This year’s EFUS General Assembly in Berlin – hosted by the German Congress on Crime Prevention – was a real success. Allowing “EFUS to meet Germany and Germany to meet EFUS” was the aim of this event that led to the creation of a German EFUS section, the German European Forum for Urban Security “DEFUS”.
In just over a year, the long standing idea to enlarge the basis of the Forum’s network in Germany became a reality thanks to a few active members, such as Erich Marks from the Lower Saxony Crime Prevention Council or the Deputy Mayor of Stuttgart Martin Schairer. Düsseldorf, Munich and Mannheim joined the Forum contributing to creating a new dynamic between the European network and German municipalities to build a common perspective.
“EFUS is the best place for networking in crime prevention in the whole of Europe” said Martin Schairer, deputy Mayor of the City of Stuttgart and newly elected President of the DEFUS. The objective was to gather a minimum of 10 German members in order to create a structure that would give a voice to local authorities at the national level, reinforce the link between German and other European cities and make it easier for German cities to have access to European projects and funding via EFUS. German EFUS members underlined that this structure would need to be light and functional and that the European outlook and perspective was crucial form them also in a national section, which is reflected in the name of the German Forum, which is named in fact German European Forum or “D-EFUS”.
With the cities of Augsburg, Leer, Heidelberg and Oldenburg joining in, the German EFUS members could create the German EFUS section May 10th in Berlin. They elected as first president of the Forum, the city of Stuttgart, represented in Berlin, through it Mayor for Justice and Order, Dr. Martin Schairer and as Vice-President the Chief Executive and Governing Member of the Munich City Council, Dr. Wilfried Blume-Beyerle. Responsible for the treasury will be the cities of Heidelberg and Leer. The Lower Saxony Crime Prevention Council has offered to host the secretariat for DEFUS.
Following this founding act, DEFUS members now want to get to work. The work programme of this new national forum, yet to be designed in detail, will be focused on practical assistance to cities via the implementation of a common methodology on Safety and Security audits, the creation of a German award for crime prevention, and a debate around social mediation. This will altogether be aiming at improving the joint actions between the stakeholders involved at the local level on different topics.
The DEFUS members hope that this will encourage a multiplier effect and that many cities will join EFUS and DEFUS.