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First meeting of the National Crime Prevention Commission
The first meeting of the National Crime Prevention Commission, established in June took place on 13 December, 2005. The establishment of the Commission was initiated by the Center for the Study of Democracy and supported by the British government.

The meeting, chaired by the Minister of Interior Rumen Petkov, aimed to discuss a possible partnership between state institutions and the private business in crime prevention activities and elaborate a plan of activities for the year of 2006. The experience of the EU member states in crime prevention was presented as well.

In his opening remarks Mr. Petkov stated that crime prevention is among the priorities of the Ministry of Interior and a major activity of the police. A further success however would be guaranteed with more active citizens' participation and international support. In his opinion, crime prevention should not be a priority for the capital city only but it has to be coordinated with the local authorities and civil organizations across the country.

Mr. Jeremy Hill, Ambassador of the UK in Bulgaria, confirmed the UK support to the work of the Commission and shared some of the experience of the British government in various initiatives of crime prevention, carried out jointly by state and local agencies as well as non-governmental organizations.

Dr. Emil Tsenkov, Director of the Information Centre on the Council of Europe, presented a new publication of the CoE on the European practices in establishing partnerships in crime prevention. He introduced the European definition for crime prevention as well as the work of the European Crime Prevention Network, composed of representatives of state agencies and research institutes from the EU member states.

Mr. Ivan Asparuhov, mayor of the town of Mezdra and member of the National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria, mentioned the municipal councils for social order and security as a good example for coordination of crime prevention but he also pointed to the need of a better interaction with the citizens and their involvement in the process.

Representatives of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Bulgarian Industrial Association confirmed their readiness to participate in the work of the Commission. Mr. Bozhidar Bozhinov, Chairman of the BCCI, said that the MoI and the police being the operating agency for reducing crime should not carry the burden of the overall process of crime prevention. All other institutions represented in the Commission need to be active in order to reduce the interference of the police.

CSD Program Director Boyko Todorov presented the draft plan of activities for the next year built around four major activities:

• Analysis of the trends in the petty crime

• Discussion on the consequences of crime for the business

• Discussion on the problems related to the marginalized social groups

• Prevention of organized crime

Mr. Todorov underlined the need of periodic surveys to study the specifics of the criminal situation in the country.

Ms. Mukaddes Nalbant, Deputy Minister of Education, and Ms. Adelina Balkandjiiska, Secretary General of the Agency for the Protection of Children, suggested crime prevention among children and young people to be among the priorities in the work of the Commission.

Mr. Stilian Ivanov, Chairman of the Victims of Crime and Combating Corruption Foundation, presented a map showing the spots with highest crime rate in Sofia with advices to most vulnerable citizens. The map was elaborated with the support of business companies.

In conclusion Mr. Petkov set the dates of the next meetings which will discuss the establishment of specialized sum-committees.

Official launch of the National Crime Prevention Commission - 17 June, 2005
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