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Securing public events against terrorist attacks and other threats via the innovative integration of diverse technologies

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Large-scale and public events are increasingly a potential target for terrorist attacks. Yet securing such events is no easy task: it demands pervasive situational awareness and the knitting together of diverse kinds of equipment and the streams of data and information they generate.

One recently concluded research project funded by the EU tackled this challenge by designing a system to integrate different sensor information feeds in order to produce a common operational picture during large-scale events. It also studied security procedures currently used across Europe in order to better frame future European standard operating procedures.

Entitled “Integrated Mobile Security Kit” (IMSK), the project began its research in March 2009 on the optimal way to combine technologies for area surveillance, checkpoint control and the detection of CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, explosive) threats.

The technologies’ sensor data was fed into a single information platform via a secure communication module and then fused to create a common picture which could be rapidly distributed at event sites such as hotels, sport or festival arenas and other venues which temporarily need enhanced security. The IMSK team also developed sensors for CBRNE detection, 3D face recognition and the detection of hidden weapons via passive THz technology.

At the heart of all this is IMSK’s command and control sub-system (C2), which allows authorities in charge of an event’s security to monitor the site and its activity.. The “position” of any threats can be continuously updated as well as the location of security forces.

“Knowledge fusion gives a greater level of intelligence,” says the IMSK team, whose project concluded its research in February 2013.

Through the use of its security modules, IMSK argues that its technology could increase the volume of visitors moving through security checks or better identify risks or developing security threats, which also allow for a reduction in the number of security personnel required. Morever, the IMSK can be used to quickly react to "ordinary” violence" at sporting events such as hooliganism during football games.

IMSK was funded under the EU’s Seventh Framework Research Programme. Its coordinator was Saab A.B and its overall budget was EUR 23.5 million of which the European Commission provided EUR 14.9 million.

For more information about IMSK, see its project website at:  http://www.imsk.eu/imskintro/imskintro.html

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