo as a software technology that would be easy to use and able to integrate into existing systems to help protect everyone. By providing real-time information and merging multiple sources of data and intelligence, it enables faster decision-making to help mitigate risks. Now more than ever, universities face a growing number of risks that threaten student and staff safety. Protestor activity, increased theft, violence and robbery, the safety of women  on campuses, extremism and terrorism are all very real threats.”  

The safety of women on university campuses, along with increasing crime rates, has also become a major concern for students and a major priority for universities across the UK. Violent or sexual crime in all city regions where university campuses are located has become one of the highest prevailing crime statistics, followed by robbery and burglary and theft from a person. 

It is estimated that a third of UK students become a victim of crime – mainly burglary or theft – with around 20% of those crimes taking place in the first six weeks of their time at university. Students with laptops, smart devices and phones are all at risk from petty criminals who target campuses.  

Lois Warner, a former volunteer police officer and now BD Manager and University Lead for Halo Solutions, said:

“As a former volunteer police officer and graduate of Nottingham Trent University, I am passionate about women’s safety and security – and in particular on university campuses having seen the problems first hand from both sides. Halo provides a wide range of features to help tackle, mitigate and manage the various risks and issues that all students face but particularly women. We have recently introduced a self-reporting feature to the Halo system, which will allow for students to report crimes and incidents without the need to log into the system itself. This is a particularly valuable feature, allowing women to report crime, welfare and safety issues. Making university campuses safe spaces and places where women feel less vulnerable  is something I am particularly passionate about – and it’s a core part of the Halo mission.”

Halo Solutions has played a hugely important role in protecting people and keeping them safe at some of the biggest events on the planet, with major events around the world, including the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III, the Eurovision song contest, FIFA World Cup fan zones in Qatar, the Miami F1 Grand Prix, Silverstone’s British Grand Prix and Moto GP – to mention just a handful. It has also protected fans at some of the UK’s biggest entertainment events, from Notting Hill Carnival and Glastonbury to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and the state funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

The safety and security technology has also been deployed at The NEC in Birmingham, ExCeL London, Motorpoint Arena Nottingham and ACC Liverpool as well as a range of Sports Stadia and Transport hubs to keep millions of people safe daily. The Halo crowd safety platform has also played a major role in protecting the public across major rail transport infrastructure and train stations across the UK.

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