During the period from 25th May until 7th June 2021 the five partner municipalities of the project hosted their local demonstration events of the technological solutions whose providers were invited accordingly as part of the preceding Request for Information (RFI) process. Despite the ongoing covid 19-mposed restrictions, the municipalities of Larissa, Brasov, Malaga, Eindhoven, Vilnius successfully organized a series of solution demos, that in many cases were delivered using a hybrid approach (remote streaming of limited physical demos), triggering interesting discussion and leading stakeholders to useful conclusions as to current market maturity for addressing their security concerns for protecting public spaces of interest. In this context, demonstrations were mostly staged on the basis of hypothetical operational scenarios selected by each city that in turn encompassed specifically selected threat dimensions such as:
- Vehicle attack: During which a terrorist could use a car in order to approach the crowded area and ram into the pedestrians.
- Knife attack: A terrorist could use a knife, weapon which can be rather easily carried around without being noticed by the specialized security forces patrolling in the surrounding areas.
- An improvised explosive device (IED): Could be carried on (by designated attackers and concealed in backpacks, bags or laptops) transported with the vehicle in order to inflict casualties. Other scenarios could include the use of drones, which are becoming more popular and easier to purchase, representing a real threat nowadays as they are able to deliver all sort of dangerous substances and devices.
- Firearms attack: a terrorist approaching the crowd and start shooting randomly.
During the events, several types of technological solutions (as indicatively listed below) have demonstrated a high capacity in facilitating local governments and security stakeholders for addressing a potential crisis throughout the phases of its management (1. Preparedness, 2. Response & 3. Mitigation). More specifically, focusing on different security aspects such as threat/ incident detection, threat deterrence, operational preparation, planning and management, physical protection, and threat response, they addressed the relevant end user needs in combinatorial manner.
- Surveillance / Detection
- Situational Awareness Platforms
- Physical Access Control Systems (Bollards – Screening Gates)
- Open-source intelligence (OSINT) analysis platforms
- Sensors (Acoustic, CBRN)
- Virtually Reality Training platforms
- Anti-Drone Systems
However, the level of their applicability in any given situation is considered to be highly dependent on the phase of a crisis they refer to. For example, a physical access control system is primarily focused (with indisputable benefits) on the preparedness phase of the wider crisis management cycle. Considering the above, demonstrated solutions have been examined by the municipal personnel contemplating issues (among others such as a) ease of use, b) training requirements, c) existing hardware infrastructure requirements and d) required time for operational rollout.
Finally, results suggested a wide spectrum of capabilities being offered by each solution in their distinct operational fields, including a significant parameterization capacity for further improving the achieved “performance curve”. In this context flexibility and adaptability of certain solutions to the particularities stemming from the operational environment of each local government, has been highly appreciated by end-users along with the ease-of-use dimension. In addition, it has been shown that, the successful / efficient exploitation of a technical solution against a given problem, needs to be primarily investigated against a highly accurate problem statement that outlines the operational requirements that need to be met.
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