“Tackling security issues by cooperating with other municipalities” – Interview with Ferenc Szöllősi, Mayor of Pécel, new member of Efus

Ferenc Szöllősi, PécelPécel is a town of 17,000 situated in the suburbs of Budapest, the capital of Hungary.

Why did Pécel join Efus and what benefits do you expect?

Ferenc Szöllősi : I am Mayor of Pécel since 2010 and I think that in order to approach security issues, which are so important for citizens, it is better to cooperate with other municipalities rather than doing it alone. By joining Efus, we will be able to improve our security strategy and give priority to prevention.

What is the security situation in your town?

Pécel is a residential community where there is a good quality of life, and which is rather sought after, as the recent construction boom here shows. It is one of the safest localities of Hungary but we do have a number of crimes, in particular burglaries, car theft and drug abuse.

Can you please describe your prevention strategy?

Implemented since 2011, it is based on a local partnership with the Civil Guard, the urban planning department and local crime prevention associations. One of the actions we carried out in recent years is the rolling out of a smartphone app, titled HelyNet, to geolocalize people who call the emergency services, whether for a medical or other type of emergency, so that we can respond quickly. Another programme is Neighbourhood Watch, whereby local residents are involved in securing their community in partnership with the municipal police and the local security services, in particular by reporting any suspect activity. This scheme has the added advantage of creating a community spirit.

For the future, one of our priorities is to deploy a video surveillance system. We want to install cameras in all the streets, which we haven’t been able to do up until now for budgetary reasons.