Press conference Tuesday 31st March 2009 at 13.00.
Launching the collaboration between the National Swedish Police Board and UN-HABITAT
UN-HABITAT POLICE PLATFORM FOR URBAN DEVELOPMENT: PARTNERING WITH POLICE SERVICES
TOWARDS SAFER CITIES FOR ALL
Today is a milestone, when the United Nations Programme for Human Settlement (UN-HABITAT) and the Swedish National Police Board (SNPB) join forces to enhance the governance of safety at municipal level through democratic policing and improve the role of Police in Urban Development. With the valuable support of the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency, the two agencies will promote democratic policing in urban areas, as well as foster a better involvement of the police in urban governance, planning and management, and advance a culture of community crime prevention in urban settings.
This collaboration will result in the establishment of a Police Platform for Urban Development, which will support the partnership between Police, Local Governments and communities. This initiative, which is a first of this kind, will address sensitive issues of relationships between police and communities, the role of law enforcement in urban governance, management and planning, and the promotion of democratic policing practices in cities, and in particular in the context of slum upgrading. In collaboration with SIDA, UN-Habitat and Swedish National Police Board will launch the Police Platform for Urban Development on the 5th October 2009 in Stockholm, Sweden, during the Word Habitat Day Celebrations. Institutions willing to be part of the Police Platform for Urban Development are encouraged to contact UN-HABITAT.
Internationally, the police have played a limited role in urban development, and particularly so in developing countries. The experience of the Nordic countries, and their Model of Crime Prevention offer inspiration for new relationships to be developed and promoted.
The partnership with Swedish National Police Board will greatly increase the capacity of UN-HABITAT to reach out to Police services and support local government in building local partnerships, and it is in line with our drive to scale up our impact for a better urban future.
We cannot continue to ignore that law enforcement actors end up dealing with many dysfunctions of our urban development policies and their involvement upstream may both improve their response and prevent some of the problems. We are aware informal settlements residents often have very negative experience of the police. The vision of this collaboration is also that of improving on practices on the ground. We could have not found better partners for this that the Swedish National Police Board.
Discussions are already ongoing to link the Police expertise, and the preventive approaches to policing we wish to promote, with our Housing Rights Programme activities, where issues of evictions are being addressed. We believe that it will be possible to bring in the Police in these discussions to build more understanding of the plight of the urban poor threatened by evictions and to identify alternatives to violent eviction in which the Police can play a different role.
We also see dimensions of law enforcement throughout our activities, to protect the assets of communities engaged in micro-credit, to assist in better implementation of planning and to contribute in general to community safety and access to services.
We believe this will be a distinct contribution of UN-HABITAT in the transition of Police Forces towards Police Service, oriented to the public good and to the enhancement of societal welfare. It is something that is of crucial importance to consolidate democracy and make it work better for all. And one of the aspects we need to work with in our quest for urban sustainability.