Chile presents the Plan Calle Segura (Safe Street Plan) that extends preventive identity controls

The President of Chile, Sebastian Piñera, presented the so-called Plan Calle Segura to the National Congress, aimed at preventing crime in the public spaces of cities and that extends preventive identity controls and authorises it to apply it from the age of fourteen.

One of the justifications for going ahead with this plan is because it is considered that the primary concern of Chileans is crime and drug trafficking and so this must be addressed.

As part of the plan #CalleSegura an intense Agenda of Public Security was put into place, including the modernisation of the police and the investigations police service, a greater police presence in the streets with over 3,000 officers, an important investment in technology with cameras and drones and the so-called Antiportonazos Law.

This law must allow officers to carry out controls in the streets with greater ease, including the inspection of clothes, backpacks and accessories when it is appropriate to prevent, in accordance with this law, crimes more effectively. It will also involve anyone over fourteen, given that according to Chilean police statistics, between 20 and 30% of violent crime – theft with violence, ambushes, etc. – are committed by youths.

Despite the low rate of complaints for inappropriate conduct against officers during such procedures, the law also includes measures to prevent abuse and discrimination. And this law comes into being with numerous voices that have questioned the legitimacy and utility of this measure.

One of the most questioned aspects of the new law is that as part of a plan to deter criminal conduct, it is expected that technology –cameras, drones, registration plate readers…- collaborate to control crimes taking place in the street.

Accordingly, with comparative experience and what is stressed by urban criminology, the limits of such types of initiatives are explained, not only in terms of the perception of security, but also with relation to the reduction of crime in urban spaces. Therefore, opting for an investment in technology as government policy can turn out to be insufficient.

Some voices have warned defenders of the Plan Calle Segura that crime control not only involves surveillance of streets and technological control of the environment, as an appropriate and balanced planning of public spaces and cities must also be considered.

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A move towards a crime-free future?

For most people, withdrawal from crime is a process, or rather an event. This project published by the Rand Corporation, produced an easy-to-use questionnaire to be used by those who worked with offenders to acquire intermediate results: positive exchange indicators that can indicate progress towards a crime-free future.

The research shows that, especially for criminals with deeply rooted social and personal problems, withdrawal from crime is not a one-time event. Often, it is a long-term process of fundamental change to their own identity, to their values and lifestyle, which involves periods of abstention caused by a transgression interrupted by relapses.

The effectiveness of services for criminals is normally evaluated on the basis of the rate of recurrence. However, these results are better measured over long periods of time and require access to reliable data concerning convictions or other offence-related measures. This is not feasible for many interventions, in the short term, for criminals freed by organisations without the time or resources necessary to carry out an analysis of recurrence. Moreover, some interventions, such as cultural programmes in prison or tutorials, have the objective of supporting the withdrawal process, rather than ending the criminal process.

This study aims to identify and develop a tool to measure intermediate results. This would involve changes in skills and thinking directly or indirectly associated with reductions in recurrence, which could indicate that a criminal is making positive changes towards a crime-free future, but has still not managed to do so. For example, intermediate results can include improved problem solving skills, better time management and increased resilience.

The project focused on developing a measurement tool for those who offer tutorial and arts programmes for criminals. In particular, community sector and volunteer organisations.

painting creative artThe project is based on close collaboration and cooperation with a series of suppliers that offer programmes and arts to criminals. With an iterative process of bibliographic research, consultations, valid tests and analysis, the research team produced an academically informed questionnaire of 29 articles, called the Instrument of Measurement of Intermediate Results (IOMI). Along with the OMI, the researchers also developed a cost tool, a guidance tool and a tool for entering data.

The IOMI measuring tool and the other materials that make up the tool kit provide an easy-to-use package that arts suppliers and tutors can use (and possibly many other types of intervention) to assess the impact of its own work relatively quickly and directly.

The IOMI is not a completely validated instrument, but preliminary tests showed clear signs that the instrument has value, internal consistency, stability and the potential to reflect change with most intermediate results it measures”.

The IOMI, in theory, is informed and based on accurate reviews of evidence and on an in-depth consultation with suppliers of programmes of tutorials and arts.

https://www.rand.org/randeurope/research/projects/reduce-reoffending.html

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Stopping the illegal trafficking of mercury and gold to the west of Africa

In August 2017 the Minamata Convention came into effect related to the use of mercury, an element that has a great impact on a world scale and more specifically on 15 states in the west of Africa. In the convention, the states agreed to reduce, and if possible to eliminate, the use of mercury and its by-products, and also the emissions of this caused particularly by mining activity. During the process of extraction of gold in the region, very simple techniques involving little economic investment are used. Mercury is often used to separate the metal from the mineral and generally those people who treat this element are exposed to health problems such as intoxications and burns. The west of Africa is one of the richest areas in gold deposits, and mercury plays an essential part in this activity, as 2-3 million skilled miners use it to extract gold, and the sale of this means great revenue for the country’s economy. Most of the countries that make up the region of the west of Africa have signed and ratified this convention.

Curbing Illicit Mercury and Gold Flows in West AfricaA study published by Global Initiative against transnational organized crime stresses that the use of mercury and its by-products and their emissions have negative consequences for the African countries involved. Almost all the mercury is exported from the west of Africa. Although great amounts are imported illegally, there is a lot of informal trade, undercover and not recorded, which is on the increase. To give an example, nationals from Burkina Faso are considered to be responsible for most of the illegal trade and countries like the Ivory Coast, Senegal and Ghana are the main consumers. Data related to mercury imports are included in the data estimations of mercury consumption, meaning that most mercury flows are illegal. Hence, if quantities of mercury are supplied, the flow of gold is also ensured. In this way, the supply chains both of gold and mercury create a strong circle that is very difficult to break.

The ECOWAS(Economic Community of Western African Countries stresses the need to include different institutions and government actors in order to discuss measures to coordinate mercury flows and combat illegal flows. Togo, for example, stresses the need for cooperation between countries. The Global Initiative study proposes the following recommendations:

  • Improve knowledge of mercury flows.
  • Standardise specific mercury regulating frameworks.
  • Provide an incentive for miners to extract gold without the use of mercury.
  • Focus regional efforts on the hubs of supply lines.
  • Harmonise the regimes of gold exports.
  • Strengthen regulating supervision of gold imports in end-of-destination hubs.

Links of interest:

http://globalinitiative.net/gold_mercury_ecowas/

https://www.verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/SSA-Verite-Commodity-Report-Gold.pdf

https://ige.org/archivos/IGE/mercurio_en_la_Mineria_de_Au.pdf

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To recover a mutual understanding in terms of defence between the United States and the European Union: the objective of the EUISS in Brussels

The growing interest of the maximum representatives of the European Union and its member states is to strengthen European self-sufficiency in terms of defence, and to even create a European army, has caused concern in the United States, the main partner of European countries in the military and defence field for the moment. The initiative, promoted in particular by the German chancellor Angela Merkel and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, has been seen by the government presided by Donald Trump as a threat to NATO. A partly contradictory reaction bearing in mind that the current president of the United States has repeatedly reminded the countries of the European Union of its insufficient contribution to the common defence budget and its excessive dependence regarding NATO.

Faced with the American reaction, Europe has denied that the possible future army of the Union will be an alternative to NATO, as both will complement each other. In order to share opinions and initiatives regarding the reactivation of the common defence of the European Union and resolve misunderstandings with the transatlantic partner, and also to address other issues affecting global security, EU Security Studies Institute, The Dutch International Relations Institute(l’Institut Cligendael) and the Centre for New American Security organised a round table in Brussels on 3rd October. The objective was to debate and design common strategies for recent events that have an impact on global security and especially transatlantic relations, like the European Union’s role in the negotiations for denuclearisation between North Korea and the United States and Turkey’s posture in relation to NATO.

Both the speakers from the United States and those from European countries agreed on the fact that it was necessary to continue working in the same direction in order to address the questions that threaten the established and agreed international order.

During the first round table, dedicated to debating the future of transatlantic relations in terms of defence, the European speakers pointed out that the mission of the Union to be more autonomous could in no way be interpreted as a wish to be isolated and distanced from the USA. The members from the USA adopted a somewhat critical posture regarding the declarations of their president, and stressed the efforts made by the EU, although they did express certain concern about such efforts distancing it from Washington. Members from both sides of the Atlantic finally concluded that more clarification regarding the complementary roles of the European Union and NATO were necessary

In the second debate the important contribution of the European Union to the NATO budget was advocated, which is higher than 2% of the established GDP. Apart from the direct contribution, members pointed out that the sanctions imposed on the continent’s neighbouring countries involve a higher cost to the EU than to the United States. Several speakers regretted that Donald Trump’s vision of Europe as an enemy rather than an ally was impeding cooperation between the two entities, as it would appear that the president’s intention was to erode and weaken Europe.

During the lunch, the issue was the denuclearisation of North Korea and the role to be played by the European Union. From the start the point was raised that Pyongyang would agree to sit with the EU at the negotiation table due to the Asian country’s neutral vision and the fact that the EU envisaged no other mechanism than that of negotiation and peaceful measures was expressed. Moreover, the European Union could help North Korea to begin a hypothetical economic opening. Some speakers, however, were rather sceptical about the real possibility of denuclearisation in the country led by Kim Jong-un.

Finally, at the last round table the issue of the complicate relationship between the United States and Turkey was addressed. It was brought to light that the main reasons for the distancing between Trump and Erdogan were linked to the late reaction of the American government to the attempted coup d’état in 2016 and the arrest of the American pastor Andrew Brunson, and also due to the support that the United States gave to Syria for the People’s Protection Units (YPG), considered to be enemies of Turkey. The acquisition of Russian weapons by Turkey made relations even more difficult between Washington and Ankara. Nevertheless, the European speakers stated that they did not want to lose Turkey as a strategic ally for a range of geopolitical reasons.

After the meeting, it seems that neither the American experts nor those of the European countries had any interest in creating distance between the two entities when addressing threats to global security as such a scenario would weaken both Europe and the USA.

https://www.iss.europa.eu/content/weathering-storm-transatlantic-security-insecure-times

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The citizen penalty points cards, a reality in China

china chinese city forbidden kingdom
The Chinese government is developing a ‘social credit’ system that facilitates the rating of citizens according to their behaviour and level of trustworthiness, offering rewards or imposing penalties depending on their behaviour. This programme, which is presented as a mechanism to guarantee national security and social stability, is expected to be completely operational in 2020.

Nevertheless, the first touches are already starting to be applied. Among them is the prohibition to buy plane or train tickets applicable to people who have lost points for having smoked in carriages, having used expired tickets, or having spread fake news, especially if these are related to terrorist attacks or airport security.

Other actions that could lead to a loss of points are the publication of online political posts without permission, contradicting the government’s official narrative, committing driving offences or spending too much time playing video games. Conversely, other types of behaviour like participating in charities or giving blood help to increase ratings and climb positions.

A position that will determine fundamental aspects such as the possibility of being accepted in certain schools (for the person in question or his or her children), sign into hotels, hold public positions or rent an apartment. It will be more difficult for people with a ‘citizen rating’ to have access to these, just as it will be more complicated to obtain visas to travel abroad. On the other hand, those who have a high rating will benefit from discounts on energy bills, faster access to Internet or better conditions when applying for a bank loan.

The exact methodology used to determine these ratings is kept secret, but it is thought that it will be based on artificial intelligence and big data, which will help to build profiles of all citizens based on the types of purchases they make, financial transactions, personal and professional contacts, the use of social networks or interactions with official organisms. Although the Chinese authorities uphold the idea that this system will enable them to control the level of civility and reduce the crime rate, thereby improving public security, a significant number of organisations like Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International have warned of how this endangers rights and civil liberties, especially with regard to the right to privacy, data protection and freedom of expression. An especially worrying situation if we bear in mind that the level of Internet freedom in China, according to Freedom House, is the worst on the planet.

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South Africa tries to combat its endemic high levels of violence

The cost of violence to the South African economy is among the highest in the world. The country is in126th place out of 163 countries in the Global Peace Index. This index shows us that the cost of South African violence amounts to 19% of the GDP, the 16th highest in the world (34,160 rand per citizen each year).

South Africa stands out in the five main violence-related categories: the number of violent crimes, the number of violent protests, the number of murders, easy access to weapons and an elevated perception of insecurity. It is the 10th worst country regarding the general reduction of violence and 19th if we refer to security in general.


Both the data provided by the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the data provided by the Crime Survey (VOCS) reveal that levels of violence have remained high, with relatively insignificant variations. During the budget period from April 2015 to March 2016, 18,673 murders and 18,127 attempted murders were recorded. Furthermore, the police were aware of 259,165 cases related to drug trafficking.

The underlying problem is that the long years of apartheid with institutionalised violence have contributed to its becoming prevalent in society, which uses it to resolve any situation as a completely normal approach.

The National Development Plan wishes to improve conditions of violence with an objective to be met in 2030. This plan aims to build safe communities, regarding security as a basic human right. The plan involves physical security and the social dimension, such as employment, education and health, and aims to put an end to the culture of violence, making it very residual and undesirable.

The community dimension is central to the plan and, therefore, local governments have an important role, as they are the closest administrations to the general public. These have a central position in the coordination and integration of policies in order to create secure communities.

Community Security Forums are created (CSF) on a local scale. This organ is where coordination, monitoring and the integration of community prevention initiatives will take place. The objective is to guarantee quality services and create secure communities. These strategies are done in coordination with the different agencies of local and state administrations.

Improvements in economic development with equity will cause, according to the plan, an economic transformation, the creation of employment and improvements in education and healthcare, and will assist social cohesion. And this will all have a positive effect on insecurity, generating more security.

The final objective is that in 2030 South African citizens will feel more secure and will not be afraid of being a victim of crime. This security will have to be present at school, at work and in other community-related fields.

Link of interest:

What is the situation in South Africa?

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EJECT PROJECT: Crimes with firearms, an expulsion order in Jackson, Mississippi

In the US city of Jackson, Mississippi, with the application of the EJECT project, people who are detained for illegal possession of firearms or involved in some criminal activity with firearms will be ejected from the territory and will serve their sentence far away.

In December 2017 the Prosecutor of the South East District of Mississippi presented the “EJECT” project for the city of Jackson Mississippi. This project aims to combat violent crime in the city and contemplates, as a leading measure, the expulsion from the territory of people involved in firearm-related criminal activity.

People who are arrested for illegal possession of firearms or involved in some criminal activity using firearms will have no possibility of bail and will be ejected from the territory.

A dozen officers from federal and state agencies will help the Jackson Police Department with this project, in what is presented as a collaboration and cooperation project involving different levels of the US penal justice system.

Those responsible for the programme state that if you violate our law and terrorise our residents, you will be expelled from our community and you will serve your sentence far away from Jackson.

The programme has started to be met with scepticism on the part of residents, criminologists and political representatives of all tendencies. Even the mayor of Jackson highlights differences between municipal plans and this project.

Critics state that the basis of the Project is an attack on people under the guise of protecting them as it ignores constitutional rights, like the right to bail  or sending those accused away from Mississippi given the problems this causes their families..

Links

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdms/pr/us-attorney-s-office-law-enforcement-partners-and-community-leaders-introduce-project-1

https://thecrimereport.org/2018/04/03/tough-love-for-mississippi-gun-offenders-an-out-of-state-prison-term/

https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/local/2018/04/16/45-arrested-jackson-anti-gang-operation/520132002/

http://www.wafb.com/story/37968680/project-eject-several-arrests-made-last-week

http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2018/jan/17/opinion-project-eject-war-jackson/

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Prosocial bystanders against discriminatory violence

help-164755_960_720Let us ask before we start. How many times have you witnessed some kind of discrimination on the streets of your city this year?  Maybe, if you had known that in over 80% of occasions, less than 10 seconds of intervention would have been enough to prevent the crime; you would have decided to become a prosocial bystander .

The theory behind the spectator, joining psychology with criminology, aims to understand the motivation behind intervention or non-intervention of a spectator, who is, by definition, the witness of an event in which he / she is not directly involved (PHE, 2016).  When understanding this behaviour, in literature, different stages of the decision-making process are identified, firstly, the event must be perceived, then the spectator must interpret it and understand tht the situation is a conflictive one, the next step is to accept responsibility and take the decision to intervene and, finally, the spectator must have the ability to intervene  (Berkowitz, 2009; Banyard, 2011; Powell, 2011).

This process is important especially when theory is being put into practice, as recent studies show that the Bystander Intervention Programmes have a considerable impact on the primary prevention of sexual and domestic violence. In the United States, the theory has allowed for the development of a range of programmes to prevent sexual aggression on university campuses as male violence is interpreted to be, in theory, caused and a consequence of gender inequality and, therefore, effective violence prevention strategies must aim to change attitudes and behaviour rooted in this inequality (Banyard, Plante & Moynihan, 2004).

Afterwards, the United Kingdom also began to develop strategies of primary prevention on this basis to fight against sexual and gender-related violence in universities  and, more recently, against discriminatory violence in the public domain. At the end of 2017, Shamsher Chohan, director of Communities Inc, presented an initiative “Love not Hate” within the project Building Stronger Commuities, at a Zoom session of the Security, Democracy & Cities Conference, held in Barcelona, where the role of prosocial bystanders became fundamental to foresee and combat hate crimes. The programme, with bases in Nottingham and Bassetlaw, offers mechanisms to the public in order to encourage the commitment of “bystanders” with the prevention of discriminatory violence via the creation of a safer environment for all, stimulating social cohesions and the reporting of offences. For this reason, the institution offers free training for all those active members (individuals and organisations) of the community interested in acquiring knowledge and a better understanding of hate crimes (communitiesinc.org.uk, 2017), fundamental when perceiving and interpreting discriminatory acts. Furthermore, via Community Cohesion Activities, the initiative encourages interaction and dialogue, generating cohesion between different communities and stimulating commitment to primary prevention of hate crimes. Finally, the institution trains all those volunteers and organisations who work with people in a situation of vulnerability, to convert them into centres for the reporting of offences (communitiesinc.org.uk, 2017), therefore providing them with the necessary mechanisms to get involved, even if this is a posteriori.

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A joint response to crime against intellectual property

CopyrightOn 19 September 2017, the first Europol conference to address crime against intellectual property began in Anvers (Belgium).

A total of 400 lawyers, experts in security and representatives of different industrial sectors of over 42 countries attended the opening of this conference. The organisers indicated that the purpose of the conference was to review new crime trends and propose strategies to apply the law and good practices in anything related to crime against intellectual property, via the study of operational cases and industrial prospects.

According to a study elaborated by the European Union Intellectual Property Office de (EUIPO), violation of intellectual property is a significant phenomenon in expansion. International commerce of fake products represents 2.5% of commerce worldwide, or in total figures: 388 billion Euros.1 As an example, this is the equivalent to the GDP of Austria. The impact of piracy is particularly high within the European Union, representing 5% of the imports of member states, or in total figures: 85 billion Euros.2

Because of the potential profit and the relatively low risk of possible legal consequences, piracy processes continue to evolve and will be more and more sophisticated. It is for this reason that the conference brought together people from different sectors, environments and countries to generate new knowledge and develop tangible measures to fight against piracy on a global scale.

Irrespective of future courses of action of Europol in this context, it is indeed relevant to explain the consequences of this type of crime, and stress the measures and actions that the European Agency has taken so far to combat them.

The main consequences of crimes against intellectual property are that they reduce the income of affected companies. The resulting adverse social and economic effects of those companies which are victims of such crime include the loss of employment and the livelihood of thousands of people. There are also other kinds of collateral damage, like that of fake products which are manufactured without taking into consideration the health and safety regulations of the EU, which means that they may be dangerous for consumers. The revenue of state members may also be affected by forgery and piracy, which might have an impact on innovation and investment, impede economic growth and reduce the creation of wealth.3

To promote the fight against forgery and piracy on line, in 2016 Europol and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) united to create the International Property Crime Coordination Centre (IPC3), which operates within Europol.

To give an example of the social costs of crimes against intellectual property, falsification of clothes in the EU costs 43.3 billion Euros in losses to companies of the sector, which translates to losses of 8.1 billion in revenue for the states and 518,281 jobs.4

1 Europol (2017). EXPERTS GATHER TO COLLECTIVELY RESPOND TO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CRIME. [online] Available at: https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/experts-gather-to-collectively-respond-to-intellectual-property-crime [Accessed 20 Sep. 2017].

2 OECD/EUIPO (2016). Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Mapping the Economic Impact. [online] Paris: OECD Publishing, p.5. Available at: https://euipo.europa.eu/tunnel-web/secure/webdav/guest/document_library/observatory/documents/Mapping_the_ Economic_Impact_study/Mapping_the_Economic_Impact_en.pdf [Accessed 20 Sep. 2017].

3 Europol. (2017). Intellectual property crime. [online] Available at: https://www.europol.europa.eu/crime-areas-and-trends/crime-areas/intellectual-property-crime [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].

4 Europol. (2017). Intellectual property crime. [online] Available at: https://www.europol.europa.eu/crime-areas-and-trends/crime-areas/intellectual-property-crime [Accessed 6 Oct. 2017].

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Security meetings in France

Since 2013, the whole of France[1] has held security meetings which facilitate dialogue between citizens and services which provide security. The police, the “gendarmerie”, the fire service, the prefecture, civil protection and road safety services, and all actors who contribute to security present their professions, the materials they use, work techniques and the prerequisites of candidates to enter such professions.

These workshops mobilise almost 300,000 people and provide an excellent occasion for information exchanges and also for the general public to commit to its own security and that of its environment. It is an opportunity to better understand the mission of security services and to discover these professions. At the same time, it gives the general public the ability to more competently prevent everyday dangers (crime, traffic and domestic accidents, etc) as well as improve their reaction when exceptional situations have occurred.

This year, the general public will have attended a range of demonstrations and will have participated in some of them (exercises coordinated between different services, freeing of vehicles, life-saving activities…).

For instance, this year’s programme[2] in the municipality of Aube[3]has involved the participation of different actors like the departmental direction of public security, the Prefecture, the Gendarmerie, the Red Cross, the White Cross and the departmental association of Civil Defence among others to apply prevention to road safety among school children and the senior population, demonstrations of first aid and the presentation of materials and vehicles. Activities have taken place in a range of venues: schools, the public space, lecture rooms, the premises of the gendarmeries or the fire station.

Security workshops have become an interesting practice because they favour the creation of a “security community” where different actors interact and where knowledge and mutual collaboration are enhanced. The benefits of such good practices would appear to be undeniable.

Useful links:

https://www.interieur.gouv.fr/Actualites/L-actu-du-Ministere/Rencontres-de-la-securite-2017

http://aube.gouv.fr/Actualites/Rencontres-de-la-securite-2017#

[1] Metropolitan France and overseas territories.

[2] Consultable at http://aube.gouv.fr/content/download/14744/101259/file/Programme-Rencontres%20de%20la%20sécurité%20%202017.pdf

[3] Municipality situated in the north east of France, within the department of La Moselle and in the region of AlsaceChampagne-ArdenneLorraine.

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