Terrorist activities involving the use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) materials are the latest threat to the European public. The use of any of these types of weapons in a terrorist act could lead to undermining of the economic stability, public security and social integrity of the European Union. The risk of use of CBRN materials as a tool has evoked an urgent need for numerous countermeasures. According to the May 2016 briefing of the European Parliament in their next attacks ISIL/Da’esh terrorists might use non-conventional weapons, most probably improvised explosive devices containing chemical or radioactive materials.
Police officers from regular patrol units are most frequently the first-responders to the scenes of terrorist attacks. There, facing the unknown, they are the most exposed to the after effects. While the world’s police forces do provide some training for conducting operations in CBRN activities to their special anti-terrorism units, these units only arrive on the scene after some time has elapsed. The training for basic patrol units is missing or marginal, so the need to rectify this is clear. These officers may need to detect and identify threats, secure the scene, and call the appropriate specialised forces. Additionally, according to their central mandate of ‘preserve and protect life’, police officers may also need to participate in subsequent rescue operations.
As such, the general aim of the CBRN-POL project is to create a modern, multidisciplinary CBRN training curriculum and training educational materials, dedicated to police officers and universally applicable in all EU Member States.
The scope of the educational programme should meet the demand for safe, responsible and effective responses by front-line police officers attending the scenes of intentionally-induced incident involving CBRN materials.
The CBRN-POL project represents a novel concept in interdisciplinary education on CBRN terrorism, based on a deep analysis and overview of the most realistic threats to civilization. To the best of our knowledge, at present there are no comprehensive training courses for police officers that cover all aspects of CBRN terrorism. Although specialized training materials do exist for each kind of CBRN threat, they are separate and intended for the military, special anti-terrorist units or fire brigades. The tasks of police patrol units in CBRN first-response actions are defined differently from those of such specialized units.
For the CBRN-POL project we put together a multidisciplinary team of specialists experienced in various fields of CBRN expertise, as well as in educational methodology, who will be sharing their experience and professional knowledge of CBRN risks. The experts of the CBRN-POL project have been drawn from five complementary partners across three European countries – Poland, Belgium and Cyprus. The project’s goal is to exchange and spread rules of good practice in all areas of CBRN threats, through study visits by experts and training at the partners’ sites, with each partner bringing its own speciality to the table. The University of Lodz (UL) will be responsible for biological threats; the Industrial Chemistry Research Institute (ICHP) for chemical threats; the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre (SCK•CEN) in the radiological/nuclear domain, and the Polish Police Headquarters (KGP) will specify the input and output requirements and create the overall structure of the course, as well as create management schemes for it. The Centre for the Advancement of Research and Development in Educational Technology (CARDET) will take care on the didactic/methodological aspects of preparing the curriculum and educational materials.
We assume that this project will increase the capacity for detection, management and mitigation of CBRN attacks, not only on the territories of the countries partnering the project, but also across the entire European Union – other member states will also be able to use the educational materials created by CBRN-POL for their own training needs.