An interview with Tobias Mattes: “The development of a system like CounteR can support LEAs in their daily work – and there is currently no comparable solution available”, published in CounteR newsletter #1.
What are your roles in, and contributions for, the CounteR project within the Consortium?
I was involved in the development of the so-called ‘user scenarios’. The aim here was to develop practical case scenarios to cover as many LEAs’ real-life-needs as possible for developing the CounteR solution. More generally, I am a senior researcher at the BayHfoeD research institute. My key contributions to our daily work in EU projects is related to my knowledge as a practitioner and my experience in law enforcement agencies.
Could you summarize the progress achieved so far in CounteR’s implementation?
Our team is involved in the development and testing of the CounteR ecosystem’s corresponding functions in a test environment according to the stages of progress. The team is doing its best to provide all the possible feedback. As you know, LEAs cannot implement a solution like CounteR in their secured IT-landscape when it is still in its development phase: after the project’s completion, certification must be carried out by the responsible body, before we could use the ecosystem. This is why the testing activities are of such crucial importance.
What benefits and outcomes do you expect for your entity as a result of your participation in CounteR?
From my point of view, there are two main aspects: first, the development of a system like CounteR can support LEAs in their daily work – and there is currently no comparable solution available. However, in the development phase, there is always a narrow ridge that lies between technical possibilities and requirements/end-users’ needs. By actively participating in CounteR, we as a LEA can bring in our ideas and experiences to build the most suitable solution possible, which will later be accepted by our investigators in their everyday work. Second, the exchange of knowledge and networking – discussions and knowledge exchange of all participating institutions and LEAs take place within the Consortium. Good networks are essential for police officers on the operational but also on strategic levels. In areas such as cross-border fight against organised crime, prevention of radicalisation or counterterrorism, international cooperation becomes easier when specialists from different EU countries know each other personally. In this way, we manage to break the ice, and future direct contact becomes easier.
Among other communication channels, CounteR has launched a Cluster Group on LinkedIn to bring together Consortium members with external actors: what are the themes that you would be interested in discussing with the Cluster Group members?
In terms of technical points: data mining and automatic text annotation with entity extraction and automatic risk assessment; while in terms of actual trends: fundraising, recruitment and mobilisation in radicalised communities.
In your opinion, how can CounteR ensure that its high-quality research will meet the needs of the LEAs and the end-users?
From my point of view, this can be guaranteed through an active participation of LEA practitioners in all project progress steps: on the one hand, in development and progression of the ‘used case’ scenarios; and on the other hand, in areas such as end-user tests, so that usability is measured by the end-users’ feedback. In my opinion, another key factor would be to hold regular discussions of the research results with LEA specialists through group discussions or fireside events in all stages of the project implementation.
Mr. Tobias Mattes
Tobias Mattes is Senior Researcher in the BayHfoeD Research Institute/Germany. He has years of experience as active police officer across all three career levels of the Bavarian police, in both operationally and strategically positions. He also works as senior lecturer at the Bavarian Police University, Mr. Mattes is also senior researcher in EU projects, and visiting lecturer at the German Police University and the Bavarian Police University.