Project: Youth and Democratic Control of Security Sector

Centre’s Research and Roundtable: a positive step towards strengthening the security of young people

Young people in Cacak are particularly affected by high level of unemployment, a lack of cultural and sports activities, as well as under-investment in education. Therefore, a large number of young people want to leave the city. Among the security issues, young people specify the frequency of violent incidents in public places, alcoholism and drug addiction. Although they find Cacak safer than  some bigger cities in Serbia, with no specific security problems, young people believe that the city does not pay enough attention on preventive action and suppression of violence. They note a need for greater involvement of local authorities and institutions when it comes to the safety of young people and better mutual cooperation between institutions in charge of security issues. These are some of the findings that the Public Policy Research Centre’s researchers obtained through focus groups and workshops with representatives of high school pupils and NGO activists in Cacak. The findings were presented at the round table "Youth and democratic control of  security sector" organized on May 14, in the City hall in Cacak.

The results of the research which was a part of the Centre’s project “Youth’s Local Security Issues and Democratic Control of Security Sector”, conducted in Cacak, Zrenjanin and Pozarevac, were presented by the Centre’s Director Svetlana Djurdjevic Lukic and researchers Marina Tadic and Dr. Danijela Spasic. The project’s was supported by the Democratization Department of the OSCE Mission to Serbia, in the year when young people and their role has been enlisted as one of the priorities of  Serbian OSCE chairmanship .

The following discussion included representatives of the city of Cacak and local bodies in charge of youth and security,  representatives of police department, Dubravka Filipovski, a member of the Defense and Internal Affairs Committee of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia,  MPs from Cacak Aleksandar Radojevic and Mirjana Djokovic, as well as representatives of youth organizations and the Youth Office.. 

MP DubravkaFilipovski stressed the importance of introducing better cooperation among  institutions, which is in line with a broader understanding of security, but also essential for strengthening the confidence of young people in institutions. Organization of workshops and seminars is a good step towards bringing institutions closer to citizens.

AleksandarDacic, deputy mayor of Cacak said the city is trying to offer youth more than other cities, although young people in Cacak might not see it, and said that the city will try to offer more activities to young people.

DejanObradovic, city councillor in charge of monitoring and improvement of municipal security praised the Centre’s efforts to explain security issues to young people, especially having in mind that security institutions also have an interest to improve the awareness of young people in this area.

AleksandarBozovic from the Serbian youth movement, whose representatives participated in the Centre’s workshop held in Cacak on April 18, stressed that young people are not safe, as evidenced by a series of incidents that took place in the city of Cacak during the previous month. It is, therefore, essential for the local government to become more focused on young people, in order to prevent their permanent migrations  to bigger cities and abroad.

The Participants agreed with the Centre’s recommendations that, with the support of the state, new sport, educational and other activities have to be introduced at the local level, in line with the needs of young people. Youth representatives should be included in the municipal budget planning process, while the LAP measures related to security of young people should be strictly implemented.

The interlocutors agreed that the preventive work of police should be strengthen, according to information received from representatives of youth, while representatives of student parliaments of high schools in Cacak and representatives of civil society should be included in the activities of the Council for the public order.

All parties agreed that it is necessary to establish continuous communication and exchange of information among different actors in the local community . The need for continuous meetings between youth representatives and representatives of local institutions (City Council, the Council for Public Order, Police Department) was emphasized as vital.

Establishment of a more active and direct communication between MPs and youth in Cacak,  as well as between deputies and local institutions, was underlined as important. Deputies from CacakAleksandarRadojevic and Mirjana Djokovic announced the establishment of MP’s office inCacak, which is in line with the Centre’s recommendation.

Members of the NGO sector should be more involved in overseeing and analysing of security problems of young people in Cacak, particularly when it comes to continuous periodic reporting on the state of youth human security in Cacak.

It was noted that the media’s reports often contribute to the unfounded spreading of sense of insecurity. However it was stressed that some of the local and regional media pay more attention to problems of youth. In future, their involvement in a constant critical monitoring of youth security, as well as reporting on the activities of the local government and local security institutions plans to improve the position of young people,should be encouraged. Those reports should not be focused just on incidents, as it is sometimes the case, but primarily on contributions based on investigative reporting and interviews with young people, activists of youth organizations and civil society representatives. Roundtable participants also supported the Centre’s recommendation that the youth should be given more space in the air on local TV stations, with "good examples" of successful young people in different areas particularly featured.

Contributions and reports on the Centre’s round table in Cacak were reported by: RTV, RTV Galaksija,, TV Telemark,Glas zapadne Srbije, Tanjug, Čačanski glas

Video take: RTV Galaksija