Lisbon IcARUS Local Workshop – “Help create innovative solutions for your city!”

The IcARUS Local Workshop brought together partners from the Community Policing of Lisbon, to reflect on solutions to promote safety behaviours among the young. The Community Policing model in Lisbon, developed by the Lisbon Municipal Police with local partners, aims to promote preventive strategies that contribute to the improvement of safety and well-being of the community.

One of the main concerns security partnerships address is that young people, especially those living in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, are often exposed to risk factors such as poverty and social exclusion, following life course patterns leading to social exclusion in adulthood as well. Policing in these disadvantaged neighbourhoods requires community policing officers the skills to interact with young people in a positive and not repressive way, to be able to foster positive relationships between police and young people. Also, working in partnership with key stakeholders (e.g. social workers, schools, youth services, and residents associations), enables the police to tackle problems from innovative perspectives, and consequently, improving the efficacy of the strategies to reduce situations of crime, antisocial behaviour in public space and feelings of insecurity.

In IcARUS project, the Lisbon Municipal Police addresses the topic of Preventing Juvenile Delinquency, with the challenge to reduce antisocial behaviours in youth and develop a tool to promote safety behaviours and positive lifestyles. The goal is to build together with partners, a new preventive tool.

The workshop, held on June 20, had more than 50 participants from the network of the Lisbon Community Policing as well as civil society and entities working in the prevention field, with extensive knowledge and intervention experience. This multidimensional engagement of stakeholders is essential for creating a relevant and quality solution during the IcARUS Project. The workshop coordinated by the Lisbon Municipal Police Team, followed a Design Thinking methodology with participants working in teams. This layout helped promote the exchange of ideas among participants for the new preventive tool. During the workshop, most of the ideas for solutions focused on the involvement and active participation of young people in the process. Several ideas were discussed and presented for the construction of solutions that foster youth empowerment and their connection to the community, to feelings of community belonging and ownership of their life project. The unpreparedness of adults to deal and work with youngsters was also highlighted several times as a constraint. To know how to listen to young people and the capacity to involve them in the construction and delivery of solutions to their present and future were pointed out as key competencies to successfully work with youth. Also, was stressed the importance of providing access to experiences and positive references that promote youth civic participation and value the potential of young people, their skills and talents, enabling them to adopt positive behaviours.

The inputs and materials resulting from the Workshop will be analysed by the IcARUS consortium. The elaboration of conceptual proposals for the design and creation of a prototype of the preventive tool will be developed in the next months. This prototype will be presented at the second local workshop of the project, scheduled for the first quarter of 2023, where once again community policing partners will be engaged to share their feedback and suggestions for improvement of the prototype proposal. In the meantime, the challenge of involving and empowering young people for positive and civic participation will also be continued in the daily work of the community policing partnerships in the city.