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Internal Security Fund

Innovative operational tools and training to strengthen European internal security

ISF Fund

Filippo Giacinti

Consultant and security expert

Law enforcement authorities grapple with several economic and demographic challenges in the execution of their security duties, regularly facing complex and high-risk situations that initial traditional training – focusing primarily on physical activities such as self-defence, arrest, shooting, and driving – could not prepare them for. Moreover, the rapidly evolving social, economic, and political landscape, both at the national and international levels, further complicates these challenges and ignites new tensions.

In the context outlined above, it becomes imperative to enhance the European Union’s capabilities in combating and preventing crime by harnessing digital technologies and the development of innovative operational tools. However, this endeavour must be complemented by comprehensive training to empower authorities on the ground to effectively utilize these tools in operational situations and capitalize on their benefits.

For instance, a critical aspect of the fight against all forms of organized crime involves improving and facilitating the exchange of operational information, which necessitates the provision of common training, joint exercises, and the exchange of best practices among different actors. Law enforcement authorities must also keep abreast of the swift technological advancements employed by criminals engaged in cross-border activities.

In this regard, coordination in the development of tools and training, both between Member States and across sectors, is vital – particularly in areas such as digital forensics, open-source intelligence, and dark web investigations. The development of awareness raising programmes to provide security practitioners with a better understanding of serious and organised crime is also essential to build a safer and more secure Union.

ISF Fund and other programmes

To address these multifaceted challenges, novel opportunities for projects within the realm of civil security are being launched under the Internal Security Fund (ISF) program, falling under the supervision of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME). Its total budget for the period 2021-2027 is 1.93 billion euros and  it offers grants for operational, training, and networking-oriented collaborative projects.

Building upon the successes of its predecessor, the Internal Security Fund-Police, which funded over 250 projects between 2014 and 2020, the ISF program has continued to play a pivotal role in enhancing internal security. One notable example is the Global Drug Intelligence Network (GDIN) project, designed to curb illicit drug trafficking through the exchange of operational information with third countries.

Another noteworthy project is Synergies to protect places of worship and religious gatherings (SPIRIT). This initiative strives to enhance the preparedness and responsiveness of places of worship and religious gatherings in a multifunctional and multi-level environment. It achieves this by equipping stakeholders with modern tools and security concepts.

In the realm of the internet, the Technology Against Terrorism Europe (TATE) project supports smaller providers in preventing terrorists from disseminating their content. Its mission is to raise awareness among these actors through the creation of a series of unique interactive learning materials.

To discover top players and applicants in the field of security, or to find your next ISF-project partner, do not hesitate to use our free trial access tool Kaila.

Interested in discovering more?

While the ISF remains the primary source of funding for operative and networking actions among law enforcement authorities in the EU, other funding programmes address these aspects on broader level. These encompass Horizon Europe Cluster 3 topics, the Integrated Border Management Fund, InvestEU, and cohesion policy funds for the resilience of critical infrastructure and the protection of citizens in public spaces.

In conclusion, the endeavour to strengthen internal security requires a holistic approach that combines cutting-edge operational tools, comprehensive training, and collaborative efforts. The challenges faced by law enforcement authorities demand adaptive strategies that not only keep pace with technological advancements but also foster international cooperation. As Europe navigates the complexities of the modern security landscape, a commitment to innovation, collaboration, and continuous improvement remains paramount. The funding in place, particularly under the ISF, represent crucial mechanisms in this pursuit, contributing to the overall security and well-being of the European Union and its citizens.

If you are working in security-related domains or are willing to explore opportunities for the application of security technologies to your sector of business, at Zabala Innovation we can help you identifying relevant EU funding opportunities, define specific use cases tailored to sectoral needs and challenges, and guide you in understanding how to access such opportunities.

Expert person

Filippo Giacinti

Brussels Office

Consultant and security expert