Serbian police criticized over interrogation methods

According to the Council of Europe’s anti-torture committee, police ill-treatment of suspects and prisoners in Serbia is “an accepted practice, and not the work of a few rogue officers,” as reported here. The committee urges that police investigations shift away from reliance on confessions and that a more independent process be established to handle complaints and review practices.

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Public perception of police effectiveness in France

This column summarizes an extensive survey of public attitudes toward police in France. Disregarding “not known” responses, 74% of rural residents judged police effectiveness in crime control positively, compared to 61% in large cities and 58% in metropolitan Paris. Overall, men and the elderly were more satisfied with police presence and effectiveness than women and younger people. The full study is available here.

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Smart tech, security, and privacy

This column reviews some of the ways that modern technology is aiding police and security in controlling crime and terrorism in cities around the world, including predictive policing, problem-oriented policing, and environmental design. It cites a recent report that “the smart deployment of data-driven tools can help reduce fatalities by up to 10%, lower crime incidents by as much as 40% and dramatically reduce emergency response times.” Ethical issues are considerable, though, especially the risk of building existing bias into predictive algorithms, leading to “vicious feedback loops.”

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Stockholm Symposium — sessions on problem-oriented policing

Several videos related to problem-oriented policing from the just-concluded Stockholm Criminology Symposium are available here. They include Herman Goldstein’s lecture as the prize winner, a lecture by Malcolm Sparrow on the intersection of POP, harm reduction, and regulation, and 5 sessions featuring award winning POP efforts focused on offenders, victims, places, hybrid problems, and the challenge of implementing problem-oriented policing.

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Brexit & Europol

This column reviews the arguments in favor of maintaining UK membership in Europol despite its proposed exit from the European Union. The latter’s official position is that Britain could no longer be a Europol member if it leaves the EU. However information sharing related to terrorism, organized crime, cyber crime, illegal immigration, and related critical challenges is so important to both sides that some kind of compromise seems possible.

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Stockholm Prize (Herman Goldstein)

This year’s Stockholm Prize in Criminology is being awarded to Herman Goldstein. The award committee describes him as “the world’s most influential scholar on modern police strategy” and further recognizes “a lifetime of pioneering work on the broader issues of police functions in society, police discretion, political accountability, police corruption, and relationships of police to the criminal-justice system.” The award will be presented June 13. The ceremony will be broadcast live, starting at 1:00 pm U.S. eastern time (7:00 pm in Stockholm), at this site.

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People in Singapore feel safest

This article reports the most recent global study of people’s feelings of safety and confidence in their police. People in Singapore feel most secure, followed by Norway, Iceland, and Finland. At the other end of the scale, people in Venezuela feel least secure, followed by Afghanistan, South Sudan, and Gabon. Regionally, Latin America and the Caribbean score lowest. Specifically in terms of confidence in local police, the U.S./Canada region scores highest.

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