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Innovation by Law Enforcement Agencies networking

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - ILEAnet (Innovation by Law Enforcement Agencies networking)

Reporting period: 2021-06-01 to 2022-05-31

The lack of Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) in security research has resulted in inadequate outputs not addressing LEAs’ needs and limited innovation uptake by security practitioners. LEAs should benefit from innovative solutions that help them fight crime efficiently, especially against increasingly sophisticated criminality using advanced technologies. Bridging the gap between LEAs and research and innovation (R&I), ILEAnet has responded to the ambitious H2020 objective of fostering more secure societies and protecting European citizens against new forms of insecurity.
ILEAnet has designed, tested and implemented tools and approaches, including a network of ILEAnet National Contacts (INCs), promoting the involvement of practitioners in R&I actions and encouraging the uptake and monitoring of project results. ILEAnet has also established and developed a network of LEAs, researchers, solution developers and, to a lesser extent, policy makers whose collaboration has been prompted by a dedicated secure online platform. A series of Public Workshops and webinars further acted as convening events to expand the ILEAnet network and community.
ILEAnet has focussed on 4 priority areas (migration, cybercrime, terrorism and organised crime), to which the cross-cutting theme of ways to facilitate the LEAs’ involvement in R&I has been added.
After 5 years of work, ILEAnet has met its objectives to tackle the twofold gap between LEAs and research, and between research outputs and their implementation into practice. The project has successfully developed a number of tools and processes to this end while taking care to ensure their sustainability.
The project has been structured around six work streams:
ILEAnet networking provided resources to INCs and collected inputs from them. Main achievements include the successful creation and facilitation of a network of INCs, whose role was essential in acting as relays for the ILEAnet project among colleagues and experts in their countries, and as experts themselves. Ways of facilitating an INC-type network informed several recommendations for sharing best practice and learning points with other projects. An initiative was also undertaken to see if and how the INC network could become, in whole or in part, a sustainable 'veteran hub' of clearly identified innovation contact points within LEAs.

Law Enforcement Challenges & Needs, responsible for capturing and structuring the challenges and needs faced by LEAs through desk reviews and surveys. Main achievements include an analysis of trends in challenges and needs of LEAs regarding illegal migration, organised crime, cybercrime, terrorism, financial investigations, as well as information sharing mechanisms among LEAs and human age assessment, comparing the latest results with previously gathered information.

ILEAnet Knowledge Factory identifying and posting-up security-related intel in a dedicated database, looking for research activities addressing LEAs’ needs and identifying potential solutions. Main achievements include the development of post-project sustainability for three ILEAnet assets.
- The ILEAnet Project Intake Process (IPIP) is an ILEAnet tool that covers the different stages of before, during and after a project and is fully compatible and complemented by the IPUP process.
- The ILEAnet Project Uptake Process (IPUP) is a tool designed to facilitate the interaction between the research community and security practitioners, with the goal of improving the uptake and exploitation of security research results. The subsequent development and publication of the IPUP How-To Guide is freely available online and can be used by any institution or agency interested in exploring how research and innovation can be used to support and improve effective policing. The document can be accessed from
- The ILEAnet Knowledge Factory (KF) was developed with the intention of providing a dynamic online repository of knowledge thereby creating a community of knowledge seekers and knowledge sharers who would pool their collective experiences and expertise in the field of security research. The Europol Innovation Lab agreed to take over the KF, which is now part of their European Platform for Experts (EPE).

ILEAnet Scouting activities focused on the gaps and opportunities identified by the project and explored possible solutions to address them. Main achievements include state-of-the-art analyses on the topics that were of specific interest to the ILEAnet community: Mechanisms for information sharing between LEAs and Review and classification of the human age assessment techniques. Additionally, in the standardisation domain, two reports were issued: LEAs’ priorities as regards domains requiring more standardisation and LEAs’ requirements for strengthening security R&I that covers standards proposals for R&I projects. As a result, the priorities and requirements identified by ILEAnet should be integrated into the future content programming of Horizon Europe. The additional asset in that domain is the ILEAnet-own methodology elaborated for collecting, analysing, prioritising, and presenting standards proposals suggested or recommended by LEAs.

Governance, Coordination & Sustainability covering the project management and entailing the project Scientific Coordination. Main achievements include the sustainability plan definition and rollout for all ILEAnet assets. The latter can be exploited to monitor R&I and facilitate the uptake of research results. They express common requirements to improve LEAs’ performance and indicate priorities as regards domains requiring more standardisation. The ILEAnet sustainability plan is publicly available, further supporting the strengthening of the European Security Research programme.

Community Platform Administration, Public Workshops and Dissemination. Main achievements include the project key findings being made available to the security stakeholders and policy makers, which may be able to use and exploit ILEAnet results and recommendations produced within the project. All information about project events or documents produced can be found on the project website
By promoting and facilitating the development of a multidisciplinary community of experts, ILEAnet has brought security research closer to LEAs’ needs.
The capability-building approach embraced by the project raised awareness on the need to bridge the gap between LEAs and solution developers to ensure that research outputs were tangible enough for end users. The design of briefing documents and provision of guidance to ensure that research outputs were presented from a LEA perspective facilitated the collaboration between end-users and the research community.
The launch and completion of two studies, on “Information sharing between LEAs” and “Human age assessment techniques”, which advanced knowledge in two under-addressed topics, led to the identification of topics in need of further research.
Besides, by working towards bringing security research closer to user needs, ILEAnet facilitated the collaboration between LEAs and solution developers while promoting a more conducive environment for innovation.
The twofold focus put on standardisation areas and uptake-related issues, including procurement, can also be seen as a way to inform and facilitate the industrialisation of research results.
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