Efus 2013 General Assembly: a new dynamic for the network

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 Efus 2013 General Assembly: a new dynamic for the network after a year marked by the 2012 Conference and the adoption of the Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis

Note to readers: The article below is a brief summary of the meetings held on the occasion of the General Assembly, on 26, 27 and 28 June 2013. For more information, you may also read:

Cascais, Portugal, 28 June 2013 – The General Assembly of the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus) gathered on 27 June, in Cascais, Portugal, some 80 representatives of 31 cities and 11 European countries, as well as of the Belgian, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish Forums for Urban Security.


On the eve of this annual GA, Efus organised, also in Cascais, work meetings with the partners of three projects, “Methodology for the elaboration of local security policies in Europe” (or “Audits”),  “Security and Tourism”, and “Technologies” (the latter being the group set up by Efus to continue the work of the European project Surveille, which concluded at the end of 2012).

Furthermore, a colloquium was held on the day after the GA on “Methodological tools for crime prevention”.

General Assembly

Efus’ Executive Director, Elizabeth Johnston, recalled that the main event of 2012 was the Conference “Security, Democracy and Cities: the Future of Prevention”, held in December 2012 in Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis, which concluded with the adoption of the new Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis and its recommendations.

47 [1600x1200] Guilherme Pinto and Elizabeth Johnston

One of the key projects for 2013 is the “Sharing the Manifesto” initiative, the aim of which is to disseminate the Manifesto through a series of debate days with citizens in a number of European cities.

Efus’ President, Guilherme Pinto, Mayor of Matosinhos, presented the financial result of the association for 2012, and stressed that it is not only balanced after a deficit year in 2011, but that it is positive.  

Another important theme of the GA were the results of two projects that have concluded since the previous GA (2011, Brussels): EU Street Violence and Safer Drinking Scenes.

Elizabeth Johnston presented Efus’ strategic plan, which is based on five axes. This plan will guide the development of Efus for the years to come. The five axes are:

  • to develop the ‘collective intelligence’ of Efus and to promote its principles; 
  • to support the action of cities with applied tools and methodologies; 
  • to promote a collective European project, elaborated with local elected officials and citizens;
  • to position European cities in a process of exchange and sharing with other regions of the world; 
  • to consolidate and develop the Forum’s network. 

The 2013 scale of membership fees was agreed, and a third of the members of the Executive Committee were elected.

Activities carried out in 2013 were presented by participants in ongoing projects such as Tourism and Security, Audits, and Organised Crime.

Colloquium “Methodological tools for crime prevention”

77 [1600x1200] Guilherme Pinto, Lieven d’Hauwe, Dr Paulo Gomes and Frank Zobel

Evidence based prevention was the theme of the colloquium organised by Efus in Cascais on 28 June, the day after the GA. Indeed, the need for this type of prevention is one of the recommendations of the Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis. It is also the main theme of the European project “Audits”, which Efus launched in January 2013.

The colloquium was moderated by Gian Guido Nobili, Head of the Research Unit, department of Local Police and Urban Security, Emilia Romagna Region. 

Elizabeth Johnston emphasised the importance of this theme for Efus not only in the support and technical missions it provides to member cities, but also when it created a Guidebook on international practices of safety audits in 2007, a project during which Efus consolidated its network of expertise, and through the new European project “Audits”.

Wilfried Blume-Beyerle, Vice President of the German Forum (DEFUS), explained that evidence based prevention should be based on three pillars:

  • Analysing problems and contextualising them in a national and a European context.
  • Choosing measures that have proven to be effective.
  • Evaluating the outcomes and comparing them with what was proposed.

Lieven D’Hauwe, Local Advisor at the Belgian Ministry of the Interior, presented a balance of 20 years of prevention policies in Belgium, with a special emphasis on how local safety audits shape policies and how they affect the work of field practitioners.

Dr Paulo Gomes explained why the Portuguese national police, of which he is Director, considers citizen participation as the core value of its strategic programme. “We have a cross-cutting approach that encompasses a wide range of issues such as health, social integration, access to school, economic difficulties, etc.,” he said. “We must solve all these problems in a multidimensional way. It is particularly important in the light of the current economic crisis and austerity policy.”

Frank Zobel, Senior Scientist at the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), explained how this organisation created an information system to gather and exploit coherent, pan-European data. This experience is particularly interesting for any project aimed at creating a European observatory on crime.

The French Forum for Urban Security (FFSU), represented by Bertrand Binctin, Deputy Mayor of Le Havre and member of the Executive Committee, and Vanina Hallab, Network and Development Officer of the FFSU, presented some of its actions targeted at front line stakeholders, as well as the support missions is conducts for member municipalities.

The city of Rotterdam, represented by Ineke Nierstrasz and Robert de Vette, presented the security index created a decade ago by the city, which measures quantitative data on crime in the various districts of the city, and qualitative data on the feeling of security of inhabitants.

Francisco Oliveira Pereira, of the city of Cascais, presented the Strategic Plan for Citizens Security, which is a 360 degree approach that identifies and solves all kinds of problems affecting security (street lighting, nuisances, graffiti, etc.).

Coordinator at the German Forum for Urban Security (DEFUS), Claudia Heinzelman presented the tools used by three member cities as part of evidence based prevention: surveys on the feeling of security among inhabitants of Stuttgart; the Heidelberg Audit Concept used in Heidelberg and Mannheim, which focuses on petty crime, which is often the cause of the feeling of insecurity; and the Communities That Care (CTC) approach implemented by the Crime Prevention Council of Lower Saxony and based on the involvement of local communities.

Lastly, Svetislav Paunovic, former Project Coordinator in Serbia of the UN-Habitat Safer Cities programme, presented some of the results of the safety audits conducted in Southern Serbia: deployment of CCTV systems in some municipalities, actions to strengthen the capacity of fire and rescue brigades in crisis situations.

See the photo gallery

Video report made by the city of Cascais during the General Assembly on 27-28 June 2013: