The DESSI project provides a process and a decision support system to end users of security investments. The system gives insight into the pros and cons of specific security investments. It contributes to a transparent and participatory decision making that accounts for context and multi-dimensionality of society. It is useful for public authorities, developers of security solutions, commercial enterprises and for social organizations that can use the DESSI tool to make their own comprehensive assessment as an input to strategic discussions or public debate.
In the last decade investments in safeguarding the security of European citizens have increased dramatically. The security dimension often overshadows other critical aspects of decisions on investment, i.e. political, ethical, and social. This has led to a securitization of several areas of society, such as transport, public space, health care, etc. Decisions are seemingly immediate responses to specific security issues. They tend to be technology-driven and made behind closed doors. There is an urgent need for a decision support system which directs all processes that lead to decisions on security investment to be transparent and participatory, and that accounts for context and multi-dimensionality of society.
Security investment includes a choice between different approaches to increasing security, and DESSI makes this choice transparent by understanding the nature of a threat and describing and evaluating the security investment alongside its alternatives. The alternatives are identified or developed in a participatory process, including experts and stakeholders.
As the societal phenomena involved (threat perception, technology insight, belief in alternative investments, etc.) are differently distributed and valued among the actors, security investments are often highly controversial. Accordingly, a rigorous investment assessment method needs to include a participatory approach, which ensures that a range of relevant actors is seriously taken on board in the assessment procedure.