The city of Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands, has almost 600 000 inhabitants of 167 different nationalities. In 2002, Rotterdam had eight unsafe neighbourhoods. To improve the safety of these neighbourhoods, the Mayor and Aldermen were advised to make their best people available in the worst neighbourhoods in order to help to solve the problems there.
Thus, the ‘Stadsmariniers’ (city security officers, literally: city marines) were appointed. They are special super-civil servants with the aim of improving the collaboration between all the authorities dealing with safety and security, such as the police, judiciary and aid agencies.
The ‘Stadsmariniers’ operate independently of the boroughs and local government services and are directly accountable to the Mayor, Aldermen and the Safety Steering Group. In fact, they work much like the combined forces of a crowbar, oilcan and hauler, that is, as a facilitator. A ‘Stadsmarinier’: comes up with radical new ways of working and does not hide from confrontation; is able to interpret problems with a sensitivity for relationships and standpoints; allows relevant parties to do their work and allows others to succeed; has an analytical mind and understands how other organisations work; is an expert communicator and gets along with people from all levels; is flexible, result-oriented and innovative. A ‘Stadsmarinier’ resolves problems; they are not a policy officer or a manager, but are resilient, wholly immune to stress and does not take offence easily.
In the least safe neighbourhoods, ‘Stadsmariniers’ align all the relevant authorities and eliminate the danger by optimising collaboration. In particular, they determine which problems are urgent, coordinate their approach to those problems, and, in doing so, are able to call on 18,000 civil servants for help. The ‘Stadsmariniers’ measures and activities are very diverse and concrete, focusing on youth, violence and public nuisances.
The efforts of the ‘Stadsmariniers’ are now beginning to bear fruit. In the areas of their work, safety has greatly improved. This is also demonstrated by the annual Safety Index, in which all 62 neighbourhoods in the city receive a safety rating ranging between 1-10, based upon registered information of relevant authorities and studies. The safety index of 2008 showed that there were no more unsafe neighbourhoods than in 2007. Remarkably, in 2007 the ‘Stadsmariniers’ project won the national crimeprevention prize ‘Hein Roetgofprijs’.
|Award category:||partnership working|
|Sector:||Justice, police, human rights and security|
|Type of activity:||e-government|
|Short English description:||A ‘Stadsmarinier’: comes up with radical new ways of working and does not hide from confrontation; is able to interpret problems with a sensitivity for relationships and standpoints; allows relevant parties to do their work and allows others to succeed; has an analytical mind and understands how other organisations work; is an expert communicator and gets along with people from all levels; is flexible, result-oriented and innovative|
|Organisation:||City of Rotterdam Security Department|
|Level of government:||local level|
|Size of organisation:||50-100|
|Number of people involved:|
|EU membership:||EU member|