Public spaces are places of exchange, culture, commerce, leisure and political expression… Because of their open nature, their high level of frequentation and their symbolic dimension, they can be subjected to several threats, terrorism being one of them. The protection of public spaces is a complex challenge for local and regional authorities. As stated by the European Commission in the Action Plan to support the protection of public spaces, besides Member States, “local and regional authorities are also important stakeholders in the protection of public space”.
A project to strengthen local and regional authorities’ capabilities in the protection public spaces
In this context, PRoTECT – a project co-funded by the European Union’s ISFP programme – aims to strengthen local and regional authorities’ capabilities in the protection of areas in public space that could potentially be soft targets for terrorism. Soft Targets are locations that are easily accessible to large numbers of people and have limited security or protective measures in place, making them vulnerable to an attack, for instance: sports venues, shopping venues, schools, and transportation systems. By applying an overarching concept where tools, technology, training and field demonstrations will lead to enhanced situational awareness and improvement of a direct response before, during and after a terrorist attack, the PRoTECT project seeks to ultimately strengthen security in public spaces.
In order to promote the exchange of experiences, Efus, in the framework of PRoTECT, is launching a series of web conferences on the protection of public spaces and soft targets. The aim of these online sessions is to discuss and raise awareness of the role of local and regional authorities in the protection of public spaces, as well as to propose tools to prevent these types of risks.
A series of webconferences
Vulnerability assessment of a potential target : How can local authorities make informed decisions on the necessary security provisions for public spaces?
> 17th February 2021-2:00 pm CET
Assessing risks and vulnerabilities against a terrorist threat has become a necessary step in the security management cycle for actors in charge of security. Gaining better knowledge on site vulnerabilities can facilitate making informed decisions on the measures to adopt in order to offer safer public spaces.
This session will present the vulnerability assessment tool produced by the Protect project and the role of local and regional authorities. Who should be in charge of conducting a vulnerability assessment? Which actors need to be involved? What information is key to analyse and how to analyse it? What tools can facilitate the analysis? What challenges might arise for local security actors?
- Radoslaw Olszewski, DG HOME – Terrorism and Radicalisation unit/Protection sector, European Commission
EU Vulnerability Assessment Checklist for Public and Security Authorities developed by DG Home as part of the European Commission’s efforts to support Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) in the protection of public spaces.
- Tatiana Morales & Pilar De La Torre, Programme Managers Efus
The PRoTECT Vulnerability Assessment Manual to strengthen municipal staff’s ability by putting in place an overarching concept where tools, technology, training and field demonstrations lead to situational awareness and to an improvement of direct responses to protect public places before, during and after a terrorist threat.
- Anita Schilling, Technical Project Leader at DIGINEXT
Virtual Reality mock-ups of real-world spaces to facilitate the vulnerability assessment of public spaces – STEPWISE Project
What considerations should cities take into account when considering the adoption of technologies to protect public spaces?
> 17th March 2021- 2:00 pm CET
Given the current context of terrorist threat, cities are seeking to protect their public spaces by acquiring technological solutions, however, oftentimes they are confronted with an overwhelming market of technologies that proposes a significant number of solutions.
This session will discuss the challenges local authorities face when they acquire new technologies. How to evaluate technologies for the protection of public spaces? What are the needs of cities when choosing a technology? What information needs to be gathered about existing solutions in the market? What criteria for the evaluation need to be defined?
- Graeme van Voorthuijsen, Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO)
PRoTECT Technology Evaluation Framework (TEF) and its application.
- Peter van de Crommert, Manager EU Projects, Dutch Institute for Technology, Safety & Security (DITSS)
Eindhoven experience of using the TEF to select the technological solutions that meet the needs of a Public Space of Interest.
- Webconference report
- PRoTECT RFI Evaluation workshop, city of Eindhoven by Peter van de Crommert, DITSS.
How can technology protect public spaces and soft urban targets?
> 28th April 2021- 2:00 pm CET
New technologies offer opportunities to better protect public spaces. These include ICT (for communicating, storing, analysing and protecting information), Sensors (for detection, identification, localisation, tracking), Actuators (for warning, intercepting, eliminating), Physical (for controlling access, impeding an attack, protective materials), etc.
This session will discuss the existing technologies as well as the opportunities and challenges that local authorities face when they decide to adopt them. What are the most widely used technologies for the protection of public spaces? What type of risks do these technologies address? What is the objective of these technologies (prevention, facilitating intervention, etc)?
> contact : Pilar de la Torre, Programme manager