The non-violent crime rate continues to fall in Switzerland

The data published by Switzerland’s Federal Institute of Statistics[1] confirm the trend over recent years. First, both strictly criminal offences and those that are against drug-trafficking–related legislation and those against immigration law continue to fall. Criminal offences have gone down more than the previous year (61% and in 2016 they had fallen by 4%), whereas violations of immigration law have decreased even more (9.1%, as opposed to drop of 1% in 2016). Crimes related to drug trafficking have fallen slightly more than last year (3.8% in 2017 as opposed to 3% last year).     In this context, it is important to stress that offences against personal integrity have not gone down in the same way, and have remained stable (there are 90 fewer cases, indiscernible in percentage terms[2]).  Significant decreases are seen with regard to crime against property, which amount to 67.5% of offences against the criminal code and fall by 6%. The decrease in burglaries is noteworthy and goes down by 12%. Crimes against human liberty see a fall of 9.1%, but are not so relevant in global terms.

Regarding detentions (“accused”, as they say), the overall number remains stable (0.1% less than the previous year) but an increase of 8.3% is detected in the detention of minors, although these refer to minor offences like theft, damage, brawls and insults. Those Swiss nationals detained for offences against the criminal code still do not account for half (47.85%). Most foreigners detained (59.31%) are habitual residents in the country, 8.6 asylum seekers and 32% are non-residents. The relatively high numbers of permanent foreign residents are manifest when the predominant nationalities involved are seen. The first four places are taken by Italians, Portuguese, Germans and French, which are nationalities that have a large number of habitual residents in the country. On the other hand, regarding offences against drug legislation, the Swiss are indeed the majority (55.75%) and concerning offences related to immigration laws, non-resident foreigners naturally account for the immense majority (80%).

The crime rate (criminal law) per thousand inhabitants is 52.1 (a drop of 6%) and the cantons with the highest rates are the more urban and populated areas: Basel city (113.5), Geneva (102.8) and Neuchatel (65.8). The ones with the lowest rates are very rural and less populated areas: Uri (22.7), Appenzell Innerrhoden (23) and Schwyz (26%).

[1] Vid.

[2] 24.632 this year per 24,722 last year.


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Notable drop in crime in Germany

Polizeiliche Kriminalstatistik 2017The German Bundeskriminalamt has just published the crime data corresponding to 2017. Despite all the forecasts predicting that the waves of refugees over recent years would cause a dangerous increase in crime, figures show a drop of 9.6% with reference to the previous year (5,761,984 incidents compared with 6,372,526 the previous year).

Important drops can be seen in practically all criminal categories, with the exception of economic crime (28%, but in overall figures, 74,070), firearm-related crime (trafficking) and against public health (drugs), pornography and very slightly in crimes involving fraud (20.6% of which are committed via Internet), computer crime (especially among nationals) or against the authority of the State (especially among foreigners).

Crimes against property (theft, robbery without violence, burglaries of homes and businesses) continue to constitute an important fraction of the crime committed (36.3%) and just over two million offences were recorded (2,092,994), a figure that suggests a reduction of 11.8% in reference to the previous year. Decreases are manifested in all criminal categories (the23% drop in burglaries is noteworthy), both when the authors of such crimes are nationals or foreigners.

An important number of crimes continue to take place in the street, 20.9% of the total.

Crimes against immigration law saw a drop of 63.1% (going down from 487,711 to 179,848), which shows that the rhetoric announcing an overwhelming effect due to the arrival of refugees was a mistaken forecast.

Violent crime saw a more moderate decrease, 2.4% in total, especially due to the fall in theft with violence (9.7%). Homicide, on the other hand, only fell by 1.6%.

Crimes against public health (drugs) saw an increase of 9.2%, amounting to 330,580 cases. Most are related to the trafficking of cannabis and marihuana (204,904), amphetamines and by-products (47,662) and, in third place, of cocaine and crack (19,644). The following factors are stressed as being among the causes for such an increase:

  • The increase in police pressure
  • The increase in the availability of such drugs
  • Sales via Internet
  • The recent incorporation of customs officers in the fight against drug trafficking

Finally, it must be stressed that the crime rate per thousand inhabitants is 68.82(the previous year, 77.54) and that the percentage of foreigners arrested is down from 40.4% the previous year to 34.8%.


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How does police presence and action affect the French public’s perception of security?

A study carried out based on crime interviews Cadre de vie et sécurité, 2008-2017[1] has allowed for the assessment of police presence and action by over 160,000 interviewees over the age of 14, resident in France.

In general terms, the French population views police presence and action positively: 47% of those interviewed think that the police presence in their neighbourhood or municipality is sufficient and 48%, that police action against crime is effective enough. These perceptions continue to be very stable with the passing of time and improve as of 2015, possibly due to a better and more visible police presence, reinforced after the terrorist attacks. Despite this, 19% of these individuals considered the police presence to be insufficient and 27%, inexistent. With regard to socially disadvantaged areas, the percentage of those who consider police action not to be effective enough rises to 44%.

Apart from global percentages, aspects like the individual characteristics of the person interviewed and the place of residence have an impact on the assessment of the presence and effectiveness of police action.

Individual characteristics

In general, men and more elderly people view police presence and effectiveness positively.

  • 49% of the men interviewed think that police presence in the local environment is sufficient compared to 45% of women. 49% of men also consider police action effective, compared to 46% of women.
  • 52% of people over 66 believe that the police presence in their neighbourhood is sufficient and 50% believe that police action is effective enough.

Features of the place of residence

In general, the perception of the effectiveness of police action in the fight against crime is very positive in rural areas, but it gets worse in urban conurbations with over 100,000 inhabitants and in the metropolitan area of Paris. As shown in the graphic below.

Assessment of police action in the fight against crime in accordance with the territory


Source: Interviews CVS (2008-2017): INSEE-ONDRP-SSMSI; data treatment: ONDRP. The people interviewed are over 14 and live in France.

Although a casual connection has not been successfully established, there seems to be a link between the presence and effectiveness of police action in the municipality and the population. Inversely, the individuals who feel most insecure also tend to be more critical when assessing police practices.

Further information:

[1] The Cadre de vie et sécurité survey was conducted by Ministerial Statistics Service and Internal Security (SSMSI) from 2015, and the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) and the National Crime and Penal Response Observatory (ONDRP) from 2007.


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United Kingdom will give the police force more powers to address terrorism

In 2017, Great Britain suffered three terrorist attacks. In March, in London, there was the incident at Westminster Bridge and the Parliament; in June, the incidents at London Bridge and Borough Market, and in May, in Manchester, and the attack at the end of the concert given by the American singer Ariana Grande. These terrorist attacks caused the deaths of 35 people.

Obviously, these continued incidents have led to a debate in British society about the radicalisation process and measures to detect it. In this debate, the British government wants to change legislative framework in order to give greater powers to the intelligence services (MI5) and to the police in order to prevent further acts of terrorism.

MI5 informs that there are over 23,000 cases to monitor, but that only 3,000 are investigated. Furthermore, according to British government data, the terrorist threat has increased since 2011, when the anti-terrorism strategy was published.

The new government proposal, according to most of the British press, gives power to MI5 to be able to work and coordinate police work and the rest of the services involved, both locally and nationally. The objective is to be able to place those suspected of being radicalised under surveillance.

There is a wish to extend prison terms, as the British government had already announced, and intense monitoring is proposed even when the person has completed his/her sentence. There is also a call for teachers, doctors and other community leaders to inform of anyone they suspect of being radicalised.

The objective, according to the Home Secretary, is to leave no space for terrorism, impeding recruitment to keep families and the community safe.


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Firearms and traffic accidents, the main causes of police deaths in the USA

Between 2010 and 2016, over 1,000 police officers died in the USA on duty or because of being police officers. The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Found has carried out, with financial support from the Department of Justice, the study Making It Safer: A Study of Law Enforcement Fatalities Between 2010-2016, of 1,016 police deaths in these circumstances, with the aim of offering security advice in order to prevent and avoid such fatal outcomes.

The study analyses these cases and offers advice to act safely or take protective measures from different perspectives:

  • The main noteworthy causes of the death of an agent involve firearms and traffic accidents.
  • The type of service that led to the death (responding to a request, ex-officio action, patrolling tasks), in a training context or even in off duty contexts.
  • If the officers affected were taking some nature of security measure, especially if they were wearing a bullet-proof vest in the case of firearm deaths or a knife attack, or if they were wearing a seat belt in the case of a traffic accident.

Deaths due to firearms during this period amounted to 376. The last year, 2016, was the second worst, with 66 officers killed, just under the 73 killed in 2011; moreover, it means an increase of 53% compared with the previous year, 2015, when there were 43. Investigators associate part of this increase with the higher number of ambushes of police officers, in some cases they were even off duty.

A good proportion of officer deaths are related to vehicles and traffic: 247 deaths because of car accidents and 45 because of motorcycle accidents. Investigators propose that all officers wear a seat belt, because in 2016 52% of the officers who died in traffic accidents were not wearing a seat belt.

Finally, the report analyses 550 cases of officers who died because of a firearm fired by a police officer, in this case over a much greater period (cases date back to 1856). The following are particularly noteworthy:

  • 139 are accidents involving officers shooting themselves (without any intention of committing suicide);
  • 105 were officers mistakenly identified as criminals by other police officers;
  • 46 officers died during training exercises.
  • 14 were cases of cross fire.

The same organisation drew up the previous report Deadly Calls and Fatal Encounters. Analysis of U.S. law enforcement line of duty deaths when officers responded to dispatched calls for service and conducted enforcment (2010-2014)


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France tries to improve public safety with a new model: “la Police de sécurité du quotidien (PSQ)”

la Police de sécurité du quotidien (PSQ)The sense of insecurity is increasing among the French population: 66% of French citizens say that they feel insecure and 62% that the level of security is a key criterion when choosing a place to live.[1] To address this situation, the French Minister of the Interior, Gérard Collomb, presented a new model of public security police force on 8 February 2018, in this case primarily focusing on about sixty sensitive neighbourhoods. The launching of this new model is part of a framework involving reforms, which will also affect the judiciary, with a legal project that will review the penal procedure in the spring of 2018.

The new police model is underpinned by five pillars and involves the implementation of 55 interventions. We are going to stress some:

  • Pillar 1: A police force and a gendarmerie with new ambitions
  • 10,000 new police units between 2018 and 2022.
  • The suspension of some police tasks like static surveillance, the externalisation of tasks to the private sector and the substitution of police officers with administrative staff for certain support functions.
  • Pillar 2: A respected police force and a gendarmerie
  • Improving protection for police officers with more effective sanctions in the case of crimes against authority.
  • The coming into force of new measures of anonymization.
  • Introduction of measures to prevent police suicides: reinforcement of psychological support and more training to administer crisis and stressful situations more effectively.
  • A budget improvement with a triennial 2018-2020 plan of 900 million euros.
  • Reforming the police-training model, which reinforces the initial training models and harmonises training at different hierarchical levels in reference to both the national police force and the gendarmerie.
  • Police 3: A custom-made police force and gendarmerie
  • Reinforcement of policing in 60 sensitive neighbourhoods in several phases until 2020, which will involve an increase of 1,300 officers.
  • Introduction of strategies to combat local crime.
  • Making closer contact with the population with the development of 250 proximity units by 2019.
  • Improving attention to victims (adapting opening hours to the needs of the population, better training and adapting the premises used for this purpose).
  • Pillar 4: A connected police force and gendarmerie
  • Provision of 110,000 touch panels by 2020 and 800 new officers to fight against cyber threats.
  • Increase of 10,000 body-worn cameras for police uniforms by 2019.

The launching of a digital police group: a citizens’ information centre

  • In four languages and available 24 hours a day seven days a week.
  • The opening of a new platform to focus on sexual and sexist crime.
  • Pillar 5: A police force and a gendarmerie that cooperate with each other
  • Professional improvement of municipal policing and private security officers.
  • Better cooperation with mayors, especially those that administer neighbourhoods where the new public security model is being implemented.
  • Assessment of the new model of public security paying attention to the range of actors: prefects, universities and researchers, councillors, unions, police forces, entrepreneurs and the public in general.

For further information, the following links can be consulted:

[1] Data provided by the Institute of Independent Studies Odoxa.


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Who has to pay for police services at football matches?

Mossos d'Esquadra - FutbolThe cost of police services involving major sports events ¾especially football matches¾ has been a source of controversy for some time. Police services have to provide a large number of officers, which may condition their staffing resources, and consequently the service they offer. In 1989, after the Hillsborough disaster, in the United Kingdom, where over 90 people died due to, along with other factors, a lack of police resources, the country’s police organisation demanded resources to address the security needs of professional football matches. The 1996 police law established English clubs’ obligation to pay a rate for police services.

The amount of the rate has been a permanent source of controversy. Last November, London’s Metropolitan Police published the annual cost of Police expenses related to security at football matches, over 12 million pounds, denouncing the fact that the city’s clubs only contributed a small amount.

In Catalonia, four years ago, a rate was approved for the Generalitat Police force− Mossos d’Esquadra, although this exclusively applied to high-risk matches.

These amounts tend to lead to a response involving legal challenges in courtrooms.[1] In Germany, in the middle of February 2018, the higher court of the City State of de Bremen maintained the rate established by the government for high-risk matches. Specifically, the rate for the match between Werder Bremen and HSV Hamburg in August 2015 was discussed. The land’s Police force used 969 officers in order to guarantee the security of both clubs’ supporters. The upper court argued that the police forces of the länder are obliged to maintain the security of their respective territories, also at football matches and other types of events involving large concentrations of people. In order to be able to address this obligation, the corresponding rates to finance such services must be established so that the necessary resources are provided. Authorities can decide whether there are people who are particularly responsible for risks generated by their activities when, furthermore, these generate significant economic revenue, as in the case of football clubs, and consider that the rate is proportional as it is calculated in accordance with the number of police officers on duty.

[1] In Catalonia, FC Barcelona has legally challenged the application procedure applied for such a rate.


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England and Wales lose over 22,000 police officers in only eight years

Police in Glasgow
According to several items of news published in the English media,[1] the number of police officers in England and Wales has fallen by 1,213 in the last six months and in September 2017 the figure was 16% below the maximum in 2009, according to official data. The reason for this situation is believed to be the police wage freeze, apart from the growing participation of the private sector in the field of security.

The latest statistical data of the Home Office of September 2017 place the number of officers of the 43 police forces in England and Wales at 121,929, from 123,142 on 31st March of the same year and from 144,353 in 2009, meaning, 22,424 fewer officers in eight years.

Of the 43 police forces, the Metropolitan Police of London, the most important in England and Wales, represented over half of the drop in the number of officers, with 646 fewer in only six months.

Although crime figures from the Home Office itself stress a significant increase in recorded crime –the highest increase in the last ten years–, police numbers continue to fall partly because the police pay freeze continues. At present, according to the Home Office, there are additional funds to improve pay conditions for police forces.

In percentage terms, the biggest reduction in staff was experienced in North Yorkshire, at 4.2%, a loss of 58 officers until September 2017. In second place, there is West Midlands, which lost 221 police officers, 3.3% of all its officers.

To address this scenario, senior police officers have warned that the lack of financial investment in security is causing difficulties for the police force, and more so given the rise in crime being reported and the continual terrorist threat.

This situation has now moved onto the political stage and police chiefs have also intervened. While the labour party feels that the security budget during the 2018-2019 period means a reduction of 119 million pounds compared with the previous year, the Home Office believes that the sector’s budget will increase by about 450 million pounds and stress that, since 2010, the reduction in “traditional” crimes has been 40%.

The National Police Chiefs Council recognises certain progress in the will to increase security resources, although there are important differences in the composition of the finance, a fact that reverses the situation as the increase in the budgets may range from 1.6% to 3.6%.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, meanwhile, has announced the desire to reduce the impact of police cutbacks, investing 60 million pounds annually to pay for 1,000 additional police officers. However, he recognises that this investment will not reverse recent crime-related figures. He has also stressed a wish to address the increase in youth crime in London, with an injection of 15 million pounds annually.

[1] The news appeared in several publications and related news items have been published. We highlight one in newspaper TheGuardian on 13 February 2018.


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The Community of Valencia makes advances in the construction of a police system


The publication in February of the Valencia security agency law and the response to emergencies already indicated a bid to construct an integrated security system to improve on self-contained traditional frameworks (police, fire-fighters, civil protection..)[1]. Recently the Generalitat of Valencia has taken a step further towards this systematic construction in the field of policing with the passing of Law 17/2017, on 13 December, to coordinate local police forces within the community of Valencia[2]. This text introduces a range of mechanisms that try to construct a system based on existing local police forces (and in some cases includes other police forces operating in their territory).

Therefore, for example, a network of transmissions is included among the functions that integrate the competence of coordination of local police forces to connect the different local police forces and also provide access to databases concerning security developed by the Ministry of the Interior; the establishment of a mutual information system for the different local police forces; the impetus provided by such coordination and cooperation between administrations to enhance the provision of police security services in supramunicipal contexts or regarding services for municipal associations, and also the design of a local territorial security plan, are all functions intended to facilitate a systematic and coherent intervention by police forces.

Furthermore, a range of organs are foreseen in order to contribute to homogeneity and coordination, among which are the following:

a) The Valencia Institute of Security and Emergencies, which, for example, will annually organise physical and psycho technical entrance tests for local police officers, which will have a two-year validity. Those who wish to apply for vacancies for local police officers will therefore have to pass this “initial phase” which will guarantee that all candidates satisfy the same prerequisites.

b) The Security Observatory of the Community of Valencia, as a forum for debate, dissemination and study of security problems and includes not only local police officers but also the relevant unit, the National Police, the Guardia Civil and the association of criminologists.

c) The Internal Affairs Committee, the functions of which include collaborating with local police officers to monitor the legality of its agents.

d) Supramunicipal councils to coordinate local police officers.

e) Promotion of members of local police forces within other community forces which are different to theirs, in order to provide mobility by reserving vacancies.

f) An obligation for local police forces to have enough material and human resources to be authorised and made active.

g) Intermunicipal agreements to reinforce police forces that, temporarily, need it.

Finally, as noteworthy new additions, the law opts for a more even organisational structure of police forces (between 6 and 2 categories in accordance with the number of inhabitants of a municipality), enabling members of other police forces to process files (in the case of serious or very serious offences), providing a detailed regulation of a second activity and actively promoting gender equality at all levels, obliging police forces with fewer than 40% of women officers to reserve 30% of vacancies for women in future recruitment campaigns.

[1] Vid.

[2] Vid.


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Europol holds an international conference of experts in the field of burglaries

A local and regional focus is not enough to dismantle mobile organised crime groups (MOCG- Mobile Organized Crime Group) if Europe is to be a safer place. Aware of this, Europol, which works with the Police of Munich, BKA Germany, Eurojust and the Spanish National Police, gathered together over 300 top level experts from police services and the judiciary, as well as some investigators, from 38 countries, at the end of November 2017, to discuss the typology of crime against property, organised in Europol’s The Hague headquarters.

ThiefOrganised crime against real estate, especially inside the property, is a crime that all security organisms of the European Union combat firmly with numerous actions as they have a profound effect on the victims and provoke a strong feeling of insecurity in the general public. A large number of these crimes are committed by mobile organised crime groups (MOCG), characterised by a high rate of flexibility and mobility.

The objective of these conferences was to study how to effectively combat criminal groups in the field of theft by improving cross border structures. The intensive, transnational and interdisciplinary work of the conference participants sought to identify similarities and problematic areas in the fight against crime, thereby developing specific solutions. Only close national and international cooperation allows for the identification of crimes and active cross border offenders. There is also an attempt to establish a common understanding with investigations, which should not only be centred on active criminals in situ, as, indeed, it should also include intellectuals and facilitators, including investigations into finance and the recovery of assets.

Europol plays a key role in the fight against criminal activity involving organised crime against property. To help members in a more efficient way and continue with a multi-disciplinary and horizontal focus, the Crimes against Property Unit focuses on mobile organised crime groups (MOCG). One of the main objectives is to increase awareness in the member states affected. There is a lot of information available at an investigative level in the member states but it is not shared. The objective must be that this crucial knowledge be made available by organisms applying the law in other countries affected.

The project basically focuses on:

The introduction of a new support team with four secondary national experts (since 2016) with the task of linking up with investigators and prosecutors of the member states.

Identify the structures and the members of the gangs of criminals involved.

Organisation of operational meetings.

Provide operational analysis support during ongoing operations.

Identify and detect new trends via strategic analysis.

Organise conferences of experts and training courses all over Europe.

Improve the web-oriented focus.

Support and improvement of the Europol platform for experts in domestic theft.


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