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SHIELD4CROWD’s Activities to Improve Safety in Public Spaces

December 14, 2023
Summary of the 2nd face-to-face SHIELD4CROWD meeting
Public spaces can be the target of serious threats, such as terrorist attacks. That’s why the European Union is taking actions to protect them. One of the ways to maintain security are the EU-funded projects, such as SHIELD4CROWD.

One of the core objectives of the project is to identify pertinent common security needs challenge in the area of crowd management in order to improve safety in public spaces. The end users gathered in the project either as partners or User Observatory Group (UOG) members are actors in charge of efficient public spaces protection operations. They are actively engaged in the collection of the end users’ needs and challenges concerning the topic since the beginning of the project.

The SHIELD4CROWD “security processes” workshop that took place in Paris on September 7 and 8, 2023 was the initial step to understanding the ecosystem by collecting and clustering existing data, information, and knowledge available for procurement of innovation in the public sector protection domain. The aim of this workshop was to identify common threats and security processes related to crowd management in European cities to be assessed in the project; illustrate common situations to tackle regarding crowd management stakes and; prioritise topics (threats, vulnerabilities, needs etc.) to address through the SHIELD4CROWD project.

The participants proposed an exhaustive list of threats with illustrations, which were then prioritised with a vote, resulting in a top 5 list of priority threats:

  • Threat 1: Crowd panic
  • Threat 2: Urban riot
  • Threat 3: Bomb alert (False or positive)
  • Threat 4: Attack by unmanned aerial vehicles or unmanned ground vehicle (UAV/ UGV)
  • Threat 5: Climate event

Additionally, medium-priority threats were identified. These have not been selected for the next phase of work on the security processes related to the top priority threat aspect but were considered for defining the 10 use cases. The concerned threats are:

  • Threat 1: Strikes
  • Threat 2: Cyber-attack
  • Threat 3: Terrorist attack

The workshop also allowed identifying the first common needs and new technologies that can help to tackle the identified threats and vulnerabilities, with special focus on:

  • The need to have a digital twin of the environment and an AI solution which will allow to rapidly visualize and anticipate the potential crowd movements with simulations.
  • The need for the fastest possible means of identifying crowd activities using sensors, GPS data from phones, etc.
  • The need for an exchange of information between all actors, and therefore the potential creation of a temporary joint Operational Coordination Centre physical/virtual, with strong interoperability capacity.
  • The need to have access to information used/shared by all partners, to collect and conduct analyses in post investigation.

The ultimate purpose of the common work was to provide a clear and well-informed roadmap for the next steps of SHIELD4CROWD project. The list of threats served as a guidepost, helping project stakeholders focus their efforts on addressing the most critical topics.

In the next step, based on the security studies and analysis conducted during the “security processes” workshop in Paris, a template of the security use case has been elaborated to address the most important threats and events that can impact crowd management. Within this task, all partners and the UOG members proposed 3 scenarios each that were discussed during the “security use cases” workshop in Slovakia on October 11 and 12, 2023. The scenarios presented by the SHIELD4CROWD stakeholders were first prioritised in a vote and then converted into 10 common use cases taking into account the similarities between them. The final list can be found below:

  • Scenario 1 Coordinated bomb attack on public transport station related to important societal/sport events.
  • Scenario 2 CBRN attack on sport event.
  • Scenario 3 Bomb alert at shopping mall (place concentrating people).
  • Scenario 4 Panic on major sport event (over-crowded place).
  • Scenario 5 Public disorder due to the information of possible explosion on mass event.
  • Scenario 6 Attack (lone wolf) by bladed weapon in train and over-crowded place (train station).
  • Scenario 7 Shooting at the train station (over-crowded place).
  • Scenario 8 Urban riot within the over-crowded street(s).
  • Scenario 9 Crowd panic movement in the street.
  • Scenario 10 Suspicious package (suitcase) at a transportation hub.

Watch the video overview of the SHIELD4CROWD workshop in Slovakia:

These use cases are the starting point for identifying technologies and technology providers capable of developing innovative solutions that can address one or several of the scenarios. These 10 use cases will be further converged into 3 common security use cases by the project partners and UOGs during an online workshop on February 20, 2024.

The final outcome of SHIELD4CROWD will be identifying the critical threat and preparing an environment that allows contributors to complete a future pre-commercial procurement (PCP). A technology developed under a PCP process will be used to mitigate the major security-related risk.

SHIELD4CROWD has received funding from the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101121171
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SHIELD4CROWD has received funding from the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101121171
SHIELD4CROWD has received funding from the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101121171

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