International Police Expert, Enabel (Benin)
Véronique Ketelaer is a criminologist and political scientist by training, who has worked in the field of prevention and urban security for almost 25 years, during which her career has been of a local and international nature, ranging from the management of security and prevention programmes to the training of security professionals, or even police expertise programmes.
Working for the City of Brussels, she has been an International Expert in Benin for 1 year, alongside l’Agence Belge de Développement (ENABEL), where she helps the Beninese police in its recent reforms. Between 2016 and 2020, she worked for la Région Bruxelloise with a view to creating a regional school for security, prevention and emergency professionals. Between 2015 and 2016, she was Project Leader seconded to the European Forum for Urban Security (EFUS), specialising in the prevention of violent radicalisation, police / population relations and nocturnal policies.
She was Director of Prevention and Participation for the City of Brussels (2011-2015) and, as such, Director of the para-communal association BRAVVO (2009-2015), which coordinates preventative policies in Brussels (comprising 285 employees). She directed the Preventative Service for the Saint-Gilles Municipality (in the Brussels region) between 1999 and 2007 and worked as Task Officer for the City of Liège’s Mayor’s Cabinet on urban security matters (2008).
She was also a consultant to the Belgian Forum for Urban Security (2007-2009) and an independent trainer for the Belgian Federal Police. She is also a consultant for the European Commission.
Do you have any specific hopes or predictions for the future of urban security? (What will urban security look like in 30 years? What will be the main opportunities and risks?)
Security remains a prerequisite for citizens to enjoy their fundamental liberties. Prevention policies and urban security must focus on quality of life and inclusive societies.
My hope is that, in the future, preventative measures are better financed and integrated on all levels of intervention in order to target the root causes of insecurity as opposed to the symptoms, and that tensions between security forces and citizens are eased. The matter of social cohesion remains a challenge given the recent health crisis, along with terrorist attacks which have tested and tried security measures and workforces on a large scale. These crises have, unfortunately, reinforced the dualisation of society and the divisions between communities.
Why do you think it is so important to involve citizens in urban security practice?
Citizens are the ultimate beneficiaries of security and urban security policies and, with a view to efficiency and better impact, they must be integrated into the analysis of needs, and public authorities’ implementation of action plans, on all levels of intervention.