Bomb factories are usually exposed through criminal intelligence gathered by police or other security agencies. The searches are then conducted by expert bomb technicians and scene investigators. Occasionally, the bomb factories are discovered accidentally by the uniformed police or rescue service (public safety authorities, ambulance personnel or fire brigades). This typically happens if the policemen or rescue service are entering premises for reasons other than checking for illicit use of chemicals. Reasons for entering houses or facilities by the uniformed police are various but a common factor here is that coming across a clandestine laboratory is not expected. Likewise, there are various reasons for the members of the rescue services to enter premises. This happens typically in the line of their routine cases. In case of fires or accidents the rescue service is usually the first authority to be present at the site. Here also, the coming across a clandestine laboratory (A clandestine laboratory or ‘clan lab’ is any site associated with the process of attempting to manufacture illicit substances like drugs and explosives) is unexpected.
Since it is most likely that members of the police in most Member States carry mobile communication devices (smart phones, tablets etc.), an electronic guide in form of a software app will best serve the intended purposes. The electronic platform enables easy updating as well as a two-way communication with the experts. The latter is a feature no other guide could provide at the moment. More experienced groups may also benefit from using the app. All the necessary information will be structured to facilitate the identification of a place or crime scene as a clandestine laboratory. Additionally, it will provide knowledge on personal protection, safe handling of chemicals and securing the place or crime scene.
Furthermore, the app would serve as a tool to raise awareness to Regulation 98/2013 within police forces and rescue services.
The app “XClanLab” (Android version and English language only) was originally developed as part of FP7 project EXPEDIA and has received positive feedback throughout the EU from different potential end users (requests came so far from Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden). From the feedback it became clear that a continuation of the app as well as the development of an IOS version and translation to other languages were requested by the users. In addition, extended contents were desired. This proposal aims at meeting these requests by creating a revised version of XClanLab not only for Android operated devices but also for those using IOS as platform. There will be an update on the existing contents, more content will be added and the design updated to get an easily navigated and user friendly app. XClanLab and its contents will also be translated to several official languages within the EU. As an activity which will take place at the very beginning of the project the establishment of a network of National Contacts Points (NCPs) preferably in every Member State ensures a continuous feedback throughout the whole project. Intensive dissemination activities are planned to increase the awareness of the app and to build a network of NCPs to create a large user base with good channels for feedback, education and distribution of updates.
Through the flexible framework design it is also possible to adapt the app to contents from CBRN sectors as well.
The project has 5 work packages (WP).
- WP1: Project coordination/monitoring
- WP2: Dissemination
To create interest in and disseminate the results and findings of the XClanLab project to the partners, to interested Stakeholders, including end-users, Governments, first responders and inspection bodies in EES countries i.e. Police, Fire rescue services and medical personnel.
- WP3: Framework design
Development of app frameworks (Android and IOS) and Content Management System (CMS)
- WP4: Contents development
Development of app contents (instructions on what to look for, instructions on what to do and not to do, pictures of chemicals and equipment that typically can be found in illegal laboratories, report function design)
- WP5: Implementation
Establishment of a national contact point network