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ComProNet - Real Time Incident Alerting

Community Protection Network

The Compronet project (Community Protection Network) is a project aimed at achieving a Proof of Concept of a modern way of alerting and communicating with citizens and professionals (participants) based on real-time formation of ad-hoc groups of participants working together on an incident. Compronet uses technical sensors and social media (open source) to receive and send information. It uses the principle of citizen participation. The Compronet system integrates a high degree of automatic processing of data and information to accelerate the response time of participants relative to an incident and to increase the participants’ consciousness of the environment (situational awareness). The Compronet project is intended as an innovative development for a future replacement of existing alert systems.

The direct motive for the project was the installation of ANPR cameras on the A28 motorway. These were placed as a result from a project "nodal orientation", which could analyse ALL vehicle passages. When the system became operational, the Commission for Protection of Personal Data prohibited the use of the system in this way for privacy reasons. However, the system could be used on the basis of "hit lists" with immediate succession. This immediate succession proved problematic. A proof of concept was made to send digital alarms directly to the nearest police car without the intervention of a central station. This concept was successful. On this basis Compronet was developed to accelerate rescue response during incidents. Because another research at that time showed that the ‘in-the-act’ force was largely accomplished by citizen participation, the compronet concept started using citizen participation besides sensors. Indeed, the acceleration of the response time makes a big difference for the ‘in-the-act’ possibilities.
 The technological development of Compronet is largely supported by "open source" software. This choice makes it possible to to work "license free" and make the technology available as cost-effectively as possible to others. This was also a requirement by funding parties , prior to supporting the project. 

Citizen participation 

In the report ‘Expert Group Citizen Participation in 2009 , four scenarios were described for the future of citizen participation. The scenario "co-production of order" was presented as the most probable future in this report.

Scenarios for citizen participation:


Market driven

Citizen is Client

Police is knowledge-networker


Coproduction of order

Citizen is partner

Police is supporter

Technology   Morality

Defensive networks

Citizen is hostage

Police is unrelenting enforcer


The intervening state

Citizen is subject

Police is strict educator


In this scenario, the citizen is an equal partner when it comes to public order and security, and the police (government) is a supporter of that citizen. It also promotes citizen resilience and has a different starting position when it comes to alerting. Now, the citizen can also take the initiative to alert (which in fact he already does on the many social media channels). Government has the responsibility to tackle these alerts in a earnest way. But that's difficult as they have less grip on these alerts. A future common system for the promotion of safety (both from a government perspective as from a citizens' perspective) needs therefore to be a much broader system than a send-only system. A complex Compronet system would therefore need to be formalised according to the following model.

The ComProNet Model

Meanwhile the Compronet system was set up according to the above model, with the bandwidth slightly less far-reaching. At this time, input comes from an application that can deliver Alarms and Messages (“MELD!”). All participants, both citizens and professionals, can do this. This is very divergent compared to other alarm systems. The monitoring is done on the basis of an autonomous process that verifies the appropriate participants in the vicinity of the incident. These are automatically alerted without the intervention of an emergency room. Communication is possible between the participants using the application (Posts) or via Twitter. Also, photos can be shared. In addition, a link is now made to a search engine querying open sources (Obi4Wan) whereby information from existing incidents of Compronet is imported in the search engine. When available, additional information is added to the incident.

Basic Alert Screen

Basic Alert Screen:


In June / July 2012, the first modest practical test was performed. 52 agents and 15 catering businesses used the Compronet concept in a joint operation during 9 nights. In 59 alarms through the system, it showed that the response time of more than 90% of the incidents fell within 1 minute, thereby achieving the target acceleration. It also showed that in addition to technology, especially the mindset of participants is very important. Police officers are naturally reluctant to share information with citizens, this being the essence of Compronet. A citizen can enter an alarm and a citizen can also intervene and support in the public space. Therefore it is especially important to pay attention to good communication between the parties and not to depend on a technological tool.

In October, November and December 2012, further trials will be held in Groningen, Assen and Schiphol Airport.



E. de Jonge MSSM
Chief-Inspector Police
Project lead Research & Innovation Region Groningen


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