Brussels, 30 November 2012
The European Crime Prevention network (EUCPN)
The European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN) was set up on 28 May 2001 and then re-established on 30 November 2009 by a Council Decision.
The EUCPN is supported by the EU through a grant from the ISEC programme worth €845.000 (covering the period mid 2001-mid 2014).
Main objectives of the EUCPN
The network aims to:
identify good practices in crime prevention and to share knowledge and experience gained between member countries
accumulate and evaluate information on crime prevention activities
improve the exchange of ideas and information within the Network
develop contacts and facilitate cooperation between Member States
contribute to developing local and national strategies on crime prevention
promote crime prevention activities by organising meetings, seminars and conferences.
These goals are achieved through the implementation of annual Work Programmes, based on a multi-annual strategy (2010–2015).
The EUCPN consists of a Board of National Representatives (meeting 4 times a year) and is supported by a Secretariat comprising of a Coordinator, a Research Officer and an Administrative Officer.
Activities of the EUCPN
EUCPN deploys a number of activities and uses its web-site as main dissemination and communication tool (http://www.eucpn.org):
Promoting good practice through a database that contains examples of initiatives and projects on crime prevention from all-over Europe.
The Best Practice Conference is a yearly event organised by the EUCPN and focusing on sharing and disseminating experience and knowledge of best practices in preventing crime and increasing safety and security in EU Member States. The Best Practice Conference gathers policymakers, practitioners and researchers from all EU Member States, candidate countries and relevant organisations. The conference consists of lectures and seminars and one important element is to present and discuss the projects nominated for the European Crime Prevention Award (ECPA) contest.
The European Crime Prevent Award (ECPA) is a contest, which aims to reward the best European crime prevention project. Participation in the European Crime Prevent Award is open to any project, initiative or package of measures. An objective of the project must be to reduce crime and the fear of crime within the specified theme. Entries can originate from, for example: local authorities, the police, educational institutions, community groups, sports clubs, youth organisations, business community, probation service, neighbourhood watch schemes, parish councils, public transport operators, voluntary organisations/groups.
The theme for the 2012 European Crime Prevention Award and the EU Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN)'s Best Practices Annual Conference is "Community policing as a tool for Crime Prevention, for Burglaries, Domestic Violence and Juvenile Delinquency". The EPCA and the BPC will take place 4-5 December 2012 in Nicosia (Cyprus).
Research – The EUCPN collects and promotes research-based findings and activities to prevent crime. It also assists in building national crime prevention strategies. Access to discipline-specific research findings on crime prevention is available on the network's website. It contains systematic reviews on the effects of crime prevention measures, details of on-going research projects and international sources of references of journal articles, scientific extracts or links to full text journals from leading scientists or practitioners
In addition, since 2012, the EUCPN Secretariat is producing "Thematic Papers" (2 published so far) on specific crime types and how to prevent them. In June 2012 the EUCPN Secretariat has published the first 6-monthly "European Crime Prevention Monitor" which presents information on crime situations and crime trends based on statistics, surveys and reports from different sources. The aim of these reports is to provide a quick and substantial, but selected overview of the situation and trends on crime and crime prevention. Target groups are local, national and European practitioners and policy maker.
Newsletter - The EUCPN Newsletter contains information on upcoming EUCPN events and news on crime prevention activities from across the Network.
On-line Library – The EUCPN has collected over the years an important amount of studies, articles and other documents on various aspects of crime prevention. Its archives are accessible through a search engine which allows selecting a given year and a choice of 30 different topics/crime areas.
Examples of good practices promoted by the EUCPN
The EUCPN has identified and disseminated good practices in areas such as:
Gun and knife crime. For instance, the Knife Amnesty (United Kingdom) aimed to encourage residents to hand over their stabbing weapons to the police voluntarily. Police stations were equipped with special lockers where people can leave their weapons anonymously. This ensures safety, and freedom from prosecution for possession of a weapon. The amnesty is now complete and led to the removal of over 89,000 knives and offensive weapons, but the project is repeated regularly, sometimes as part of broader anti-violence campaigns.
Child victimization in Cyberspace. The project Zodpovedne.sk (Slovakia) is to raise awareness of the public about potential risks of internet and mobile use and to teach children use the new technologies safely. Children were addressed via prevention texts printed in schoolbooks on different topics (e.g. cyber-bullying, protection of personal data...). To address teenagers, a TV show Cookie.sk was also developed, which was accompanied by a nationwide competition. The most successful outcome of the project have been animated stories raising awareness on bad habits of the youths online (www.ovce.sk) in different languages (Hungarian, German, English, Roma, etc.).
Youth crime. Virtual Community Policing (Finland) has been looking for ways to give children and youngsters the opportunity to approach the police in a new and easy way, their own way. By using social media the Helsinki police district has been able to inform youngsters about laws and rules that they may have questions about and to offer information about police activities and their functions. Through an established user profile, police officers, openly presenting themselves as such, take part also in various site communities to introduce an adult point of view to the conversation, be it on drug use or violent criminal behaviour. The police profile is used somewhat during daily crime investigations. The youngsters are easily reached at the profile and sometimes they are even being invited for interrogation. Investigators have used the profile as a preliminary contact that is very helpful.
Community mediation. In Nagybörzsöny, a small rural Hungarian village, a project combined community building and mediation methods to respond to ethnic-based conflicts. It provided training for local people, including on mediation techniques and alternative dispute resolution. Group activities for children, young mothers and local volunteers were also organised. Some successful outcomes could be perceived: several successful mediations were conducted, the community cohesion has been significantly improved, and the newly trained locals has become committed and willing to give on-going help as mediators and volunteers. Their work is largely supported by a community mediation protocol (a kind of handbook) that was compiled by the end of the project. A promotional film of the project: http://vagyunkmiis.foresee.hu/
Drugs. A healthy school and stimulants (the Netherlands) is a preventative project for primary and secondary school children. The project provides information on stimulants, and focuses on the risks, peer pressure and social skills. Pupils who have participated in this project are prepared for their first confrontation with stimulants. That way, they will be able to make a more conscious choice whether or not they want to try any of these stimulants. Pupils that participated in the project used less tobacco, alcohol and soft drugs than pupils that did not participate. The project also has a positive impact on the knowledge about stimulants, the risks of use and places to go when they are having problems.
Domestic violence. The Malmö Integrated Domestic Violence Programme (Sweden) is a large-scale collaborative project run primarily by the local authority, the police authority and the healthcare sector. Women who have been the victims of assault need treatment for their injuries (from the healthcare sector), they need to report the assault (to the police) and they need support in the form of counseling (provided by the local authority) to enable them to break off the abusive relationship. The project has achieved making the violence committed in intimate relationships more visible and providing women with the support they need to feel safe in reporting this violence. Measures have focused on all of the parties involved (women, children and men) and there are now three crisis centres in Malmö: 'the crisis centre for women', 'the crisis centre for men' and 'the crisis centre for children and youths'. In addition, the women’s clinic at Malmö’s University General Hospital has developed a special programme for providing medical treatment in connection with sexual assaults, the prison service has developed a programme designed to influence the behaviour of men convicted of domestic violence and the police have created a special domestic violence division and the prosecution service has introduced special domestic violence prosecutors.
Since the project began in 1996, the number of cases of women reporting having been assaulted by a male acquaintance has increased by 50%. The proportion of such reports that result in a prosecution has increased by almost 100% since the start of the project. These figures represent substantial differences in relation to both the rest of Sweden and Sweden’s two other metropolitan areas.
Other EU initiatives to support crime prevention
The Programme for the Prevention of and Fight against Crime – ISEC (€600 million for the period 2007–2013) is funding a wide range of projects.
Over the years, this programme has supported a number of crime prevention projects in different crime areas such as: crime prevention in the urban space; prevention of domestic violence and violence against children; prevention of youth delinquency; prevention of cybercrime; crime prevention in penitentiary system; restorative justice; prevention of financial and economic crime; prevention of trafficking in human beings and prevention of drugs related crime.
Examples of such projects can be consulted on DG Home Affairs website.
In addition, crime prevention activities can also be supported by a number of other EU financial instruments, such as the 7th Framework Research Programme, structural funds and other programmes related to integration and education.