The Urban Agenda Partnership on Security in Public Spaced hosted its 4th Partnership meeting in Brussels, back to back to the European Week of Regions and Cities.
On the morning of 9 November the Partnership hosted a public debate in the context of the EWRC. This session, designed and led by the Coordinators and Technical Secretariat, provided an opportunity to present the work of the Partnership, discuss with the panellists and audience (around 80 participants) about main challenges for local authorities as well as gather feedback and advice to inform the work ahead.
The Partnership Coordinators provided an overview of where the Partnership comes from and the efforts which brought to the start of this journey as well as the definition of the Partnership focus, which is the result of a participatory process. An important milestone for the Partnership was the definition of security in public spaces, which is embraced as a broad concept.
During its orientation phase, the Partnership also decided to focus on three core areas: urban planning and design, technology and managing and sharing public spaces. The approach and main pillars of the Partnership work are expressed in the Orientation Paper, which was completed in May 2019.
The panel discussion also touched upon the need for multilevel governance when facing these challenges as well as the importance to strike a balance between hard and soft approaches to security. The Committee of the Region Rapporteur Kieran McCarthy as well as Eva-Maria Engdahl (DG HOME) reflected on the importance to ensure that the Partnership works in close coordination with EU institutions and noted how in the past other Partnerships have greatly contributed to shaping new EU legislations and funding. What is essential in their view is to ensure that Actions are implementable and fully implemented, which means the scope of work should be well defined.
The discussion was enriched by testimonials by some Partnership members, notably Lille Metropole, Unione della Romagna Faentina, Mechelen and Croatia. The partners reflected concrete experiences working in this domain, ranging from the need to deal with crime by using an integrated approach, to the urgency to deal with security perception, as well as the importance of urban planning for security. For most of them, the Partnership is a unique platform where local authorities can exchange practices and knowledge as well as join forces in tackling common challenges.
The main objective of the meeting was to agree on the Actions which the Partnership will pursue. Based on the inputs collected during the summer, 20 Actions where identified and further investigated by the Partners to see how they would match the pre-agreed criteria (added value, feasibility, in house expertise etc.).
During the first part of the meeting, each Partner who had shown interested was asked to provide a brief pitch on the Action (what is it, why is it important, is it feasible?) and a discussion followed.
As a result, on day 2 some Actions could be discarded or merged and the Partnership was guided by the Technical Secretariat through an interactive session to agree on a shortlist of 6 Actions and determine involvement and role of each of them.
The 6 Actions, which span across better knowledge, funding and regulation, are currently being explored in detail by the Partners, who will take a final decision on their exact scope and focus by mid-November, based on the results of the scoping exercise they are carrying out.
The meeting also provided an opportunity to receive advices by the Coordinator of the Public Procurement Partnership on how to design and implement the Actions, and what tips they have learned from their experience. The meeting also featured a presentation by the European Data Protection Board on current and upcoming legislation in the domain of video surveillance and facial recognition in particular.