Lift the cloak around a discreet trade exhibition on high-tech security equipment in a Paris suburb and you will find a dagger -- and much more besides. The four-day exhibit, closed to the general public, is called Milipol 85, an acronym for police, civil, and military security equipment. In a closely-guarded hall, more than 160 companies from Europe and North America display their latest specialized wares. The array of surveillance and explosive devices rivals a James Bond film. Last year's display attracted almost 2,000 visitors from 40 countries and organizers say business is increasing steadily.
The most luxurious exhibit is a Rolls-Royce Silver Sprite -- with armor-plated windows and a ceramic steel body guaranteed to stop automatic weapons' fire at a range of 10 yards.
But the focus of attention is moving toward less violent goods. ``There appears to be a growing interest in passive surveillance and counterintelligence systems,'' says Milipol vice president Andr'e Brignone. However, an element of mystery remains. Daniel Henrion, an executive in the ``New Technologies'' division of a French company, said ``Not all of our products are on display.''
``There are some we can't talk about, I mean for intervention by special security forces. One must retain the element of surprise . . .''