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Yesterday, 8 December 2021, as part of its Presidency of the Council of the EU, Slovenia organised an online meeting of the Board of National Representatives of the European Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN), which is the highest decision-making body of the EUCPN, as well as the Best Practice Conference and the European Crime Prevention Award ceremony which took place today, 9 December 2021.

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An increasingly recognizable network of experts has been operating for two decades

The Chair of the Board Tomaž Peršolja from the Criminal Police Directorate of the General Police Directorate said: "The EUCPN is a network of experts now celebrating its 20th anniversary and is highly visible at the European level due to its increasing commitment to implementing activities within the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats - EMPACT. In recent years, the EUCPN has progressed in terms of content and organisation, adapted the execution of its tasks to the epidemic, and planned ambitious activities for the coming years."

The participants in yesterday’s meeting of the Board of National Representatives discussed the financing of the EUCPN Secretariat and preparations for a new project funding application. The European Commission presented the conclusions of an external independent evaluation of the EUCPN. They then discussed the preparation of the report on its work and next year’s action plan.

Part of the meeting was devoted to a presentation of the EUCPN's role in the new EMPACT (European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats) Cycle and priority areas for EUCPN cooperation. The informal groups that work within the framework of the EUCPN and address individual issues that are important for the EUCPN’s operation presented their conclusions and findings. The meeting closed with presentations of the priorities of France and the Czech Republic, which will hold the Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2022.

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The three best projects for the prevention of peer violence were awarded at the conference

The most important event of the Slovenian Presidency of the EUCPN took place today, namely the Best Practice Conference. The invitation to participate in the preparation and implementation of the event had been given to Dr Gorazd Mešek, representative of the University of Maribor, the Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security who moderated the conference and gave opening remarks, and Dr Aleš Bučar Ručman who presented an overview of the situation and the issue of peer violence in the EU.

The participants in the virtual conference on peer violence heard summaries of 19 projects from 19 EU member states that were submitted under the call for the award for the best practice. The projects were submitted through National Representatives of individual countries after they had been selected at internal selection procedures. The topic of peer violence included violence in schools as well as online. The presentations of projects and discussion were held in two parts. The first focused on sociological and educational aspects of peer violence and the second on hate speech and the scope of digital violence among peers.

The conference ended with the awarding of prizes to the top three projects that, according to the special jury, best met the prescribed criteria of innovation, transferability and applicability in other European countries. The prizes were awarded to FACE UP from the Czech Republic (third place), SAFETY SKILLS EDUCATION project from Finland (second place) and ASK FOR HELP project from Hungary (the winning project).

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Objectives of the European Crime Prevention Network

The EUCPN - The EUCPN is the European Crime Prevention Network. The Network aims to connect the local, national and European level and to promote crime prevention knowledge and practices among the EU Member States. The EUCPN was set up in 2001 by Council Decision (2001/427/JHA), which was replaced in 2009 (2009/902/JHA).

The EUCPN is headed by a Board of National Representatives, which consists of a Chair, an Executive Committee and the National Representatives. Each Member State can decide on one National Representative and one Substitute which they send to the meetings of the Network. They are responsible for the approval of the Network’s strategic approach, the realisation of the EUCPN Work Programme and the adoption of the Annual Report of the Network’s activities. They meet at least twice a year.

The Chair rotates every six months according to the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and is a Member of the Board. Together with the Chair, the Executive Committee prepares the strategy and decisions of the Network for approval by the Board. Six Member States are represented in the Executive Committee: two National Representatives, selected by the Board for 18 months, and the National Representatives of the last, current and the next two Presidencies of the Council of the European Union. In addition, a representative of the European Commission is attending the Executive Committee and the Board Meetings as an observer.

The EUCPN Secretariat is based in Brussels. The task of the Secretariat is to provide general administrative, technical and analytical support to the Network and to represent the Network externally. It acts as a focal point for communication with the Network Members, identifies ongoing research activities in the field of crime prevention and other related information that would be of use to the Network. The Secretariat hosts the website and is also responsible for delivering systematic output on crime prevention (newsletters, toolboxes, recommendation papers …).Through the Secretariat, the Network is collaborating with academic researchers and experts in the field bringing together scientific research, policymaking and (local) practice.

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