New survey on European postal security

PostEurop and Cross-border Research Association have launched a new online survey on postal security management to promote further development and implementation of best security practices in the postal sector. The survey is part of the ongoing SAFEPOST project that the European Commission is co-funding under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). SAFEPOST project going to finish in the end of July after four years of work towards higher postal security in the European Union.

The survey studies the current state of postal security management among PostEurop members, 52 postal operators in 49 European countries. The goal is to collect responses mainly from security and safety managers of the PostEurop members, but also postal expert familiar with sorting and distribution processes are welcome to provide their inputs. The first part of the survey focuses on security implementation and security performance, and the second part studies postal managers’ expectations and concerns regarding the following six main SAFEPOST innovations:

Common Postal Security Space:

SAFEPOST has created an online platform for sharing security-related information between postal operators. This Common Postal Security Space provides a digital track record of security controls and related evidence (for example X-ray images) that a postal parcel has encountered over its journey, and facilitates an easy and controlled way to exchange information both with other operators as well as the authorities.

D-tube drug screening station:

SAFEPOST has demonstrated a new screening solution, D-tube, that can be fully integrated into the sorting process. The D-Tube’s prototype detects illegal substances, such as narcotics and explosives, at high accuracy.

Explosive detection system:

SAFEPOST has demonstrated a Raman spectroscopy screening device for detecting trace amounts of explosives and explosive precursors on the outside of postal items. The device is designed to be seamlessly integrated, at the same level as X-ray machines already used today, in the sorting process and detect the explosive threats at a high accuracy and at a low false alarm rate (≈ 1 %).

Image recognition system:

SAFEPOST has developed an Image Recognition solution that photographs five visible sides of a postal parcel at one or more locations in the postal network. The solution compares these images to detect signs of tampering or damage (≈ 92% detection rate). The current solution functions properly when the conveyor belt moves no faster than 0.5 m/s.

Radiological screening:

SAFEPOST has demonstrated detection of radiation in moving parcels, that can be fully integrated into the sorting process. The current version of the detector is able to detect any harmful level of radiation, and identify the radioactive isotope, and when possible to consider effects of possible attempts of hiding the radioactivity with lead or other shielding material by detecting neutron radiation.

Security standard and certificate:

SAFEPOST project is working towards a new European security standard for the postal operators that would give recommendations about use of security inspection technologies, exchange of security-related information, cyber security, and key security performance indicators. This standard would pave the road towards a voluntary security certification program that would help the postal operators to show their commitment to security.

This survey research is expected to produce interesting new insights about postal security activities and security performance among the PostEurop members. If the response rate is high, the survey findings will set a basis for pan-European benchmarking of security activities. The findings would also contribute to smart policy making, legislation, and standardisation in the field of postal security.

Finally, depending on the response rate, CBRA is going to publish an academic journal paper based on the results. Building on solid theory on supply chain security risk management, the journal paper would provide new empirical about how supply chain security implementation is associated operational and security performance. We expect that collaborative security measures improve both on-time delivery performance (a proxy for operational performance) and supply chain security performance simultaneously. Collaborative security measures include survey items such as “we coordinate security activities with our business customers” and “we exchange customs declaration information with customs authorities electronically [for example, ITMATT or CUSITM messages]”. Another hypothesis is that, on the one hand, non-collaborative security contributes to supply chain security performance but decrease on-time delivery performance on the other hand. Examples of such non-collaborative measures include “we use tamper-evident mail bags to transport high-value postal items” and “We perform security controls also on non-airmail items to detect explosives.” The figure below summarises the theory and hypotheses of the research paper.

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Figure 1 Theoretical framework of the SAFEPOST survey paper

The survey findings will be presented in the final SAFEPOST meeting in Madrid 5-6 July 2016. After the meeting, we hope that we can expand the scope of the survey to cover the rest of the world, as well. The next step would be to contact representatives of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) and coordinate distribution of the survey into the organisations’ 192 member countries.

 

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