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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

 

 

Peter Klerks

 

Domestic Security

Research Foundation

 

 

April 1993

 

 

          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

          The Netherlands

          E-mail klerks@str.frg.eur.nl

 

 

          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

 

 

                           Contents

 

 

 

               Contents                      1

               Introduction                  3

 

 

     EC Countries

 

               Belgium                       17

               Denmark                       24

               France                        32

               Germany                       45

               Greece                        59

               Ireland                       65

               Italy                         67

               Luxembourg                    74

               The Netherlands               76

               Portugal                      88

               Spain                         93

               United Kingdom                102

 

 

     Non-EC countries

 

               Andorra                       109

               Austria                       110

               Finland                       116

               Iceland                       120

               Liechtenstein                 122

               Malta                         123

               Monaco                        124

               Norway                        125

               San Marino                    129

               Sweden                        130

               Switzerland                   135

               Turkey                        140

               Vatican City                  146

 

 

               Sources                       147


                     GENERAL INTRODUCTION

 

 

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

research time.

 

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.

 

 

Drugs policies

 

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, Zrich, 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 Zrich

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

substantial differences.

 

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

police.

 

 

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.

 

 

Basic data

 

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.

 

 

Crime figures

 

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.

 

 

Asylum statistics

 

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.

 

 

Police statistics

 

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 L„nder 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.

 

 

Police structures

 

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

     actions.

 

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.

 

 

Prison situation

 

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

recommendations.

 

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.

 

 

Private 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.

 

 

Acknowledgements

 

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

Leiden University.

 

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