Detection of criminals in crowds in complex operational situations (MUSKAT)

© Fraunhofer IOSB

Project goals

The Muscat project is based on the announcement of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) on the topic "Civil Security - Protection and Rescue in Complex Operational Situations" of 22 February 2013 within the framework of the Federal Government's "Research for Civil Security 2012-2017" programme. With this announcement, the BMBF aims to support the work of the emergency services with organisational and technical solutions. This concerns improved equipment as well as strengthening the cooperation between the forces, e.g. by means of comprehensive situation assessment, communication and decision support systems.

The aim of the project "Multisensorially supported recording of criminals in crowds in complex operational situations" (Muscat) is to increase the quantitative and qualitative preservation of evidence of crimes committed during major events with increased risk potential. This also includes so-called "risk games" in the German football leagues. Those "risk games" in which the federal and state police forces have been able to observe a significant increase in the tendency in recent years to commit violent crimes from within the anonymous crowd are among the particularly problematic operational situations. In Muscat, therefore, the security of citizens through efficient investigation of crimes, compliance with the differentiation principle, qualitative preservation of evidence and direct criminal prosecution will be researched and implemented by means of a demonstrator using the example of police operations at football matches, from the journey to the train stations to the stadium. Special focus is placed here on the realisation of an adequate communication interface between units of the Federal and State Police.

Muscat pursues the vision of creating a more targeted and differentiated system solution to support police intervention measures against troublemakers and criminals while respecting all basic rights. In doing so, Muscat wants to significantly increase the protection of several actors:   

  • Protection of rail passengers:
    Violent clashes often occur in trains and at stations where fan groups gather before the matches, which pose a particular threat to rail passengers.
  • Protection of fans in the stadium:
    In the event of violent clashes between rival fan groups or individual offenders, as well as the burning of various pyrotechnic objects inside the stadium, there is always the danger of uninvolved fans.
  • Protection of uninvolved citizens:
    Fan lifts often pass through areas of the city centre on their way from the railway station to the stadium, where completely uninvolved citizens may unwillingly become the addressees of violent actions. It is not uncommon for such events to cause significant damage to property.
  • Protection of fan groups:
    Not only uninvolved persons but also the aggressive fan groups themselves are in increased danger. Often thrown objects or the use of pyrotechnic fans within the own group injure them.
  • Protection of police officers:
    The danger for a violent football jammer to be brought to justice more directly and with more reliable evidence through the use of police technology develops a general preventive effect and indirectly the reduction of attacks against police officers.
© Fraunhofer IOSB
© Fraunhofer IOSB
© Fraunhofer IOSB

Law and ethics

The legal and ethical compatibility of the systems to be researched and developed has the highest priority in the Muscat Project. Especially the use of video technology in public spaces (such as railway stations) is a legally and ethically extremely sensitive issue and has been a top priority in the project from the very beginning. The guarantee of legal and ethical compatibility should therefore be guaranteed from the very beginning and is thus a basic building block on the way to making technological developments suitable for practical use.

Legally compliant design and application

Provet is the responsible partner for legal research in Muscat and thus lays the essential foundation for the practical applicability and legal compatibility of the envisaged system. The aims of legal research in Muscat include

  • The legal classification of nutmeg and concretisation of the abstract legal requirements for the design and use of the cluster systems into technical design proposals for the application scenario
  • The application of the KORA method (concretisation of legal requirements) in close cooperation and constant exchange with all other work packages and evaluation of permissible application scenarios.

Accompanying this, proposals for the further development of the legal framework for the police use of the camera clusters will be worked out.

Ethical analysis

The International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities at the University of Tübingen will prepare two ethical expert reports in the project. These project-accompanying expert opinions will subject the Muscat system to an ethical analysis.

The first report will reflect the technology used in Muscat from an ethical perspective. In particular, the assumptions and values that are established in the process will be examined.

The second expert opinion will carry out an ethical analysis of the socially relevant aspects of Muscat. Tasks here are in particular the detailed investigation of the application scenario, the security problems and solution strategies mentioned therein and the development of alternative approaches to solving these problems. If necessary, further application scenarios can be derived from this and compared with regard to ethical problems. This report builds on the results of the BMBF's MuViT project.

Project/Work packages

The Muscat project got off to a successful start on 1.9.2014. The project is scheduled to run for three years. At the end of the project, the results are to have been investigated and demonstrated in the form of a demonstrator. The demonstrator will also be the basis for all technical, legal and practical evaluations.

Project partners

  • IOSB
    The Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation (IOSB) is an institute of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft with headquarters in Karlsruhe. The IOSB is responsible for the coordination of the project, the research and development of the image evaluation methods for person tracking and person recognition in the sensor network, the implementation of the situation display and software architecture as well as the design and implementation of the sensor units. The IOSB is also responsible for setting up a demonstrator.
    The Riot Police Directorate formulates the user requirements for an innovative, modular and self-sufficient communication and sensor system for use in complex dynamic operational situations, tests the researched demonstrators in exercises and missions for practical suitability and participates in the technical realisation.
    The Federal Standby Police Directorate (BPOLD BP) is a large unit of the Federal Police, whose parts (Federal Police Departments) are deployed as closed units. The main task of BPOLD BP is to support the federal police directorates and the police forces of the federal states in large-scale situations and to carry out priority tasks in the original area of responsibility. Forces of BPOLD BP regularly provide more than half of the police personnel deployed at football events.
  • provet
    The project group for the constitutionally compatible design of technology at the University of Kassel, headed by Prof. Dr. Alexander Roßnagel, will ensure the legally compatible design of the technology to be developed in Muscat by providing continuous and integrative legal support. The focus will be on the protection of fundamental rights, data protection law, the law of evidence, as well as the demarcation between averting danger and criminal prosecution.
  • IMST
    IMST GmbH is an experienced technology specialist for radio systems and microelectronics. project, IMST is responsible for the localisation algorithms for sensor and person localisation, sensor data fusion and the development of modular and redundant communication systems. Furthermore, IMST analyses and implements possible (cluster) interfaces for communication between the federal and state police forces.
  • IZEW
    The IZEW (International Centre for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities) at the University of Tübingen is preparing two comprehensive expert reports, one on ethical questions concerning the technology to be used and one on the social issues arising from nutmeg.
    The State Office for Central Police Services of North Rhine-Westphalia participates as an associated project partner and potential end user in the formulation of user requirements for a communication and sensor system for use in complex dynamic operational situations, especially for the area of responsibility of the state police. The LZPD NRW coordinates the participation of state police units in testing the demonstrators for practical suitability in exercises.
  • DB
    Deutsche Bahn AG (Group Security) is participating in the project as an associated partner. DB will attend the regular status meetings and will provide expert knowledge.


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Project details

Detection of criminals in crowds in complex operational situations (MUSKAT)

Project duration: 09/2014 - 08/2017

Project volume: € 2.3 million

The project was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the program “Research for Civil Security”, contract notice “Civil Security – Protection and Rescue in Complex Emergency Situations”.

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