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The State of Europe
A digest of European police systems,
prison conditions, private security,
human rights and civil liberties and the
internal security situation in the 1990s
The Domestic Security Research Foundation
(Stichting voor Onderzoek naar Binnenlandse Veiligheid)
was established as a registered charity in 1990 to stimulate public
interest in intelligence studies and matters of domestic security.
The Foundation is privately-sponsored. It brings out reports and
contributes to publications, seminars and public debates.
The foundation can be contacted at:
Domestic Security Research Foundation
Peter Klerks, chair
P.O. Box 11178
1001 GD Amsterdam
Copyrightž Peter Klerks 1993
About the author:
Peter Klerks (1958) holds an M.A. in political science and a B.A. in
sociology from the University of Amsterdam. He has published a book on
antiterrorist policies in Holland and several articles and chapters on
intelligence, policing, international police cooperation, political violence
and human rights. He currently works as a researcher at Erasmus
University Rotterdam on organized crime.
The State of Europe
The Netherlands 76
United Kingdom 102
San Marino 129
Vatican City 146
Motivation for this report
Although in many western countries something like an academic discipline of police studies has
developed over the last two decades, it remains difficult to locate enough statistical and descriptive
material for a researcher to allow any transnational comparative analysis. In the research that has
been done the focus has often been on formal aspects of organization, on community policing and
so on. Landmark studies such as Bayley (1985) are still scarce, and often rely on grossly outdated
statistics. Practitioners don't seem to do much better: although some knowledgeable people have
hinted at the existence of a mysterious comprehensive guide on all police and intelligence
organizations (confidential, of course), all this researcher has seen so far were incomplete and
unimpressive Trevi country reports dating from the late 1980s.
Research for this report was to a large extent limited to studying secondary sources. Most of the
material dates from around 1991. Eastern European countries have been left out because the
rapidly changing situation makes most of the secondary sources outdated, and gathering reliable
current information is still very difficult. The intention is to lay the groundwork for a bi-annually
updated dynamic document containing the elementary information on policing in all the European
countries. Naturally, a tentative first effort such as this can never claim to present a
comprehensive, up-to-date and totally accurate picture, especially since many European police
forces are currently going through sometimes drastic processes of reorganization. Supplementary
information and corrections will be necessary, and much more data can be gathered in the various
countries themselves by native researchers. Thus it is no coincidence that the countries furthest
away from the author's place of residence (Amsterdam) receive only scant attention. Since this
report had to be made on short notice working from already available material against a six-week
deadline, some gaps could not be avoided. That it was still possible to include a reasonable
amount of exemplary information on political violence, human rights violations and policing issues
is mainly because the author could profit from access to the extensive databases and
documentation collection maintained by Drs. Berto Jongman at PIOOM, Leiden University.
Considerations on drafting the report
In order to say something of the "quality" of a country's police force, its performance should be
measured, i.e. its effectiveness in controlling crime, its keeping to standards of legality and civil
liberties and, foremost, its relationship with the community it serves. All of these factors are hard
to measure without doing extensive research and without a thorough knowledge of the social and
political culture of any given country. Such research hasn't been done (thoroughly) in most
countries, and this author is also not familiar with the peculiarities of many of the societies
discussed here. Also, within any one country there can be widely diverging experiences with the
quality of the police, for instance between rural areas and densely populated cities.
In order to give at least some background to interpret the "sterile" information on police structures
and statistics, some crime statistics as well as the results of victim surveys on contentment with
police performance will be presented. admittedly such stats still mean little in assessing police
performance and community relationships. As far as was possible with the limited resources
available, additional impressions are provided on some of the police forces this author is
somewhat familiar with, notably the Dutch, Belgian, German, and French forces. In some of the
other countries contact persons were able to give their impressions, but obviously these are by
nature coloured by the observer's own views.
Of course clear-up rates and effectiveness in preventing or solving crime is only one element of
"quality" in policing. Other criteria are indispensable for judging police performance, considering
after all that "common" crime is seldom a problem under an effective totalitarian regime.
Adherence to the law, absence of immoral behaviour, generation of public trust, display of
sympathy and concern, openness to informed scrutiny, capacity for generalized problem-solving,
protection of the integrity of political processes, and equitable treatment of persons are all
elements on which a police can and should be judged. To address at least some of these "soft"
parameters, data gathered by human rights organizations and the U.S. Department of State's
human rights bureau provide additional information on policing behaviour, especially in respect to
racism and abuse of force. The fact that hardly any "academic" observer has made even the
slightest effort to include data on violations of human rights and civil liberties in his or her work
is surprising (one of the notable exceptions being Busch et al. 1985). Bearing in mind Bayley's
suggestion that a country's willingness to allow access to police records, personnel, and operations
is an excellent indicator of the openness of political life and the character of regimes, one is
tempted to assume that researchers are afraid to jeopardize their reputation by mingling with
human rights activists.
The question remains whether the "character" or overall performance of a police force can be
judged from tallying incidents, unless the patterned and persistent character of human rights
abuses is evident to any observer, which in some European countries does seem to be the case.
In this report there is almost no mentioning of the activities of what has been dubbed the
European Securocrats. Information on Trevi, Schengen and the other transnational cooperation
structures can be found elsewhere. Covering everything here would have inflated this already
voluminous report even more. All EC countries participate in Trevi, and only Denmark, the U.K.
and Ireland have not joined in the Schengen Agreement.
Information intentionally left out
Initially efforts have been made to follow the good advice of David Bayley, but his elaborate
schemes proved impossible to follow when attempting an overview of more than fifty police
forces in two dozen nations. The specific position of the police forces in each nation's domestic
political scheme could not be established for simple lack of detailed knowledge and sufficient
The document contains almost no information on political policing and security intelligence. The
author is currently preparing a concise report on the security services of European countries which
is due to be published in April 1993. There is also little specific information on covert policing.
Details on this are hard to obtain for obvious reasons, but a comparative study on covert policing
in about a dozen countries worldwide will be published soon.
For a more complete portrayal of a country's law enforcement apparatus, data on the functioning
of the Public Prosecutions Department should also be provided. Not only is this the place where
much of the policy-making is done and priorities in policing are often set, but poor management
or lack of resources in this second stage of the judicial route is often responsible for frustrations
both in the police and the general public. In Holland for example, 1097 persons designated for
preliminary detention had to be released for lack of cell capacity during the last three months of
1992, which appears to be an important factor in explaining the general discontent over crime and
crime fighting. Unfortunately, collecting such information for every country simply proved too
difficult and time-consuming.
For the same reasons there is little information on police doctrines in this report. This after all is a
most diffuse and slippery area which is also highly politicised.
The main reason for the lack of details on structures of oversight and accountability mechanisms is
that the appropriate information was in many cases not available in an accessible form or the
structures were very complex.
Apart from a brief section on the French drugs policy, there is also no information in the country
sheets on the policy towards illegal drugs. Although the contents of the Schengen Agreement and
various other international conferences would suggest otherwise, an increasing number of
politicians, law enforcement officials and local administrators begin to question the over-reliance
on repression in containing the negative aspects of illegal drug consumption. In Holland the
tolerant policy towards soft drugs is presently under increasing tension due to international
pressure, but other European countries seem increasingly prepared to implement a more lenient
approach. A recent article by IPS journalist Judith Harris illustrates this trend. She describes
how with his call in November 1992 for an end to criminalisation of drug users, Italian Socialist
Premier Giuliano Amato took a step towards recognising that drug abuse is more of a social than a
police problem. Under Italian law, anyone caught with more than a minimal "personal use" dose
goes to jail. Some 1,000 Italians, most young and many female, are in prison, and thousands
more await trial. According to Mrs. Harris, Mr. Amato's call for a new approach shows that
Europeans are beginning to demand more successful policies. The present European policies
amount to a war on drugs, resting on an unquestioned acceptance of the United States' prohibition
mentality. This approach proved disastrous in the alcohol prohibition of the 1920s, when whisky
consumption and organized crime flourished under fierce repression.
When the Dutch initiated a new approach in 1975, they singled out three objectives: to reduce the
damage to addicts, discourage drug use and reduce crime. The Dutch government decided to
separate the drug market into two, hard drugs and soft drugs, or drugs such as heroin as opposed
to those such as cannabis. The goal was to prevent young people who dabbled in soft drugs being
swept into the world of hard drugs. The sale of cannabis and its derivatives was tolerated, so pot
could be smoked in "coffee shops". No one under 16 is allowed entry and no advertising of drugs
is permitted. The government has the right to inspect and close coffee shops which breach these
regulations or become disorderly or sell hard drugs. To try to halt the spread of AIDS and
hepatitis through shared syringes, vending machines have been set up where hard drug users can
buy needles or swap new one for old. This is now done at the rate of 6,000 a month. Holland
has a policy of fighting imports and exports of hard drugs such as heroin, cocaine and LSD,
which is as fierce as that in most other European countries. Although it has not succeeded in
preventing that most hard drugs today are still available, the overall drug policy has lead to drug
use among under 21s falling from 16 percent to less than 2 percent in the last decade, although
recently the number of young addicts on hard drugs has increased, apparently because unemployed
migrant youths resort to heroin. In Holland 56 people died from drug overdoses in 1990,
compared with 1,300 in Italy and 2,000 in Germany. Journalist Judith Harris quotes senior Dutch
anti-narcotics official Mr. J. Saris, who claims that we have stopped the drug epidemic in the
Netherlands." He described how
fifteen years ago we asked everyone for help, and no one did. We went ahead alone and
most of the time we fell flat on our faces. But now we can show Europe there is another
way besides the prohibitionist policies that have failed.
In spite of the official national doctrine which totally rejects leniency towards drugs, a number of
European cities have already tried other approaches. Examples are Bologna, Zrich, Luzern and
Hamburg. Their goal is to improve daily life for all citizens, users and non-users, and in their
view even the most derelict and degraded addict is a citizen who has the right to survival and
help. Controlled manufacture and distribution of drugs are allowed to free the addict from
resorting to crime and prostitution, while protecting him or her from deadly overdoses, and to
reduce street crime. While these local authorities still see abstention as desirable, they consider
freedom of choice to be a right, and point to the vast majority of drug users, who, these
administrators say, lead peaceable workaday lives.
The parts of Europe that have tried a different approach have had their share of failure. In Zrich
a park turned into such a drugs haven that it had to be shut down. But other parts of Europe have
also learned that a friendly approach can be much more effective than confrontation. In Bologna
400 addicts regularly receive methadone from three city health care centres. Taken in syrup form,
it eliminates syringes and the risk of contracting HIV from shared needles. Luzern on the other
hand opened drug shelters to take drug users off the streets. Bring your own is the rule, and no
alcohol is allowed. Ignoring national policy, some German cities and states have experimental
programmes. Hessen favours total liberation without the involvement of health services, while
Hamburg, Bremen and Frankfurt prefer a more gradual approach and make methadone and some
other drugs available on prescription, allowing doctors to control dosage.
Explanation of statistics and data sources
The risks of using and especially comparing statistics are well-known, and this is especially true
for crime figures. Some remarks need to be made on the specific statistics presented in this report.
Statistics on the police and domestic security cannot be obtained from the regular reports produced
by the various national statistical bureaus, the EC or the United Nations. The United Nations-
affiliated Heuni Institute in Helsinki has produced some reports on criminal justice systems in
Europe, but for our purpose these were of limited value. For this report, two studies in
particular where particularly useful. One is a 1989 world-wide overview of police forces and
penal systems by George T. Kurian, the other a report on two dozen European police forces put
together also in 1989 by the German police official Arved F. Semerak in collaboration with the
International Police Association. An older world-wide study by John Andrade (1985) is based on
data gathered in the early 1980s and was used for comparisons. Kurian appears to have taken
some of its material from this source. More recent information was collected from a range of
other sources such as national police magazines, scholarly studies, and direct information obtained
from national Ministries of Justice or the Interior.
The reader is alerted to the fact that while most of the country reports in the various sources were
drawn up by police functionaries or other government officials, some are written by system critics
or individuals operating from a different perspective. Another factor which complicates any direct
comparisons is that the reference dates may vary from 1986 to 1993, which could make for
Even in a country such as Holland, with its rich documentation sources and high-quality
administration, vital data such as the number of people shot by the police over a certain period
cannot be obtained. Such data cwould be revealing when comparing police performance in keeping
to standards of prudence and proportionality. The same goes for the number of "accidental" deaths
in police cells, the rate (or absence) of physical maltreatment by the police, the amount of force
used to control and riots, the number of incidents in which shots are fired, etcetera. Serious
incidents of violence or discrimination by the police are seldom registered. One has to rely mainly
on newspaper clippings and sometimes on reports by anti-discrimination bureaus etc.
Using crime statistics is a tricky business, looked at with great mistrust especially by progressive
criminologists. While this author largely agrees with such views, in a presentation of some two
dozen police forces in relation to their societal backgrounds, using some statistical material is
unavoidable and even desirable. To put the stats in perspective, a number of reservations have to
be made explicit here.
First of all, crime stats, especially the "official" ones, should not be considered reliable reflections
of a country's crime level or the seriousness of the reported crime. Holland for example has a
relatively high number of burglaries and a staggering amount of bicycle thefts. Yet the actual
damage to society as a whole, especially when seen on a continental or global scale, pales in
comparison with the damage done by some financial manipulations. These "business affairs" in
their turn can be quite legitimate in countries such as Luxembourg, Liechtenstein or Switzerland
but would be considered manifestations of disruptive organized crime in some neighboring states.
Without going into any details here, it should be emphasized that clear-up rates especially are
often the result of unreliable, uncomparable and doubtful methodologies. Some have even
questioned whether they should be used at all. A Dutch police officer who returned from
Turkey with an Amnesty International delegation recently commented that unrealistically high
clear-up rates always indicate that something is very wrong.
Victim surveys also suffer from an important blind spot. When certain groups in the population,
such as ethnic minorities, Roma and Sinti or activists have serious complaints about their
treatment by the police, this probably won't show up in statistics based on such surveys. The
general public could perhaps be quite satisfied over a discriminating, selective and violent-prone
Information on layout
Efforts have been made to present the data in a standard format, but reality and the availability of
information does not always allow a rigid use of such schemes. Some basic information and
demography and government structures are given, and the socio-political situation in the respective
societies in which the police have to operate is summarily sketched. Extensive footnotes and
references have been avoided, but where necessary, sources of data are indicated.
The statistics and basic data on country size (1 mileż = 2.589kmż, 1kmż = 0.386mileż), # of
inhabitants, Gross Domestic Product and government system are derived from the 1992 edition of
the CIA World Fact Book. Urbanization figures are from the U.N. Statistical Yearbook 1992.
The International Criminal Police Organization, better known as Interpol, has been active since
the early 1950s in collecting international crime statistics in a standardised way. With the
precautions on the use of statistics for international comparisons in mind, it still seemed useful to
include some figures on national crime rates. In spite of their questionable reliability, these figures
could give some indication of the pressures and the climate in which a police force has to
function. The Interpol statistics over 1984 are taken from Kurian (1989) and those over 1989 from
Redaktion die Polizei (1992). In some cases additional information on crime figures from other
sources is included.
The victim surveys information is taken from the International Crime Survey 1989 and 1992.
The results of especially the first of these surveys and their use in the political debate on crime
and insecurity have been received with much criticism especially by Dutch criminologists, with an
emphasis on the presumed poor methodology and the fallacy of "comparing the incompatible".
The argument that Holland scored high on a thefts victimization scale because of the large number
of bicycle thefts gained some notoriety in the Dutch press. Still, as victim studies do offer an
alternative to traditional police statistics, it seemed useful to present some of the results of the
surveys in this report, especially since respondents were also queried on their opinion regarding
police performance in controlling crime. Unfortunately, the categories used in the victim surveys
are not fully compatible with those from the police statistics. In the case of murder, this is
understandable. There are other interfering factors, such as the fact that children were not
interviewed, and that certain crimes would affect more than one, possibly even a rather large
number of people (cf. "household crimes" such as burglary). These and other considerations make
it difficult to directly correlate victim survey results to regular police statistics.
Racism and right-wing extremism
It is always risky for an outsider to write about a country's radical political movements and to
label some of them as extremist or fascist. Domestic observers are likely to point to errors of
judgment, claiming that a specific conservative orientation forms an established part of a country's
political culture and poses no threat at all to the system. Or perhaps quite the contrary, that an
outsider fails to recognise the essential racist and dangerous elements in a groups' ideology or
obscure utterings. Scholars with a more thorough background in these matters have therefore
hesitated to discuss right-wing extremism on a transnational scale, and intensive debates can be
found in the political science literature on which criteria would be appropriate to distinguish "true"
right-wing extremist groups.
Still, some information on the extreme right situation is included in this report because there seem
to be some critical changes going on in some of the EC countries which we can't afford to ignore.
Compiling the paragraphs on right-wing extremism was a distressing and appalling job. Apart
from the institutional racism, the drastic measures taken against immigration and the presence of
racist and radical right-wing parties in most of the parliaments, there is a new and existential fear
rising in the streets of e.g. Germany and Belgium. People of non-European origin especially, but
also punks, leftists and "intellectual-looking" people in the larger cities nowadays run a serious
risk of being beaten up by some neo-Nazi street thugs. Knives and baseball bats have become all
but normal gear in the right-extremist subculture. In Belgium, incidents of people getting seriously
molested occur several times a week on the time of writing. In Freiburg in January 1993, a young
woman who worked in an anti-racist group received a parcel in the mail which blew up in her
face, killing her instantaneously. Police and journalists in Berlin report heavily armed skinheads
who obtained their guns from soldiers in the former GDR Russian armies. Their disastrous attacks
on refugee centres and other objects are professionally coordinated by "commanding officers"
using two-way radio sets and cellular telephones. Holocaust memorial sites and Jewish cemeteries
are frequent targets of neo-nazi attacks. A frightening escalation and a veritable arms race is now
building up in a way that resembles what researchers have described as the mechanism leading to
the Italian decade of terror in the 1970s.
Other political violence
Information on left-wing or regionalist terrorism is hardly relevant any more in most countries,
but some background is given when available.
The information in this paragraph is self-explanatory. Inclusion of data on asylum seekers seemed
useful since several governments have claimed that many of the problems their police forces have
to deal with are somehow related to the influx of asylum seekers. Information collected by human
rights organizations indicates that ill-treatment by the police most frequently occurs in dealing with
asylum seekers and migrants.
For some countries it seems almost useless to present nation-related data, such as for the FRG.
The police in the different lands of the federal republic are so diverging they would almost be
better off when considered as separate countries. Thus the differences between two Lnder in the
FRG can exceed those between e.g. Portugal and Spain or Holland and Denmark.
One could ask which categories of functionaries should be included under "police strength": all
functionaries with investigative powers and prerogatives or only "real" police? In this report, only
"real" police officers were counted unless otherwise indicated. Pseudo police such as City
Watches, Police Assistants, Summer Reserves etc. were also excluded. Apart from that, one
should bear in mind that "police strength" as such is a problematic concept because of the widely
diverging tasks and objectives the different forces are expected to accomplish.
Planned (authorized) strength is in most countries larger than the actual strength, with in some
countries a difference from 15-20 percent. Calculations are normally made on the actual number.
The number of extra "civilian" and strictly administrative personnel is normally excluded and in
some cases separately indicated.
Most statistics on police strength give the number of inhabitants per 1 police officer. This deviates
from the normal custom among statisticians of presenting such data per 1,000 or per 100,000
inhabitants. The latter seems more natural: higher numbers mean you have more police officers.
This therefore is the way in which the police strength ratio is presented in this report.
A country's total budget spent on policing may be hard to establish, especially where local and
regional or federal state governments bear a considerable part of the costs. When a reliable
estimate could not be made, no figure is given.
One of the most determining features of a nation's policing system seems to be the degree of
centralization. Bayley suggests that a de jure test (A country can be said to have a centralized
police structure when operational direction can be given routinely to subunits from a single center
of control) is unsuited here, for what should be established is not what can be done, but was is
done. He therefore concludes that a country such as Norway, while being formally centralized,
in fact has a decentralized system of policing. Unfortunately the material presented in this report
is in most cases insufficiently detailed to allow such conclusions to be drawn.
Many European countries such as France and Germany maintain permanent dedicated reserves
("third forces") for riot control and similar events to an extent that would seem excessive to a
Dutch or Scandinavian observer. Not only do such "defenses against a potentially rebellious
population" seem to suggest a fundamental distrust and a governments' lacking legitimacy and
self-confidence, but the huge costs alone would be enough to discourage many other governments.
Still, one has to take each country's specific circumstances and history into account. The German
constitution for example forbids deploying army units for riot control purposes.
Few details are given on the existence or activities of antiterrorist forces and "elite" units, nor on
the specific tactics and techniques employed in countering serious crime, terrorism or dissent,
such as the monitoring of communications, infiltration, etcetera. Such information is hard to
obtain in an up-to-date and reliable form. The information included here on anti-terrorist and
hostage rescue units is derived mainly from Thompson (1986) and from newspaper clippings.
Recruitment and training
The importance of a thorough police selection and training programme seems obvious. The police
can never be better than the society in which they operate, but an inadequately trained and
underpaid police force predominantly consisting of violence-prone, poorly educated young males
assures trouble. Such a (hypothetical?) force will engage in ill-treatment, corruption,
discrimination and show all the other traits associated with bad policing. More liberally inclined
characters and the better educated will avoid working in such an organization, and an alienated
apparatus, nearly incapable of improving itself is the result. Therefore, data were gathered on
each nation's police curriculum.
Weaponry and special equipment
This paragraph will normally contain a variation on "all officers carry a pistol and additional
equipment is available for emergencies". But there are still unarmed forces in Europe, as well as
seemingly over-armed. Information on weaponry can also be given in other paragraphs.
Women in the police
Nearly all of the information provided under this category is derived from two reports of the
European Network for Policewomen. Thanks to the impressive work of the Network, an
initiative subsidized by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior, some detailed information on the
representation and position of women in the police forces could be included. This seems to be a
useful indication of the modernity or backwardness of a country's police and of the position the
police organization has in society as a whole. Still, one should bear in mind that there are
significant differences between the various countries in the percentage of women in the general
working populace. Holland could serve as an example of a modern country in which women have
a remarkably low participation rate on the labour market, which could probably be explained by
cultural and ideological factors as well as by a relative prosperity which allowed families to get by
on only one salary. Only last year was Holland reprimanded by the European Court for
systematically and legally underpaying women in comparison to male colleagues on the same job.
Unfortunately, the percentage of non-autochthonous police officers compared to the percentage in
general population could not be established for lack of available statistics.
Assessment of police performance
This paragraph lists impressions of a nation's police forces based on press reports and police
literature, personal experiences, anecdotes and material from human rights organizations. Quite
possibly many police officers will feel that their organization is described in an unjust way, and
that only some incidental negative aspects are highlighted while everyday performance is ignored.
Assessments can never be objective, but they do furnish another dimension to the "dry" statistics
and in a report such as this can not be missed.
Most of the material in the Assessment paragraphs is about racism and police brutality. When
Amnesty International presented a report on this issue in December 1992, the following
observations were made in the press.
Far from stamping out racist violence, police in many Western European countries are
taking part in bloody attacks and ill-treatment themselves. Amnesty is particularly
concerned that police officers in the nine cases of racially-motivated attacks documented in
the report all walked free. It warns that by failing to crackdown on police assaults
European governments risk encouraging racist attacks in society. In the present climate,
with racial attacks on the increase and racist groups growing in size, that failure to act is
tantamount to condoning racist crimes in society at large. It is time for government's to act
Ä time to stop these human rights abuses and bring those responsible to justice, says
Amnesty. The report comes in the midst of escalating racist attacks in Europe, blamed
predominantly on the flood of refugees out of economically-crippled eastern Europe or
fleeing bloody civil wars. It lists a catalogue of beatings, kickings and racial insults in nine
European countries by policemen, border guards and immigration officials, the very people
responsible for protecting the public from such attacks. In some cases the victims were
asylum seekers, requesting sanctuary because their lives are in danger in their own country.
At Zaventum airport in Brussels, a woman entering the country said she was seeking
asylum, only to be punched in the face by an immigration official as soon as she uttered the
word. In others, victims are citizens of the country whose agents are responsible for the
abuses. In France, a French citizen of Moroccan parents died in a police cell following an
asthma attack. He was also repeatedly beaten by the police and refused medication. But in
every case, the members of the security service got off without punishment for their
The Council of Europe in 1979 adopted a Resolution on the Declaration on the Police, which
comprises a set of legal and ethical guidelines to ensure compliance with democratic principles and
the rule of law, as well as a set of "rights" that any police officer should have. Although the
principles embodied in this Declaration are most sympathetic and in fact of a rather obvious
nature, it seems that in reality they have remained an empty letter. Over the last ten years working
in police research, this author has seldom heard any reference to these principles by police
officers or by those politically responsible for them, with the exception of some recent Dutch and
Belgian discussion papers written by progressive police employees.
The detention statistics are drafted under auspices of the Council of Europe. Also used are the
reports of the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), which makes
(partly unannounced) visits to prison institutions, police cells and psychiatric institutions to
monitor human rights observance there. Its reports to the responsible governments are
confidential, and normally the Committee can make a public statement only if a party to the
European Convention fails to cooperate or refuses to improve the situation after having received
Recently the CPT went public on its own for the first time in reporting the widespread use of
torture by the Turkish authorities. The Committee in 1992 made surprise visits to interrogation
rooms in the Ankara and Divarbakir police headquarters. They saw a stretcher with straps and a
beam, which were as good as proof that people were given electric torture and hung by their
arms. The description of these instruments by released torture victims fitted with what the
inspectors saw. Earlier, president Turgut zal blocked a package of tentative reforms, whose
general aim was to protect detainees from ill-treatment and torture, on the grounds that it might be
prejudicial to national security.
With the Dutch researcher Bob Hoogenboom, this author feels it would be unjustified to attempt
an overview of policing in European countries without giving at least some attention to the grey
policing area: the informal forms of cooperation between different social control agencies for
which traditional mechanisms of accountability appear obsolete. Most visible in this respect are
the various private security activities that flourish in most countries. Under "private security" the
whole sector is included here, i.e. the private security companies such as Seceurop, Securicor and
Wackenhut, as well as the corporate security branches (on major plants, etc.). Private intelligence
agencies such as Control Risks and private detective bureaus are not included, due to the near-total
absence of any reliable data. As no dates on private security were available for Greece, Ireland,
Italy and Luxembourg, these countries are excluded from the "EC average" calculations on the
private security to inhabitants ratio. Main source for this paragraph was Waard en Van der Hoek
(1991), a unique study by the Dutch Ministry of Justice. The industry seems to experience an
average annual growth of 10-15% in most European countries.
The author wishes to thank the following people and institutions for their help in collecting
documentation material: Activist Press Service Amsterdam; Amnesty International Amsterdam;
Ms. Annelies Borsboom; Bureau Jansen & Janssen; Mrs. Anita Hazenberg of the European
Network for Policewomen; Mr. Herman Janssens of the Algemene Rijkspolitie Documentation
Service in Brussels; Drs. Berto Jongman; the library of the Amsterdam Municipal Police; the
libraries of the Institute for Criminology and the Institute for International Relations at the
University of Amsterdam; the libraries of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Justice
in The Hague; the library of the Nederlandse Politie Academie; Prof.Dr. Alex P. Schmid of
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