Safe Living


How effectively does internal security policy protect citizens against security risks?

Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks very effectively.
In Croatia, crime represents no significant threat to public safety and security. The police are generally effective in maintaining public order and combating crime. The police and prosecutor’s office collaborate effectively with international organizations and countries in the southeast European region, the European Union and internationally. Intelligence services cooperate with their counterparts within NATO and the European Union, and act within an integrated security system. Croatia does not face significant terrorist threats. Organized crime affects the country mostly through transnational and regional crime networks involved in drugs and human and arms trafficking.
According to the 2016 OSAC report, Finland continues to be a safe and secure environment for business, tourism, and living, having one of the world’s most effective police forces. The 2017 OSAC report reaffirms this evaluation. Indeed, Finland remains among the safest countries in Europe and features a very low crime rate. Still, as evident from the 2017 OSAC report, there has been an increase in the crime rate in recent years, especially in sex crimes, hate crimes and fraud-related crimes. According to polls, Finnish citizens regard the police as one of the most reliable public institutions. Following the establishment of a First Program on Internal Security in 2004, government in 2012 adopted the Third Internal Security Program, with the aim of reducing citizen’s daily security concerns. The program’s overall implementation has been monitored by the Ministry of the Interior. Additionally, the government has adopted or is considering national strategies for combating organized crime, the informal economy, and terrorism. Involving a collaboration between municipalities, regions, organizations, business and public administration, preparations for a new national strategy outline were initiated in August 2016 and completed in April 2017. An Implementation Programme for Finland’s Cyber Security Strategy for 2017 – 2020 has been adopted and measures have been taken to increase national and international cooperation between intelligence and police authorities.
“Turvallisempi huominen. Sisäisen turvallisuuden ohjelma.” 26/2012. Ministry of Interior, Helsinki;;;
Japan enjoys a very low crime rate, although it is unclear just how much the effectiveness of internal security policies contributes to this. Other social and economic factors are also at work. For major crimes such as homicide or hard-drug abuse in particular, Japan’s good reputation is well deserved. The number of confirmed criminal cases has significantly declined in recent years.

Terrorism also poses no major discernible threat today. Nevertheless, ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, parliament passed an “anti-conspiracy bill” in 2017, considerably expanding police power. This has been strongly criticized for curbing civil liberties, as discussed elsewhere in this report.

Another issue is the existence of organized gangs, the so-called yakuza. These groups have recently moved into fraud and white-collar crimes. However, according to National Police data, yakuza membership has declined considerably, from a total of almost 70,000 in the 1990s to around 18,000 at the end of 2016.
Fragmented Yamaguchi-gumi a Sign of Changing Yakuza Times,, 4 October 2017,
The Ministry of Interior, state police, security police, state fire and rescue Service, state border guard, and Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs are responsible for domestic security policy. They collaborate on some policy issues, notably on immigration policy.

In 2015, crime rates have increased by 2.2% over 2014. There are 2,386 reported crimes per 100,000 inhabitants, the lowest such rate among the Baltic states. Despite international developments, the threat of terrorism is low. In 2015, there were no criminal offenses associated with terrorism. In late 2015, the security police started a criminal investigation into alleged participation in the military conflict in Syria. One conviction has followed, carrying a four-year prison sentence. In 2016, two criminal investigations for terrorism threats were launched, another for inciting terrorism and four for participation in foreign armed conflicts.

Opinion polls from 2016 indicate that public trust in the police continues to rise and more people feel safe (74% of respondents report feeling safe or rather safe).
1. Research center SKDS (2013), Attitude Toward the State Police, Available at (in Latvian):, Last assessed: 20.05.2013

2. State Border Guard (2011), Official Report, Available at (in Latvian):, Last assessed: 20.05.2013

3. Ministry of Interior (2014), Public Report, Available at (in Latvian):, Last assessed: 22.11.2015

4. Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Lithuania, Information Technology and Communications Department (2013), Crime statistics in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Available at:, Last assessed: 20.05.2013
Luxembourg City is ranked only 21st out of 231 cities worldwide in the 2016 Mercer Quality of Living Survey, despite being considered the safest destination for international assignments. Great efforts have been made to enhance public security. As part of an ongoing police reform program, 51 police stations will be merged into larger and more efficient units. One of the priorities is combating gang-related crime, in particular, burglaries. Consequently, the government announced a cooperation with Europol on “organized property crime.” Furthermore, statistics show a significant decrease in the overall crime rate, attributable to closer cooperation between police forces. The latest evaluation showed that 38,537 offenses were recorded in 2016 and that the overall crime rate went down. This is a decrease of 4.5% compared to 2015 and the lowest level since 2012. In 2016, the crime rate per 100,000 inhabitants decreased about 7%. In terms of burglaries (attempted burglaries included), the police recorded a decrease of 403 incidents (-11.2%), compared to the previous year (3,608 in 2015 and 3,205 in 2016). In addition, burglaries of homes where the resident was present decreased by 573 incidents, equivalent to -21.25%, compared to 2015. More than a third (40.97%) of burglaries in 2016 were attempted burglaries. The police and security forces will be increased by 100 officers. Simultaneously, the government is planning to provide additional funding to further broaden its anti-crime strategy.
Mercer – quality of living survey 2017. Le portal de l’actualité gouvermentale, 14. Mars 2017. Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.

Rapport d’activité 2016 de la police grand ducale. Le gouvernement du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, 2016. Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.

“20 Prozent weniger Einbrüche.” Luxemburger Wort, 6 Apr. 2017, Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.
Norway is traditionally a safe country. The country’s security is not seriously threatened by crime. For example, the number of homicides per capita is the third-lowest in the world, and incarceration rates are also small. Police presence is rarely significant, and incidents of police activism are rare. The police continue to be predominantly unarmed. Prison sentences are relatively mild, and Norway has relied instead on long-term crime-prevention policies. Theft and petty crimes are relatively infrequent, although there has been some concern over increasing levels of narcotics- and gang-related crimes. There is a perception that knife- and gun-related crimes are increasing in frequency and brutality. In recent years, various reforms have sought to enhance cooperation between various police and intelligence units, both internally and with respect to cross-border cooperation.

In the aftermath of the 22 July 2011 terrorist assaults on the government compound in Oslo and the summer camp of the Labor Party youth organization, the police service was severely criticized for not having put necessary precautions in place. This revealed shortcomings in police organization and logistics, including a low capacity for planning and implementation within the central police directorate. Notable improvements have since been made, including efforts to make better use of resources by requiring the police and military to coordinate their resources allocated for anti-terrorism measures and situations requiring special forces.
Actual and perceived security risks in Slovenia are very low. Trust in the police is below the EU average, but higher than in most other East-Central European countries. Slovenia’s accession to the Schengen group in December 2007 has resulted in a substantial professionalization of the Slovenian police force and border control. A six-month police strike that ended in June 2016 brought substantial increases in wages as a well as a commitment by the government to increase future spending on basic police equipment, and the effects of that commitment were evident in period under review, as the police received new equipment, such as radars and vehicles, to replace older models.
European Commission (2017): Standard Eurobarometer 87. Brussels (
South Korea
While police statistics show a small increase both in violent crime and street crimes over the last few years, the absolute levels of both remain low in comparison to other OECD countries. There have been no terror attacks or terrorist activities in Korea in recent years. Nevertheless, extensive media reports about violent crimes have led to an increasing feeling of insecurity. The spread of financial scams (“phishing”) and cyber-crime, whose perpetrators take advantage of South Korea’s excellent broadband infrastructure and lax online-security measures, is a major concern that has not yet been effectively addressed. The lax enforcement of traffic laws remains a major problem; South Korea has the OECD’s fourth-highest ratio of road fatalities, with 91.3 deaths per 1 million residents. Respect for and trust in the police is generally low. While an earthquake in Gyeongju in September 2016 resulted in no casualties, it reinforced worries that the government has failed to improve its disaster- and accident-response policies since the Sewol Ferry catastrophe in 2014.
WHO, Global Health Observatory Data Repository, ain.51310
Korean Statistical Information Service. National Crime Statistics. 2017.
The Overseas Security Advisory Coucil(OSAC) of the United States. South Korea 2017 Crime and Safety Report.
OECD. Road Accidents Statistics,
Switzerland has improved its internal security through its integration into the European Schengen/Dublin regime. However, the country’s participation remains domestically controversial, as right-wing populist actors have accused center-left politicians of cooperating in an inefficient European security network.

With the de-facto break-down of the Schengen and Dublin rules in 2015, Switzerland resorted to more systematic controls at its borders. Having already had a comparatively high asylum-seekers-to-population ratio before the refugee crisis of 2015 and 2016, Switzerland was largely spared from the dramatic refugee influx observed in Germany, Denmark and Hungary. In 2017, there were only 14,000 new asylum seekers, as compared to 40,000 in 2015 during the refugee crisis and 23,000 in 2013 (i.e., the year before the wave of asylum seekers to Europe).

Internal security policy has developed as a collaborative policy field, in which various international and national governmental actors interact with private organizations.
 Given the country’s comparatively low crime rates, and the public confidence shown in the police and the justice system, internal security policy can be deemed a success.

On a general note, safe living conditions are strongly supported politically even if this entails substantial costs. For example, in 2016 three popular referenda were approved related to security: a decision on an additional tunnel across the Alps (Gotthard) increasing road safety at the cost of the environment, a decision on the competences of the intelligence service related to combating terrorism at the cost of individual privacy rights, and a decision on a long-term nuclear power phase out at the cost of the environment. Likewise in 2017, the public supported a Federal Decree on Food Security which many observers considered to be superfluous. There are, however, limitations to the quest for safety: on a decision to expel criminals of foreign origin (adopted in 2010), voters supported an alternative in 2016 that respects international law and human rights. Hence, safety is not desired at all costs. Nonetheless, safe living conditions are an important motivator of political behavior among citizens.
Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks more or less effectively.
Internal security is largely the responsibility of the states and there is correspondingly some variation in policies and outcomes across the states, but in most states crime rates are in fact relatively low. Coordination between various policing, enforcement and intelligence-gathering authorities is generally satisfactory.

While Australians enjoy relatively safe public spaces, domestic violence is a growing concern. Both homicide and physical violence are high, and police are increasingly called to intervene. Furthermore, indigenous Australian women’s risk of domestic violence is 35 times higher than that for non-indigenous Australian women.

Responsibility for internal security at the national level rests with the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organization; the latter has no powers of arrest and relies on the police for support. Both rely on the criminal law for prosecutions, as well as on the Anti-Terrorism Act 2005. International organized crime that is not terrorism-related is investigated by the Australian Crime Commission.

In 2015, the coalition government introduced several measures aimed at countering terrorism and improving national security more generally. Most significant was the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015, allowing increased surveillance of electronic communications and imposing requirements on internet service providers to retain data for minimum periods. The Act was opposed by groups concerned that it unduly infringes on civil liberties, as well as by telecommunications providers, who argued it would impose substantial costs on them. In 2016, the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) was passed, which grants the government explicit powers to revoke Australian citizenship of dual citizens convicted of engaging in terrorist-related activities.

In July 2017, the prime minister announced that the government would establish a Home Affairs portfolio that will bring together Australia’s immigration, border protection, law enforcement and domestic security agencies in a single portfolio. The new portfolio will be more similar to the UK model than the U.S. model – a federation of border and security agencies under which the various agencies retain statutory independence.
Internal security is comparatively well protected in Austria. The crime rate is volatile, slightly rising in some areas such as criminal assaults, while falling in others such as break-ins and car thefts. Especially internet crime is an increasingly significant problem, and the Austrian police forces are seeking to counteract it through the creation of special task forces. The incidence of economic fraud is also rising due to the growing share of transactions over the Internet.

Police-force budgets and personnel counts have risen over time, an indicator that the police are viewed as the appropriate instrument to provide internal security.

The open borders guaranteed by the European Union and the Schengen agreement have made it easier for organized crime to cross borders, leading some to criticize Austria’s EU membership status. And although some parties (e.g., the FPÖ) do so for political purposes, the data shows that, despite recent increases concerning burglaries and car theft, there is no significant increase in crime.

Unfortunately, these facts are not depicted in the way the situation is presented in the Austrian tabloid press, which sometimes suggests (also for political reasons) that Austria has become a very insecure country. Therefore, analysts distinguish between “objective” security, which is – based on data – still rather high in Austria and “subjective” security – how internal security is perceived by society. The existing gap between the two aspects is an invitation for political campaigns arguing for ever more “law and order” policies, irrespective of the objective situation.
Stats from the interior ministry:
Canada’s internal security policy has been quite effective in protecting citizens against security risks. Canada has experienced no terror attacks mounted from outside the country, which suggests that the Canadian intelligence services are doing excellent work. However, two separate attacks by native Canadians in 2014, resulting in the deaths of two soldiers, prompted the previous government to introduce a number of bills to bolster security and the power of agencies (notably Bill C-44 and Bill C-51). These laws increased the powers of Canada’s spy agency (the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS) to share information and operate internationally, criminalized the promotion of terrorism, and provided the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) with new preventative arrest powers. The current government has established an all-party national security oversight committee with the power to review the intelligence and security operations of any government agency.

Crime rates in Canada are low from an international perspective and continue to fall. Canadians in general have a high degree of confidence and trust in the police. However, this is not true to the same extent within the indigenous community. A report released by the RCMP (2014) stated that between 1980 and 2013, 1,181 indigenous women were reported murdered or missing. The U.N. Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of Canada previously expressed concerns about violence against indigenous women and girls and Canada’s perceived failure to address the problem. The government has launched the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in an effort to uncover the reason(s) for this violence. The inquiry has faced substantial criticism over the past year, with several keys members stepping down and victims’ families calling for a complete restructuring of the program.
UN Human Rights Council (2013). Universal Periodic Review: Canada. Report available at

Royal Canadian Mounted Police (2014). Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: A National Operational Overview. Report available at
The security forces and police are responsible for internal security (falling under the Ministry of Justice). Cooperation between the police and defense intelligence services was increased after 9/11. International cooperation has also increased among Western allies.

Denmark is not a violent society. The homicide rate is low and Danes normally trust the police. However, burglaries are not uncommon and crimes related to drug use, especially in the bigger cities, have increased. Recently incidences of gang-crime have increased, including shooting incidences. Terrorist events at home and abroad have increased tensions.

According to the Eurobarometer, Spring 2015, Danish responses to the question “What do you think are the two most important issues facing [your country] at the moment?” were: immigration (35%), health and social security (30%), unemployment (25%), and terrorism (15%).

Denmark has opted out of the justice and home affairs cooperation within the European Union (since 1993). In December 2015, there was a referendum on the Danish opt-out. The proposal called for Denmark to adopt an opt-in model, implying that the country would take part in 22 EU legislative directives and regulations concerning criminal law and police cooperation as well as civil, family and commercial law. Denmark would still not take part in 10 other legislative directives and regulations concerning asylum and immigration. Voters turned this proposal down. Subsequent negotiations led to an agreement with Europol that allows Denmark to take part in police cooperation from May 2017, when Denmark would have had to leave if an arrangement had not been found. It remains to be seem how satisfactory the agreement will be.

Following the great influx of refugees and asylum-seekers in 2015 the government reintroduced border control. Opinion polls in September 2015 showed that about 60% of the Danes supported this step. In an opinion poll in January 2015, 63% of the Danes supported Denmark joining a common EU agreement on the distribution of refugees. The question of continuing national border control is currently under discussion.

In an opinion poll in November 2015, 27% answered very likely and 54% answered likely on the possibility that a terror attack will occur in the next few years. The same poll showed that an overwhelming majority thought that such attach was likely to be committed by a fundamentalist Islamic group.
Murder plot against Danish cartoonist, E3923645/murder-plot-against-danish-cartoonist/ (accessed 18 April 2013)

DIIS, “Opinion Polls,” (accessed 22 October 2016).

Eurobarometer, Spring 2015. (Accessed 21 October 2017).
Iceland has always been a secure place to live, with relatively few assaults, burglaries, or other crimes. However, some changes have occurred since the 2008 economic collapse. The 2007-2009 government was undermined by a series of protests, which – though largely peaceful – did lead to clashes between protesters and riot police in early 2009. While these events led only to minor injuries and some 20 arrests, they were the first serious riots since March 1949’s protests against a parliamentary decision to bring Iceland into NATO. Similar riots have not occurred since then. The main policing priority has been Iceland’s internal security. The police force has long suffered from a manpower shortage, exacerbated by low pay.

The incidence of drug-smuggling has been on the rise for several years. This trend reflects a related increase in the prevalence of violent attacks by individuals under the influence of alcohol or other drugs in Reykjavík, especially on weekends.

During 2017, four murders were committed in Iceland. Consequently, the country had a rate of 1.2 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in 2017 – the same rate as in Sweden, lower than in Finland (1.6), but higher than in Denmark (1.0) and Norway (0.6).
New Zealand
New Zealand’s internal security is the responsibility of the police. By tradition, the prime minister takes ministerial responsibility for the national security and intelligence portfolio, although former Prime Minister John Key broke with that tradition in 2014 by handing over day-to-day responsibility for intelligence services to the attorney general.

The New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) and the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) provide advisory services. In August 2016, the New Zealand Intelligence and Security Bill 2016 was introduced. The bill has reformed legislation and enhanced transparency of New Zealand’s intelligence and security agencies. Expenditures for public order and safety are relatively high and growing, as New Zealanders feel crime to be a salient issue. Recent crime statistics show a considerable decline in criminal offense – partly as a result of an aging society in which the age groups that statistically commit more crimes are shrinking, and partly as a consequence of increased expenditures for police, criminal justice and prison services. However, there was a 2.3% increase in the victimization rate for the year to July 2016 due to an increase in burglaries.

Internal security threats are also addressed through a Combined Threat Assessment Group (CTAG) which involves staff seconded from NZSIS, the New Zealand Police, the New Zealand Defense Force, the GCSB, the New Zealand Customs Service and Maritime New Zealand. CTAG provides assessments on terrorist or criminal threats intended to create physical harm to New Zealand citizens or affect New Zealand interests at home or overseas, based on all information sources within the New Zealand government.
New Zealand Police Crime Statistics for the fiscal year ending 30 June 2014: (accessed October 13, 2014).
New Zealand Security Intelligence Service: (accessed November 30, 2014).
NZ Intelligence and Security Bill 2016. New Zealand parliament ( (accessed 13 September, 2016).
Official crime stats released today. 31 August, 2016 ( (accessed 13 September, 2016).
Objectively speaking, citizens of the United Kingdom have enjoyed improved security over the last 15 years as the crime rate has dropped significantly and consistently (although it continues to be relatively high in absolute terms when compared to other OECD countries). This is not reflected, however, in increased subjective perception of security, since British citizens (probably influenced by media reporting) perceive crime to be on the rise. The issue thus remains in the public spotlight, and cuts in the budgets of the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice – in line with overall budget cuts to fight the deficit – have therefore been politically contentious. The most recent figures do, nevertheless, suggest a further fall in crime, although questions have been raised about whether “new” crimes like cybercrime are being adequately recorded. Moreover, even in higher crime areas, there are few signs that citizens consider the environment to be unsafe.

The coalition government abolished some of the harsh counter-terrorism laws introduced by earlier Labour governments in an attempt to correct the balance in favor of civil rights. A new National Crime Agency started work in the autumn of 2013 as a central body for crime fighting. Certain high-profile revelations of police malpractice, including the recently exposed falsification of records in the Hillsborough football disaster of 1989, have led to disquiet about police behavior, but have not conspicuously undermined confidence. There is some concern about inadequate responses to cybercrime, with significant increases reported in crime statistics.

The 2015 Conservative government – and its Home Secretary Theresa May –reformed the police disciplinary and complaint system to improve trust between citizens and the police. Furthermore, it has made the Police Federation subject to the Freedom of Information Act to improve transparency in the police force.

There is continuing concern about terrorist threats, accentuated by the renewed difficulties in the Middle East and the evidence of the involvement of UK-born jihadis and, as in many other EU countries, sporadic terrorist attacks. There is concern about the threat posed by returning fighters from the Middle East, which has led to an increase in resources for the security services. There are occasional briefings from these services about “plots disrupted.”
Belgium is generally a safe country, yet violence does occur and the country’s crime rate is higher than in neighboring countries. In addition, Belgium has disproportionately attracted members of Islamist terror networks, who are producing a new type of threat that the country has found it difficult to manage.

With regard to low-level criminality, self-reported rates of victimization are slightly above the OECD average, in part due to an above-average incidence of bullying that has not received sufficient policy attention. Underfunded and overcrowded prisons are another source of the problem, though successive recent governments have invested in new prison facilities. The court system remains slow (due to a huge backlog) and is often perceived as lenient. This helps maintain a feeling of impunity for misdemeanor offenders. Yet, the country’s relative social stability, neocorporatist arrangements and limited levels of income inequality have largely insulated it from mass demonstrations or riots of the kind sometimes observed in France or other EU countries.
OECD 2015. Better life initiative. How is life in Belgium? October 2015.
Internal security policy is quite effective. While organized crime is not apparent to the average citizen, there are some disturbing trends: selective acts of terrorism (or acts classified as such) based on ethnic or political grounds, and a slightly rising incidence of drug-trafficking (and related crimes). Homicide rates in Chile are among Latin America’s lowest. Common crime rates have not shown any significant changes since 2012. Still, public perceptions of criminality tend to overestimate the statistical reality. According to a poll released in August 2017 by the Chilean survey institute Centro de Estudios Públicos, insecurity remains the overriding public concern (51%), ahead of health care (45%) and education (38%), despite the fact that the Nueva Mayoría government presented a positive balance for 2016 with a 5.6% fall in serious crime compared with the same period a year before.

Private security services are widespread in the wealthier urban areas, especially in Santiago. Chile has an extremely high share of prisoners among the younger population in particular. Prevention measures are not well developed. The last two governments each launched anti-crime programs focusing more on detection and repression than on prevention. These had very mixed results. Crime-control programs such as the Plan Cuadrante and the marked increase in the numbers of police officers have significantly reduced crime rates. Penal-code reforms and their implementation over the last eight years have also significantly raised the efficiency of crime detection and criminal prosecution. In the government’s 2017 state budget, security is one of the top three budgetary priorities (along with education and health).

UNODC report 2013:

On insecurity as the chief public concern:
Cyprus is considered a safe environment. A World Health Organization survey found it the world’s safest for young people. Being an island state, it has developed adequate monitoring of the coast and entry points. Its only relatively vulnerable points are the line dividing the government-controlled areas and the Turkish-occupied north, as well as the portions of the British bases that abut the north. Cyprus is not part of the Schengen area. Despite incidents of serious crime, including assaults and homicides, Cyprus remains safer than other EU countries. Burglaries and robberies are by far the most common crimes, occurring with a relatively stable frequency. Law-enforcement efforts targeting minor wrongdoings such as driving offenses and graffiti are quite poor. Illegal drug activity is comparatively minimal overall, but an increase in the amount of illegal drugs confiscated at entry points has been noted.
1. Cyprus the safest in the World for Young People, Cyprus Mail, 22 August 2017,
2. Crime and Safety report 2015, OSAC (US),
Czech Rep.
Confidence in the police is currently the highest in the last 25 years. Public opinion polls in June 2017 showed that 65% of respondents trust the police. Czech citizens are largely satisfied with the performance of the police and feel secure. Crime figures are unremarkable. However, there are increasing regional differences as well as tension in regions with a concentration of marginalized groups. Partly as a result of anti-Muslim campaigning, fears of terrorist attacks have grown recently. Protection against security risks is favored by well-functioning, cross-border cooperation. Czech police officers cooperate with other police officers from across the European Union to protect the borders of countries on major migration routes.
Major crime indicators have steadily declined as a result of multiple factors. One is the decline in alcohol consumption, which had been a major cause of severe traffic accidents and violent behavior. Decline in alcohol consumption itself is a result of stricter alcohol policy, but also increased public awareness of healthy living.

The police forces enjoy high levels of public trust, which helps compensate for the scarcity of human and material resources. The Internal Security Development Plan 2015 – 2020 envisages a more efficient use of state resources and broadened cooperation with volunteers. This is of core importance since government funding is hardly sufficient.
In general, residents of Germany are well protected against security risks such as crime or terrorism. Crime rates had been declining for years, but are slightly increasing since 2015. A total of 6,370,000 crimes were reported in 2016, a 0.7% increase over 2015 (BMI 2017).

The influx of nearly 900,000 refugees in 2015 fostered a heated discussion about a potential rise in crime. The empirical evidence is mixed. A special survey of the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt) had indicated that refugees and asylum-seekers do not seem to display any increased propensity toward criminality compared to German citizens. In contrast, a recent study commissioned by the German Family Ministry (Pfeiffer, Baier and Kliem, 2018) documented criminal activities for some groups of refugees to be above the population average (e.g., young single men, Maghreb origin). It also suggested that the recent reversal to higher crime rates in Lower Saxony to have been predominantly driven by refugees.

Independent from the objective data, there is an increasing perception among the general population that refugee immigration may have lowered public safety. The 2015 New Year’s Eve celebrations in Cologne and other German cities that led to hundreds of sexual assaults has caused a kind of public trauma and led to an increase in negative attitudes toward immigration, and triggered more violent attacks from right-wing movements against immigrants and foreigners.

In addition, several terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists over the course of 2016 and 2017 as well as planned attacks prevented by the police clearly indicate a significant increase in the risk of terrorist attacks. The most important of these attacks seems to be the attack on 19 December 2016 by Anis Amri, which killed 11 people and injured 55, when he drove a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin. The group of Islamist extremists is quickly growing in number, attracting support principally among younger German Muslims, but also among some refugees.

In 2017, attention shifted to violence and crime perpetrated by left-wing and anti-capitalist groups. On the occasion of the G20 Hamburg summit in July 2017, violent groups caused substantial damage to property and injured over 160 police staff. These highly aggressive attacks were widely perceived to be outright attempts to kill police officers. For several hours, these militant and violent activities could not be contained, which led to a public outcry over a perceived loss of control and undue leniency toward crime from left-wing extremists.

Overall, extremist activities by right-wing, left-wing, and foreign groups and organizations have increased by 6.6%. Politically motivated violence rose to about 41,500 incidents, a 2.6% rise (after a sharp rise in 2016) in right-wing and a 2.2% drop in left-wing criminal acts. In terms of violent attacks, there was a 14.3% increase in right-wing and a 24.2% decrease in left-wing incidents. The overall rise was caused by increased incidents connected to Islamism and the Kurdish Turkish conflict (BMI 2017). After a dramatical increase in the number of xenophobic attacks on accommodations for asylum-seekers at the end of 2015 (1,031 attacks), there was a drop over the year 2016 (988) according to the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt). In contrast, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation reports an increased number in 2016 (1578) based on a different empirical basis (Amadeu Antonio Stiftung 2017).

Summing up, the objective data still indicates lower crime today compared to the 1990s or 2000s. However, perceptions are worsening together with some indicators. Both the federal level and the states have reacted by substantially increasing the number of police staff.
Amadeu Antonio Stiftung 2017:

BMI 2017: Kriminalitätsentwicklung im Jahr 2016

Pfeiffer, Christian, Dirk Baier and Sören Kliem 2018: Zur Entwicklung der Gewalt in Deutschland: Jugendliche und Flüchtlinge als Täter und Opfer, Januar 2018.

Die Zeit (2015):;jsessionid=BB52FF2F07734E52EFCFEA67A076B447.2_cid364?__blob=publicationFile
Overall, Irish crime rates are relatively low by international standards. However, property crime rates have risen in the last few years and over the past decade there has been an increase in “gangland” crime, including murders involving firearms. The low detection and conviction rates for these crimes are disturbing.

The main police force remains unarmed and, despite a recent fatal shooting of an on-duty police officer, there is no widespread clamor to arm the force. It enjoys a good relationship with the majority of the population, although tensions exist in certain areas and with certain social groups.
Cross-border policing cooperation between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland remains good, although the existence of a long land border is an inherent obstacle to effective law enforcement. It is widely acknowledged that paramilitary crime and racketeering are unacceptably high in the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border areas.
With the exception of some regions of southern Italy where mafia-type organized crime can have a serious impact on the security of certain sectors of the population (for instance entrepreneurs and shop owners) internal security is sufficiently guaranteed. Homicide levels have generally declined and are among the lowest in Europe. Theft and robbery rates have significantly increased probably as a consequence of economic instability and rising unemployment. The public confidence in the security forces is generally fairly high. The segmentation of security forces (Carabinieri, Polizia di Stato, Guardia di Finanza, Polizia Municipale) might result in some inefficiencies and accountability issues although there was a small reform incorporating the Corpo Forestale di Stato (rangers) into the Carabinieri. The security forces are not always able to efficiently maintain law and order, and security in major suburban areas. Italian security agencies have to date been fairly successful in preventing terrorist attacks.
Lithuania’s internal security has improved in recent years, in part thanks to Lithuania’s accession to the European Union in 2004 and to the Schengen zone in 2007. These relationships improved police cooperation with the country’s EU peers and allowed the public security infrastructure, information systems and staff skills to be upgraded. Crime rates fell during the 2005 – 2007 period, but this trend was reversed beginning in 2008, coinciding with the onset of the economic crisis. A total of 84,715 crimes were registered in 2013, which constitutes a 5.6% decrease in the crime rate in 2005. However, the year’s crime rate per 100,000 people (2,866) was the highest in the 2005 – 2013 period due to the country’s decreasing total population. The country has a high number of homicides by EU standards. In the 2011 Eurobarometer survey, 58% of respondents in Lithuania either disagreed or totally disagreed with the statement that their country was doing enough to fight organized crime, compared to an EU-27 average of 42%. However, in recent years public trust in the police has increased. In November 2016, a record high 71% of respondents in Lithuania expressed confidence in the police, according to a Baltic survey. A similar level of trust in police (72%) was recorded in September 2017, while 71% indicated that they trusted the country’s military forces. In its 2016 – 2017 report, the World Economic Forum ranked Lithuania 46 out of 138 countries for the cost to business of crime and violence, and 42 for the costs to business of organized crime.

State funding for internal-security purposes remains limited; though it gradually increased between 2004 and 2008, government expenditure for public-safety purposes dropped from 2.4% of GDP in 2008 to 2.1% in 2011. Observers say that motivation, competence and stability within the police force (and other internal-security organizations) are among the most pressing challenges to improving public safety. According to the 2011 Eurobarometer report, 42% of Lithuanians felt corruption to be an issue very important to citizens’ security, while just 5% felt the same about terrorism threats, and 2% for civil wars/wars. The annual report of the Lithuanian Security Department has recently highlighted threats linked to the activities of external intelligence services from neighboring non-NATO countries. The country has reconsidered its internal-security policies due to increasing threats associated with Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. A new long-term Public Security Development Program for 2015 – 2025, which aims at increasing public safety in the country, was adopted by the parliament in May 2015. In addition, in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and increase in its Baltic Sea Region military exercises, Lithuania reintroduced compulsory military conscriptions in 2015. According to the 2018 budget, for the first time spending on defense will reach 2% of the country’s GDP.
The 2011 Eurobarometer reports is available at archives/ebs/ebs_371_fact_lt_en.pdf.
Crime figures in Poland have fallen and have been relatively low for some time. Trust in the police has suffered from the resignation of the head of police, Zbigniew Maj, who faced a corruption investigation in April 2016. The PiS government, most notably Minister of Defense Antoni Macierewicz has been criticized for undermining the public’s feeling of security by exaggerating the risk of terrorist attacks. The effectiveness of the new Anti-Terror Law, introduced in June 2016, has been contested. The Constitutional Court and the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe have criticized the extended options for telephone and internet surveillance without a court order. Another critique is the weak oversight of secret services. The parliamentary committee for control was reduced from nine to seven members and the chair does not alternate any longer between government and opposition.
Portugal is signatory to and participant in all relevant Europe-wide programs regarding public security. In addition, Portugal has created a General Secretariat for the Internal Security System, which reports to the prime minister via the minister for internal administration.

Overall reported crime fell 7.1% in 2016 relative to 2015, with violent crime declining by 11.6% over this period.

Portugal remains a relatively safe country in international terms. Furthermore, Portugal has not experienced a terrorist attack of the kind witnessed in Belgium, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Turkey, and so on. Whether this is due to effective intelligence gathering and policing is unclear.

This pattern is consistent with that found in other surveys. In the Eurobarometer survey on the issue of internal security published in November 2011, Portuguese respondents indicated a degree of concern about terrorism, petty crime, cybercrime and religious extremism that was lower than the EU average. A 2015 Eurobarometer survey indicated that that the proportion of respondents who believed terrorism was a challenge to national security had increased to 54%, though this remains far below the EU average of 65%.

However, it must be noted that in June 2017, a massive amount of arms and ammunition, including grenades, were stolen from the military arsenal at Tancos. Although the equipment was recovered in October 2017 thanks to an anonymous tip, military and civilian officials alike lost credibility through their poor handling of this serious situation. Their behavior in this important event does not bode well for responses should there be attempts by terrorists to attack sites in Portugal.

The other noteworthy aspect is the failure of civil-protection services during the waves of forest fires in 2017. More than 100 people died as a result of fires in June and October 2017, which also extensively damaged property across the country. An independent report on the June fires, which caused more than 60 deaths, highlighted a number of significant failures and a lack of coordination on the part of civil-protection structures, all of which contributed to the unprecedented number of fatalities. By all accounts, many of these failures were repeated in the October fires that caused some 50 deaths.
Special Eurobarometer 371, “Internal Security. European Commission, Brussels. Available at

Special Eurobarometer 432 ” Europeans’ Attitudes Towards Security,” European Commission April 2015. Available at

Sistema de Segurança Interna,“Relatório Anual de Segurança Interna 2015,” available online at:

Sistema de Segurança Interna,“Relatório Anual de Segurança Interna 2016,” available online at:

Comissão Técnica Independente (2017), Relatório aos incêndios entre 17 e 24 de junho 2017. Available online at:
Internal security has been a major issue in Slovakia since the onset of the EU refugee crisis. Prime Minister Fico has pursued a double-track strategy on this issue. For one, he has helped fuel fears by issuing a series of negative public statements regarding migrants. For another, the Fico government has sought to demonstrate its commitment to battling crime and terrorism by approving fast-track anti-terrorism legislation that made the prolonged detention of suspected terrorists possible. In addition, the Fico government has established a special police unit of 300 officers in charge of protecting of the Schengen Area’s external borders and increased public spending on domestic security and public order, which, as a percentage of GDP, is now the highest in the European Union. While only 60% of people say that they feel safe walking alone at night, which is less than the OECD average of 69%, the homicide rate (the number of murders per 100,000 inhabitants) is 0.8, much lower than the OECD average of 3.6.
OECD, Better Life Index (
In terms of homicides, Spain is the safest country among Western nations with more than 3 million inhabitants. Compared with other OECD and European countries, Spain performs quite satisfactorily in protecting citizens against security risks and public confidence in the police force is high. The official data shows that violent crimes rate is one of the lowest in the world, although the figures are somewhat higher for assaults or muggings. As the terrorist attacks in Barcelona in 2017 have demonstrated, the government of Spain and its citizens are a principal target of Islamic extremism. Although the share of police officers per capita is among the highest in the world and the Spanish intelligence and police communities have demonstrated their capabilities in fighting terrorism, poor coordination mechanisms among the police forces at the local, regional, and national level as well as politicized intergovernmental relations reduce the efficiency of the system.

The law on public safety (Organic Law 4/2015) approved in 2015 continues to be controversial since first trials based on this legal framework started in 2017. In the eyes of its critics, the new regulation has much more to do with trying to repress political protest (see “Civil Rights” and “Political Liberties”) than with increasing the protection of citizens.
August 2017, New York Times: “Van Hits Pedestrians in Deadly Barcelona Terror Attack” 17/08/17/world/europe/barcelona-cat alunya-van.html

September 2016, Carmen González Enríquez and José Pablo Martínez Romera: “Sistema de Indicadores de la Distancia entre Imagen y Realidad (SIDIR)” wps/portal/web/rielcano_es/contenid o?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/elcano/elcano _es/zonas_es/gonzalezenriquez-marti nezromera-sistema-indicadores-dista ncia-imagen-realidad-sidir-caso-esp anol-3ed-2016
The crime rate in Sweden is slightly higher than it is in comparable countries. Assessing the effectiveness of the internal security police is a complex undertaking. Sweden has experienced substantial problems with organized crime for a long time. Despite increased efforts to address this problem during the period of review, organized and/or gang-related crime shows no sign of waning, rather the opposite. Many media accounts of homicides and assaults relate these incidents to rivalry among competing organizations.

In terms of solving and preventing crime, there has been extensive debate about police effectiveness. Studies suggest that the police do not use their resources effectively and that only 2% of their working time is spent on actual crime prevention or resolution. These problems appear to have been exacerbated during the last couple of years: Sweden is falling in international rankings on the number of homicides, the percentage of crimes which have been resolved and brought to trial is decreasing, and media reports argue that gang-related violence in distressed suburbs and neighborhoods is rapidly increasing.

In 2015, regional police districts and core national staff were merged into one police authority. A recent evaluation conducted by the Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret 2017:10) found that the organizational reform has not improved performance and that the organization remains fragmented.

Both the red-green government and the opposition argue that recruiting more police officers is an important part of the response to this situation. There is also a growing understanding that some percentage of rising crime levels in metropolitan areas reflect a failure of integration programs.

An additional problem is related to the emphasis on performance measurement and management which, critics argue, has led the police to focus on high performance scores rather than crime prevention. Pre-emptive police work which may observers argued is the best way to prevent crime does not show up in performance measures. Also, given the performance targets some aspects of police work such as checking automobile drivers’ sobriety is conducted with almost more attention to getting the numbers in than actually bringing criminals to court.

The percentage of “smaller” crimes, particularly petty crimes such as theft and burglary that are solved is still lower than deemed acceptable by many Swedish citizens.
Holgersson, S. and J. Knutsson (2012), Vad gör egentligen polisen? (Institutionen för ekonomisk och industriell utveckling. LIU-IEI-Research Report 12/0004. Linköping: Linköpings Universitet).

Statskontoret (2017), Ombildningen till en samlad polismyndighet – Delrapport 2 om den nya organisationens genomslag (Stockholm: Statskontoret).
Since 2010, opinion polling has shown that confidence in the police is consistently high and satisfaction regarding policing performance is fairly high (28% of those polled express that they are “very satisfied”). Research shows that this is independent of the actual conduct and performance of police officers. The Integral Safety Monitor for 2010 reported that one in four people aged 15 years and over claimed to have been the victim of a commonly occurring crime (such as vandalism, fraud or violence). In 2015, this had decreased to one in five (18%). The longer-term trend (2005 – 2014) shows a decrease in self-reported victimhood by one-third. However, only 25% of victims of traditional crimes reported these to the police (27% in 2015).

Cybercrime rates (hacking, internet harassment, commercial and identity fraud, cyberbullying) remained stable in 2015. Illegal cryptographic software and phishing have become standard cybercrimes. In 2015, 11% of the population were victims of cybercrime, while three-quarters of cybercrime cases were not reported to the police. In research commissioned by McAfee, the American Center for Strategic and International Studies estimated that cybercrime costs the Dutch economy approximately €8.8 billion per year (or 1.5% of GDP). Recent studies have concluded that the Dutch police lack the technical expertise to effectively tackle cybercrime. Since 2011, the Dutch government has been implementing an EU-coordinated National Cybersecurity Strategy that prioritizes prevention over detection. Regarding terrorism threats, the intelligence services (Nationale Coordinator Terrorismebestrijding, established 2004) appear able to prevent attacks. Fighting terrorism and extremism, and anticipating political radicalization and transborder crime have increased in priority.

The policies of the present government focus on cost reduction, and the centralization of the previously strictly municipal and regional police, judicial and penitentiary systems. In 2015, the Dutch government spent €10 billion (a reduction of €3 billion from 2010) on public order and safety (police, fire protection, disaster protection, judicial and penitentiary system). Recent reports indicate serious problems in implementing reforms, with policy officers claiming severe loss of operational capacity. A scandal about lavish spending by the national Policy Works Council has drawn parliamentary attention to possible mismanagement by the former national head of police and a former Minister of Safety and Justice. Meanwhile, there is profound discontent and unrest inside the Ministry of Justice and Safety. Judges and other legal personnel have voiced public complaints about the “managerialization” of the judicial process and the resulting workload for judges, leading to “sloppy” trials and verdicts. The government intends to save €85 million in 2018 by cutting legal assistance to (poor) citizens. Government policy is attempting to relieve part of the burden on the judicial system by introducing intermediation procedures. Recently, a number of scandals in the food industry have exposed the shortcomings of a system aimed at balancing food safety and the interests of the agricultural sector.

The overall picture from the safety and security, and judicial institutions of the Dutch government is one of increasing stress and challenge.
L. van der Veer et al., Vertrouwen in de politie: trends en verklaringen, Politie en Wetenschap, Apeldoorn, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam, 2013

Criminaliteit en rechtshandhaving in 2014. Ontwikkelingen en samenhangen, WODC en CBS, Raad voor de Rechtspraak, 2015

Cybersecuritybeeld Nederland CSBN 2015, Ministerie van Veiligheid en Justitie (

Cybersecuritymonitor 2017, CBS,, consulted on 29 oktober 2017

Evaluatierapport van de zevende wederzijdse evaluatie “De praktische uitvoering en toepassing van het Europese beleid inzake preventie en bestrijding cybercriminaliteit.” Rapport Nederland, Raad van de Europese Unie, Brussel, 15 April 2015 (zoek.officiele, consulted 26 October 2015)

Publieke regie’ in Groningen:Publiekrechtelijke schadeafhandeling en het vertrouwen in de overheid, Nederlands Juristenblad 2017/1576

Veiligheidsmonitor, 2016 ((, consulted 7 November 2016(
Although the police maintain a reputation for being efficient (sometimes too efficient, as the institution is granted significant powers and discretion vis-à-vis the citizenry), concerns over internal security are high. Attention has focused on repeated outbreaks of urban violence in the suburbs or other areas. Following a rising level of petty crime and several terrorist attacks on French territory and abroad, citizens have been more and more vocal about the need to be better protected by enforcing “law and order” measures. There is a clear relationship between the economic and social crisis and this increasing sense of insecurity. This situation has also had a decisive impact on protest votes in favor of the extreme-right party, the National Front.

The terrorist attacks of 13 November 2015 have elevated the topic of security to the top of the political agenda, triggering real concerns as well as political polemics driven by the populist and extreme right. The government has reacted to this with new security measures, issuing a temporary state of emergency, and giving more powers to the executive and police to prevent terrorist acts. The “state of emergency,” which gives extraordinary powers of investigation to the police, was further extended until 1 November 2017 (i.e., nearly two years). Lawyers and courts have emphasized the dangers of a permanent “state of emergency,” which may undermine basic liberties. The government has understood the message and the state of emergency was not extended again – at the price of bringing the controversial rules into the flow of “normal” law with the introduction of an anti-terrorism law in October 2017. The anti-terrorism law signed in October 2017 turned most of the preventive and security measures, which had been applied during the state of emergency, into regular laws. This has re-enforced the government’s capacity to prevent and fight terrorism if circumstances require it, although the weakening of judicial control has been criticized.
The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) manages the internal-security field in conjunction with the armed forces and other government agencies such as “Rachel” (emergency) and “Malal” (terrorism prevention). Following an alteration in its title (from the Ministry of the Police), the MPS has broadened its scope, and is now in charge of crime prevention, the prison system, gun control, prevention of terrorist acts and fire-prevention policies. Reforms have sought to integrate the country’s various agencies dealing with security issues, and in 2013 the MPS reported some accomplishments. For example, the Firearm Licensing Department (2011), the Israel Fire and Rescue Services (2011) and the Israel Anti-Drug Authority have all been successfully integrated into this ministry, improving coordination capabilities. In 2016, the government accepted the MPS suggestion to establish a national program to prevent cybercrime and internet violence against children and it works since then.

Notwithstanding occasional acts of terrorism, Israelis still report that they feel generally secure. According to the most recent crime-victimization survey, 81% of adults 20 years old and above feel safe walking alone in the streets.

Since Israel’s internal-security budget is divided between different agencies, and cannot be separated from the defense budget managed by the Ministry of Defense, it is hard to estimate the country’s overall internal-security expenditure. Although the Ministry of Public Security’s budget has increased in recent years, this is at least partly due to the expansion of the ministry’s responsibilities, and not due to increased investment or policy implementation.
“A View on MPS 2016,”

Israel’s Crime Victimization Survey 2015, CBS,

Kubovich, Y., “98% of sexual harassment victims in Israel don’t complain to police according to Gov’t poll,” 5.5.2015, Haaretz:

“National violence index 2014,” the Ministry of Public Security publication February 2014 (Hebrew). “Safety: Better life index Israel,” OECD.
Malta is generally considered a safe place to live. Crime rates have remained largely stable with crime increasing by only 0.9% in 2016, though from time to time in-fighting escalates between criminal organizations involved in drug-trafficking and money laundering. Malta has one of the lowest murder rates. Notwithstanding, the recent car bombing of a well-known Maltese journalist garnered intense international attention.

External security threats to the state have been largely absent, making it difficult to assess local readiness or an ability to protect citizens if such threats were to materialize. The U.S. Department of State highlights the fact that like all other European countries, Malta is vulnerable to transnational terrorist groups. This is particularly significant when one considers Malta’s geographic location and open borders with other Schengen members. Nonetheless, mid-2017 data compiled by Numbeo ranked Malta 29th worldwide on its Safety Index.

Malta is affiliated with Interpol and is also party to several cross-border security cooperation efforts, particularly those coordinated by the European Union. Malta is also participating in Operation Triton to secure borders and rescue migrants in the central Mediterranean area. As Malta ensures the security of an external frontier of the European Union, it has received substantial assistance through the External Borders Fund. Through this fund, the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) continue to obtain important resources for the enhancement of the existing border control system, which is primarily directed toward policing the island country’s maritime borders from irregular migration and drug smuggling. Moreover, an additional €93 million in EU funding has been earmarked for Malta for the programming period from 2014 to 2020 through the Internal Security Fund and the Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund. Of these funds, 80% were committed to projects as of December 2016.

Malta’s Secret Service is small and depends heavily on intelligence from foreign intelligence services. However, its Secret Service has improved its capability, as evidenced by the Secret Service’s support in liberating Maltese hostages in Libya. It has been strengthened due to Malta’s recent role in the EU presidency, particularly during high profile events attended by EU heads of state. Nonetheless, the current crisis in the Mediterranean remains a major challenge.

The drafting of a long-term strategy to reform the police force was ongoing in 2016. An internal audit and investigation unit recommended by the audit office has yet to be established. As Malta’s economic and social structures have undergone rapid change, institutional capacity to deal with organized crime has not kept pace. A 2017 assessment by the United States found that Malta has not met the minimum requirements to combat human trafficking, though the government has increased resources to identify and assist victims. With regard to homicides, recent data show that Malta has a clearance (i.e., closure) rate of 70%, well below the European average of 85%. None of the car bomb assassinations in recent years, including the three in 2016, have been solved. Confidence in the force is generally low and four commissioners have resigned in the last five years. Pressure has also been mounting for the resignation of the current Police Commissioner. These demands overshadow recent successes scored by the police against smuggling, drug trafficking and robbery.
The Malta Independent 16/10/2017 Updated: Daphne Caruana Galizia killed as vehicle blows up in Bidnija; bomb not in cabin - expert–ekKaes
On Parade Magazine October 2014, Armed Forces of Malta p.17
The Malta Independent 28/12/2016 80% of EU Internal Security funds to Malta are committed to projects - Ian Borg
Times of Malta 09/04/2013 Malta Security Service Ignored Invitations for International Collaboration
Times of Malta 29/10/2015 Watch: Abducted Maltese man released in Libya, expresses relief
The Malta Independent 02/01/2016 Schengen rules are back in place, Home Affairs Ministry says; no threats made against Malta
Reuters 27/0//2017 EU border controls could be extended in crisis, Commission says
Times of Malta 08/08/2016 Police facing a brain drain
Malta Today 24/08/2015 Online poll | Absolute majority mistrust Malta’s Police Force
Times of Malta 30/08/2016 Malta is (almost) the best place in the world for foreigners, says Expat Insider
Position paper regarding the Amendments to the police act
The Malta Independent 22/10/2017 Protesters sit down on road in front of police HQ to demand commissioner’s resignation
Malta Today 03/04/17 St Julian’s scores highest crime rate, five times national average
Times of Malta 29/06/17 US Report says Malta failing to take necessary action to fight crime
Times of Malta 03/11/17 One in three murders remain unsolved.
Times of Malta 21/02/17 Cracking Malta’s Latest Spate of Car Bombs
Romania’s homicide and violent crime rates have remained relatively low. The dominant challenges to Romanian public safety are transnational and organized crime, as seen in various arrests related to smuggling and human trafficking. Romania continues to be a willing participant in international police cooperation with European and regional partners.
Internal security policy does not effectively protect citizens against security risks.
While organized crime and violence against migrants remain serious problems, most citizens live relatively safely and crime statistics have fallen in recent years. Personal insecurity with respect to potential abuse of rights is related more to the ineffectiveness of the judiciary rather than the spread of petty crime. However, the Ministry of the Interior continues to delay much-needed police reforms and, despite relatively high public spending on public order and safety, the system is highly ineffective. EU partners’ lack of trust in the capacity of the Bulgarian internal security bodies is among the main reasons that the country has not yet become a member of the Schengen area.
Despite the crisis, crime rates declined between 2010 and 2014, and have since remained close to the OECD average. However, in 2015 – 2016, all crimes with the exception of homicides increased by between 10% and 26%. Government expenditure on public order and safety (at 2.1% of the GDP) remained among the highest in the EU-28. Confidence in the Greek police remained comparatively low. This is due to the unwillingness or incapability of the police to control several central residential neighborhoods in large cities where there are daily incidents of petty theft, burglaries and drug use. Police protection for refugees and migrants from attacks by racist groups, including by militants of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn, continued to be insufficient.

Distrust in police may be explained by the tendency of the incumbent Syriza-ANEL government to tolerate violent protests. In the period under review, there were frequent violent clashes and riots in central Athens organized by anarchist and extra-parliamentary left-wing groups – usually against the police. In almost all cases, the police, which is closely controlled by the government’s Minister of Public Order, did not intervene to protect state and private property, such as university buildings and private stores, unless policemen themselves were physically attacked. There is a general threat from terrorism and acts of political violence. Dramatic events included the attempted attack on the former prime minister, Lucas Papademos, in May 2017 and the storming of the Spanish Embassy in Athens in October 2017.
Data on homicides and thefts, as well as trust toward police, is drawn on the SGI statistical data available on this platform.
In Hungary, regular crime is largely within normal limits. While the number of registered crimes slightly increased in 2016, for the first time since 2013, Budapest is a rather safe capital city and the crime incident rate in the country remains relatively low. However, the government’s attempts to prevent atrocities from being perpetrated against Roma, Jews and homosexuals, as well as to protect opposition demonstrators, have remained rather half-hearted.
The United States invests massively in efforts to protect citizens against security risks such as crime and terrorism. In the years after 9/11, the United States built an extraordinarily large security establishment centered in the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. In 2013 and 2014, the Snowden leaks revealed massive, largely unauthorized National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance of Americans’ telephone and internet communications. Although little evidence has been provided regarding the concrete achievements of this surveillance program, policymakers had not moved to impose major limitations on surveillance authority by November 2016. The US has suffered attacks from homegrown terrorists. In addition, security officials report that actors associated with the Russian government have hacked into computer systems of the Democratic party, the Clinton campaign, and other political organizations.

The government has had less success dealing with two other kinds of violence. First, a number of large cities are plagued by homicides, primarily in inner city black and Latino neighborhoods. New Orleans, St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit and Chicago all number among the world’s 50 cities with the highest homicide rates. Second, there are repeated instances of individuals conducting large-scale violent attacks on civilians in public spaces, killing large numbers of people, often using semi-automatic weapons with large ammunition clips. Under pressure from the National Rifle Association and its mass membership, Congress has failed to pass legislation tightening weapon regulations.

In addition, the 2014 fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer in a St. Louis suburb drew attention to a possibly growing phenomenon of excessive police violence, especially against African Americans. The Black Lives Matter protest movement gained momentum during 2015, highlighting the insecurity of racial minorities vulnerable to harassment or violence by local police departments. Law-enforcement sources have suggested that the additional scrutiny of police practices has inhibited police effectiveness and led to increases in crime in certain areas. In terms of actual casualties and loss of life, the frequency of mostly black-on-black inner-city violence is by far the greatest failure to provide safe living conditions.

In his inaugural address, Trump provided a dark picture of crime in the United States and called for a tough on crime strategy. Trump’s dark portrait of America, however, comes at a time when the national crime rate is near historic lows – 42% below what it was in 1997.
In a 2014 OECD survey, 62% of Turkish respondents stated that they felt safe walking alone at night, slightly lower than the OECD average of 69%. Furthermore, 76% of respondents to the TUIK 2016 Life Satisfaction Survey expressed satisfaction with Turkey’s security services. However, the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2016 ranked Turkey 98 out of 112 countries in terms of order and security as a factor of rule of law. The rule of law in Turkey has deteriorated in recent years due to the increasing threat of terrorism and extremism, the failed coup attempt and the government’s use of state of emergency powers. Crime is poorly controlled, and instances of terrorism and violence, including intimidation and muggings, are increasing.

Since the beginning of 2015, homicides – particularly murders of women (honor crimes) – have increased. Between January and November 2017 , 365 women were killed by a man (e.g., a husband or lover).

The General Directorate of Security was allocated €4.8 billion in 2016 of which 80% was spent on personnel. About €4.6 billion was spent on public order and security. There are approximately 319 police officers per 100,000 inhabitants. During the review period, 22,987 police officers were dismissed within the scope of FETO operations. The Turkish National Police (TNP) collaborates extensively with domestic partners and international organizations, such as INTERPOL, EUROPOL, SECI, AGIT, BM, CEPOL and FRONTEX. Moreover, the TNP has introduced an e-government infrastructure in many divisions and initiated several projects intended to bring operations into harmony with the EU acquis communautaire. Several projects were also initiated by the directorate, such as the Security Department Law Enforcement Services, Missing Person Alarm System, Media Monitoring System and Urban Security Management System. The failed coup attempt in July 2016 and the lack of sufficient personnel prevented several departments from achieving their performance indicators.

In 2010, the Under-Secretariat of Public Order and Safety was established to develop policies and strategies to combat terrorism, and to coordinate between relevant institutions and agencies. As of 2015, 97 personnel were employed by the under-secretariat. The under-secretariat has undertaken several national and international activities and surveys, and analyzed policy options for resolving the Kurdish issue. The number of special security service companies reached 1,405 in 2016 and 256,000 people were employed in this sector.

Many observers argue that Turkey needs a holistic, integrated and well-coordinated and centralized domestic security policy. This need, however, is challenged by the subsequent state of emergency and dismissal of thousands of staff in the security apparatus following the July 2016 failed coup attempt.
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Internal security policy exacerbates the security risks.
Mexico has been among the most dangerous countries in the world and 2016 showed no substantial improvements. The main reason for this high homicide rate is that Mexico has become a major center for the transit of illegal drugs to the United States. In brutal competition with one another, Mexico’s criminal gangs, or cartels, have carried out horrific acts and killed thousands. Moreover, violence has become increasingly intertwined with local, regional and national politics. From a regional perspective, Mexico has only a slightly lower homicide rate than Honduras and Venezuela.

Although the then-incoming National Action Party President Calderon made the so-called war on drugs a policy priority in 2006, the murder rate continues to increase. The reasons for this increase are complex and cannot all be blamed on the government, but Calderon’s anti-drug policy clearly did not succeed. President Peña Nieto initially criticized the Calderon government for relying too much on force in dealing with the drug problem, but it is far from clear whether the current administration is doing any better. Mexico has improved the bureaucratic efficiency of some of its crime-fighting operations, but there are still huge problems. These problems include a lack of bureaucratic cooperation, rampant corruption within the security apparatus, the immense scale of criminal activity in Mexico and the infiltration of law enforcement agencies by organized crime. Thus, one can say that internal security policy does not effectively protect citizens. This explains the proliferation of self-defense groups throughout the country and a lack of trust in the authorities, which are – especially at the local level – frequently infiltrated by organized crime.

More worrying still, the judicial system is not designed to convict powerful and wealthy criminals. It is too difficult to convict criminal suspects in Mexico who can afford wealthy lawyers. Additionally, Mexico has suffered several public scandals which have further damaged public confidence in the authorities. These scandals include prison escapes by high-profile criminals and unexplained massacres in rural areas. In at least part of its territory, Mexico is a failed state.

In an attempt to decriminalize marijuana and after intense domestic debate, Mexico’s senate voted in late 2016 in favor of a more liberal use of cannabis. This, together with liberalization policies in some U.S. states, may have some impact on the activity of drug gangs but will not put an end to drug-trafficking-related violence. The first half of 2017 showed a steep increase in violence and homicides, and reliable information on the increasing problem of disappearances and kidnappings is lacking.
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