Knowledge-based Governance of Local Security Through Common Situational Awareness
The research identified the main possibilities and challenges for creating a common situational awareness between the public, private and third sector organisations working around the theme of security in the downtown area of the city of Tampere. Additionally, the research examined what kind of knowledge is collected by different organisations from the security situation of the downtown area.
Master’s Thesis, Master's Programme in Security and Safety Management, Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University
The research was conducted by using a qualitative approach. The main method for the data collection was expert interviews that were conducted by using a semi-structured theme interview method. These expert interviews were conducted to eight separate organisations from all three sectors addressing the issue of security in the downtown area. All collected data were analysed by using thematic analysis.
The main conclusions of the research were mainly positive. Many of the respondents interpreted the common situational awareness to be both useful and necessary for their individual operations as well as to develop broader security governance and policies of the area.
Possibilities also included the available knowledge, which was vast and complementary between organisations. The possessed knowledge included varying security related statistics and detailed human intelligence about current trends and phenomena obtained from the field. Even though some of the knowledge was considered highly confidential, phenomena and statistic levels of knowledge were seen as suitable for mutual sharing.
According to the answers, knowledge at the phenomena and statistics levels was also needed by the organisations to make the supply to match the demand. This issue also included some challenges. While many of the expected challenges were debunked throughout the interviews, two were left without answers. Informational network was seen as the most challenging way to implement the concept. Creating a technical system capable to combine all separate independent systems used by different organisations was interpreted to be impossible to be achieved due the expected costs and technical difficulties. Also, the organisational resources to participate in the upkeep of the common situational awareness raised some questions.
At this point, the level or the format of the implementation were not seen as a matter of importance. Most of the participants were eager to participate in any kind of work enhancing mutual co-operation and coordination. However, many participants wished for mutual interpretation of the results, which suggests that the local security network would be the most suitable way to begin. Also, the governance of the chosen implementation method raised some discussions about the leader of the network.
According to the results, the leader should be a neutral actor like the City of Tampere itself or a separate network facilitator to encourage participation. However, a completely equal group implementation could include the risk of an unintentional transformation to organisation-led network due to the varying authority levels between the actors. Good pre-planning and listening to the organisational opinions could allow achievable and long-lasting results.