Criminology and public security policies

José Martínez Espasa, head of the local police force of Denia, has just published a book which is relevant to the security sector. This work is called Public civil security policies. Analysis and criminology-oriented proposals ,[1]  which encompasses the work done to prepare his doctoral thesis and is interesting for a range of reasons.

It raises the modern and integrating concept of security in accordance with which the police play a relevant part, but are not the only actor. The author tells us: “Security policies don’t always demand the need to call on the police. Security is not synonymous of policing” (p. 37). His insistence on the need for public security policies which bear in mind all actors and factors involved must manage to convince the reader of his message. The police force is presented as a fundamental actor in the prevention plan.

Public security policies, and this is the main contribution he wants to make, must be based on the knowledge that criminological research and other disciplines can offer to facilitate decision-making processes in this ambit. But this not only diagnostic in order to have an empirical basis, as assessment must be very rigorous and objective. Progress cannot be made if reliable mechanisms to assess the impact on strategies and actions aimed at enhancing civil security are not established.

The work offers specific norms to be applied to both diagnosis and assessment. But this is not only applied to the area of theory, as it presents a series of 20 security policies and strategies, which begins with recommended experiences in the fields of auditing and diagnosis, to then go on to analyse policies centred on a range of essential fields (youth, drugs, urban decay, gangs, nightlife, violence in schools, mediation and prevention of repetition).

It also gives space to a collection of collaborative experiences in the private sector and public administration, offering an approximation to the situation in question at an international level. In fact, this global perspective, keeping in mind both the phenomenon and International experiences, is a constant feature of the work. He tells us that interventions must be one at a micro (local) level to respond to specific current security problems, but bearing in mind regional, national and international contexts, both in terms of the mobility of such phenomena and the need to share experiences which may be useful.

To sum up, it is a recommendable book as a good introduction to public civil security policies, which offers many examples of how criminology has served to support public security policies which have been effective. It may be of particular interest to those involved in security who are in need of ideas to get inspired to design new security strategies.

[1] Vid. Martínez Espasa, J. (2016). Las políticas públicas de seguridad ciudadana. Análisis y propuestas desde la Criminología. Tirant lo Blanc. València. An extract of which can be read on the criminology blog site Iter Criminis.

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