DEFUS Vision & Mission
Activity Report 2020
News from DEFUS and Network life (in chronological order):
- In May DEFUS hosted a web conference on staff safety. After a deadly attack on an employee of the city administration of Cologne and several other incidents in other cities the topic jumped on the top of the agenda. The city of Cologne presented a newly installed early warning system.
- After parallel bomb threats against city halls in three DEFUS member cities (Essen, Augsburg, Mannheim) in June, DEFUS organised a video conference where representatives and police presidents of the affected cities exchanged information regarding the information about the course of events and details of the threatening letters. This quick reaction and connection via DEFUS were well received and appreciated.
- This year saw only one assembly of the German members which took place on the 28th of September in the city of Essen. There the DEFUS members elected Christian Kromberg, city of Essen, as the new president and Christian Specht, city of Mannheim, as new vice president of the German Forum.
- After the elections of the chair, the member discussed the consequences of the riots in the city of Stuttgart and the challenges of an increasing party scene in public spaces. The focus topic of the assembly was the question of how city administration shall and must encounter discrimination and racism. Dr Maria Scharlau from Amnesty International Germany, expert for racism in security administration, gave input on the benefits of anti-racism training for public servants in local administration.
- DEFUS organised a one-day anti-racism training for its members to raise awareness on how discriminating prejudices influence the daily work of the staff of the local administration. Both trainers told the audience about discrimination and everyday racism they experience as black Germans.
- The German Forum turned 10 this year and celebrated its anniversary with a get-together and dinner for the members in Essen. Elizabeth Johnston, Executive Director of Efus, Dr Martin Schairer, mayor of Stuttgart and former president of the German Forum, Erich Marks, long-lasting partner of Efus and DEFUS, and last but not least Claudia Heinzelmann, the coordinating manager for six years, shared their memories live or via video message of the first decade of DEFUS.
- DEFUS participates in the EU funded Efus project SECU4All.
- Within the framework of the research project "Safety in Station Quarters", the project team has developed a toolbox for local authorities, which is a broad collection of measurements to improve the safety feeling and amenity qualities. DEFUS organised and hosted a training session for staff of local administration and police to improve prevention and security in station quarters. 20 Participants from all over Germany took part in the online event and elaborated prevention concepts and ideas for marginalized groups hanging around at the station. The training was fully funded by the research project.
- For the first time, DEFUS has participated in the preparation of its own research project proposal together with the German Institute for Urban Studies (Difu). The project PanReflex aims to reflect on how municipalities are dealing with the Corona crisis and to draw conclusions for the long-term strengthening of urban resilience. It is expected that the German Ministry of Education and Research approves the project in May 2021.
- The long-term project on Prevention and Integration with an online information portal (PUFII) runs constantly and with astonishingly high access rates. In 2020, Pufii has again received third-party funding from the Federal State of Lower Saxony to build up a knowledge hub for the prevention of prejudice, discrimination and racism. Until the end of this year, the project is managed by DEFUS, co-financed by third-party funds and the German Prevention Congress.
- DEFUS was fortunately asked by three consortiums of research projects funded by the German Government to participate as an associated partner (SifoLife Plan #B, Sifo Life SELECT, LegiNot). Grant approvals are still pending.
- Several DEFUS member cities are also participating in already running projects or have submitted their applications for German funding lines. One of the upcoming general assemblies will be dedicated to exchanging in-depth about the projects.
Other DEFUS Activities:
- At the symposium titled “Perspectives and Future of Urban Crime Prevention", Anna Rau discussed on a panel how local authorities could improve the participation of all city dwellers in urban security policies and prevention activities. The University of Tübingen hosted the symposium, which took place in February.
- As the training on security for mass events was overbooked DEFUS and the German Institute for Urban Studies (DIFU) repeated the training in early March. The 40 participants learned, discussed and exchanged ideas and experiences on how local authorities can improve and influence the safety of mass events.
- The Corona Health Crisis led to many changes and postponements in the DEFUS schedule. The German Crime Prevention Congress was postponed and switched to an online event and took place at the end of September. DEFUS and Efus contributed to the online information collection and disseminated new and recently published documents.
Activity Report 2019
Our network is growing
Efus and DEFUS are very happy to welcome four new members from Germany. The cities of Nuremberg, Hannover, Gladbeck and Berlin joined our network in 2019. With 535.000 inhabitants Nuremberg and Hannover count to the bigger cities in Germany. Gladbeck has around 76.000 inhabitants and belongs to the Ruhr region. The German capital Berlin is very interested in exchanging experiences with other European metropolis.
In January, the DEFUS office moved within Hannover. We now share a wonderful office with the German Crime Prevention Congress (DPT). The new office offers plenty of space to host meetings and events. The close cooperation with the DPT is fruitful and a benefit for the German Forum.
DEFUS Members Assemblies
The 1st annual member’s assembly of the German Forum took place affiliated to the General Assembly of Efus in Augsburg on June 24th. Besides the welcoming of the new members, the meeting focused on polarisation, mechanisms for participation and the protection of public space. Following up the last member's assembly, a working group on local risk management was set up to deepen and consolidate the professional exchange around this pressing issue.
The German Forum held its 2nd annual General Assembly on Thursday 12 December in Cologne. The discussions of the 40 participants focused on the topics of safety audits and strategic planning, securitisation of public space and safety in nightlife settings and included a visit to Cologne's centre for crime prevention and security. The assembly was followed, on Friday 13 November, by a workshop on identification and assessment of urban security risks.
The German Efus members have developed guiding considerations on the peaceful co-existence in our cities in August. Almost all DEFUS members have adopted the document which already has been and will further be disseminated in Germany. Dirk Wurm and Christian Kromberg presented the considerations in events on the national level and will continue to do so in 2020.
- The working group on urban risk management met twice in 2019 and intensively worked in the assessment of risks for urban safety and how local authorities can deal with identified risks.
- October 2019 saw a two-day visit of 7 security professionals from the city of Cologne to Rotterdam. The visit is part of a bilateral exchange programme and will be followed by a return visit of the colleagues from Rotterdam to Cologne in 2020. In addition to the Rotterdam municipality's measures for employee safety, the visit focused on safety in public spaces and also on participatory urban design, strengthening disadvantaged neighbourhoods and situational prevention.
Events organised and hosted by DEFUS
Symposium “Safe Public Space” in cooperation with the German Police Academy In January
DEFUS together with the German Police Academy (DHPol) hosted a symposium on safety and security of public spaces. The event brought together around 100 participants from the police and staff of cities and municipalities. In the two days event, the participants discussed the stakes, responsibility and role of police and city administration to guarantee the safety of public spaces. In four workshops the topics of social cohesion and social capital, the protection of mass events, the distribution of tasks and cooperation at the local level between police and municipality and the use of new technologies for safety and security were addressed. The discussions, presentations and results of the events are going to be published in a book in 2020.
Symposium "The Organisation of Peaceful Coexistence in the Tension Field of Migration, Integration and Security"
On 20 and 21 November 2019, DEFUS and the German Police University (DHPol) organised a symposium titled "The Organisation of Peaceful Coexistence in the Tension Field of Migration, Integration and Security" in Münster. The event was aimed at mayors, researchers, municipal employees, as well as representatives of the police and civil society and united 70 participants. This was the 2nd event in cooperation with the German Police Academy in 2019. The results of both events will be published in a book next year.
In cooperation with the German Institute for Urbanism, the German Forum organised a two-day training on safety and security for events in Berlin in October. After having received more applications than spaces for participants, DEFUS and DIfU will repeat the training in March 2020.
Events DEFUS representatives took part
- Mannheim organised first security day In April the city of Mannheim offered during the one-day event a platform for cities and municipalities to discuss urban safety from different perspectives. Efus and DEFUS were partners for the event and accompanied the day with a stand.
- Stand and lectures at the German Congress on Crime Prevention Traditionally DEFUS actively participated at the annual Congress on Crime Prevention. With a stand, various lectures and facilitation of workshops the German forum networked and presented the idea of an integrated approach on urban security and promoted a membership. Several Efus members presented their local activities for urban security and reached out to a broad audience.
- Lecture for the new crime prevention council of Thüringen The federal state of Thüringen invited the managing director of DEFUS to give the opening lecture as the starting signal for the working group on urban safety that is currently being established.
- Dirk Wurm and Christian Kromberg, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of DEFUS, represented Efus and DEFUS on congresses on urban development of the social-democratic and conservative parties in Germany. DEFUS was very delighted to be invited and considers this as a huge step towards more visibility of Efus and DEFUS within German politics.
Security in Station Quarters
The cities of Munich and Düsseldorf, as well as DEFUS, are part of a research project on the security in station quarters – the so-called SIBA-project. The project started in August 2017 and will run until August 2020. While the cities offer their station quarters as a research area, DEFUS is in charge of organising and offering training for local authorities in which the results of the project will be poured into local prevention concepts.
In February, the project group met for two days in Düsseldorf and explored the urban development of the station quarter.
Prevention and Integration
Online Platform to connect Prevention and Integration measures – pufii.de the German Crime Prevention Congress, the Crime Prevention Council of Lower Saxony and DEFUS have set up an online platform aiming to connect the professionals for prevention and integration in Germany. The online platform publishes a weekly newsletter and offers a rich databank with information regarding integration, migration and refugees in Germany. This year DEFUS has overtaken the lead in the project and receives third-party funds to develop a new pillar for the online platform. PUFII.DE has received funding from the German state and has organised beyond other things two webinars on diversity in cities in fall 2019.