Is There A Better Way To Protect Cities From Terrorism?

080304-N-8546L-173 ATLANTIC OCEAN (Mar. 4, 2008) Marine Lance Cpl. Stevenson Jake from the 3rd Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST), 1st Platoon, leads a four-man fire team in urban combat maneuvers on the main deck of the amphibious command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19). The FAST team is embarked providing security for U.S. 7th Fleet Staff personnel participating in multi-national exercise Key Resolve/Foal Eagle U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Peter D. Lawlor (Released)

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A new report highlights the essential role of counter-terrorism technologies used by diverse partnerships formed across all levels of security services, from international agencies to local law enforcement, when dealing with terrorist threats to European cities. Tactical Approach to Counter Terrorists in Cities (TACTICS), a project funded by the European Commission, aims to create a more effective counter-terrorism system to be used in urban areas across European countries. The project was commissioned in light of the increased threat of terrorism in European cities.

As as part of the project, according to Homeland Security News Wire, RAND Europe developed and tested a credible terrorist scenario to assess different approaches to the detection, assessment and response to terrorist threats in cities. Eight case studies, focusing on different technology applications in the field of counter-terrorism or public security, were analyzed to extract lessons from previous technology deployments and to provide policy recommendations for the future development and implementation of counter-terrorist technologies.

RAND Europe’s five counter-terrorism policy recommendations based on the analysis:

  1. Deploy appropriate counter-terrorism technologies that enhance decision making, but pay attention to the evolving technology landscape.
  2. Establish partnerships with all levels of national government, law enforcement agencies, private sector security companies and local authorities, while also collaborating with international partners and allies.
  3. Where possible, engage with the public, the media and local communities when deploying new counter-terrorism technologies, such as surveillance systems.
  4. Carefully consider the extent to which data collection and data sharing during a counter-terrorism operation are proportionate, necessary and justified.
  5. Identify and address any potential privacy issues as early as possible before introducing new counter-terrorism technologies.

The TACTICS project team has developed a technology-ready concept that could support counter-terrorism operations across European countries. This could be integrated easily into existing organisational, operational and technological processes for counter-terrorism.

RAND notes that alongside this technology-ready concept, a strategy has been developed to include a guide to deploying counter-terrorism technologies and a checklist to help European countries make an informed decision as to whether or not the TACTICS counter-terrorism system would be appropriate for them.