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Halo drone technology deployed to combat protestor threats

Halo Solutions is to deploy its live streaming drone technology Halo Stream to help combat protestor activity at major sporting events over the coming months.

It comes as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Home Secretary Suella Braverman and the Sports Minister Lucy Frazer are to hold talks with senior sporting leaders, event organisers and the Police in an attempt to head off disruptive protests by groups such as Just Stop Oil and Animal Rising and to stop them from ‘ruining events’ at other sporting events over the summer.

The Halo Drone and Stream technology has been deployed to a recent series of major sporting and cultural events to monitor protestor activity, persons of interest, ticket touts and crowd safety. Using live streaming technology to the Halo (v5) incident and threat management system is a major enhancement to its capability and provides a vital link for building intelligence, surveillance, combatting environmental and animal rights protestor activity at major sporting events and assisting in counter terrorism surveillance and reconnaissance.

Some of the biggest sporting events in the UK have been targeted recently in a spate of attacks by a number of well organised and resourced protest groups. Major events including the Ashes 2nd Test Match at Lord’s Cricket Ground, the Grand National, the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final, the Scottish Grand National and Epsom Races have all been targeted, causing mass disruption and putting the safety of crowds and those participating at risk.

Live Stream Drone Footage Monitoring Protestor Activity & Crowd Safety
Live Stream Drone Footage Monitoring Protestor Activity & Crowd Safety

The Halo Drone and Stream system will also give vital frontline “eye-in-the-sky” support to counter terrorism, security and safety strategies at major sporting events, according to Halo Solutions founder Lloyd Major, a crowd safety expert and former National Counter Terrorism Unit Specialist Tactical Support Officer.

“With the marked increase of threats from protestor and activist attacks at major sporting events, the safety and security of crowds and event stakeholders has never been more important. We have also seen increased terror threat levels domestically and overseas with a number of terrorist organisations and training camps active in Afghanistan. It is well known that Afghanistan has now become a safe space and haven for terrorist groups to train, operate and mount attacks against the West alongside other global geopolitical unrest.

The integration of live video streaming from sources like drones, CCTV, body-worn video and mobile phones to our existing Halo (v5) incident and threat management platform really does play a significant role in countering protestor activity, identifying persons of interest and playing a proactive role in crowd safety and counter terrorism strategies. Combined with previous and existing event intelligence, we can provide proactive surveillance and reconnaissance direct to the control room.”

The Halo (v5) live stream drone technology was recently deployed to three successive major events: the Reading Half Marathon, the Ashes series at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, and Flavours of Fingal, one of Ireland’s largest county shows attended by over 80,000 people.

At the world-renowned Ashes Test Series in Birmingham – which passed peacefully without any protestor incident thanks to the Halo System - the Halo drone, its pilots and the Halo integrated threat management platform were deployed to form a unique turnkey security and intelligence operation, working closely with Edgbaston Cricket Ground’s major event security and intelligence centre. The Halo (v5) drone streaming technology was able to tag and track multiple persons of interest including protestors and capture footage commanded by operators on the ground – whilst live streaming into the command-and-control post in the operation rooms at the same time.

Halo’s innovative tech platform provides operations’ control rooms and security teams with the ability to track and monitor every range of security threat, crowd safety and the overall safety of an event, proactively identifying potential threats from protestors, extremists and terrorist threats. With the new Halo Drone Stream and in-house pilots, the solution can be rapidly deployed to an event to provide continuous live stream footage directly into the Halo incident and threat management platform. This means event operations and security teams can monitor, assess and react to persons acting suspiciously, crowd tension, security threats or a protest group planning an attack, based on real-time, live information.

Whilst the use of drones at major events is not new, we have seen them deployed sparsely at football matches and music festivals, often solely for marketing purposes, but not as a routine fixture for surveillance at major sporting events. The pre-existing technology for drones streaming live footage into a control room is patchy and insecure at best ­– providing a disjointed approach to making the right decisions.

Drone pilots on the ground often must download and reshare footage after the fact, meaning there has not been a coherent and synchronised platform to join up all the dots and to provide the real-time information needed to make critical decisions at the right time. In the event of a major terrorist attack, such as the Manchester Arena bombing, the streaming of live information would have played a critical role in decision making on that day and potentially could have helped save lives, by scouting and clearing the area faster and reducing the wait time to enter the ‘hot zone’ and treat casualties. Halo links all these inputs and outputs together directly into the control room, evidentially secured and simultaneously encrypted. This includes our new wearable tech streaming hardware for the pilots and all-in-one remote wireless ultra-fast connection, allowing total freedom for remote use and real-time streaming from any location.

David Clarke, Major Event Safety Officer to Warwickshire County Cricket Club, which staged the First Test of the 2023 Ashes Series, said: “Using the Halo Drone Stream platform to bring live footage directly into Edgbaston's major event control at the Ashes Test brought a new dynamic to safely managing Zone X. The system’s real-time capabilities meant we could dynamically monitor for protestor activity, touts and persons of interest, as well as gaining oversight on crowd flows and key junctions surrounding the stadium for the biggest occasion of the year. This brought real-time insights and intelligence to decision-makers in our control room, and the fact that we can instantly tag footage as evidence directly onto incidents in the Halo system is a game-changer for our reporting to keep our crowds and venue safe at every event we host.”

Edgbaston chose to deploy Halo’s Drone Stream at the First Test of the Ashes series to proactively monitor the showpiece event in their cricketing calendar, as a high-value target for protestor groups and heightened threats as we saw with the pitch invasion at Lord’s Cricket Ground for the 2nd Ashes Test series. Halo’s drones patrolled the skies across the iconic Birmingham sports ground as the England-Australia test match took place, where it could provide overwatch for known or unknown persons of interest, ticket touts and protestors, protect the crowds of cricket fans and staff in attendance at the event. All told, several persons of interest, a known protestor and six ticket touts were identified, tracked and streamed back into the Halo System in the control room at Edgbaston.

The Halo (v5) threat management platform with drone capability and pilot means we can:

  • Deploy to proactively target and identify activist groups and protestors.

  • Give operations and event security the ability to identify a problem before it happens.

  • Monitor crowd density and measure tension to avoid serious crowd control or safety issues.

  • Actively provide reconnaissance and tracking on suspicious vehicles and persons of interest in counter terrorism surveillance.

  • Deploy as part of an active counter-terrorism strategy to monitor and track suspicious vehicles, persons of interest and unattended packages from safe distances.

  • Tag footage into incident reports for full and comprehensive intelligence gathering.

  • Monitor and identify ticket touts and banned persons.

Lloyd Major CEO of Halo Solutions added: “With Halo, we have created the only seamless incident and threat management platform that can ingest multiple live streams of footage from any source: drone, bodycam footage, CCTV and mobile. The technology synchronises and connects the pilot operator on the ground to control with the highest quality live stream footage that is completely targeted to the biggest threats currently presented. This seamless flow of information allows serious and – in some cases – life-altering decisions to be taken much quicker, with intelligence and critical decision-making governed by real time information. This is a vitally important aspect to assist a control room to help prevent protestor activity, a major crowd safety issue, or to help prevent the very real threat of a terrorist attack.”

Deploying Halo Drone with a designated drone pilot and live stream of footage into Halo’s threat management system offers a full turnkey operation in safety and security of major events, leading the way in intelligence gathering of threats from persons of interest, protestors and counter terrorism monitoring. The technology allows event organisers and security to monitor ingress and egress of crowds to ensure that correct, safe flows are in progress. This is particularly important cross-referenced with crowd tension indicators for quick interventions before crowd issues escalate. From a proactive intelligence position, the tech can monitor in daylight or at night in infra-red and can also tag individuals and/or vehicles and use AI to track them across the site’s field of operation and beyond where necessary.

The Halo (v5) platform is already being deployed to protect the public at some of the world’s largest, most prestigious, and high-profile events, including the FIFA World Cup Fan Zones in Qatar (2022), Cricket World Cup (2019), the Formula 1 Aramco British Grand Prix, Notting Hill Carnival, Glastonbury Festivaland Eurovision 2023. It is also being used year-round at a number of arenas and conference venues across the UK, including The NEC Group, Motorpoint Arena, M&S Bank Arena and ExCeL London. The Halo System is used extensively at football, rugby and cricket stadiums, including Chelsea FC, West Bromwich Albion, Mansfield Town, Watford FC and Premiership Rugby clubs Harlequins and Leicester Tigers.

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