Call for members interested in a working group on the use of social media for local security

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Paris, France, June 2016 – Are you using social media as part of your local security policy? Are you confronted with crime through social media? Are you interested in gaining knowledge about social media and crime and crime prevention? Efus is looking for members interested in joining a working group on the use of social media for local security that it is setting up as part of the new European MEDI@4SEC to be launched next month, in which it is a partner.

Social media are omnipresent and have become a powerful mechanism driving social, economic and organisational change. But they also have a dark side, where those outside the law have found new ways to organise and commit criminal acts, sometimes transnationally, while remaining (relatively) anonymous.

In the field of public security, social media are a true game-changer and are the most recent and dramatic entry into the field of policing. Social media allow law enforcement agencies and others involved with public security to ask for information from citizens, send information instantaneously to and interact with a range of civil society groups, as well as providing a monitoring function. The big question is: how can public security planners best play this new game? Moreover, what are the new opportunities for the institutions in charge of security? What is allowed in an online world? How and why are new forms of social media currently being adopted and used by public security planners, citizens and criminals? How should social media use among law enforcement, public security planners and citizens evolve in the future and influence operational practices and requirements? What are the social, ethical and legal implications of the increased use of new social media?

The MEDI@4SEC project aims to create a future vision for the role of social media in law enforcement and public security planning, not only for communication purposes and as a listening platform, but also as a collaboration platform where policing and crime prevention can be done in new ways, with new types of (digital and real world) interventions.

Efus in charge of the local security aspect of the project

As a project partner, Efus will contribute horizontally to key activities describing the state of the art of social media use for security in local authorities, creating a working group, organising workshops and trainings addressed to Efus members, and contributing to the communication and dissemination of the project and its results. Efus will ensure the involvement of local authorities’ experience (practices and problems) in their social media use for security and crime prevention in relation with the research products of the project.

Financed by the European Commission under the programme H2020 FCT-15 CSA and led by the University of Warwick (United Kingdom), the project gathers the Centre for Security Studies (Kentro Meleton Asfaleias, KEMEA, Greece), the City Council of Valencia (Spain), Efus, the European Organisation for Security, (EOS, Belgium), the Fraunhofer Centre for Responsible Innovation of Berlin (Germany), the Dutch organisation for applied research TNO (Netherlands), the Police Service of Northern Ireland (United Kingdom), the software development and consulting firm Xlab Razvoj (Slovenia), and the University of Utrecht (Netherlands).

The 30-month project will start with a kick-off meeting on 11 July in Leiden (Netherlands).

We invite our members to express their interest in participating in this working group and sharing with us practices and experiences on the topic.

Pilar De La Torre –
Elsa Fontanille –