The main purpose of the meeting was to test and validate the Security and Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) framework. The team members looked for the most effective way to evaluate the tool. Therefore, we invited practitioners to participate in the hackathon.
The SVA framework will be the main result of the SAFE-CITIES project. It will be supported by an interactive platform and a set of tools to improve the security in public spaces. Overall, the project’s ambition is to improve security of public areas, critical infrastructure and soft targets.
To do this, the team must ensure that developed tools meet the expectations of security practitioners. This explains our motivation to organise the pilot exercise in the form of hackathon.
How Did We Collect Feedback?
Amongst specialists invited to the hackathon were experts conducting VA (Vulnerability Assessment), researchers, urban planners, LEAs and other related stakeholders. Participants were divided into 6 groups consisting of representatives of different areas to include all perspective and point of views on the security of public spaces.
The teams were based on scenarios of dangerous events that could happen in the Metropolis Mall of Larnaca. Simulated situations included limited emergency exits due to the main door renovation, mass gathering caused by a visit of a well-known influencer, and possible terroristic attacks using a car on the crowd.
The day before the Hackathon, on October 11, participants were familiarised with the SVA methodology and then introduced to the SVA online platform, as well as trained in using it. This tool was developed to help assess security vulnerabilities in spaces where people gather.
After completing the scenarios, representatives of groups presented the risk assessment outcomes along with feedback on usability, effectiveness and applicability to a specific case. Based on the work done, we definitely can say that the hackathon turned out to be a very effective way to test the SVA. Knowing the framework’s strengths and weaknesses, the project team knows what adjustments need to be made.
General Assembly and Next Steps
The Consortium took the opportunity to stay in Cyprus to organise the General Assembly meeting. This part of the event was devoted to the progress of individual work packages. Although partners often communicate with each other via e-mail and teleconference, such face-to-face meetings help us summarise the work done, get an overview of ongoing tasks and plan next steps.
After completing two pilots in Gdansk and Larnaca, we are ready for the next milestones. The SAFE-CITIES team is planning the next events. The third pilot will be organised in the Netherlands during a large music festival. Our goal will be to test and validate the SAFE-CITIES Platform in alpha version.