Unity Partner and pilot host, Jarmo Houtsonen from the Police University College, Tampere, Finland provided an overview of the recent Unity Exercise Pilot and Consortium Meeting….
1) What was your involvement in the pilot?
Being the owner of the Development Process at the Police University College my task is to supervise external funding and ensure the quality of various R&D projects. Unity project has been close to my heart, and although I’m not much involved in practical work, I try to support the Finnish project team in their efforts. The pilot team in Finland were Pirjo Jukarainen (project researcher) Olavi Kujanpää (project manager), Jari Taponen (chief inspector at Helsinki PD), Johanna Argillander (project officer). There were also several other supporting stuff that made the event possible. The preparations for the exercise started already after the Antwerp pilot. There were lots of work and all kinds of details that had to be checked and re-checked in order to make sure that everything was ready for the actual pilot event. We contacted stakeholders, citizens and the local police, organized meetings, offered instructions and maintained active communication with the coordinator, technology developers and other partners. The testing of the concept and technology started four weeks before the pilot event, during which time we tried to keep stakeholders, citizens and police participating in the exercise motivated and inform technology developers about various problems and bugs.
2) How many people took part in the pilot?
We had pilot exercises in two localities. One in Helsinki (the mall scenario) and the one in the city of Kannus in the region of Central Ostrobothnia (the wolf scenario). Altogether 31 stakeholders (representatives of associations and agencies), 14 citizens and 9 police officers who participated in pilot exercises.
3) Who were these people relevant to Unity?
The participants were stakeholders and citizens who actively collaborate with the local preventive police units and officers. In Finland community policing embraces local problem solving approach which tries to prevent security problems. This requires active cooperation with the citizens and various other public agencies and civic associations.
4) What sort of feedback did they give?
Overall participants were well motivated and saw that Unity concept and technology is useful in their efforts to solve security problems. Stakeholders and citizens were keen on working with the police because there is a strong mutual trust. Everyone is keen on continuing using Unity technology as a part of the local problem solving approach after the summer holidays.
5) How do you feel the pilot went?
The pilot was a great success. The stakeholders and citizens were pleased with Unity, and are looking forward to continue to work with us and the local police. The success was made possible by hard working Unity partners. I would especially like to mention the excellent coordination by West Yorkshire team, hard-working technology developers in UK and Spain and Serco team which guided us analysing the current operating model of community policing and propose improvements. And of course, the highest commendation goes to the stakeholders, citizens and the local police for giving their valuable time to Unity project.