745th meeting – 14 March 2001
Crime and urban insecurity in Europe: the role of local authorities
CLRAE Recommendation 80 (2000)
(CM/Del/Dec(2000)719/12.1 and (2001)744/1.1, CM(2000)100 and 186 Addendum)
The Deputies adopted the following reply to CLRAE Recommendation 80 (2000) on Crime and urban insecurity in Europe: the role of local authorities:
“The Committee of Ministers has studied Recommendation 80 (2000) on Crime and urban insecurity in Europe: the role of local authorities of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe, and fully shares the point of view of the CLRAE that fight against crime and urban crime, be it organised crime, juvenile delinquency, burglary, anti-social behaviour or civic disorder, should be a major priority to public authorities in Europe. Crime and urban insecurity affects a significant percentage of the population and has high social and economic costs.
As regards the existing Conventions and other international instruments on crime reduction and combating crime (item 12 of the Recommendation), the Committee of Ministers has adopted its new programme of activities for 2001 “The rule of law and public safety: preventing crime, combating crime, establishing standards for law enforcement”, which includes, inter alia, the following objectives:
- to promote a new start in European co-operation in criminal matters by strengthening and modernising existing instruments and methods and by facilitating their practical application;
- to reinforce the Council of Europe's ability to devise appropriate crime policies and provide guidance for their implementation by member states, and
- to consider establishing a common legal frame within which member states of the Council of Europe would be called upon to co-operate with each other in criminal matters.
As regards items 13 and 14 of the Recommendation, it should be noted that the role of police in societies governed by the rule of law has become a focal point for the Council of Europe programmes in recent years. The on-going monitoring exercise by the Committee of Ministers on police and security forces has highlighted the need for continuing efforts in the field of the police functions and their powers with regard to ethical values and human rights.
The Committee of Ministers has set up the Committee of Experts on Police Ethics and Problems of Policing (PC-PO), which has been given the task to draft a recommendation on the role of the police in a democratic society, objectives of policing under the rule of law, and control of the police. The Committee has also been given the mandate to draft ethical guidelines for situations which occur in daily police work. A draft recommendation (European Code of Police Ethics) is expected to be finalised in 2001.
Another intergovernmental committee on “New ways for dealing with juvenile delinquency and the role of juvenile justice” (PC-JU) has been given the task to prepare recommendations and continue the collection of information on and identification of the main current trends in juvenile delinquency, the operation of juvenile justice, treatment of young offenders and socio-educational programmes in closed institutions.
The partnership approach to crime prevention has been used in several Council of Europe member states. One of the main tasks of the new Committee of Experts on Partnership in Crime Prevention (PC-PA) is to ascertain the effective programmes and practices based on the partnership approach to crime prevention in the experience of certain member states and produce guidelines for best practice which member states could use to develop their own crime prevention policies. The PC-PA is proceeding on the conviction that co-operation between local government, voluntary groups (victim support, groups targeted at young people, the elderly or disabled), NGOs, the police and other statutory agencies (probation, school) is essential to an effective crime prevention strategy as stressed in the final activity report of the European Committee for Social Cohesion (CDCS) on Innovatory Social Policies in the City.
The question of encouraging of new types of police, such as national urban neighbourhood police forces, “municipal” police forces, or any other form of dispersed or decentralised police force, is, of course, very much related to the overall structure of the state. What is important is to encourage close co-operation between the police, the public and the local authorities, as the police – in a democracy and for the sake of efficiency – needs both public support and adjustment to the local environment.
Assistance and technical co-operation in 2001 will focus on juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice (mainly in South-East Europe), which is mostly an urban phenomenon, as well as on the prevention of urban insecurity in several CIS countries (Moldova, Russian Federation, Ukraine).
A major multilateral conference (Glasgow, September 2001) will be devoted to analysing new trends in juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice in Europe. It will be designed, in particular, to take stock of the main problems facing member states in this area and to define appropriate strategies, both domestic and in terms of co-operation at Council of Europe level, in order to address these problems.”