New Research Finds Counter-Terrorism TACTICS for European Cities

For Release

March 31, 2016

  • Counter-terrorism technologies and diverse partnerships are essential when dealing with terrorist threats in cities.
  • The findings follow the European Commission-funded TACTICS project to create a better counter-terrorism system for EU member states.

A new report has highlighted the essential role of counter-terrorism technologies used by diverse partnerships formed across all levels of security services, from international agencies to local law enforcement, when dealing with terrorist threats to European cities.

Tactical Approach to Counter Terrorists in Cities (TACTICS), a project funded by the European Commission, aims to create a more effective counter-terrorism system to be used in urban areas across European countries. The project was commissioned in light of the increased threat of terrorism in European cities.

As part of the project, RAND Europe developed and tested a credible terrorist scenario to assess different approaches to the detection, assessment and response to terrorist threats in cities. Eight case studies, focusing on different technology applications in the field of counter-terrorism or public security, were analysed to extract lessons from previous technology deployments and to provide policy recommendations for the future development and implementation of counter-terrorist technologies.

RAND Europe's five counter-terrorism policy recommendations based on the analysis:

  1. Deploy appropriate counter-terrorism technologies that enhance decision making, but pay attention to the evolving technology landscape.
  2. Establish partnerships with all levels of national government, law enforcement agencies, private sector security companies and local authorities, while also collaborating with international partners and allies.
  3. Where possible, engage with the public, the media and local communities when deploying new counter-terrorism technologies, such as surveillance systems.
  4. Carefully consider the extent to which data collection and data sharing during a counter-terrorism operation are proportionate, necessary and justified.
  5. Identify and address any potential privacy issues as early as possible before introducing new counter-terrorism technologies.

Richard Warnes, security analyst at RAND Europe, said: “Our scenario showed that deploying appropriate counter-terrorism technologies would significantly enhance decision making during a counter-terrorism operation. However, European countries must identify potential privacy issues before deployment, while also ensuring that the technologies have the capabilities required to deal with terrorist threats.”

Warnes continued: “Establishing diverse partnerships with international allies, national governments, law enforcement agencies, private security companies and local authorities, will provide a more complete view of a counter-terrorism operation and will ensure that decisions are made more quickly and effectively. However, extensive data sharing between different parties will require careful consideration, especially when identifying the point at which this becomes justified and necessary during a counter-terrorism operation.”

The TACTICS project team has developed a technology-ready concept that could support counter-terrorism operations across European countries. This could be integrated easily into existing organisational, operational and technological processes for counter-terrorism.

Alongside this technology-ready concept, a strategy has been developed to include a guide to deploying counter-terrorism technologies and a checklist to help European countries make an informed decision as to whether or not the TACTICS counter-terrorism system would be appropriate for them.

Warnes said: “We have developed a concept to facilitate a clearer understanding of terrorist threats and the capabilities required to counteract them. The aim is to enable a faster, more effective and more efficient response from a country's security forces.”

For more information about the TACTICS project visit

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Notes to Editors:

About RAND Europe

RAND Europe is a not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. Our clients include European institutions, governments, charities, foundations, universities and private sector firms with a need for impartial research. We combine deep subject knowledge across diverse policy areas including health, science and innovation; defence, security and infrastructure; and home affairs and social policy. Combined with proven methodological expertise in evaluation, impact measurement and choice modelling, we are able to offer quality-assured research and analysis, unbiased insights and actionable solutions that make a difference to people's lives.

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