Northern Ireland security firms try to steal march on rivals
Northern Ireland's security firms have been showing off their wares to some of the world's top police, fire and prison sector officials at an event in Titanic Belfast.
They're hoping to steal a bigger slice of the $500bn global security market and were out in force at a reception organised by Invest NI to coincide with the start of the World Police and Fire Games Global Leadership Conference.
Some of the companies, such as Belfast-based NI-CO, are building on Northern Ireland's reputation as a region of security expertise in intelligence, others, such as NK Fencing, have added a security arm to its established business, while the more obvious defence companies such as Thales were also in attendance.
Antrim-based Randox used the conference as a launch pad for its new bio-chip technology which allows police officers to quickly screen suspects for an array of banned substances in a short space of time.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster attended the reception.
"Local businesses and organisations are delivering a range of high quality security services around the world – from consultancy, intelligence gathering and training, through to forensic toxicology," she said.
"Several have developed cutting-edge products that are relied upon to assist and safeguard police and fire fighters working in dangerous and hostile environments worldwide.
These range from innovative biometric identity management solutions, best-in-class air defence systems, sophisticated geospatial data services, to hi-tech blast-proof glass and walls, and also high performance protective clothing.
The minster said Northern Ireland's security industry remains unique.
"Our security sector has particular strengths, in that it has been shaped by Northern Ireland's experiences of providing police, prison and firefighting services within a conflict and post-conflict society," she said.
"Out of that challenging history has come innovation and expertise that has been transformed into valuable resources that are now deployed around the world," she said.
Around 200 people attended the event which was held on Tuesday in Titanic Belfast.