The Knowledge Hub Security and Social Resilience (in Dutch: de Kenniswerkplaats Veiligheid & Veerkracht (KVV)) assists, on a national level, the Dutch government and its ministries, as well as on a local level its municipalities, the police force and security regions in their approach to security problems.
The knowledge hub focuses on complex issues such as social friction in neighbourhoods, enforcement and surveillance management, radicalisation, citizen participation, undermining, and how security is experienced. Working collaboratively with public-private partners towards co-created and custom-made policy and practice-oriented solutions, the knowledge hub aims to retrieve and deliver useful and novel insights, frameworks and tools. The research projects shed light on the social fabric and mechanisms that enable governance and society to anticipate new challenges and 'wicked problems' adequately.
A strong multidisciplinary knowledge nucleus
The Knowledge Hub Security and Social Resilience transcends the disciplinary boundaries by utilizing and integrating a multidisciplinary approach in its focus. VU researchers and experts from the Verwey-Jonker Institute are closely connected with organizations such as the Foundation for Society and Safety, Integral Safety Science at University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and the Dutch Centre for Crime Prevention and Safety. This network strives toward finding evidence-based answers to fundamental questions on social issues:
- Distress and social friction – security is predominantly subjective, and thus “lived”: people feel insecure, or are scared or angry. What does this mean for security policies?
- Undermining and radicalization - criminals are infiltrating the legal domain more often, whereas citizens no longer fully accept the government’s authority. As a result, the democratic state and rule of law are under pressure. How should the government deal with this?
- The police and its partners – special investigative officers, private security officers, public transport security teams and others cooperate with the police. How do they relate to one another, what 'best practices' are there?
- Security networks - the police, the municipality, health care providers and housing associations are all committed to deliver a safe and secure but still a comfortable neighbourhood. How do these networks function, and how could it be advanced?
- Citizen participation and safety - neighbourhood watch, WhatsApp groups and prevention teams are popular, which can benefit trust in governance, but might simultaneously feed into a vigilante justice as well. What are the possibilities and limitations?
- Security through solidarity - security policies usually involve protection from each other, yet much less is known about security as protection with, by and for each other. To which extent, for instance, does restorative justice, such as volunteers accompanying ex-detainees or neighbourhood mediation initiatives, contribute to a more secure and safer society?
"Resilience comes forward from robust networks and deserves to be well-organised by grounding it in knowledge and trust in joint viability."
Prof. dr. Hans Boutellier.
Policy tools for governance and policy professionals
- Criminogeneity measurement - behind the crime figures lie patterns of criminogeneity that comprise social causes for criminal behaviour. With existing quantitative information on criminogenic factors, preventive policy priorities can be determined
- From back to front - a governance model that can be used to map the security field and to discuss the specific division of roles between parties
- Security arrangements – based on of a football team metaphor, we developed a strategic model to come to collaborative agreements on concrete neighbourhood problems
- Effectiveness of networks - most security problems require cooperation between multiple parties. We developed a yardstick in order to test the effectiveness of the process and its benefits
- Social diagnosis / treatment combinations – based on a quantitative and qualitative diagnosis of a problem, and together with the parties involved, an action strategy is developed that is aimed at interventions; a strategy that is supported by those involved themselves
"Security is a basic need of life that requires the best possible organization."
Dr. Ronald van Steden