The fourth largest city in Hungary with about 150,000 residents, Miskolc has had to deal with the urban security challenges posed by deindustrialisation. We met with the Mayor of Efus’ newest member city, Pál Veres.
Why did the City of Miskolc choose to join the European Forum for Urban Security?
Pál Veres: Ensuring and strengthening public security and safety is a priority for Miskolc and we’re interested in Efus’ approach of urban security, based on cooperation and prevention. Joining Efus gives us a valuable opportunity to cooperate with other communities and share information and good practices. We also hope to help other members by sharing our own local experience.
What would you say is the added value of working with other local and regional authorities at the European and international level?
The main added value is surely the exchange of experience with other members who are facing different challenges and are designing different solutions than us.
What are the main security challenges faced by your city? Could you give us some concrete examples?
Miskolc is a former industrial city, notably steel manufacturing, which is in the process of shifting its economy towards tourism. In the past, the majority of residents worked in the steel mills, but deindustrialisation generated unemployment and poverty, which meant there were more vulnerable people among the population. In this difficult context, we observed an increase in crime rates, binge drinking and prostitution. The economic transition is now by and large achieved, but we still have to respond to crime in many areas affected by poverty.
Your city is particularly interested in the security of nightlife. What are the main challenges you face in this area, and what measures are you taking to ensure the security of citizens and tourists?
Miskolc, which lies in a valley, is crossed by a large avenue that runs through almost the whole city, which is where most of the pubs and clubs are situated. As a result, noise pollution is an important issue. We have strengthened our local police, developed a CCTV system and built a high-tech command centre which provides 24/7 surveillance of the whole city.
Can you give us an example of innovative practice that you wish to share with other Efus members?
Our municipal police, which are managed by the city, are unique in Hungary. Apart from the regular units, they also count with a mounted squad, a canine unit and a CCTV management unit, almost mimicking the national police. This municipality-run approach to policing is an example of local practice that we believe could be interesting for other European local authorities.