Clara Luz Flores Carrales: “It is necessary to systemise and professionalise corporations”

Municipal President of Escobedo, Nuevo León, México. She has a degree in Legal Sciences awarded by the Universidad Regiomontana and a Master’s qualification in Administrative Law from the University of Zaragoza, Spain.

 She has performed as a lecturer regarding Public Security and has participated in several courses involving Advanced Public Management.

A very noteworthy highlight of her career is the fact that she was one of the first female mayors to be re-elected in Mexico. Over different periods, she has been elected on three occasions as Municipal President of General Escobedo, Nuevo León.

She has been recognised by the National Conference of Municipal Public Security, as the Escobedo Security Model was selected for implementation all over Mexico, as a source of strategies for the prevention and reduction of violence, and the elimination of “criminal factories”.

What makes a person like you, with a solid social position, decide to concentrate her political activity on the fight against crime, violence and extortion, even to the extent that your life is continually put at risk (and that of a descendant)?

I believe that as citizens we must stand firm and act so that our environment can be a better one, and that we need to reject apathy and be proactive. And that’s why my conviction is participate, from my position, in an environment with a quality of life, peace and calm for my family, for my neighbours, for my community, for my state and, of course, for my country.

You are, at this moment, a real authority in the field of Public Security policies, but not only in your state, Nuevo León, but all over Mexico, as you have been appointed President of the National Conference of Security. What do you think your security strategy has that makes it appear to be an alternative, perhaps even a source of hope for security policies all over Mexico?

For me, the key is that this approach aims to get to the root of the insecurity problem: to prevent our children and young from seeing the criminal pathway as an alternative and, moreover, our strategy is comprehensive and bears in mind factors such as prevention, protecting people’s physical activity and their belongings based on analysis and investigation, focusing on social justice with the police force being trusted by the general public

No important person in the field of security questions the great work being done by General Lara as he completely transforms the Escobedo police force, bring it closer to the public and also more efficient when fighting crime. However, some are rather disappointed that your regarded turning to a high-ranking soldier to be the only solution to the Escobedo security problem. What would you say to these critics?

I would tell them that the incorporation of a soldier to conduct the secretariat took place in a context of extreme violence. From that outset, the strategy and the skills of police chiefs and their leaders have evolved with training and courses, meaning that the corporation is now a different one from top to bottom.

Another reason for taking this decision is that military training and its steely discipline results in ordered individuals who are driven by conviction to perform the tasks that they are assigned. Moreover, people have different learning capacities and potential to evolve and, in the case of the general, he already has a combination of police officer and soldier given the interdependent nature they each have.

From your double vantage point (mayor of Escobedo and president of the national Conference of Security), how do you feel about Mexico’s future in terms of security? What needs to happen to reverse the growing, in recent years, escalation of violence that is hitting the country? What formulas need to be applied at a federal level to add to such positive experiences like the one you have steered at a municipal level? Is the new National Guard a solution?

Corporations need to be systemised and professionalised, with processes and procedures being assessed on a regular basis, which is what has worked for us. Implementing an appropriate model in each municipality is vital because if the municipality assumes its responsibility a virtuous cycle will be created where each municipality, followed by the state and the Federation, which incidentally is aware and accepts this, work in order to redress this problem.

I think steps are being taken in the right direction to get out of this spiral. I am convinced that the model of municipal police force that is to be implemented in the country such as programmes to stop family and social violence have the necessary experience and methodological elements to achieve this.

The guard is one of the elements that is part of a group of actions that must be articulated on the part of municipalities as a model for a municipal police force and skills development.


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Willy Demeyer: “Security is not down to one policy alone”

A lawyer by background, he began his political career in 1988.

From 2014 until November 2017, Willy Demeyer as a member of the federal parliament was a member of the Commission of the Interior and the Commission of Federal Surveys regarding the «terrorist attacks of 22nd March».

On 8 March 2017, the city of Liège undertook a new participative project, as an extension of the project initiated in 2003.

Being the central city of the district, Liège presides «Liège Metròpole» (District conference of the Mayors of 24 municipalities and of the District Chamber).

Liège also presides the European Forum for Urban Prevention and Security that brings together about 350 European cities to deal with urban security issues.

What do you think of European security? What are the dangers and fears? Is there a correlation?

Over recent years, the world economic context has gone through many upheavals, which have encouraged a return to protectionist theories and the emergence of populisms.

Today’s challenges to Europe are important. One of the most important is undoubtedly polarisation, which amounts to an important risk for our societies.

Other urgent problems are related to this like social and economic inequality that debilitates social cohesion, the radicalisation that leads to violent extremism. The question of migratory flows also deserves better adapted responses in terms of social integration and essential services like housing or education. Finally, the ageing issue must not be overlooked.

Certain elected officials have a huge political responsibility in the way they project Europe. This, in their opinion, is no longer an instrument to protect populations and the States, as it is more a destabilising and authoritarian element. According to them, this interferes with the free choice of the Member States and imposes guidelines on the citizens.

This discourse has important consequences on the perception that citizens have of their lives, their sense of security and their future prospects.

Faced with this phenomenon, progressively, local authorities must make the difference; define policies of prevention and security that respect democratic norms and values, stressing the principle of solidarity.

This is the position of the EFUS Manifesto, adopted in Barcelona in November 2017. It translates these evolutions and proposes a global, holistic vision of urban security.

Can cities cope with today’s security challenges? What should the role of regions and states be?

 Of course not. Security is not the result of a single policy. It is the result of the coherence of all the policies developed at the different stages.

That is why we have presented our Manifesto “Security, Democracy and Cities” to national and European institutions. Indeed, many phenomena are manifest locally, but they are transnational by nature. Therefore, they also require a worldwide response. It is necessary to involve all levels of governance.

The members of Efus present an optimistic view of security, based on respect for human rights and co-production. The Manifesto presents our commitments and recommendations on fifteen topics related to urban security, among others: prevention of violent radicalization, use of technologies in prevention, diversification of security actors …

It is a fundamental document for the Forum. It is a source of inspiration, support and help for local and regional authorities in the design and promotion of their security policy.

Europe is currently very diverse. What is the challenge to maintain urban security? Avoiding policies and situations of discrimination that can lead to violence or, as many are saying, the expulsion or the radical reduction of emigrants?

We are concerned about the persistence of social and economic inequalities. It was a challenge 30 years ago, at the time of the creation of the EFUS but, in recent years, it has become more pronounced.

The causes are multiple: diversity and fluidity of urban populations (especially migrants, tourists and city users by day and at night), as well as a lack of coherence between local, national and European policies at times.

Addressing these inequalities is essential because they spark a resentment that can lead to violence and crime. One of the most disturbing recent manifestations of this resentment is violent extremism, which adopts many forms and can cause a feeling of impotence among public authorities.

In this regard, we consider that it is essential that local and regional authorities refuse to let fear dictate their response. Even if violent extremism can give rise to a sense of urgency, we should not give in to the trap of instantaneousness: instantaneousness as a word, in terms of action and its results.

What is the role of EFUS in European urban security? To facilitate the simple exchange of experiences or promote security policies based on democratic principles and social cohesion? Is there an EFUS security model?

Local and regional authorities benefit from the trust of citizens. Due to their proximity, they have a better understanding of their expectations. They are often more agile than state institutions when it comes to establishing innovative, flexible policies and, above all, adapted to local communities.

We are increasingly recognized by international politicians. Our front-line position in the management of security, crisis situations and our ability to respond are what give us an edge.

It is encouraging but we must draw the necessary conclusions. Our powers are still too limited to fully carry out our missions. It is essential that our role be recognized in official texts. Appropriate financing mechanisms must be established. And we have to participate systematically in the national and European decision-making processes.


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Paul van Soomeren: “Public safety and security policies are like a clockwork pendulum”

Paul van Soomeren (1952) is founder of the Amsterdam based research and consultancy bureau DSP ( Before he started – with Bram van Dijk – this bureau he worked for several year at the national Bureau of Crime Prevention in the Netherlands. Paul is worldwide expert in Crime prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED). At the moment Paul works on standardization of CPTED and he participates – with the Generalitat de Catalunia – in the EU project for the next three years.

How do you see the current trends in public security policies? Don’t you think they are too focused on punishment? Are we back in the past? Where are environmental approaches in political debates?

Public safety and security policies are like a clockwork pendulum: in the  60 and 70 is was mainly a reactive and repressive approach to crime, in the 80 and 90 it was more crime prevention and it shifted back in the new millennium. I have the impression that prevention is becoming more ‘en vogue’ again. Punishment and reactive approaches are not the most effective nor efficient. It’s an very expensive approach to crime. Of course you need two to tango: reactive approaches based on catching the criminal and punish, but also prevention. From a cost-benefit approach crime prevention is a cheaper and thus certainly a more efficient approach. Since I am Dutch I hate to see good money spoiled. In evaluations we always look at these cost-benefit differences.

Which public actor (local, regional, state, Europe) understands better the importance of urban design in order to prevent crime and build safer cities? Which of them is in a better position to enforce the principles involved in it?

It is not ‘or-or’ but ‘and-and’. Hence it is not ‘European or National or Local’. Crime Prevention through Urban Design, Planning and Management (Secured by Design/CPTED) is possible on each scale level: European, national, regional, local and last but not least the neighbourhood level. The same goes for all crime prevention approaches. The best options is when these levels really work together; support and facilitate each other. While we are used nowadays to talk about concepts like multi-agency and partnership approach, we still define this much too often horizontally at the same geographical scale level; the same governance level. It would be better to look also at this issue in a vertical way: how can for example European regulations and standards help a country? How can national laws and scheme facilitate local crime prevention actions? How can local authorities facilitate neighbourhood crime prevention. In shorts: its horizontal multi agency approaches and vertical governance cooperation. That the big + (plus)

How should the private sector (in a wide sense, not only the private security, but all those who are not public) contribute to an urban design that improves safety?

The private sector already incorporates crime prevention through design and planning. For example by making products crime proof. See the mobile phone with a track and trace function, the automated car immobilizer or in-built security in architecture and design. And of course there is also the pressure from insurance companies to diminish risks. Recent British and Dutch research showed that what they call the ‘security hypotheses’ may explain the drop of crime we are now seeing in most industrialized modern countries. This is a combination of private and public crime prevention. Often design, planning, management and cooperation are key.

Some old neighbourhoods in European cities have turned out to be degraded areas with marginalised population (usually poor migrants). Which policies should be enforced to reverse the situation? Is gentrification a solution?

As a geographer, urban planner and demographer I don’t think gentrification is a solution. Complete gentrification like the one we see in several European capital cities is not a solution it is actually causing huge problems like  segregation and lack of integration. My solution would be to mix people. Mix to the max! Maybe not house by house but groups of houses – like housing blocks – in a kind of chessboard pattern. That way the same type of people could stay together and be of mutual assistance and the whole city could still be a nice mix. Differences and diversity is what makes cities attractive but also effective. Innovation springs from diversity. In the country I live in – The Netherlands – housing associations play an important role. About one third of all houses in the Netherlands is owned by housing associations – in big cities it is even 4 out of every 10. And it is difficult to tell the difference between privately owned/rented houses and social housing. All categories of houses are mixed. That’s a very good and effective way of housing people. This is crime prevention through urban planning at its best. Not done by the police but by housing associations and local authorities.


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Joan Figuera: “We are a flagship police force, solid and professional”

Comissari Joan Figuera LópezJoan Figuera López, commissioner since 2009, born in Barcelona in 1961, holds a degree in Communication Sciences (UAB) and a master’s qualification in Public Security Policy (UOC). He joined the Mossos d’Esquadra in its first year – now 35 years ago -. During his long and intense professional career he has worked, among other services, in six of the new police regions. He is now head of the Control Centre.

Considering all the years you’ve been with the Generalitat Police force – Mossos d’Esquadra (PG-ME) and in the different ranks and assignments you’ve worked on, how do you regard the evolution of this police force in recent years?

Over the years, we’ve developed a police force more or less from scratch! The first year was the beginning of what we are today. Over these years, we’ve gone through different phases of development and several “growth crises”, which have been logical and necessary to get where we are today, nearing the force’s tercentenary. Now as flagship police force, both solid and professional, capable of meeting the most challenging demands of a modern, developed society like ours.

Our contemporary phase can be traced back to 1979 with the passing of Catalonia’s statute of autonomy. At that time, the Mossos d’Esquadra (CME), comprising nearly a hundred officers, only guaranteed the security of institutional buildings and that of the President and the government of the Generalitat. This can defined as a symbolic stage and of recovery (from 1979 to 1984). On 1 June 1983, 260 police officers joined the CME, and it became a functional police force that took up competences of the Generalitat of Catalonia in terms of security. The force created squads for gambling and sports events, minors, the environment, public health and the penitentiary system, and its first information unit. All of these services give notoriety and prestige to the CME. From 1994 to 2008, the long-awaited replacement implementation arrived, which established the PG-ME as an integral police force all over Catalonia. This is the nuclear phase of our function and our reason for being as police officers. During this period, the CME is developed, is professionalised and matures, and reaches over 17,000 officers. Over the last decade – once the replacement implementation was finalised – we went through a transitional phase (from 2009 to 2015), which went from the “post-implantation” – when the internal structure, organisational style and a methodology still needed to be completed – to the organisational and operational solidity that we have today.

Do you think that the Mossos d’Esquadra are now going through a certain generational change? Is there a need for measures to be taken to address the progressive aging of the force?

Generational change is necessary in all organisations. This also applies to ours. This must be conducted with intelligence and not just anyhow. Organisations and the police, and more specifically the CME, have to take advantage of all the acquired knowledge and added value provided by the experience of those who have a long professional career. A failure to do this might be a fatal mistake! A good leader is the one who shows an ability to resolve security problems at times of crisis and in adverse situations. In conditions of “comfort”, anybody is good! This experience must be handled well so that the young can benefit from it, as they will be directing the CME in the coming decades. This is a new and current strategic challenge.

What challenges does the PG-ME face in the near future and what capacities does it have to address them?

The main challenge is public policies and police strategies to address common and organised crime at all levels. Transversal work is needed here, between the Department of the Interior and the PG-ME and the local corporations of the most important cities, which lead their urban guard and local police to generate more productive synergies, beyond their competences and mandates. A more effective “criminal policy” must be fomented and generated by all operators.

Evidently, terrorism at the level at which we’re experiencing it is another very important challenge. Catalonia, from a geostrategic point of view, is in a preferential place and the capital, Barcelona, has great appeal because of its greatness, diversity and worldwide notoriety. The force has made and is making a very important effort, both in terms of prevention and to react to another dramatic horrifying event like a terrorist attack.

Internally we reached our organisational maturity years ago, and this has led to a phase of normality. With this stability and solidity, we have been able to address the security challenges that we have been faced with. The most evident case is the administering of the 17th August in Barcelona and Cambrils. We have many other challenges: transit, anti-social behaviour, second activities, etc., and other important and transcending issues that we will solve with awareness and professionalism.

How do you think the policing system should be articulated in Catalonia?

That’s a good question! It could be answered in different ways, it all depends on the strategic development that we decide on, or that we decide on politically. The question is: “Where do we want to go?” I think that we, as police officers, have a lot to say. There are a few of us, those who have lived through this process of development of the Mossos and local police forces. We can refer to two laws, that of 1991 applying to local police forces and that of 1994 applying to the Mossos d’Esquadra, and the public security system of Catalonia law (2003), within the framework of the statute of autonomy.

Personally, I think that we should transcend, improve on the current model, starting with the good work that that has already been done by the Institute of Public Security of Catalonia (ISPC) with basic joint training and courses in command and specialities. Now there is a need to define the same selection criteria for police officers and commanding officers. Selection and training ought to be the responsibility of the ISPC. We draw on the premise of basic officers with the same values, attitudes and aptitudes. Once the course is passed and with the police qualification or that of commanding officer, they can opt for any local police officer position that, with a final interview to confirm suitability, could enable them to apply for the vacancy or to the municipality that they desire and, after a practice period, they will have a permanent position. It would be necessary to create a gateway system from one force to the other. From local police officer to local police officer and from local police officer to Mossos d’Esquadra and vice versa, with a career plan with specialities and categories and that allows for the mobility of government workers, with a minimum system of permanence and some reservations for specialities.


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Conrad J. Fernández i Justes: “there is a great deal of sensitivity to the increasing violence involved in its operations”

Conrad J. Fernández i JustesSuperintendent Cap Guàrdia Urbana of Badalona. President of ACCPOLC. Doctor in Sociology, with a degree in Anthropology, a Master’s qualification in Police Studies, a Higher Diploma in Criminology and Pedagogic Aptitude awarded by the University of Barcelona, and a Diploma in Managerial Functions of Public Administrations awarded by ESADE.

What is your appraisal regarding the current security situation in Badalona?Badalona is a very complex city, with neighbourhoods with a very diverse idiosyncrasy, situated in a far-reaching metropolitan environment. The statistics demonstrate that it coincides with the rest of the metropolitan area with small fluctuations that vary from year to year. We can say that both road safety and public security are excellent or very reasonable.

And regarding the collaborative work of the Local Police with the Mossos d’Esquadra?

Badalona was the first city in the metropolitan area where the Mossos d’Esquadra were deployed. As the installations had not been built, they were accommodated in some units built in the interior of the Guardia Urbana premises. From the very beginning many premises were shared, which encouraged officers of both forces to get to know each other and enabled them to think about collaborative services. When the Mossos had their own station a joint communication area was created where officers from the two forces administered service demands. The room no longer exists now, but we have a Tandem patrol system (integrated by a patrol of each force) which gives us very good results. We are very satisfied with the collaborative work and we continue to explore new ways to provide more efficient security.

What, in your opinion, might be the most worrying problems for a police officer in Badalona at the moment?

From a security viewpoint, there is a great deal of sensitivity to Jihadist terrorism and the increasing violence involved in its operations. From a corporative viewpoint there is a worry about improving the image of the police, about a feeling that the service is excessively politicised, and also that there is too much bureaucracy and particularly about staff renewal. The average age of the Guardia Urbana is constantly increasing and officers are expectant about the possibility of retiring at 60. This would provide more options of a professional career to officers who aspire to positions of command.

How do you feel the Catalan policing system should be articulated?

I am in favour of something similar to the Belgian model; adapting it to our reality. In 2003 I had the opportunity to visit the Dutch and Belgian police. The Dutch model had been articulated within the context of autonomous police regions and with an assigned support region for others. In Belgium a new model called “integration” had just been put into practice. A Belgian police force and two levels of service, federal and local and completely integrated, with a sole police statute to regulate it, common institutions, flexibility and connections between forces. From the beginning I thought that this could be a benchmark for Catalonia.


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Jaume Bosch: The concept of “Police of Catalonia” is a reality, but an incomplete one

Jaume Bosch, coordinador de projectes transversals i d’impuls d’accions formatives de l’Institut de Seguretat Pública de Catalunya (ISPC)He is coordinator of transversal projects and promotion of training initiatives of the ISPC. He has a degree in Law awarded by the UB. A Master’s in “The city: policies, projection and management” awarded by the UB. He was an associate teacher in the Faculty of Political Science and Sociology at the UAB. He was the first general subdirector of Coordination of local police forces. He was a councillor, Vice-president of the Barcelona provincial council and member of the Parliament of Catalonia. Author of a range of publications; the latest, “From the statute to self-determination” (2013).

Is the concept of “Police of Catalonia” introduced by Law 4/2003 a desideratum rather than a reality?

Today the concept of “Police of Catalonia” is a reality, but an incomplete one. The idea of the Police of Catalonia being dependent on Catalan institutions, Generalitat and councils, or let’s say, the police force of the Generalitat-Mossos d’esquadra and local Police forces, came to life in the 1980s based on a model designed by Jaume Curbet. He expressed an unequivocal political wish as a fundamental building block for the country’s self-government. Some vital legal mechanisms were pushed forward to construct a system: the first law to coordinate local police forces ( in 84), later substituted by the 1991 law, the law to create the Catalan Police school ( in 85), years later the law was repealed by the Law of the Institute of Public Security of Catalonia in 2007, and the Law of the Police of the Generalitat-Mossos d’esquadra of 1994. And later, the Law of the System of Security of 2003. These laws are now overwhelmed by reality, and the policy of coordination of local police forces has not had, despite the wishes of successive leaders, the human and economic resources demanded by a project to create a policing system.

What changes need to be introduced in the Catalan policing system to respond appropriately to challenges to public security? Do you know of any initiatives that are being put into practice in other places that would be useful in our country? 

We need the so-many-times-announced Law of the Police System of Catalonia. It is true that within the current legal framework some of the initiatives that we need could be pushed forward, but it is no less true that three factors make this law indispensable: the passing of the 2006 Statute with new competences for the Generalitat in terms of security ( including the definition of the Mossos d’esquadra as an integral police force and the organisation of local police forces, and not only their mere coordination), at the end of 2008 with the territorial deployment of the Mossos to substitute the Guardia Civil and the National Police, and the appearance of new types of crime, including the new terrorist threat. The only law posterior to the Statute is that of the Institute of Public Security. A new legal text is necessary to improve on the laws of 91 and 94, and to update the statutory framework of the Mossos and local police forces, with a common part for the two forces and a specific amount for each force. Over recent years other communities have continued to advance and are now ahead of us: in the Basque Country , with unified recruitment of local police officers this term, or with new laws in Navarra (2015) ,although some of their articles may have been annulled by the constitutional court, in the community of Valencia (2017), Balearics (2017) and the Community of Madrid (2018). Unfortunately, we are no longer forerunners.

What must the responsibility of municipalities be in the maintenance of security?     

Municipalities have defined competences, as is the role of the mayors local security committees. Local security plans are a good tool. But it is necessary for the Generalitat to help municipalities, especially the medium-size and small ones. There are 214 local police forces. Today the constitutional framework does not allow for the fusion of Mossos and local police forces and I doubt that this is the solution. But it is vital that the 214 local police forces, maintaining their municipal dependence, act, more and more frequently, via mechanisms that unite, order and dignify their role.

Is the role of the Institute of Public Security of Catalonia well designed or is it necessary to make changes to improve the policing system? Is an organ rather than a “system” necessary?

The 2007 law is very advanced, the institute defines it as much more than a number of Schools, and it is adapted to the new Statute: it is a good instrument, that foresees , for example, that the Institute acts regarding the selection of local police officers, just as the communities I mentioned before are beginning to do, or that it intervenes in the context of private security. The fact is that the Centre is now affiliated to the Universitat de Barcelona and teaches a degree course in security, which has great importance. But the ISPC needs economic resources to maintain and upgrade installations and to push forward much more research; it should become a European point of reference in research and reflecting on some issues: I would dare to suggest police mediation or the fight against gender violence.  Besides, the new Law should create new organs to better integrate local police forces into the system: A negotiating table for work conditions at a national level, a centralised unit of internal affairs, a central unit for the purchasing of material… There are many proposals to build a real Catalonia Policing System. If only, when circumstances permit, we can begin to make up for the time lost, based on a constitutional and political consensus that must inspire public security policies.


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Elizabeth Johnston : « A long-term security policy is indispensable »

Elizabeth Johnston, Delegate-General of the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus)As Delegate-General of the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus), Elizabeth Johnston is responsible for the strategy and development of Efus, in connection with the executive committee, as well as the general management of the organisation. She has also been delegate-general of the French forum for urban security since February 2016.

Furthermore, she is also member of the advisory council of the Global Parliament of Mayors and is a collaborator of the University of Liege (Belgium). Previously, and after having begun her career within a local community, Elizabeth Johnston was director of a programme for the Franco-American Foundation and was an expert in violence prevention in the World Bank. She was awarded a degree in Law by the University of Assas (France), in Political Science by the University of Yale (USA) as well a degree in Public Policy by the University of Marne-La-Vallée (France).

What do you consider to be the challenges to urban security in the decades to come? Tell us the four most important risks to urban security in the near future.

One of the main challenges in terms of security that all European cities have to address is the growing complexity and very fast evolution of the threats they are facing. Apart from the daily security problems that continue to be important, our cities administer the consequences of global phenomena that overwhelm them to a large extent: trafficking of people and goods, terrorist networks, cybercrime… These demand advanced technicality and a capacity for innovation and adaptation, which shake up usual administrative frameworks, impose new forms of collaboration and new ways of visualising security.

Another major challenge is the increase in social and economic inequalities: this generates a resentment that can escalate into violence and crime and cripple social cohesion, which is the only guarantee of durable security. These inequalities also contribute to the phenomenon of polarisation and make it even more difficult to create the common good reflected by security.

Linked to this phenomenon of polarisation like the common globalisation-related issues, cities must address a growing distrust on the part of the general public regarding public action. Building and nourishing a trusting rapport between public authorities and citizens is vital in order to establish a durable security policy, and it is for this reason cities must also innovate in terms of transparency, dialogue, and coproduction.

What role must the citizenship play in the field of urban security ? Is it the role of the recipient of the public security service?

As with any public policy, prevention measures and urban security must be defined in accordance with citizens’ needs. Every neighbourhood, every city is different only by fully involving residents will we be able to propose suitable responses. Residents must be involved in all stages of our policies: from their conception, their application and to their final evaluation. A major challenge these days is also to establish citizen participation based on principles of solidarity and representivity in order to bear keep society’s diversity in mind. Women, the elderly and also the young must no longer be simply the focus of security policies. They must become agents of prevention and play a full part in coproduction.

Is there still a role for the State in urban security or is it an issue that must be addressed by local communities and at an international level?

Territorial collectives have been shown to be indispensable actors for many years in order to act within the living environment, in everyday public security but they cannot act alone and must be backed up. Phenomena like violent extremism or organised crime have repercussions that go beyond regional and national borders. They are often very agile networks that often spread out across Europe and on an even more international scale. All levels of government must consult each other to adopt complementary responses.  In addition, these days national and European governance structures make territorial collectives even more dependant, both financially and in legislative terms, on other levels of government.

Who are the fundamental players in urban security ? Is there still a role for the police force and the judicial system?

The police, the judicial system, penitentiary institutions have an essential role in urban security. However, other actors like local institutions, civil society or even the private sector also play a key role, giving meaning to the concept of coproduction.

Police forces and judiciary institutions must adapt to their partnerships to push forward their doctrines of use and the training of their agents.


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The legitimacy of the police: a key question?

Sebastian Roché is director of research at the CNRS (Political Science, University of Grenoble). He is a teacher of the Higher National Police School, and of the universities of Grenoble and of Bahcesehir, in Istanbul. His work is focused on surveying crime, analysing public security policies and the compared governance of the police. He is also an adviser to the United Nations. One of his publications is: De la police en démocratie [“Police in democracy”] (Grasset, 2016).

Doctor Roché, you have published a very interesting book, De la police en démocratie [“Police in democracy”], where you talk about legitimacy. What are we referring to, when we talk about the legitimacy of the police?

The legitimacy of the police is the moral right that it has which means that it will be obeyed. It involves two aspects. In the first place, by recognising the police’s moral right, the citizen feels obliged to obey him / her, or does so voluntarily, so to speak, without having to promise anything in return (for example, more security) or with no need to threaten(for example, with sanctions). This first aspect is the one which is normally studied. Then, we find that this moral right bestowed upon the police to be obeyed turns into an agreement with the use of means which are sometimes illegal or violent. This second aspect, which we could call “the hidden face of legitimacy”, is studied less, but is no less real: it is, for example, the one which means that American whites support the police when they kill a black man.

Do you think that legitimacy has practical consequences on the daily work of the police? Isn´t this a rhetorical question which is only of interest to intellectuals?

The legitimacy of the police probably has practical effects, but it is necessary to recognise that these are well demonstrated. The main idea is that trust encourages the idea of recognising the legitimacy of the police, and that, this also encourages the public’s voluntary obedience, an adherence to the demands of officers, even when it isn’t to the citizen’s liking, and ways of cooperation, especially with the reporting of incidents when we are victims, informing of problems, participating in local associations; to sum up, a commitment to collaborate with police officers. The most noteworthy benefit would be a reduction in everyday tension and security for officers.

What can public authorities do to improve the legitimacy of the police? Do you mean to say that this is not a historical and cultural issue which is impossible to change?

The quest for legitimacy involves a quest for satisfaction regarding the service provided and equalitarian treatment. These are the attitudes which encourage trust. It is also about a professional culture, which may evolve, and it has to evolve, in accordance with the society it is part of. A ministry of the interior can establish its own quality control, decide on its own training mechanisms and then what tools to use to control it, and use them to classify officers. Therefore, practices will evolve.

What would a French police officer think when he or she read your book? Do you think they would feel happy about the way you portray them? Would you think differently if you were a police officer?

I think that police officers don’t read much sociology. I can understand them. If they did, they would be surprised at the importance I give to trust and legitimacy. Indeed, their professional culture is, above all, based on the law, and on practical learning of how to impose their vision of things on people, rather than the art of open discussion. This is what their experienced workmates value when they do their initial practical training. But I think that there are officers who have understood the importance of the relationship between the police and the public, and the need for it to advance.

Do you think that police data (crime statistics, connected to a lack of civil behaviour and incidents the police must respond to, the number of officers, etc.) should be public, available on line? Is it a democratic condition/requirement?

Yes, it would be convenient for the databases to be accessible. This would enable us to help analysis to evolve based on objective data. It would be the most normal thing, as it is the public which pays for them.

Do you think the current trend of fining more and limiting citizens’ rights puts the legitimacy of the police at risk? Do you think it’s efficient?

Faced with the terrorist threat, governments feel obliged to give the police more power. The main reason is political: it is all a strategy to avoid criticism from the opposition. We don’t have any evidence of the efficiency of a stricter legislation concerning petty or medium-level crimes, although the police are very often in favour of this type of approach. As far as young people are concerned, we know that penal severity actually even leads to more re-offending. Practical effectiveness and political effectiveness are quite different things.


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Thomas Feltes: “The security-freedom-dilemma is a chimera”

Thomas FeltesThomas F. Feltes (1951) is University Professor in Criminology and Police Science at the Law Faculty, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany. He teaches law and is responsible for the advanced Masters Program in Criminology, Criminalistics, and Police Science since 2005. From 1992 until 2002 he served as the Director of the University of Applied Police Science in Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany. Thomas Feltes earned his PhD in law and his M.A. in Social Sciences from the University of Bielefeld, Germany. From 1979 until 1992 he did criminological research and academic teaching at the law faculties in Bielefeld, Hamburg, Heidelberg, and Tuebingen. Feltes is a member of Scientific Board of the International Society of Criminology. He is the (co-)author and editor of over 200 books and articles on policing, juvenile law, sentencing, alternative sanctions, public prosecution and the editor of the “Polizei-Newsletter”, a monthly Email-newsletter, published in four languages (e.g. Spanish). From 2018 on he will be the German representative in the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT).

Dear Professor Feltes, in last times you have insisted on the need to integrate different actors in order to keep the levels of security within reasonable boundaries. This position that comes from somebody with a long trajectory of responsibilities in the Public Sector looks a bit surprising.

Which is the reason why we should transform the traditional state’s monopoly in the field of security in a co-production of security with actors that may not have public interests? Is it not a privatisation of policing?

In fact, the privatisation of policing already exists since many years, and we do not have such a monopoly in reality. Criminologists talk about “plural policing”, reflecting the fact, that not only private security companies work for individuals and corporations, but also corporations have their own security system and even their own system of prosecution, with internal punishment or retribution. Police increasingly works with other government agencies, the third sector, community organisations and the private sector, and they have to cooperate. For example: If we talk about community policing, many local and private actors are involved in this system of improving the relation between police and citizens and in improving the feelings of security in a local community. The main point is: the state has to control all these diverse efforts of policing, no matter who does it and where it is done.

You have worked long time in the field security around Bundesliga (and football in general) matches. Do you think that there we have a good example of public-private co-production of security? How do you assess your experience in this area? Do you think that we have found a way ahead? Which are the key factors to be taken into account?

Football matches are a good example for plural policing: As we could show in analysing the security structures of a regular match, up to 30 different direct or indirect providers of security are involved: from the DFB and DFL over the public transportation systems down to the local police and the local clubs. The latter ones usually have their own security, responsible inside of the arenas, and hired private security personnel, responsible e.g. for the entrance control. They must also cooperate intensively with the local police and the federal police. Usually a security talk takes place in advance, where the different responsibilities and the overall strategy to police the match are discussed.

Is co-production applicable to any public policy? Would you apply it to cope with the large wave of refugees that arrived recently in Germany? By the way, doesn’t it imply a high risk for internal security? Is sensible to admit such a large amount of refugees?

There is a co-production of security in our everyday business. Private security guards are working in shopping malls, in train stations, in subways and they are responsible for the protection of private and government buildings. Concerning refugees, the security of camps and apartment-buildings, where refugees live, are usually the task of private security companies. The police does not have the personnel to take over this task too and police is too expensive. The problem with private security guards is the selection and the control. After some scandals, the problem now seems to be solved. Applicants are better checked, better trained, and better controlled now. Refugees are not committing more crimes than the equivalent German population, if we take gender and age into account. And most of the crimes committed by refugees are either between themselves (due to the situation in camps), or relate to crimes in connection with border laws.

How do you assess the current wave of very hard legislation (in terms of human rights restrictions) in order to tackle terrorism? Is it moral? Is it necessary? Is it useful? Do you think that the alleged dilemma security-freedom is real or just an argument to get the rights’ restrictions accepted?

This is, in fact, pure symbolic policy. Politicians are under enormous pressure by the public and the media. These laws do not tackle terrorism at all, but politicians see no other options to give the citizens the feeling, that they are capable of acting. We do have good programs to prevent that young people join terroristic groups or radical islamic circles, but these programs have a medium or long-range effect only. The so-called security-freedom-dilemma is a chimera: we are living in societies and neighbourhoods, which are safer than ever (crime is on the decline since years), but our citizens feel more alienated than ever. The reasons are manifold: the idea of a real European Union is fading, the negative effects of globalisation are getting closer, people are getting older and feel more insecure due to fading health care systems and unclear pensions. And finally: politicians do not provide the citizens with the feeling that they are able to cope with all these problems. They look more like a bunch of chickens, running around with their heads cut off… People are losing trust in politics, and we can see the results everywhere with rightist parties getting more and more acceptance.



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Commissioner Cristina Manresa: “Thorough planning is the key to success”

Comissària Cristina ManresaCommissioner Cristina Manresa Llop, born in Barcelona in 1968, has a 19 year-old son and lives in Badalona. With a diploma in Criminology and a degree in the History of Art awarded by Barcelona University, she joined the Mossos d’Esquadra on its fourth promotion – 26 years ago – and became a commissioner after having experience of all ranks. She believes this is important because having provided different services and having been in different situations have given her an insight and given her knowledge of the difficult task faced by police officers, and have taught her to value the important things in life.

She is currently Head of the North Metropolitan Division and has been Director of the security plan of the Mobile World Congress since 2013.

She has been given several awards and prizes, she is a member of the ethics committee of the Catalan police force and has spent years taking part in teaching and training activities, and giving lectures.

What is your appraisal of the safety features of the latest edition of the Mobile World Congress?

Very positive, nothing of note has happened in a congress which has set a new record, with 108,000 people, which amounts to a rise of 7% compared with the previous year. The crime rate applicable to each 1,000 visitors has been 0.34, a lower rate than the one recorded in 2016, which was 0.36. The number of crimes has remained stable with a reduction of 13% being committed on public transport and with 91% consisting of thefts.

We feel proud of the work done by the police forces, emergency services which along with the organisers of the MWC, the managers of the Barcelona Fair and Barcelona’s tourism department, have contributed to overseeing the security of those attending the congress and the smooth organisation of this event. That’s teamwork!!

What planning, preventive, emergency, and public security tools enable you to help and offer protection to people during these big events?

Our work is based on a Directive Security Plan (PDS), a document which states the objectives and features of the event and organises different tasks for those involved so that we are effectively coordinated. Eight programmes which include public security police resources, public order, intelligence, mobility, civil protection, accommodation, etc.

As part of the preventive policy, the PG-ME has promoted the distribution of information from security councils on the social network of the Mossos d’Esquadra and on 112. And material has been distributed with basic security measures to those attending the congress with the aim of preventing crime such as informative panels on transport, posters and leaflets in different languages. These actions have been carried out in collaboration with different entities participating in the organisation and security of the event, such as the GSMA, Barcelona Convention Bureau and the Association of Hotels.

 In what way, from a planning perspective, does it have an impact having so many actors (public and private) from different fields and administrations, in the same event? Is the human factor vital in this sense?

Thorough planning is the key to success because there are many participants in the PG-ME with different specialities: GEI, Escortes, Subsol, Canina, Tedax, Hèlix, BRIMO, ARRO, Information, Public Security, Transport, etc. We also involve external personnel in our organisation, from other municipal police forces (Hospitalet and Barcelona) and external operators: The organising company, private security, emergencies, the Barcelona office of tourism, the council, transport companies, etc.

For this reason we begin to plan after the summer until the months of February or March which is when the MWC takes place.

There is an initial Meeting with all the representatives and we explain anything new and the chronogram, and afterwards the groups develop the services which will be provided and supervised by the plan’s direction team until the final three mechanisms take shape in three phases: Pre-alert, Alert, Maximum alert.

While the congress is taking place there are different daily meetings, with the plan’s direction team and the organisation first thing in the morning, with the police services and transport organisers.

When the MWC is over there is a debriefing session where suggestions for improvements from all services are gathered.

The human factor is fundamental, as knowing each of the operators greatly facilitates the task, we are a team and everyone works to make things better every year. The success of the MWC belongs to us all!!

What has been the most complex situation that you have had to address in recent MWCs? Is there any aspect or complication which crops up every year?

In 2016 with the new number 9 underground line because this was a new element and very much at a trial phase, we didn’t know how many people would use this line. On top of this, there was a transport strike and mobility got complicated.

Managing the queues and entry of those attending the congress to the venue securely is a challenge because of the issue of terrorism. Since 2015 we have identified all participants, we have increased the amount of personnel and have tightened security measures with containment elements at points of entry: pylons, metal detectors, scanners, dogs, etc.

Security advice which we communicate to those attending the congress via the PG-ME is, we feel, a good way to stop them becoming crime victims. Prevention is a good tool and we work on this before the congress by meeting up with the hotels, catering, and tourism associations and with other operators.

Have you been inspired or do you get inspired by any other type of similar event when you innovate with preventive and security measures? And, alternatively, have other security services or similar events been inspired by the work done here?

The experience of other events or services we, the PG-ME, work on have inspired us to develop the Directive Security Plan of the MWC. This is a document which sets out, in eight programmes, each of the particularities of the security services, the amount of personnel working on each task, place, timetables and other technical features. What I feel must be stressed about the PDS is that other external operators participate in the PG-ME. An integrating and transversal way of working with other administrations and private parties.

There has been interest in the working methods, and other police forces have reproduced the PDS model.

 As a woman and commissioner of the PGME, what is your opinion of the role of women in the Mossos d’Esquadra police service?

My assessment as a woman in command is that we should make an even bigger effort to achieve gender equality in the police force at all levels, and also at the level of being in charge, where the effect of the decisions made is more tangible. Here there remains work to be done. A police officer of the XXI century needs to be open and prepared to meet whatever challenges are set. A woman’s viewpoint is very important when developing security policies.


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