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The Future of Public Safety
“The basic function of public safety agencies is to protect all elements of society, including citizens, the economy and critical infrastructure.”
The basic function of public safety agencies is to protect all elements of society, including citizens, the economy and critical infrastructure. Within public safety there are multiple stakeholders who all have an important role to play. These could include police and emergency services, city or government departments, transport operators, and community safety groups.
The main pillars of the future will be implementing technology that enables these groups to work together and facilitate multiagency collaboration to develop operational and response procedures for specific events and security incidents.
How effective they are at this is dependent on a number of factors, and the ability to do this can be defined through a security incident management flow. The following is a typical operational process of how public safety agencies will prioritise their resources and approach security operations:
Safe Cities – Capability Considerations
“Discrepancies between cities means they are channeling their funding based on maturity.”
The incident management flow represents a typical operational process of how public safety agencies will prioritise their resources and approach security operations.
The delivery of security capability and rates of adoption of public safety solutions differ due to a number of factors, including threat scenarios, political pressure and budget resource availability. The penetration of security technology solutions driven by wealth, political will and technology development within public safety agencies varies across countries and regions.
Regional Trends and Hot Spots
Western economies have invested in security technology for the past 40 years, and demand for more advanced security is now focused on upgrading and complementing existing technology and security solutions. Public safety agencies in established markets have invested significantly in infrastructure and have to manage and consider the scale of legacy systems. This creates a number of challenges throughout the digital transformation process. Their focus is on becoming more efficient, reducing operating systems and cutting administration to help prevent more incidents, whilst reducing response times.
Countries in the Middle East have continued to invest in high-end solutions as they build connected cities to attract future business and commerce. Large budgets and strong political will have created some of the most technologically advanced security systems in the world.
Emerging economies from Brazil, India and China all have strong investment plans to develop cities and security systems. These countries benefit from less legacy equipment and are able to take advantage of improved and more affordable security technologies.
Developing economies have relied predominantly on manpower for security functions. However, they are able to benefit from less legacy equipment and lower technology prices.
" From 2016–2021 public safety agencies across the world will spend $246.17 billion to protect cities, with investments in first-responder communication networks and devices, command and control, video surveillance and other equipment. "
Although there will always be a difference in security capabilities, the majority of governments will continue to invest and improve security provision for their citizens. However, public safety is a constantly evolving issue. It is the responsibility of government to effectively foresee emerging issues and make appropriate preparations to respond to them. Today there are four main factors that will shape public safety in 2025:
Four Factors: Safe Society in 2025
Public Safety Agencies
Safer Society 2025
Evolving Threats to Public Safety
Diverse and growing challenges facing public safety agencies
Threats are constantly evolving. In 2017 we faced a number of changing threat dynamics, including the rise of terrorist activity and tactics in Europe, ongoing political instability around the world, and increases in cyber-attacks. By 2025 there will be new threats that public safety organisations need to be prepared to face.
Threat types can be broadly broken down into four different categories:
• Human – terrorism, crime, overcrowding, health epidemics, political instability, cultural and religious tensions
• Environmental – natural disasters from flooding, earthquakes, drought and events triggered by climate change
• Resource – a lack of resources that affects access to basic human needs, food, and water, and natural resources
that drive economic prosperity such as oil, gas and minerals
• Digital – increasing cybercrime and attacks on critical infrastructure and businesses, and personal attacks of stolen
identity, fraud and banking.
Law enforcement and security institutions have traditionally focused on human and environmental threats and are better equipped to deal with these. Moving toward 2025, resource and digital-related threats will likely be some of the most pressing issues facing society and present a number of challenges to public safety. Cybersecurity is already widely discussed with large-scale attacks that have affected society on a global scale, including WannaCry and Equifax attacks. However, the number, size and scale of attacks will continue to increase, and with society and industry reliance on digital networks, this issue will become one of the most prominent threats society faces.
The depletion of resources is often a less prioritised issue as it can be argued that it is not as acute or happening in real time. However, as we move towards 2025, this issue will drive serious security concerns. As natural resources are depleted and the global climate starts to change, we will see migration to and friction within areas that provide a safer environment to live. The clear pattern of movement towards urban living creates overcrowding issues and puts a strain on city resources, health and sanitation, employment levels, and the economy.
To combat these issues, public safety agencies need to develop roadmaps and long-term
The Digital Transformation of Security
Changing the way industry, services and governments operate
Digital transformation is fuelled by increasing digitisation (for example the number of mobile devices), connectivity (the ability to connect devices, people and processes) and data. This process is happening across industries to improve operational efficiencies and customer satisfaction, and to create new services. It creates two distinct issues for public safety and security.
The first is an opportunity to digitise security operations, leading to a more networked and data-led approach. This could drastically change the way security organisations operate and could increase security provision and public safety. For example, development of public safety 4G LTE networks will allow data to seamlessly flow from members of the public to control rooms and first responders. With more information on the ground, quick access to police databases allows better and more efficient decision making.
The second challenge is increasing digital threats across industries and society, presenting a significant cybersecurity problem. For example, IoT has significant benefits but also creates a heightened security risk—there are simply more entry points to attack. The convergence of Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) across city operations and critical infrastructure industries also provides a serious challenge to public safety if not properly protected.
Optimising Security Budgets
Spending budgets wisely—intelligent investment in technology
Security budgets have always fluctuated and will remain a challenge moving forward. After large-scale attacks or incidents, there is often a spike in expenditure to try and backfill vulnerabilities while providing reassurance to the public that actions are being taken to prevent it from happening again. However, budgets change, depending on the perceived threat by countries and governments; while there are some public safety agencies that are not restricted by financial considerations, most security organisations have to demonstrate clear returns on investment when purchasing new solutions and technology. This has been seen most notably in European countries over the past few years.
These budget pressures have had a number of implications on the security market. As organisations have to provide the same levels of security with less money or human resources, the only answer is to invest in technology that can act as a force multiplier. Traditionally, investment in security has been through capital expenditure budgets where public safety agencies have wanted to own their equipment, retaining full control of operations and maintenance.
However, as there are growing investments in IT communications, data and digital services, the security end users are leveraging business models that have been successful in the commercial world. This has created an increase in managed services and a growing trend towards ‘anything as a service’ (XaaS) models as agencies have looked to save large upfront costs and pay for solutions through operational expenditure. Proven case studies from body-worn video, IT managed services and the data analytics have started a growing trend.
The security industry and public safety organisations will continue to forge these relationships and agreements moving forward.
Embracing New Technology
Emerging technologies to be at the centre of protection communities
Traditional security technologies have developed over the past five years with movements from analogue to digital systems. Security solutions have become more reliable and accessible to security end users. These include:
• Video surveillance – growth in IP cameras and video analytics
• Communication – development of data networks and emergence of 4G LTE from Tetra and voice-only communications
• Access Control – improved reliability of biometrics and growth of digital access control systems
• Screening and Detection – improved sensors, quicker throughputs, identification of contraband material
and better detection of chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive materials
• Cybersecurity – rapid growth of cybersecurity companies and offerings
Development from analogue to digital systems has had clear benefits for end users. It has allowed greater interoperability and integration. The growth of more complex and integrated command and control systems has allowed technologies across cities and sites to provide greater situational and operational awareness to security end users.
Commercialisation of many technologies that have been adapted and targeted for security end users continues to grow. This includes body-worn video, smartphones, biometrics (fingerprint, finger vein, iris and facial recognition) and unmanned aerial systems.
However, whilst the requirement for traditional security technologies will continue, there is strong growth in a number of emerging technologies that will transform security solutions and technologies over the next decade. These include the emergence of Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, blockchain and quantum computing.