CORDIS - EU research results

PReparedness against CBRNE threats through cOmmon Approaches between security praCTItioners and the VulnerablE civil society

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PROACTIVE (PReparedness against CBRNE threats through cOmmon Approaches between security praCTItioners and the VulnerablE civil society)

Reporting period: 2019-05-01 to 2020-10-31

In line with the EU Action Plan to enhance preparedness against chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) security risks and the overall Security Union approach to fight crime and terrorism, PROACTIVE aims to enhance societal CBRN preparedness by increasing Practitioner effectiveness in managing large, diverse groups of people in a CBRN environment.

This will be achieved by testing common approaches between European Practitioners such as Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and First Responders. These will be evaluated and validated against the requirements of civil society, including vulnerable groups of citizens reflected in the European Security Model. A Practitioner Stakeholder Advisory Board and a Civil Society Advisory Board will extend the representation of both sides in several surveys, focus-groups, workshops and field exercises. A benchmark study between LEAs will identify common approaches in assessing CBRN threats and the protocols and tools used to help citizens. Liaising with the eNOTICE H2020 project, three joint exercises will include role play volunteers recruited by PROACTIVE. They will evaluate the acceptability and usability of existing procedures and test new tools developed within PROACTIVE to provide innovative recommendations for Policy-makers and safety and security Practitioners.

PROACTIVE will result in toolkits for CBRN Practitioners and for civil society organisations. The toolkit for Practitioners will include a web collaborative platform with database scenarios for communication and exchange of best practice among LEAs as well as an innovative response tool in the form of a mobile app. The toolkit for the civil society will include a mobile app adapted to various vulnerable citizen categories and pre-incident public information material. These will provide valuable inputs to the EUROPOL initiative to develop a knowledge hub for CBRN activities and help consolidate the EU Action Plan to enhance preparedness for CBRN threats.
The project started with WP1 which is now completed and resulted in: (1) a systematic review of academic literature which related to public perceptions of pre-incident preparedness, and during-incident response for CBRNe events (including terrorism); the findings from 60 publications led to recommendations for policy and practice and future research. (2) A systematic review of current guidance documents (95 documents from 18 different countries) which related CBRNe incident management; this resulted in recommendations for policy and practice. (3) A literature synthesis collating information from 17 related EU projects and grouped by topic (guidance, counter low knowledge, dissemination, communication with the public and vulnerable populations) along with the best and worst case CBRNe scenarios in terms of impact on public behaviour.

In parallel, WP2 aimed at creating a strong engagement with LEAs and other Practitioners. The establishment of the PSAB which initially regrouped a total of 28 organisations from 9 different countries. Currently, there are 79 PSAB members from 21 countries and recruitment efforts are ongoing. Until now, PSAB members engaged in an online workshop, an online survey and an interview study in regard to CBRNe preparedness and response.

Likewise, WP3 has developed a strong engagement with the civil society including vulnerable citizen groups. The establishment of the CSAB involved individual emails and reminders sent to over 200 organisations or individual experts. The CSAB currently consists of 31 members, representing 11 different groups of vulnerabilities and 13 different countries and recruitment efforts are ongoing. Until now, CSAB members engaged in a workshop and an online survey to identify the needs and requirements of vulnerable citizens regarding CBRNe incidents.

In WP4 and WP5 the prerequisites for the toolkit for LEAs, security Policy-makers and civil society organisations have been achieved. Specifically:
• the requirements for Web Based Collaborative Platform and Mobile Application for LEAs and citizens were gathered through an iterative process and a set of Core Requirements have been documented; the initial development of the App started.
• the preliminary framework for the Web Based Collaborative Platform and the Mobile Application have been defined, focusing on implementing the initial designs.

In WP6, the planning and coordination of the field exercises with project eNOTICE and their partners resulted in the following key achievements:
• Development of the PROACTIVE methodology to be adopted for the planning and execution of the 3 field exercises. It considers existing practices and standards and provides the flexibility to meet the diverse requirements of three field exercises delivered across three countries and is interoperable with the methodology being developed by project eNOTICE.
• Possible scenarios to be tested in field have been defined along with appropriate evaluation methods are to be further considered jointly with eNOTICE.
• Considerable effort has been expended in coordinating planning meetings with eNOTICE and, with the advent of Covid-19, significant time and effort has been invested in contingency planning to mitigate against the impact of the pandemic and rescheduling of the exercises.

In the framework of WP7, regular dissemination actions and exploitation planning have been performed.

All the developments were done in compliance with the legal and ethical requirements set out in WP8 and the additional requirements set in WP10.
Until now, PROACTIVE already provided some key knowledge about public and responder interactions during a major incident, with a particular focus on the needs of vulnerable citizens.

Until the end of the project, PROACTIVE will also enable the evaluation and assessment of emerging new insights and approaches, through the use of exercises to test potential new CBRNe specific instructions, SOPs, tools. The use of existing tools will be improved by taking the human, social and psychological aspects of using such tools into account (e.g. by identifying if tools are user friendly to citizens, including vulnerable citizens, and functionally operational by untrained personnel).

Existing tools for facilitating Practitioner management of interactions between themselves and relevant stakeholders will be available in a single location, allowing for ease of access. Until now there are no tools and/or platforms which allow global written communication in one's own language while supporting common understanding at international level.

PROACTIVE will also help provide a direct link to the relevant Practitioners during a CBRNe incident.
It will enhance communication between all stakeholders including citizens to promote a fully transparent and operational approach to dealing with a CBRNe incident. The evaluation data collected during the exercises can be used to feedback into future technology development and procedures.

PROACTIVE will develop a system with an open API, which can therefore interface with existing technologies. This includes operational systems used by LEAs, websites/forums used by other relevant Practitioners, and social media platforms used by citizens. Recommendations on the use of mobile apps during an incident along with pre-incident public communication tool, including operational requirements, limiting factors and enabling factors, will be developed.
Overall PROACTIVE Project Framework