Project Description

Challenge:

The threats to EU citizens’ physical security in the light of terrorist acts in Paris and the most recent ones in Brussels (22.03.2016) raise critical questions as to the preparedness of the security systems to respond in an effective manner. The safety of citizens is per law a primary responsibility of the state and its responsible institutions such as the Ministries of Interior and Defense. In recent years some aspects in protection of public venues (entrance supervision, in-house patrols, security checks, reception control and supervision, crowd control) such as airports, railway, bus and metro stations, shopping centers, hospitals, museums, sports stadiums, etc., has been delegated by states to private security operators. Private security guards that are on the ground have become in fact the first line of defense and early warning system for potential terroristic activities. The changing and non-linear nature of terrorism in 21st century, attacking different types of vulnerable public places (restaurants, music halls, airports, metro stations) calls for emergent actions in further enhancing the capacity of private security officers in preventing occurrence of such incidents.

Target group needs:

Our main focus will be private security guards. During the project lifecycle we will work with pilot groups from 4 European countries (BG, IT, RO and AT) and in the end of the project we will launch our activities through online platform across whole Europe. Currently, the approximate number of private security officers in the countries mentioned is nearly 225 000: 12 259 (AT), 45 512 (IT), 121 000 (RO) and 56 000 (BG). They are employed in different security activities such as: Commercial manned guarding; Beat patrol; Mobile alarm response and call-out services; In-house manned security; Event security (crowd control); Door supervision (bouncing); Body guarding (close protection); Cash-In-Transit services (including cash handling/processing); Alarm and CCTV monitoring; Aviation security; Urban security (train/metro stations); Critical infrastructure protection; Fire prevention and protection services; Receptionist/concierge services.

Our project would like to focus on the learning needs of private security guards that are working on the ground in public places, where intensive flows and gathering of people occur and constitute potential targets for terrorists and more specifically terrorists prone to suicide attacks (‘kamikazes’).

It is a common practice in Europe (Confederation of European Security Services (CoESS), 2013), security professionals to undergo continuous training, provided by VET and adult learning centers. In most cases these trainings take the form of short 2-day courses once a year on topics linked to new legislation provisions and the use of digital technologies on the job. For some guards (e.g., working in the field of airport security) specific additional trainings are provided. Their duration varies across countries, but in general is between 60 to 100 hours.

Our analysis of the state-of-the-art in the 4 European countries mentioned, combined with desk research on tendencies across Europe, confirmed our initial observation that first-level security guards (low-rank), which are in immediate contact with large groups of citizens are not sufficiently trained to effectively respond to changing nature of terrorism. In countries, where such trainings exist they are usually provided to the high-level security managers, who then provide guidance to security guards, working on the ground.

Aim:

To ensure high level of public security across Europe by equipping private security guards with the knowledge, skills and motivation for preventing occurrence of terroristic acts.