Programmes for healthy relationships and partner violence in schools in Canada

The Canadian federal agency responsible for defending the rights of women and ensuring the application of the Status of Women Canada law. As such, this agency promotes gender equality and the total participation of women in the economic, social, cultural and political life of the country. The Status of Women Canada acts in three areas: the improvement in economic autonomy and wellbeing of women, the elimination of systematic violence against women and children and advances in women’s rights.

With this purpose, it develops and directs gender studies, promotes their application in the sphere of federal government, and sponsors research that provides a gender dimension to programme and policy agendas.

This is the case of the education information programme that the Canadian Agency of Women is putting into operation involving school practices that favour programmes for healthy relationships and the prevention of partner violence in the country’s schools. Among the specific objective concerning inclusivity, as well as the vision through gender lenses promoted by this educational programme for the country’s younger population, mainly focused on primary and secondary schools, there are the following:

Inclusivity

  • Programmes include mixed audiences and different communities and may require specific focuses.
  • Similarly, programmes that include students with special needs, for example, meaning that the material is accessible to students with sight or hearing impairments, guarantee that all students meet all the objectives set by the programme.
  • Programmes that use the LGBTQ and alternative gender language, and propose scenarios or role-plays that demonstrate the different factors involved in violence in LGBTQ relationships, also guarantee that all students can identify with the programme and, therefore, also meet the objectives of the results.

Gender lenses

  • Programmes that have separate components for girls and boys and offer the opportunity to regroup and debate what is important for boys and girls are the most successful.
  • Similarly, programmes that have co-facilitators who are both male and female are better received by the young, as they feel better represented and have more possibilities to express themselves.
  • Although separated-by-gender programmes may be useful, a gender analysis is important in all programmes, especially with regard to the underlying causes of gender inequality, in order to address the fact that women are more likely to be mistreated, the concept of consent and the benefits of healthy and equal relationships.
  • LGBTQ students also either have to be represented, with the gender identity of facilitators or with the language and materials used, the scenarios addressed, etc.

These are the desired intrinsic objectives to be incorporated in curricular programmes in schools in Canada, promoting forums for reflection for boys and girls, as well as generating an atmosphere of integration and normalisation of social stereotypes that are now obsolete, in order to try to create a bright future for the country’s future generations with the creation of a support network during childhood.

https://cfc-swc.gc.ca/abu-ans/wwad-cqnf/fs/fs-eng.pdf

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Are programmes that analyse security data in Los Angeles effective?

One of the current trends in terms of security is the wish to predict crime by using computer programmes that draw on data, mainly lawsuits. There are more and more police forces that are doing tests with such systems or are implementing them, but rather than the actual launching of these programmes, the most interesting aspect is assessing results and the analysis obtained by such an assessment. In this blog we have previously emphasised two experiences in France and Germany and, on this occasion, we add another from the USA.

Los Angeles Police Commission

The Los Angeles Police Department published, in March 2019, a report with a review of the application of three programmes of data-guided police action. In summer 2018, after a meeting during which some associations had revealed their concerns that these systems were generating among the general public the Board of Police Commissioners[1] of the city of Los Angeles commissioned the Office of the Inspector General [2] to study the matter and the report is the outcome of this.

The first of the programmes analysed is the so-called LASER (acronym of Los Angeles Strategic Extraction and Restoration –, and it involved two complementary actions: a system to assess and monitor chronic offenders based on scores that were reviewed periodically, and a strategy to detect hot spots where patrolling had to be prioritised.

The review of the LASER project has been quite critical, both regarding the chronic offender programme, and the locating of hot spots. It reveals problems due to the nature of assessment, discrepancies between initial objectives and those that follow with implementation, a lack of training material, differences in how the different areas execute the programme’s actions and difficulties to confirm effectiveness. And between the deficiencies of each of the two actions the most noteworthy are the lack of monitoring of people involved in the system of chronic offenders or the localising of hot spots near the very infrastructures of the police department and the time the patrols spent on these premises, being computed as patrols in these areas.

The second system analysed is Predpol, one of the most popular crime prediction programmes. It is based on historic data regarding crime and applies an algorithm to calculate the areas where a crime is most likely to be committed at a moment in time. Los Angeles police department only uses it to predict places where vehicles could be stolen or broken into, and there are 12-hour time bands. The review carried out by the inspector general’s office, was based on the patrolling implications rather than the functioning of the system of prediction and stresses that, on the one hand, results were contradictory in terms of the time dedicated to patrolling and the areas identified by the system and, on the other, that in most cases the areas of risk were only visited for less than a minute (meaning that the deterring effect was limited) and that the longest-lasting patrols were on police premises.

The latest programme used was ELUCD, a system that sent brief questionnaires to electronic devices (telephones, tablets or computers) based on where they were in the city of Los Angeles. Apart from some demographic questions (age, gender, race or address) it was asked if the person felt safe in his neighbourhood, if he trusted the police and if he / she felt secure with the police department. When the survey was commissioned a contract was not being considered, and this did not happen and the company did not provide the Police Department with the data gathered, and only sent some occasional weekly reports.

The report has had a certain impact on the US media (look at the footnotes) and, apart from detecting the difficulty to assess the effectiveness of the systems, has criticised the fact the effects of these programmes and systems on the general public have not been borne in mind, as this was one of the main criticisms that the study had brought about.

[1] This is the organ that that manages the Police Department, and is made up of five civilians and establishes polices and sets objectives. The head of the police manages daily operations and implements these policies and objectives.

[2]It is a service that supervises the functions of the city’s police department.

You can consult the report at:

http://www.lapdpolicecom.lacity.org/031219/BPC_19-0072.pdf

Two noteworthy news items emphasised by the report:

CNN – LAPD audit reveals dangers of high-tech policing

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/03/22/tech/lapd-audit-tech/index.html

Muckrock – Eight years in, LAPD can’t measure PredPol’s effect on crime

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2019/mar/12/algorithms-lapd-predpol/

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Ecuador adopts strong security measures in football stadiums

As of 2019, the Ecuador football championship will be managed by Liga Pro, which consists of 16 first division clubs and 10 second B clubs, with the aim of guaranteeing safe scenarios for all those who attend matches.

Among the different aspects being reviewed by the Liga Pro, the Ecuador Football Federation(FEF), The Quito Superior Technology Institute(ISTFQ) and lawyers linked to the world of sport, are that of spreading the idea of a peaceful culture between the fans of different teams, improving infrastructures and applying laws in accordance with the crime or offence committed.

One of the first security prerequisites that they aim to abide by is that the rule of sports security states that stadiums must have the minimum norms demanded by FIFA as an obligation, obviously with the perspective of continuous improvement. For example:

  • Stadiums must have emergency doors to enter the grounds placed strategically and being wider than 1 metre, 20 centimetres.
  • If there is no pit separating the terraces from the pitch, ramps will be placed at the emergency doors leading to the pitch.
  • The stadium exit doors and all the spectator areas will open outwards. It will be impossible to lock them while there is a match.
  • The stadium will have an ambulance and first aid area in case medical assistance is required.
  • Football series A stadiums will have an exterior surrounding perimeter barrier where the first security control of the public will take place with an individual search when necessary.
  • The second control will carried out at the stadium entrance.

The organism that regulates professional football in Ecuador has already inspected 13 stadiums where the top-level tournament will take place and, reviewing the results, it helped to improve the rules of the procedure. It was done in this way because the clubs’ lack of infrastructure is one of the big constraints for security regulations.

One of the points of the area of security regulations that the FEF stresses, regarding venues where this sports is practised, is that the stadium must be a safe place for all users, for spectators, those involved in the match, officials, media representatives, workers and others, including different elements of civil security.

As far as the sport’s judiciary is concerned, a critical position is maintained regarding these measures. It is considered that, rather than applying more rigorous norms inside stadiums, those that are already established should be applied and that, moreover, awareness raising activities about proper behaviour at a sports event should be carried out. This way, the fan will be aware of the risk involved if he commits a criminal act and that he can be sanctioned with already existing laws.

Furthermore, there are those who consider that more security would not be necessary in stadiums to prevent violence, as this should involve beginning to change the culture and the idea of why people go to football stadiums. This way, the preventive character of the statutes and regulations must specify parameters to prevent conflict at a sports event. Within this framework, it is believed to be important that a football match must take place within the framework of an atmosphere of safety, friendship, family and collaboration, making it pleasant for fans and without generating unrest when people attend a sports event.

Meanwhile, the ISTFQ wanted to make its contribution with the defence of safety in football stadiums, promoting the diploma in Physical Safety at Sports Events, in order to train people in terms of sports-related safety.

Links of interest

https://www.eltelegrafo.com.ec/

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The FBI takes a positive view of the anti-sexual assault kit

Efforts to address the implementation of anti-sexual assault kits across the country have meant that dozens of thousands of kits have been tested in recent years. The laboratory of the FBI alone tested over 3,600 kits in four years with the collaboration of state and local agencies.

The work done to inventory and test the test equipment is part of the story. The other part is what has been discovered about the serial nature of many sexual criminals, as thousands of cases are added to the ADN and national crime FBI databases.

The sexual assault kits are created when a victim informs the authorities of an assault and allows an appropriately skilled nurse or doctor to gather physical evidence from her body and clothes.

These kits can end up in laboratories without proof or not presented as proof for a range of reasons, according to Angela Williamson, forensic policy consultant of Bureau for Judicial Assistance(BJA), which leads the sexual assault kit initiative.

Most jurisdictions suffer delays before the DNA profile is well developed. There are still other kits that have not been tested because of the limited application by the police force and because of laboratory resources, because the victims give up on the case, or the lack of training and understanding on the part of the personnel in charge of the police’s role.

Since 2015, the programme has inventoried 61,134 kits and has sent 44,952 tests. Of the 39,565 kits that could be tested until their outcomes, 13,521 produced a fairly high quality DNA profile that could be introduced into the forensic database of the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).

When the 13,521 kits were introduced into the CODIS, 6,366 coincided with an entry that already existed. A CODIS entry is not only created when an individual or his DNA is linked to a possible crime. The FBI laboratory tested 3,610 kits and posted 1,965 entries on CODIS. In 829 of these, there was a coincidence with someone on the database or with another sample on the database.

Most victims of sexual attacks knew their attackers, but even if the victim recognises the victim, it is still worth taking and testing the DNA. A known criminal may be an unknown criminal to others.

Kentucky and other states state that people that commit sexual assault often commit more than one sexual assault; and these offenders not only assault more victims; they are often related to other violent crimes and/or crime against property.

The Kentucky study discovered that the cost for society of not trying kits is much bigger than the expense that the state would have to face to completely finance its criminal laboratory.

Another powerful instrument that supports the effort is the FBI Violent Crime Apprehension Programme (ViCAP), which can help in cases where here is no DNA or if cases are linked because of DNA, but if there is no name attached. ViCAP allows agencies to capture description of suspects, information regarding vehicles, accounts of incidents and other data that could help to connect cases.

Kentucky is a state that has volunteered to introduce the information from its sexual assault teams to ViCAP. The BJA programme now requires it from recipients of subsidies.

BJA subsidies offers financial support both for cases and investigations and for tests. Moreover, agencies all over country are adopting the need that those who are most responsible are the best informed when responding to sexual assault, how victims respond to the trauma and how to focus better on the victims during each stage of the investigation.

Experts agree that the first lesson learned is that the police should investigate each incident of sexual assault reported, thoroughly and carefully, which requires reforms that go beyond laboratory tasks and the gathering of data.

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Europol and Frontex reinforce cooperation to address cross-border crime

Europol and Frontex –The European Border and Coastguard Agency -, are intensifying their cooperation to strengthen the European space of freedom, security and justice. At a joint meeting at The Hague, the management organs of both agencies agreed to broaden the exchange of information between them to reinforce their joint fight against cross border crime and terrorism.

The improvement in cooperation has been established with a declaration of principles for such collaboration, signed by the executive directors of both agencies. The databases and crime investigations of Europol will be reinforced with the information gathered by Frontex during operational activities. Europol information will facilitate an even more efficient management of the external borders of the EU and an action based on intelligence directed at cross border criminal groups and terrorists.

In this way, Europol and Frontex will work together to provide more secure EU external borders and to implement common policies in the fight against organised crime and terrorism.

Until now, Europol and Frontex already had synergies in cases like migrant trafficking, arms trafficking, drug trafficking and terrorism. Now this joint project will broaden this area.

The collaboration will centre on identifying capacities and the complementary knowledge of Europol and Frontex, and on improving in situ cooperation. The two agencies will create a joint support operative and, if possible, they will establish common procedures.
Frontex would share information gathered at the external borders at the Europol criminal information centre. This structural exchange of information between the two agencies will improve the work of cross-border guards and provide support for investigations.

The efforts of both agencies in the fields of investigation and the development of new technology will also be strictly coordinated, for example, for the introduction of a European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS). Frontex and Europol also expect to have annual executive management meetings and of heads of exchange links.

Moreover, the two agencies will coordinate external activities, including contacts with external members and will share information about the main strategic developments. Frontex and Europol will work together to develop training activities and will plan to introduce personnel exchange programmes.

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What works and what doesn’t: helping the police to find the best strategy

According to what was published by the Rand corporation, the so-called focused deterrent is not new, as it was initiated by the Boston police force in the mid-90s by the pioneering Operation Cessos, which was aimed at chronic violent offenders and involved activities to help to reduce the city’s murder rate.As part of the focused deterrent, the police intervened high-risk groups and individuals in order to prevent future violence.

Key strategic steps of the focused deterrent

1Identify high-risk criminals, a process that involves community leaders and frontline police officers.
2 Have a communication meeting; explain why the intervention is taking place; and involving social services, families and members of the community.
3Provide services for those who wish to change their behaviour.
4Provide support for community members.
5 Creationof rapid and proportional sanctions for those who continue to be involved in violent crime.

In the United States there are over 18,000 police agencies. There is no database nor a sole objective source that shows what works better and how to apply it.

Bearing in mind that evidence shows that the focused deterrent is successful, why isn’t it used in more police departments?

This is when the RAND Tool Guide Better Policing is introduced. It is designed to help police agencies to find and learn about effective police strategies and apply them.

The set of tools could be a valuable resource for the police in a climate involving police strategies being more necessary than ever.

Feedback of the strategies

The set of tools specifies three very effective surveillance strategies. The first focused deterrent helps those with a high risk of participating in violence; the second, the police service aimed at problem solving, which addresses problems taking place in specific places; and the third, surveillance of legitimacy, is centred on community trust. The tool kit is also linked to a previous guide from the Department of Justice that describes the best practices to resolve homicides and other serious crimes.

The most effective police strategies in the Better Policing tool kit:

Focused deterrent
Intervene high-risk people and groups

Problem oriented policing
Address crimes in risky places

Legitimacy policy
Focus on relations with the community and elicit trust

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The global initiative ‘No More Ransom’ tries to avoid more computer victims

Although recently there haven’t been incidents of high-profile ransomware like the Wannacry and NotPetya outbreaks, this year, the increase in variants of GandCrab and SamSam demonstrates that the ransomware threat continues to be very active and highly adaptable.

It is believed that malware to block files with GandCrab has infected over half a million victims since it was first detected in January 2018.

With cyber criminals experimenting with self-propagating tactics that are increasingly sophisticated and technical, ransomware could have been a highly profitable option for them, if it were not for the fact that decryption tools No More Ransom prevented some 22 million US dollars making its way into their pockets.

Launched in July 2016, the online portal No More Ransom is now available in 35 different languages and contains 59 free deciphering tools, which cover some 91 typologies of ransomware.

More recently, the Romanian police force, Europol and Bitdefender, published a universal deciphering tool for the aggressive blocking of files by malwareGandCrab. This tool has allowed for the recovery of encrypted files, until now, of over 4,400 victims from over 150 countries, with several hundreds of thousands of victims who may need help.

There are already over 129 members, the latest: Bleeping Computer, Cisco and ESET are new associated members of No MoreRansom, while Microsoft, Symantec, Coveware and Northwind Data Recovery joined a support unit.

Cyprus, Estonia, Scotland and Sweden also joined during the course of last year, which meant that 41 organisms are now involved in law enforcement.

To date, the tools provided by No MoreRansom have managed to decrypt the infected computers of over 72,000 victims worldwide, but there are still many more victims that need help.

The best remedy for ransomware continues to be diligent prevention. Users are recommended to:

  • Always have copies of the most important files in a different place: on the cloud, in another unit, in a memory or on another computer.
    • Use reliable and up-to-date antivirus programmes.
    • Not to download programmes from suspicious sources.
    • Not to open files from emails from unknown senders, even if they are thought to be important and credible.
    • And if you are victims, never pay the ransom!

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The EU Policy Cycle: a European mechanism to address organised crime together

In 2010, the European Union established a four-year cycle to develop certain policies in terms of organised International crime and the threats this poses for different European states and citizens. The objective of these policies is to ensure cooperation between the different actors involved to achieve a coherent and coordinated performance to address the threats to the European Union posed by organised crime. On 1st January of this year the second cycle started, to succeed the first (2014-2017), which ended in 2021.

On 5th June, during the Council of Justice and Interior of the Council of the European Union, which took place in Luxemburg, the ministers of justice and the interior of the different countries of the Union and/or permanent representatives of these on the Council reviewed and assessed the impact of the first cycle (2014-2017), and also dealt with issues like the policy regarding the granting of visas, migration policy and the European system of asylum. The participants at the Council agreed to declare the success of the Policy Cycles project as a tool of cooperation between European states to combat organised crime and the added value it provides.

Moreover, different aspects that needed to be focused on and worked on were determined:

  • Strengthen coordination between organisms at a national level
  • Make the EU Policy Cycle known to the competent authorities
  • Promote knowledge of the project externally
  • Promote the commitment of organs of the European Union to the project
  • Develop new solutions beyond the traditional application of the law to address the priorities and needs of the Union

The areas to be focused on in the cycle 2018-2021 are those adopted as priorities by the Council of the European Union in May of last year, based on recommendations made by the SOCTA (Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment):

  • Cyber crime
  • Drug trafficking
  • Illegal immigration trafficking
  • Organised crime against property
  • Unknown intracommunity operator fraud
  • Environmental crime
  • Capital laundering and financial crime
  • Falsifying documentation

Based on adopted action points and priorities, EUROPOL is designing the strategic plans (MASP – Multi Annual Strategic Action Plans) that define specific objectives to combat this threat. Once the plans are defined, the different projects of the EMPACT (European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats) establishes the action plans (OAP – Operational Action Plans). For each priority area a different OAP is designed that will be implemented in a coordinated way by the different states and organisations of the Union. The fourth and last step of the cycle is the revision and assessment of the effectiveness of the different OAPs when combating each of the priority threats by the Permanente Operative Cooperation Committee in terms of Internal Security (COSI), and also based on the SOCTA drawn up by EUROPOL. With the assessment of results, the COSI is responsible for recommending adaptations and modifications in any area.

In accordance with the different assessments of the project both by EUROPOL and by the Council of Ministers of Justice and the Interior of the Council of the European Union, the results of the EU Policy Cycle are positive and noteworthy in each of the priority areas. We are still, however, in the first year of the second cycle and it is therefore too soon to determine its success. It will be necessary to, at least, wait until the next assessment by the COSI or until 2021, when the assessment report will be published with recommendations for the next four years.

For further information:

Justice and Home Affairs Council (04-05/06/2018): https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/jha/2018/06/04-05/

EU Policy Cycle (EMPACT): https://www.europol.europa.eu/crime-areas-and-trends/eu-policy-cycle-empact

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Seven fraudulent ways of making money disappear

The Europol Cyber Crime Centre (EC3), the European Banking Federation and their members from the public and private sector have disseminated an awareness-raising campaign related to the seven most common online financial swindles. The campaign, called #CyberScams, was done last October within the framework of the European Month of Cybernetic Security and promotes cybernetic security for citizens and organisations, putting the stress on simple steps to protect personal, financial and professional data.

Police forces from 28 EU member states, from five non-member states of the EU, of 24 national bank associations and banks and many other investigators against cybercrime want to heighten the public’s awareness of this criminal phenomenon. This pan-European effort promoted was pushed forward by a communication campaign via social channels and the application of national laws, banking associations and financial institutions.

Following the recommendations of the IOCTA 2018, the most effective defence against social engineering is the education of potential victims that could be any of us when we are on line. Making the public aware of how to identify these deceptive techniques can provide us with both personal and financial security online.

For this campaign, the support material,  which includes information concerning the 7 most common online financial scams and how to avoid them, has been done in 27 different languages and is available to be downloaded by the public:

  • CEO fraud: the swindlers pretend to be your CEO or a senior representative of the organisation and invite you to pay a false bill or make a non-authorised transfer from your current account.
  • Invoice fraud: they pretend to be one of your clients or suppliers and they deceive you into paying future bills into a different bank account.
  • Phishing / smishing / vishing: they tell you or send you a text message or email to cheat you into sharing your personal, financial or security information.
  • Fraudulent use of bank webpages: they use bank phishing emails with a falsified web link. Once you click on the link, a range of methods are used to gather your personal and financial information. The site looks like the legitimate page, with minimal differences.
  • Romantic scam: they pretend to be interested in a romantic relationship. This usually happens on online dating websites, but the fraudsters often use social networks or email to make contact.
  • Theft of personal details: they gather your personal information via social network channels.
  • Investments and swindles involving online purchases: they make you think that you are an intelligent investment or present you with a great but false online offer.

Internet has become very attractive to cybercriminals. Attackers use sophisticated tricks and promises to make money or to obtain valuable financial information. Swindles involving a lost family member or Nigerian princes are not the only tricks any more. The tactics used by cybercriminals are getting more innovative and increasingly difficult to detect. From pretending to be the CEO of your organisation and pretending to have a romantic interest, today’s swindlers will do whatever it takes to get what they want: your money and your bank credentials.

Social engineering continues to grow as the driving force of many cybernetic crimes, with phishing being the most frequent form. Criminals use them to meet a range of objectives: to obtain your personal data, seize your accounts, steel your identity, begin illegal payments or persuade you to continue with any other activity against your interests, like transferring money or sharing personal data. One simple click could be enough to compromise your entire organisation.

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The European Commission asks for a step forwards in terms of security

Until the beginning of October 2018, a range of legislative proposals presented by the Commission have been passed, but many important files that should be processed before the European Parliament elections in May 2019 are still due. The Commission therefore asks for such tasks to be accelerated and for all pending security-related projects to be adopted quickly. In particular, the one that is defined by the joint Declaration and the new measures proposed by President Juncker in his speech on the state of the Union in 2018.

Over the last three years, the Commission has adopted measures to reinforce the security of the EU and its external borders. Attempts at terrorist attacks, the use of chemical weapons in the streets of a member state and, more recently, the cyber attack that was aborted in the headquarters of an international organisation reveal that Europe is still an objective and, therefore, security and collective resilience must be improved. It is therefore necessary to gain an insight into the following aspects:

  • Protect Europeans on the network. Bearing in mind the latest hostile cybernetic operations, it is vital that all legislative proposals are given full priority. Moreover, in order to ensure that Internet platforms are not used to disseminate online terrorist content, the European Parliament must approve the obligation to suppress content of this kind within an hour.
  • Inter-operability of EU information systems: it is necessary to allow EU information systems in terms of security, migration and border administration to work together efficiently and thereby improve the security of information. It is also necessary to modernise the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), Eurodac and the Visa information System (VIS).
  • The fight against cross-border crime: the commission urges the European Council and the Parliament to broaden the functions of the European Prosecutor so that it can facilitate the investigation of cross-border crime and supports Commission proposals related to electronic proof, in order to help both the police and judicial authorities.
  • To reinforce borders: there is a request to approve the necessary tools to guarantee the effective management of external borders, as with the European Border and Coastguard Agency, EU return-related regulations and the European Asylum Support Office.

To support the efforts of the member states with the aim of improving EU security, the Commission assigned security finance amounting to 70 million Euros for the 2018-2019 period, distributed in the following way:

  • The fight against radicalisation: 5 million Euros.
  • The fight against QBRN threats, restricting access to home-made explosives and the protection of public areas and critical infrastructures: 9.5 million Euros.
  • Support for the application of current norms of the European register of names of passengers: 1.5 million Euros.
  • 100 million Euros for Innovative Urban Actions such as, for example, the protection of public areas.

Links of interest:

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