Many officials develop and procure different kinds of equipment and solutions for themselves. Over time this has led to a situation where systems run by officials are not compatible with each other. Solving modern security challenges, however, often requires joint action from several officials. The greatest challenge and opportunity seen by security authorities is in sharing data.
"On the operational level, cooperation among officials works well in Finland. I say this even at the risk of self-praise, because in various international collaborative projects I've had the opportunity to compare with several other countries", says Janne Koivukoski, Director of Rescue Services at the Finnish Ministry of the Interior.
"Problems start when cooperation relies on data systems. Systems of different officials don't always bend in the best possible way to having the right information in the right place at the right time."
Tekes invited safety and security officials around the same table to discuss shared R&D priorities. This forum comprised the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Police Technology Centre, Defence Forces, Finnish Customs, the Finnish Border Guard, and the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority.
A good system architecture for the distribution of information between officials was seen as comprehensive, but as clear and easy-to-use as possible. Especially with classified informations, this is easier said than done.
First case: Improved nuclear safety
The forum's first project is on nuclear safety. In the project, officials create a national architecture for sharing information concerning radioactive materials. The aim is to improve readiness in anti-terror and anti-crime activities, for instance. The novelty in this project is that information sharing has taken centre stage and that the authorities together also create shared procurement criteria. The project, named REPO, is a joint effort by Helsinki Police, the Helsinki City Rescue Department, the Finnish Defence Forces, the National Police Board, the Finnish Boarder Guard, Finnish Customs, and the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority.
Tekes goal: demand-driven innovations
The role of the public sector is significant in the security market.
"As buyers, security officials are quite a dispersed group, even though the need for cooperation in security operations is obvious. The situation is the same in every country", says Suvi Sundquist, Manager of the Safety and Security Programme.
"Changing the way officials procure can increase safety, save public resources and pave the way for innovative solutions. Articulating the needs more clearly will help companies and researchers direct their innovation investments more productively. Developing public procurement is also a new element in the European Commission's Horizon2020 innovation initiative. Tekes has taken a head start in the matter and has launched projects that challenge the traditions of public procurement. "
Director of Rescue Services, Ministry of the Interior
Telephone: +358 500 478 252
Janne.Koivukoski (at) intermin.fi
Text: Tommi Niittymies
Photo: Tiina Takala/Ministry of Defence