9 Czech cities (Brno, Chomutov, Hradec Kralove, Olomouc, Opava, Ostrava, Pardubice, Praha and Sokolov) were represented by their prevention and safety policies coordinators at the meeting that the European Forum for Urban Safety organized in Prague on December 14th 2006. The seminar, organized in cooperation with representatives from the Czech Ministry of the Interior and from the Union of Czech Towns and Municipalities received financing from the „European Active Citizenship“ programme.
This meeting was meant to foster an exchange of good practice on local safety policies.
European experts have provided a methodology and concrete examples on how to carry on local safety audits audits, and particular attention was given to the way in which citizens may get involved in decision-making at a local level.
Sohail Husain, director of Analytica Consulting (UK) presented the critical success factors for local safety policies and then enlarged upon the purpose, the organization, the process, the scope and the results of the safety audits. The issue of involving citizens in carrying out these safety audits was continuously reffered to throughout his presentation. A debate with the audience was launched on the relevance of some of these factors in the Czech cities background.
Cecile Arches, head of the Prevention and Safety Department from the City Hall of Issy-les-Moulineaux (France) illustrated the way in which this French city involves its citizens in shaping the city’s safety policies – mostly through out regular surveys carried out at all levels of population.
Another concrete example of citizen action initiated by the city of Issy-les-Moulineaux and lead in partnership with various stakeholders involved concerned the prevention of truancy and violence in schools. This presentation lead to debates among the local safety coordinators, based on the fact that they consider their mandates limited both by the present legislation and by the autonomy of the educational institutions.
The Czech cities had the opportunity to present their good practices and also to list part of the shortcomings they have to cope with in their day-to-day work. A recurrent idea expressed by several of the participants was their need for a stronger cooperation among the local safety coordinators and for working in larger partnerships in general.