Paris, France, January 2019 – An expertise in urban security that is increasingly recognised, broader areas of work, more cooperation with its European partners and new partnerships beyond Europe, and new European projects: Efus starts the new year with a solid experience and the will to innovate.
> An increasingly recognised expertise…
Efus’ expertise on all the main topics of urban security, which is based on its 30-year experience, is increasingly recognised by European local and regional authorities but also by all the partners with which it regularly works, notably national and European institutions, universities, research institutes and non governmental organisations.
This expertise translates into the design and implementation of pilot actions in Efus member communities, the identification and sharing of promising practices, and the development of new study, analysis and evaluation tools. It resulted in the publication of a comprehensive training offer for local elected officials, security professionals and students.
Furthermore, this expertise is laid out in the “Security, Democracy and Cities” Manifesto adopted in 2017 at Efus’ last international conference (Barcelona), a reference document which Efus members use as a basis when designing their local urban security policies.
… and also more diversified
Our expertise is also constantly enriched and diversified as societal, technological and political developments give rise to new urban security issues and responses.
Concerning radicalisation, Efus had already broadened its scope of work to encompass issues of polarisation and resilience, in particular among the young, as well as the protection of public spaces against the terrorist threat. It started this year four new projects on these topics (see below), and it offers support to local authorities on prevention strategies.
Regarding the use of new technologies for security, Efus concluded at the end of 2018 the Medi@4sec project (led by the University of Warwick), in which it was a partner. In order to further this work, Efus set up a new working group on “Technology & Innovation”, which is open to all interested members.
Furthermore, Efus keeps working on harm reduction in the field of of drugs, an issue on which it has been working ever since it was created. In particular, the Executive Committee adopted a resolution supporting supervised drug consumption facilities (SDCFs), which it says requires specific support to host local authorities as well as local residents.
Lastly, another theme on which Efus has been working lately is cross border cooperation regarding safety. Efus is a partner in the ALARM project on cooperation between France and Belgium in this area, and is specifically tasked with mobilising local elected officials on both sides of the border.
> Increased cooperation in Europe and further afield
Essentially European, the Forum is constantly developing its relations with EU institutions as well as consolidating its position as an authoritative interlocutor representing local authorities on urban security matters.
In this respect, it is worth noting that in 2018, Efus was invited to take part in the European Commission’s Security Research Event (SRE), which gathered 800 participants in March 2018 to discuss the impact of EU‑funded security research.
Another important EU conference in which Efus took part was that of European mayors on building urban defences against terrorism. Efus was represented by its president Willy Demeyer, Mayor of Liege, as well as by mayors or delegates of the cities of Barcelona, Berlin, Liege, Lille, Lyon, Malaga, Malmö, Marseille and Nice.
Efus also attended numerous international conferences on issues on which it is working or organised by other partners than the EU. In particular, it took part in events on the issue of discriminatory violence organised by the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), as well as by the Portuguese association for victim support APAV and Unesco.
Furthermore, Efus was chosen, together with the city of Nice (France), as coordinator of the new partnership of the European Union’s Urban Agenda on urban security. This is a new theme included in the EU’s Urban Agenda on which local authorities will now be able to shape European policies.
> Six new European projects
Efus started six new European projects between the end of 2018 and the start of 2019.
It leads three projects – BRIDGE (polarisation and radicalisation), LOUD (creating alternative narratives to extremist messages), and MASTER (prevention of discriminatory and other types of violence in amateur sport) – and is a partner in three others – PROTECT (technologies against terrorism), Cutting Crime Impact (CCI, reducing the impact of crime on local communities), and PACTESUR (protection of public spaces against the terrorist threat).