Deputy Mayor for Security, Order and Sport, City of Stuttgart
Martin Schairer started his career as a Judge and prosecutor at the District Court in Stuttgart. For three years he was delegated to Bonn to represent the Baden-Württemberg region’s Ministry of Justice in the national government of Germany. After being the ministry of justice’s spokesperson, he served for several years as the head of criminal proceedings and deputy head of the criminal justice department in the Ministry of Justice of Baden-Württemberg, before he became the Chief of police in Stuttgart. In 2006 he was elected as Mayor of Law, Security and Order of the State Capital Stuttgart and since August 2016 has also been in charge of sporting affairs.
Do you have any specific hopes or predictions for the future of urban security? (What will urban security look like in 30 years? What will be the main opportunities and risks?)
Security work will be characterized in the future by rapid digitization, migration and a new definition of urban space. The initial period of municipal crime prevention activity was to a large extent focused on giving citizens a sense of safety. Back then, security priorities lay in topics like juvenile delinquency, crime, citizens’ sense of insecurity in specific areas, and lack of civil courage. We have countered these problems through various measures, including so-called community policing. Now we have to tackle similar challenges online, in order to make sure that the internet will not become a right-free space and that everyone can safely participate in the online world. For economic and ecological reasons people are being forced to leave their home countries; the resulting waves of migration are forcing us to face the true reality of globalization. We should not be surprised that this produces paradoxes within the economy – on the one hand, the economy thrives off low-paid workers, provided by these waves of migration, and on the other hand, these workers, and those competing with them, struggle to survive as a result of this lowering of wages. This is especially the case following mass immigration to economically strong regions. These circumstances shape security work. Limited resources and growing environmental damage on the one hand, new technologies and the opportunities they provide on the other, will greatly influence the mobility of people over the next few years. Many people are attracted to the metropolitan regions, which are growing and are already reaching their limits. However, city governments’ and metropolitan police forces’ human and economic resources can also adapt to population density/size. This is what we must do to ensure security is fairly distributed. These forecasts underline the importance of the creation of the EFUS city network 30 years ago. Today, we need to use this network to further network, protect and strengthen European values and learn from each other. This can be achieved through joint projects and access to the benefits of the EU, which is more important than ever before.
Why do you think it is so important to involve citizens in urban security practice?
For me, urban security means above all collaborative security actions at the municipal level. As the deputy mayor of the city of Stuttgart and the former police chief of Stuttgart, I have been working for many years now within a strong security partnership, which was set up in 1996 and unites the city council, the police and local citizens. We know that successful security policy must be co-developed and implemented collaboratively with local citizens. Since 1997, Stuttgart’s city council has implemented a strict complaints management process regarding security issues – the so called “yellow card” system. Every year, around 5,000 reports are received from inhabitants complaining about vandalism, insecurity and general security concerns. This year’s top themes are cleanliness and traffic, for which nearly 1,000 complaints have been transmitted and processed by the city council so far. For us it is important to react quickly to the complaints of citizens and to give a direct response in order to signal that his or her concern is being taken seriously.