Ben Smith, Clearspeed SVP International Markets meets with Martin Dubbey, Managing Director of global investigative firm Harod Associates, to discuss top risk management challenges for security and policing organizations today, and why the combination of sophisticated technology and human expertise is a powerful solution.

With government and security organizations fraught with the challenges that arise from large-scale human problems where there’s an element of fraud or risk – be it volume, speed, unethical practices – there has never been a greater need – or opportunity – to drive large-scale transformation.


Ben Smith: What would you say are some of the biggest challenges security and policing organizations are facing when it comes to risk and insider threat broadly?

Martin Dubbey: This question brings up many issues that need addressing, both domestic and international. Immigration is a huge challenge and a hot topic. Cyber security, of course, and traditional security threats like terrorism persist. Let me focus on two that I think are the most pressing in the UK: immigration, and the vetting and screening of police.

With the immigration system, we are seeing a combination of irregular arrivals, long waiting times, exploitation of the system, and a growing backlog of cases. This not only has a negative impact on applicant well-being, but it’s also expensive to support asylum-seekers who are awaiting a decision. We have seen proposed solutions to make the system harsher or focus on controlling the numbers. What is vital is that we curb abuse of the system and better support and protect those who are genuinely in need of asylum by finding ways to improve the efficacy and fairness of the system.

On the vetting of police, the UK has seen several scandals related to predatory behaviour and defective vetting processes. This issue is really about looking inward. As recently as November of last year, the UK’s Home Affairs Committee published a report urging for changes in officer recruitment, vetting, and disciplinary processes. It’s a top priority to make sure the right people are in these positions because of declining public confidence in the police. Risk from vetting failures can’t be overstated. A consistent approach and continuous vetting needs to be part of police culture to rebuild public trust and public confidence.


Ben Smith: There will always be physical threats, and offenders who may abuse a position of power. How then, do we protect the public?

Martin Dubbey: The solution isn’t necessarily about preventing those acts from happening, full-stop. But it is about not enabling bad actors, and keeping them out of organisations where they could be in positions of power and do far more damage. Restoring and strengthening organisational trust comes from driving trust and fairness through a consistent system and set of processes.


Ben Smith: How does Harod’s work, and the work Harod is doing with Clearspeed, address these pressing issues?

Martin Dubbey: As a company of former law enforcement, customs officers, and investigators, we at Harod specialise in vetting and investigation services. A key factor in making a fair assessment is to understand the real and potential risks of an individual and to identify any mitigating action that should be undertaken to lower those risks. This makes the due diligence process not only more comprehensive but also more open and transparent.

There is a need to accelerate, enhance, and improve the quality of the due diligence and risk assessment process. A combination of technology and human insight lets us move through these processes faster.

Clearspeed’s AI-enabled voice analytics is an excellent means of assessing risk quickly and accurately, with its simple questionnaires that deliver unbiased risk alerts based on vocal characteristics. Clearspeed is now embedded in Harod’s full range of enhanced due diligence, sport integrity, and vetting activity, providing practical, cost-effective support to these use cases.


Ben Smith: This dovetails nicely into perhaps the most vital part of a conversation about change. We are seeing more dramatic changes in government organisations adopting technology to combat crime, as broad adoption of AI and machine learning continues to grow. What should security and policing organisations be prioritising from a technology perspective?

Martin Dubbey: Collectively, we should seize the opportunity to move away from outdated and ineffective technology. What’s needed are new systems – including AI-enabled systems – that address the root cause and boast high accuracy. Stakeholders should examine the relevant technology that’s now available across the industry. New digital capabilities should allow for speed, consistency, and lack of bias if we are looking to improve the quality, number, and speed of personnel searches while reducing the risk inherent in vetting processes. This will drive organisational integrity broadly, and allow for a culture and processes that can accommodate continuous vetting and screening without additional burden.


Ben Smith: That’s a point worth repeating: in examining your potential technology solutions, a critical step in the process is to either validate them in rigorous circumstances, or consider those that have already been validated. As a closing thought, I’d say collectively, security and policing organisations have a duty – a moral imperative, even – to forge new pathways that better alleviate our large-scale humanitarian challenges.

Martin Dubbey: Quite so. The challenges in security and policing are complex, with a massive impact on public trust and the ability to do good. It’s absolutely vital to know who you’re dealing with, and hold those people to a standard.



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