Australasian Association of Threat Assessment Professionals


APATAP 2014 Annual Conference
26th to 28th November 2014, Brisbane, Queensland 

Conference Review by APATAP Vice-President 2014, Dr Lisa Warren

The fourth annual APATAP conference was well attended by a strong delegation representing mental health, policing, security, criminology and other corporate threat management professionals. This was our first conference away from Melbourne and sunny Brisbane did not disappoint. The views were spectacular on the 24th floor of the Microsoft offices, even when participants strained to hear Professor Geoff Dean enlighten us on countering violent extremism over the pelting hailstorm that raged outside and shook the windows to the point a break was needed to let the din subside. We were most appreciative when Professor Dean continued in more clement weather.

We enjoyed two days of excellent presentations as well as a highly informative expert seminar on Cybercrime from Detective Inspector Tim Thomas from the West Australian Police. As well as learning about jargon and technologies new to many in the group, we were treated to insights on the extent and prevention of online crime in Australia, which costs the community around $AUD338M per year. From hacking, to the use of social media by political groups to the posting of child pornography, the knowledge and experience of Detective Inspector Thomas in combating these issues made for a fascinating day.

Dr David James (Forensic Psychiatrist and founder of the Fixated Threat Assessment in London) and Mr Daniel Frost (Manager of the Global Workplace Security Programs at Walt Disney) provided our keynote addresses. Dr James described a new approach for responding to threatening communications and the development of the CTAP-25 (Communications Threat Assessment Protocol), which is a structured method of identifying concerning communications and managing the associated risks. Daniel Frost described threat management at the largest media company in the world, Disney. He spoke of the extraordinary extent of their operations given the size of the organisation and provided a case study of their work in action.

The presentations on Day 1 ranged from learning about gang stalking or mobbing by Dr Lorraine Sheridan to uses of background screening techniques in recruitment to aid in the prevention of workplace violence by Guy Underwood. Interesting discussions arose during the day on the use of data in the threat management process. Questions tossed around by presenters and the audience included the sourcing of data – how far do you need to search beyond what is provided by a referrer and the values and ethics of seeking open source information from the Internet about persons of concern and their targets.

Day 2 included a briefing from the American Bureau of Diplomatic Security, who provide security for the safe operations of U.S. foreign business and policy. Dr Laura Guy translated threat management practices for use with children and adolescents and the importance of understanding neuroplasticity and phases of development to assess risks in youth. The Queensland Police described the development of a Fixated Threat Assessment group in their ranks to aid the smooth running of a visit by members of the British Royal Family and the G20 summit.

The conference closed with a somewhat truncated AGM for APATAP members, necessitated by the need to shuffle the day after being interrupted by spectacular Brisbane weather. Our 2015 Committee was elected and preparations for the fifth annual APATAP conference began. We are delighted to say that this year’s conference will be held in Bangkok from the 1st to the 5th November. We hope you can join us and look forward to continuing our commitment to providing professional development and collaboration of threat assessment professionals in the Asia Pacific region and around the world. See you in Thailand in 2015.


Expert Seminar by Tim Thomas (Western Australia Police, Computer Crime Squad): Dealing with people in the online environment – challenges for policing

The online environment is a new societal and cultural paradigm which is global in scale. In order to comprehend the enormity of the phenomenon it is useful to conceptualise the online environment as a new city. A new city where citizens go to work, play games, socialise, make friendships and form groups with common interests. It is also a place where commerce thrives, businesses are setting up shop and governments are cautiously exploring. Fortunes are made, money changes hands and of course crimes are committed.

Policing must follow this migration, attending to our core functions of protecting life and property. To do this we must resolve a wide range of challenges, deploying everything from local police stations and community policing ventures to detectives and undercover policing services.This seminar has a very narrow focus, human interaction in the online environment as a policing challenge.

Detective Inspector Thomas is responsible for Technology Crime services in the Western Australia Police. This includes online policing and a whole of agency model for online policing. A founding member of the Computer Crime Squad in 1997 he will work through the current police online operations position, development needs, and a range of scenarios designed to explore the human interaction challenge at a variety of levels.

Scenarios will be based on real events and include an online suicide matter, identifying a serious offender and dealing with criminals. A key objective of the seminar is to demonstrate the restricted nature of online communications, which are predominantly text based, and the challenge this presents to establishing a person’s state of mind. Detective Inspector Thomas hopes to stimulate interest in the research potential of this area and the potential flow on benefits to the community and policing.

APATAP 2014 Annual Conference Program

The Asia Pacific Association of Threat Assessment Professionals committee is pleased to announce the program for the 4th annual APATAP conference. We kindly invite professionals doing research and working in the field of threat assessment and management to register for this exclusive event that will be held in sunny Brisbane, Australia. 

Download the program HERE.