A New Paradigm for Security Operations

A new Safer City initiative combines security operations and systems for more effective policing in complex environments.

The policing and security landscape is increasingly complex, unpredictable, and interconnected. Police and security organizations are required to operate in turbulent environments with unexpected events, uncertainty and lack of control, complex decision making, group inter-dependencies, and growing demands for efficiency and high performance across work boundaries that are often unclear.

Policing with this kind of complexity requires enhanced capabilities for counterterrorism and protective security, including tightened controls at ports, airports, and borders.

A holistic approach is necessary to address a long list of issues:

  • Serious and organized crime
  • Counterterrorism and extremism
  • Protection for the vulnerable in society
  • Impact of global instability and conflicts (for example, the current refugee migration crisis)
  • Business continuity and emergency response management
  • Major public safety incidents and events
  • Policing of critical infrastructure

Safer City Initiatives

Police systems require greater integration to deliver more sophisticated and effective public services. Sorely needed are programs that modernize police systems with more flexible resources for today’s dynamic and complex policing environment. ICT infrastructure with multi-channel demand management capabilities, policies, and processes must be aligned with staff capabilities to ensure support for converging operational requirements as they evolve. In short, effective policing systems need:

  • To better understand policing and security demands and prepare police to respond more effectively to these demands
  • Better data communication, voice communication, and coordination across security and partner agencies
  • More proactive monitoring of security targets and management of emerging threats
  • Better management of planned and spontaneous events
  • Greater community engagement to develop trust and a community services ethos within security organizations
  • Integrated information and intelligence to ensure that decisions follow established priorities and that the most appropriate resources are allocated in response to calls for assistance and emerging intelligence
  • Efficient and effective policing to deliver the most value for the investment

C3iStar Platform

The overall aim of the Safe City Command, Control, Communication, Intelligence, Surveillance, Threat Assessment and Response (C3iStar) program is twofold:

  • To modernize infrastructure, systems, and capabilities and enable police and other security and public safety agencies to proactively manage security situations
  • To facilitate a professional response to security incidents through more preventive and mission-focused deployment of resources

The C3iStar platform provides an integrated suite of technologies and infrastructure, along with an innovative Concept of Operations (ConOps), quality-focused processes, and staff capabilities for real-time information and intelligence via a multimedia trunking platform to help field commanders make evidence-based decisions in critical operations; and for better situational awareness through advanced analytics and relational databases.

The Intelligent Video Management System (IVS) and integrated command platform ensure that informed decisions are made regarding priority and the efficient allocation of resources in response to calls for assistance.

The collection of information and intelligence within police and security agencies and the ability to share this data with external agencies ensure seamless service delivery to the public and a timely, effective response. Additional capabilities include:

  • Flexible operations systems that can evolve and expand with changing needs
  • Increased capacity that accommodates expected future growth
  • A consolidated operations model that optimizes cross-agency coordination and communication, as well as effective public safety and emergency services delivery

A New Paradigm

The Safe City C3iStar solution provides a converged multi-agency platform for police and other emergency services, traffic patrol, anti-terror units, intelligence agencies, protection units, local authorities, private sector organizations, and community groups.

This solution builds an integrated network of sensors and communication platforms that enable all public safety, law enforcement, and related agencies to access context-specific intelligence for managing real-time events and delivering seamless service delivery to the public. This capability permeates the whole organization, creating a ‘networked’ operating model that connects all organizational components and assets and, where possible, relevant components of partner agencies. The C3iStar solution also integrates knowledge with decision support tools and a system of services and deployments within a wider command and control environment.

The converged platform addresses both the demand management and resource management functions within policing and security organizations. Central to its operation is the Decision Support and Intervention Platform, which is underpinned by context-specific intelligence. This intelligence is made available to the appropriate personnel at all levels, enabling timely and effective decisions for countering criminals, terrorists, and subversives.

Enhanced operational awareness allows officers and staff to see and understand current, predicted, and emerging security needs as if looking through a threat-risk prevention and reduction ‘lens.’ The system tracks all available and potentially available resources including by location, skills, capability, and availability. This allows the police force to deploy and allocate people and other resources intelligently, according to set guidelines for potential risks and outcome priorities.

The Safe City C3iStar platform ensures that officers have the context and situational awareness necessary to manage events as they unfold. For example, an officer dispatched to a domestic disturbance may be automatically updated about previous incidents at that address, current intelligence pertaining to the residents, including vulnerable individuals, or any other potential threats, such as a firearms license, held in police data systems.

Similarly, officers may use secure handheld terminals with location services and augmented reality technology to help them identify policing tasks. For example, a patrolling officer who enters a given location or area is automatically alerted or reminded that a suspect lives nearby and is on bail for a serious crime and has a curfew. This scenario would permit the officer or supervisor to consider visiting the address to ensure the curfew is being observed.

The decision support platform draws data, information, and intelligence from collection systems and integrates the data to create key operational and business knowledge products driven by strategic and tactical priorities. This capability, when linked to an appropriate task management system, creates a quantum leap forward in productivity and effectiveness by empowering officers and staff at all levels to make more informed decisions about services, interventions, and resources. All this occurs within a framework of discretion that encourages proportionate, preventive interventions.

Multimedia Mobile Platform

An integrated, resilient, and secure mobile multimedia information infrastructure improves police resource efficiency and officer safety outcomes through better decision support, as well as enhanced intelligence and information for patrol officers, supervisors, and management. Police mobility requirements, however, are not just about rolling out mobile infrastructure or multimedia mobile devices. These technologies need to be aligned with new operating models and processes that transform the organization, along with clearly defined benefits and roles to improve efficiency and reduce bureaucracy.

Transforming the Organization

A major cause of project failure in new deployments is underestimating the activities needed to transform the organization. Getting the ‘human dimension’ right ensures that policing organizations are primed to benefit from the technology changes and investment. As more police forces and security agencies around the world move toward technology- and knowledge-enabled operations, they must also address important human-factors issues as part of the overall project.

Staff Development

In the new Safe City operations model, staff must be trained so they can perform with skilfulness, confidence, and empowerment. This means investing in staff development to help them adjust to new technologies and acquire the knowledge, skills, and capabilities to succeed in the new environment. They must have clearly defined roles and responsibilities, including the authority to make discretionary decisions that maximize effectiveness.

Operations Alignment

There is little value in having cutting-edge technology if the roles, performance measures, and  employee reward and promotion systems encourage the wrong behaviours. Leadership teams need to be aligned with the transformation and engaged in driving behaviours and practices that mobilize staff to embrace new ways of working.

Alignment between the organizational and individual performance management systems is essential for having individual police officers and staff members see how their performance goals fit in with the broader targets of the organization. This ensures that the right outcomes and behaviours are recognized and rewarded.

Concept of Operations

Operations models should be reviewed and updated to optimize cross-agency coordination, communication, and effectiveness in public safety and emergency services. With Safe City infrastructure, policing operations can progress to become more proactive and prevention-based via enhanced access to information and intelligence.

Far too often technology is used to perpetuate outdated operational models that result in few actual benefits being realized from a new investment. The digitalization concept dynamically manages tasking, briefing, and debriefing against threats, risks, and demands, and continually collects information to monitor and evaluate strategy, tactics, and performance outcomes to identify the gaps between projected and actual results.

Building Leadership

Leadership at all levels of each organization must commit to the implementation of Safe City best practices through both words and actions. The ability to change within a changing environment is problematic if and when ‘leadership’ exercised only by the most senior officers and staff. The development of leadership skills is beneficial for everyone within the organization, because staff members empowered to think out-of-the-box and act creatively will most often deliver the best results.

Maintaining leadership support involves making sense of each situation and providing explanations ways that are meaningful to operations personnel and stakeholders within the police force. The end result promotes a deeper understanding of the underlying reasons for change and reinforces appropriate actions. Solid leadership enables large organizations to move forward with a shared vision and commitment to meet every challenge with the highest levels of professionalism and integrity.

By Dr. Amanat Hussain, Chief Operating Officer, BGS Ltd.