The City of Lisbon rewarded for its work on community policing

Brussels, November 2023Efus attended the 2023 edition of the European Commission’s 2023 Security Research Event, an occasion to put social innovation in the spotlight by presenting its IcARUS project. On the occasion of the Security Research Event, the City of Lisbon, Efus’ member city and partner in the IcARUS project, was awarded with the Best Innovation with Strong Societal Impact prize for its tool to better engage key decision-makers in community policing in Lisbon. 

For over a decade, the City of Lisbon has been very invested in building a community policing model with young people, based on a strong involvement of citizens.

What is community policing in Lisbon ?

Community policing is a preventive, proactive and participative policing model that is orientated towards the resolution of community security problems. It differs from traditional models of policing in that it is jointly planned and operated in partnership with the Lisbon Municipal Police, local partners and residents. 

This policing approach requires close cooperation between the police, partners and residents, through regular partnership meetings and daily patrolling on foot by dedicated police teams assigned to specific neighbourhoods. Among others, the project has highlighted the importance of cooperation between the police and the community in improving both actual security and citizens’ feelings of security. 

The City of Lisbon took part in several projects to improve their work in this approach such as Cutting Crime Impact (CCI) in which Efus was a partner, and more recently, the IcARUS project.

The CCI project allowed for the creation of several tools, including the “Safer communities” tool, led by the University of Salford, which aims to change the mindset of senior officers and decision-makers towards community policing in Lisbon. The Tool addresses the problem of Community Police teams being frequently redeployed from their assigned neighbourhoods to other policing tasks. This leaves officers unable to carry out the activities expected of them by partners and residents in their assigned neighbourhood, and so negatively impacts police-community relationships and citizens’ trust in policing. 

An approach that gained EU recognition
The Community Policing in Lisbon – Safer Communities tool in Lisbon has recently been awarded the “Best Innovation with Strong Societal Impact prize” in the Security Research Event 2023, organised by the European Commission in Brussels (see photo above). This year,  the Security Innovation Award has awarded three innovative solutions stemming from EU-funded security research projects that enhanced civil security. The City of Lisbon was awarded alongside the 4i Dover project and the cryptocurrency training tool CRYPTOPOL -bringing social innovation to greater visibility in the field of security research.

Community policing focused on young people in the framework of the IcARUS project

The IcARUS project aims to develop innovative tools and practices to support local authorities in better anticipating and responding to security challenges. Started in 2020, this four-year project has reached an important milestone in the creation of tailor-made tools in the six partner cities (Stuttgart, Nice, Lisbon, Turin, Riga, Rotterdam), and some results are already available. 

“In community policing, one of our main challenges is how to work with young people. So, when Efus promoted the IcARUS project, for us, the focus area of juvenile delinquency, especially the prevention of risk behaviour in youth, was a good opportunity to develop a tool that will make it possible for the community officers to engage with young people.” 

Mónica Diniz, Head of Division, Lisbon Municipal Police

Useful tools for cities and end-users are being tested in the four areas of local crime prevention in the project: juvenile delinquency, radicalisation leading to violent extremism, designing and managing safe public spaces, and preventing and reducing trafficking and organised crime.

In this project, Lisbon is focusing on the challenge of juvenile delinquency. This tool, currently under development, is meant to strengthen young people’s feelings of self-worth and self-confidence, providing them with practical life skills and improving their relationship with the police and local community. 

More specifically, the tool is thought for young people aged 11-19 who are identified as “at risk of offending” by police, educators and/or social services,  may be excluded from school, and/or live in communities experiencing feelings of insecurity.

Currently implemented in the Lisbon neighbourhood of Padre Cruz, its results will be assessed in the next few months.

Visit the IcARUS project website

Learn more about Community Policing in Lisbon – Safer Communities tool

IcARUS on social media