Safe Living


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

Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks very effectively.
According to the 2019 Overseas Security Advisory Council (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. Finland remains among the safest countries in the world, with a very low crime rate. Still, as evident from the 2019 OSAC report, there has been an increase in the incidence of sexual offenses, drunk driving, robberies and narcotics-related offenses. 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, the 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 addressing organized crime, the informal economy and terrorism. Involving a collaboration between municipalities, regions, organizations, businesses and the public administration, preparations for a new national strategy outline were initiated in August 2016 and completed in April 2017. An implementation program 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;;;
“Finland 2019 Crime & Safety Report,”
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 recorded crimes reached a postwar low in the first half of 2019. In 2019 Tokyo was again ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit as the world’s safest (major) city, with Osaka ranking at third place.

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

Another issue is the existence of organized gangs, the so-called yakuza. These groups have moved into fraud and white-collar crimes. However, their numbers have sharply declined, from around 90,000 in the early 1990s to 30,500 at the end of 2018. Aside from police efforts, low unemployment levels have played a major role in reducing the incentive, or felt need, to join a gang.
Number of crimes reported in Japan in first half drops 8.7%; 2019 figure likely to hit lowest postwar mark, The Japan Times, 18 July 2019,

Thisanka Siripala, Japan’s Once Powerful Criminal Underworld Hits Record Low Membership, The Diplomat, 16 May 2019,
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 2016, 45,639 crimes were registered, which was a 3.7% decrease from 2015. In 2017, the number fell further, reaching 44,250 or 229.1 crimes per 10,000 people. In 2017, 61% of the recorded crimes were classified as relatively mild and approximately one-third were categorized as serious. In 2018, the serious crime rate decreased slightly to 26.6%.

Despite international developments, the threat of terrorism remains low. There have been 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, which was followed by one conviction. In 2016, two criminal investigations for terrorism threats were launched, another for inciting terrorism and four for participation in foreign armed conflicts. Similarly, in 2019, criminal proceedings were initiated against one person for unlawful participation in the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, while three people were detained on the grounds of illegal arms trade and laundering.

Opinion polls from 2018 indicate that public trust in the police continues to rise and more people feel safe (71% of respondents reported feeling safe or rather safe and 62% indicated they had trust in the police).
1. Research center SKDS (2018), Attitude Toward the State Police, Available at (in Latvian): s_2018_Attieskme_pret_Valsts_policiju_0.pdf, Last assessed: 02.11.2019.

2. Central Statistical Bureau (2019), Number of registered criminal offenses: Database, Available at:, Last assessed: 02.11.2019

3. Latvian State Security Service (2018) Counterterrorism, Available at:, Last assessed: 02.11.2019

4. Latvian State Security Service (2019), VDD detains three persons for violation of sanctions determined by international organisations, Available at:, Last assessed: 02.11.2019

5. Latvian State Security Service (2019), VDD calls for criminal prosecution for unlawful participation in the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine, Available at:, Last assessed: 02.11.2019

6. Latvian State Police (2018) Infographic on Crime in Latvia (2017), Available at:, Last assessed: 02.11.2019.
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. In general, police officers remain unarmed, although during periods of heightened security risks, police officers have carried arms, which suggests that the policy is gradually changing.

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, often involving youth, are increasing in frequency and brutality, particularly in certain urban areas. 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. Police reforms are ongoing.
Actual and perceived security risks in Slovenia are very low. 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, which 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. The effects of that commitment were evident in the period under review, with the police receiving new equipment, such as radars and vehicles, to replace older models. While public trust in the police is slightly below the EU average, it is higher than in most other East-Central European countries and higher than public trust in political institutions.
European Commission (2018): Standard Eurobarometer 89. Brussels (
South Korea
Korea remains a very safe country with regard to the risk of violent crime. There have been no terror attacks or terrorist activities in Korea in recent years. Nevertheless, extensive media reports about violent crime, along with rumors spread on social media have led to an increasing subjective feeling of insecurity. Despite low violent-crime levels, levels of personal insecurity and trust in the police are low. This might have to do with a seemingly high level of fraud, including white-collar crimes and cyber-crimes. The spread of financial scams (“phishing”) and cyber-crime in particular, 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 another serious problem. South Korea has the OECD’s third-highest ratio of road fatalities, with 8.4 deaths per 100,000 residents. The lax enforcement of drunk driving laws in particular has recently become the subject of contentious debate.
The external threat posed by North Korea persists, although the Moon administration’s policies of engagement have successfully calmed the situation following recent years’ more bellicose rhetoric.
WHO, Global Health Observatory Data Repository, ain.51310.
Korean Statistical Information Service. National Crime Statistics. 2017.
The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) of the United States. South Korea 2017 Crime and Safety Report.
OECD. Road Accidents Statistics,
The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) of the United States. 2019. “South Korea 2019 Crime & Safety Report.” Retrieved from
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. As of 31 October 2019, there were only 11,992 new asylum-seekers, 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 the whole, Swiss citizens feel quite safe. In 2018, a survey asking for the five most pressing problems found that issues related to safety were mentioned only moderately: asylum-seekers (31%), social security (13%), personal security (12%) and internet security (9%).
Internal security policy protects citizens against security risks more or less effectively.
Internal security is primarily the responsibility of the states and there is correspondingly some variation in policies and outcomes across them. In most states crime rates are relatively low. Coordination between various policing, enforcement and intelligence-gathering authorities is generally satisfactory.

The issue of violence against women has been receiving increasing attention in recent years. One-third of women in Australia have experienced physical violence.

At the national level, responsibility for internal security rests with the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organization. The latter has no arrest powers, 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.

Since 2014, a variety of bills concerned with countering terrorism have been passed, including the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Amendment (Foreign Fighters) Bill 2014, the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015, the Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) Bill 2016 and the Counter-Terrorism (Temporary Exclusion Orders) Bill 2019.

Particularly significant is the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Act 2015, which allows for increased surveillance of electronic communications and imposes requirements on internet service providers to retain data for minimum periods. The 2015 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. Even more controversial is the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act, passed in December 2018, which requires technology companies and telecommunications providers to give reasonable assistance to law-enforcement agencies seeking to access communication content and data. Many experts have argued this act is ineffectual in countering criminal activity, while simultaneously weakening encryption of data and therefore reducing the security of Australians, for example by making them more vulnerable to hackers.

In July 2017, the prime minister announced that the government would establish a home-affairs portfolio bringing together Australia’s immigration, border-protection, law-enforcement and domestic-security agencies within a single portfolio. The new portfolio is 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 status. In addition, although some parties (e.g., the FPÖ, which was responsible for the Ministry of the Interior between 2017 and 2019) argue that EU membership has facilitated an increase in crime, the data show that, despite some increases in burglaries and car thefts, there has been no significant increase in overall crime in recent years.

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.

All indicators define Austria as a rather secure country. Despite the tendency to define certain criminal events as a sign of deterioration, the criminal statistics clearly indicate that the overall security Austrians enjoy is stable and comparatively high.
Stats from the interior ministry:
Belgium has always been a generally safe country and the situation has continued to improve over the last years. Yet, some violence does occur and the country’s crime rate is slightly above several neighboring countries. In addition, Belgium has become infamous for having attracted a number of Islamist terror activists, who are producing a new type of threat that the country has found difficult to manage. This is, however, a general issue in Europe and among OECD countries.

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 problem. 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, neo-corporatist 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 member states.
OECD 2015. Better life initiative. How is life in Belgium? October 2015.
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. 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. 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 federal police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, with new preventative arrest powers. The Liberal government has implemented a new bill designed to roll back some of the powers assumed by the previous government. Bill C-59, which removed some of the liberties accorded to the CSIS and the Communications Security Establishment (CSE; the country’s signals-intelligence organization) in the past, also established new review bodies designed to increase security-service accountability.

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 Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 2014 stated that between 1980 and 2013, 1,181 Indigenous women were reported murdered or missing. The UN 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 to gather evidence and propose recommendations on the issue. The inquiry has faced substantial criticism over the past year, with several key 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

Forcese Craig, “A Report Card on the National Security Bill” 22 June 2017,
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.

Denmark has opted out of the justice and home affairs cooperation within the European Union (since 1993), a position that was reaffirmed by referendum in 2015. Subsequent negotiations led to an agreement with Europol, which allows Denmark to take part in police cooperation. It remains to be seen how satisfactory the agreement will be, although there is no majority support for re-opening the issue.

Following the large influx of refugees and asylum-seekers in 2015, the government reintroduced border controls, a policy that will be continued by the new government, despite being contested by some groups. Denmark does not support a common EU agreement on the distribution of refugees. The question of continuing national border controls continues to be discussed.

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.

Recently, there have been a number of attacks, including bombings, in the Copenhagen area, which have been linked to Swedish gangs. The new Social Democratic government has therefore introduced new temporary border checks at the bridge-tunnel that connects Copenhagen and Malmø in Sweden, and ferry connections between the two countries. The government has also allocated DKK 1.2 billion in the budget proposal for 2020.
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).

“Iran attempted political assassination in Denmark:PET,” (accessed 7 November 2018).

“Grænsekontrollen har nu kostet mindst 1,25 milliarder kroner,” (assessed 16 October 2019)

Finance Ministry, Finanslovforslaget 2020. (accessed 16 October 2019).
Public safety has steadily increased and crime rates have declined over the preceding decade.

Multiple factors have contributed to greater public safety. Alcohol consumption – a major cause of severe traffic accidents and violent behavior – has declined as a result of stricter alcohol policy and increased public awareness of healthy living. Increased funding for the police and the border guard have been another positive change, which have enabled better human and technological resourcing, and more efficient policing. Placing greater emphasis on secure borders is particularly important in combating human and drug-trafficking, and terrorist threats. While alcohol consumption has decreased, drug-trafficking and use are an increasing challenge. Cooperation between tax authorities, border authorities, the police and preventive bodies (e.g., National Institute of Health Development) will be key to successfully tackling of this challenge. The border guard and police force enjoy high levels of public trust, which helps to address safety problems more efficiently as envisaged in the Internal Security Development Plan 2015 – 2020.
Estonia Drug Report 2019. European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addictions. (Accessed 14.10.2019)
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 the protests against a parliamentary decision to enroll Iceland in NATO in 1949. The main policing priority has been Iceland’s internal security. The police force has for a long time suffered from a manpower shortage, exacerbated by low pay.

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, especially on weekends. Organized foreign gangs are considered responsible for the repeated waves of burglaries.

During 2017, four murders were committed in Iceland. Accordingly, 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). In 2018, the number went down to two – a low rate compared to other Nordic countries.
Interview with Helgi Gunnlaugsson in 6th January 2018.
In Mercer’s 2019 Quality of Living, Luxembourg City was ranked as the safest city in the world in terms of personal security, ahead of Helsinki and the Swiss cities of Basel, Bern and Zurich. In this context, several factors were analyzed: crime rates, law enforcement, security forces, the limits of individual freedom, international relations and press freedom.
The overall number of crimes in Luxembourg increased slightly by 1.5% in 2018. However, this figure has to be put into perspective, because of the difference between residents and non-residents in the country. If only the residential population was considered, the crime rate fell very slightly by 0.4%, with 6,194 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants.
Both the number of thefts (+5.9%) and the number of burglaries (+10.3%) increased compared to 2017. While the number of vehicle thefts declined (265 in 2018), more cars were broken into (1,476). In addition, almost twice as many bikes were stolen as in 2017 (465). The number of burglaries and attempted break-ins returned to the high reached in 2015, with 3,667 total burglaries.
After a strong rise in 2016, the number of rapes dropped to 76. However, it should also be noted that many such cases are not reported by victims. In addition, there were three murders committed in 2018. Furthermore, the drug hotspot at the central station (Straßburger Straße) remains a problem. The Luxembourg police seem to need more staff. However, in recent years, a reorganization of the police force has had positive effects.
Le Luxembourg est la ville la plus sûre au monde. 19/03/2019. Accessed 18 Oct. 2019.

“Mercer ranks Luxembourg safest city in the world.” Delano, 14 March 2019, Accessed 4 Dec. 2019.
New Zealand
New Zealand has traditionally had a remarkable internal security record. However, the terrorist attack on a Christchurch mosque in March 2019, when a right-wing extremist killed 51 people and injured 49, shook the country’s sense of security. The government responded to the politically motivated mass shooting by passing a new gun lawn in April that bans military-style semi-automatic weapons and parts that can be used to assemble prohibited firearms. More than NZD 208 million have been set aside to for a gun buy-back scheme, compensating owners for up to 95% of the original price of their weapons. Police estimate that around 14,300 military style semi-automatic weapons are covered by the new legislation. The government also announced that NZD 17 million would be spent to establish a dedicated investigative team to find and prosecute terrorist and extremist content online. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has also been leading on an internationally coordinated initiative to tackle online hate speech.

While government expenditures for public order and safety are relatively high and growing, crime continues to be a salient issue for New Zealanders. While recent statistics show a considerable decline in criminal offenses, the New Zealand Crime & Victims Survey published at the end of 2018 reveals that only a fraction of crimes (around 25%) are reported to police and recorded officially. Burglary, harassment and fraud were the most common crimes committed in New Zealand, and Māori people were more likely to be victims of crime, with 37% of indigenous respondents reporting being the victim of a criminal incident in the past year (the national average is 29%). Men and women were equally likely to be victims of crime (at 29% each), but in the 200,000 sexual assaults and 190,000 incidents of domestic violence, 71% of victims were women.
BBC, Christchurch attack: New Zealand launches gun buy-back scheme (
Manch, Largest-ever New Zealand crime survey shows 77 per cent of ‘shadow crime’ unreported, Stuff (–shadow-crime-unreported)
RNZ, Government announces $17 million to target violent extremist content online (
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 2.6% in 2018 relative to 2017, and violent crime declined by 8.6% over this period.

In this generally positive picture, a black spot is the increase in deaths of women as a result of domestic violence. There were 39 domestic violence deaths in 2018; and 29 in 2019 by early October.

Portugal remains a relatively safe country in international terms. Furthermore, Portugal has not experienced a terrorist attack of the kind witnessed in many other European countries. Whether this is due to effective intelligence gathering and policing or the priorities and preferences of potential terrorists is unclear.

In a previous SGI report, we noted the failure of civil-protection services during the 2017 forest fires, which resulted in over 100 deaths and over 500,000 hectares of burned land. While Portugal again faced substantial forest fires in 2019, their impact was considerably more limited, with virtually no reported deaths and the total area burned by the end of August being the second lowest since 2009. These improvements are due to a more active policy framework with regard to forest fire prevention, with the government embarking on a number of forest fire prevention initiatives (e.g., strengthening the requirement for landowners to clear shrubbery that could otherwise fuel fires), as well as more favorable weather conditions than in 2017.

In a previous SGI report, we also drew attention to the robbery and subsequent recovery of a large quantity of arms and ammunition, including grenades, from the military arsenal at Tancos. Over this period, charges were brought against a number of military and the national gendarmerie (GNR) officials, and the then-minister of defense over an alleged cover-up regarding the robbery and recovery of the weapons. This has inevitably impacted on the credibility of the military.

As noted in paragraph four above, whether the relatively good internal security situation is due to government policy or the lack of interest by terrorists and organized crime in Portugal, the security situation for Portugal is extremely positive relative to other countries in South and Central Europe.
Pordata (2018), “Incêndios rurais e área ardida – Continente,” available online at:êndios+rurais+e+área+ardida+–+Continente-1192

Público (2019), “Portugal com menos 8719 hectares de área ardida do que em 2018,” available online at:

Público (2019), “Quem são os 23 acusados do caso de Tancos?,” available online at:

Público (2019), “Duas mulheres mortas em 24 horas. São já 29 as mortes por violência doméstica este ano,” available online at:

Sistema de Segurança Interna,“Relatório Anual de Segurança Interna 2018,” available online at:
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. However, there has been some concern about the impact of the substantial reduction in police numbers on the ability of the police to respond. Doubts have also surfaced about the effectiveness of elected Police and Crime Commissioners.

The coalition government abolished some of the harsh counterterrorism 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 member states, 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.”
In Croatia, crime represents no significant threat to public safety or security, although property crime is on the rise in tandem with burgeoning tourism activity. The homicide rate is still below the EU-28 average, but higher in 2019 than the previous year. Family-related violence has also risen in 2019. Despite the police continuing to effectively maintain public order and combating crime in general, police effectiveness has been dropping. While Croatia has the fourth largest number of police officers per 100,000 inhabitants in the EU-28, almost one third of police officers are deployed to protect the country’s borders. Over the years, the employment of (often superfluous) administrative staff in the Ministry of the Interior has come at the expense of police officers’ presence in the field. Field officers are generally poorly paid and often overstretched. Several high-profile cases of police officers’ malfeasance and the ensuing attempts to cover up these cases, and even some extortion attempts on behalf of police officers has reduced public confidence in the police force’s integrity. 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.
Cyprus is generally considered a safe environment. A 2017 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 of entry points. Its relatively vulnerable points are the border dividing the government-controlled areas and the Turkish-occupied north as well as sections of one of the British military bases that abut the north.
Cyprus is a trafficking destination for persons subjected to forced prostitution and labor. Cyprus is not part of the Schengen area. Incidents of serious crime, including a case of serial killings of women and children, showed that authorities handled the disappearance of “foreign persons,” in this case of domestic helpers, inadequately. Burglaries and robberies are by far the most common crimes, while digital crime is gradually surfacing. Law enforcement is largely deficient in cases of minor wrongdoing. However, violations of the driving code (a large-scale offense) often leads to deaths. Illegal drug activity is comparatively low overall, but an increase in illegal drugs confiscated at entry points has been noted.
1. Six arrested in massive drug bust in Limassol, KNEWS, 19 March 2019,
Crime figures in Czechia are unremarkable. The police have recorded a drop in crime rates for the fifth consecutive year, and more than half of all cases are cleared up. Citizens feel secure, and mostly indicate satisfaction with the performance of the police. Levels of trust in the police and the army are high. In September 2019, 69% of citizens indicated that they trusted the police, the highest such level since the mid-1990s. However, regional differences in crime activities are increasing, and there are tensions in regions featuring a relatively high concentration of marginalized groups.
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 Rally.

The terrorist attacks of 13 November 2015 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, giving more powers to the executive and police to prevent terrorist acts. The Macron administration terminated the emergency legislation in November 2017, but this came 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. A side consequence of the focus on terrorism has been a distraction from the fight against petty crimes, particularly in large cities, a fact that has contributed to some citizen dissatisfaction. Moreover, local police forces have grown, and all police officers are now entitled to use a firearm, in contrast to past practices.
The Yellow Vest uprising and its repression, stretching from November 2018 to June 2019, also served to modify the relationship between police and citizens. Faced with protests exhibiting rarely seen levels of violence (exacerbated by black bloc activists), the government reacted strongly to the social mobilization, triggering accusations of overreaction by parties and groups of the left. Once again, the French tradition of preferring protest and violence to participation and compromise was seen at work here.
In general, residents of Germany are well protected against security risks such as crime or terrorism. After a rise between 2013 and 2015, the total number of recorded crimes has fallen again since 2016. According to the most recent police statistics, the total number of crimes decreased by 3.4% in 2018, reaching a level of 5.6 million total cases, the lowest such number since 1992 (Bundesministerium des Innern 2019b). In 2018, particularly strong declines in sexual offenses and burglaries were evident.

The influx of nearly 900,000 refugees in 2015 and the years to follow fostered a heated discussion about a potential rise in crime. Crime rates differ significantly across migrant communities (Bundeskriminalamt 2019). The share of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq among crime suspects is far below these countries’ shares in the total refugee population. Conversely, refugees from the Maghreb and other African countries, as well as from Serbia, have disproportionate shares among criminal suspects. In general, the higher crime rates among refugees compared with the native-born population can be explained by the much higher share of young men with low levels of education and who are without employment, a group that tends to exhibit higher crime rates in general.

Several terrorist attacks by Islamist extremists took place over the course of 2016 to 2019, although the majority of allegedly planned attacks were prevented by the police. The most severe attack took place in December 2016, when Anis Amri killed 11 people and injured 55 by driving a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin. The year 2019 saw a terrorist attack from a right-wing extremist who targeted a synagogue in Halle.

Politically motivated crimes, which increased in number in 2015 – 2016, have been on the decline since then. The total number decreased in 2018 by 8.7% (Bundesministerium des Innern 2019a). Politically motivated violent crimes are slightly more frequent from the left (1,340 in 2018) than from the right (1,156 in 2018). For all political crimes, including non-violent incidents, the numbers are much higher for the right (20,431 in 2018) than for the left (7,961 in 2018). Political crimes related to foreign ideologies are on the rise, but remain relatively infrequent overall (2,478 in 2018).
Bundeskriminalamt (2019): Kriminalität im Kontext von Zuwanderung, Bundeslagebild 2018.

Bundesministerium des Inneren (2019a): Politisch motivierte Kriminalität im Jahr 2018, Bundeweite Fallzahlen, 14. Mai 2019.

Bundesministerium des Inneren (2019b): Polizeiliche Kriminalstatistik 2018, Ausgewählte Zahlen im Überblick,
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.
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 share of Lithuanians who reported crime, violence and vandalism in their community declined from 5.0% in 2012 to 3.4% in 2016. The country continues to have a high number of intentional homicides by EU standards, but this rate went down from 6.03 homicides per hundred thousand inhabitants in 2012 to 4.92 in 2016.

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 (66%) was recorded in December 2018, while 60% indicated that they trusted the country’s military forces, according to a Vilmorus survey. In its 2018 report, the World Economic Forum ranked Lithuania 24 out of 140 countries 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 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. The 2019 budget projected an increase in defense spending to reach 2% of GDP. The 2019 budget also included measures to increase funding for internal-security institutions.
The 2011 Eurobarometer reports is available at archives/ebs/ebs_371_fact_lt_en.pdf.
Crime and homicide rates in Poland have fallen and have been relatively low for some time. However, trust in the police and the secret services has suffered under the PiS government. The effectiveness of the new Anti-Terror Law, introduced in June 2016, has been a subject of debate. 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 no longer alternates between the government and opposition. Since 2015, Poland’s secret services have been coordinated by Mariusz Kamiński, a controversial figure. Kamiński was found guilty by a court in 2015 of producing false evidence against a political opponent in his previous position as head of the anti-corruption office (CBA). However, Kamiński was later pardoned by President Duda. In August 2019, Kamiński also became Minister of the Interior and Administration.
Although government spending on public order and safety is among the highest in the European Union and the actual levels of crimes against rank-and-file citizens is low, internal security has been one of the major political issues in Slovakia for some time. While the homicide rate (the number of murders per 100,000 inhabitants) stands at 0.8 and is much lower than the OECD average of 3.6, only 60% of people say that they feel safe walking alone at night, which is less than the OECD average of 69%. The subjective feeling of security in private or public space or has decreased due to several factors. First, from the beginning of the EU refugee crisis, almost all politicians, headed by Prime Minister Fico, fueled fears by painting negative consequences of the migration crisis. Second, since the murder of the investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, trust in the police and security forces has dramatically dropped. Third, the inefficient or reluctant persecution of criminal action or problematic linkages between politics and business. Public confidence in the Slovak police is one of the lowest among OECD members.
Compared with other OECD 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 Madrid in 2004 and Barcelona in 2017 showed, the government of Spain and its citizens are a principal target of jihadist extremism.

Although the share of police officers per capita is among the highest in the world, and the intelligence and police communities have demonstrated their capabilities in terms of 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. During the Catalan conflict, questions of loyalty and trust in the Catalan regional police force were raised. During the protests that followed the Spanish Supreme Court sentencing of Catalan separatist leaders over their roles in the failed secession bid in 2017, the regional police force urged its members to behave in a neutral manner and to avoid taking sides in the conflict.

Although the PSOE-government announced a reform of the law on public safety (Organic Law 4/2015) approved in 2015, the law could not been amended due to the early elections in 2019.
Kölling(2019), Spain, in Leuprecht, (ed.), Public Security in Federal Polities, University of Toronto Press.

OECD(2018), Better Life Index,
Internal security policy is in general 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. Private security services are widespread in the wealthier urban areas, especially in Santiago. According to a poll released in May 2019 by the Chilean survey institute Centro de Estudios Públicos, insecurity remains the overriding public concern (51%), ahead of pensions (46%) and healthcare (34%), despite the fact that crime rates, especially regarding serious crime, have been relatively stable during the last few years.

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 on detection and repression rather 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 and 2018 state budget, security was one of the top four priorities (along with education, health and social security).

In July 2018, President Piñera received the final report of the working group on security (Mesa de Trabajo por la Seguridad). The working group had consisted of government ministers, undersecretaries, senators, deputies, mayors and civil society representatives and been debating public safety issues for 90 days. The final report included 150 recommendations across five topic areas, namely: modernizing the police, fostering an “intelligent state system,” tightening controls on the circulation of firearms, stressing the key role of municipalities in the realm of public security, and improving the coordination between actors in the criminal prosecution system. This represented a further step on the way to a new national public security agreement, one of President Piñera’s stated goals. Some of these recommendations were included in the draft laws that the executive presented to Congress in November 2018.

In response to mostly peaceful protests in October 2019, President Piñera declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew that lasted over a week, deploying police and military forces to restore social order. Although social tensions had been growing for several years, the scope of these protests overwhelmed the government and political analysts. In the context of these protests, state security forces – primarily the police (Carabineros) – committed massive human-rights abuses. According to the Chilean Institute for Human Rights, the protests claimed the lives of at least 23 people, more than 1,700 were injured and upwards of 5,000 were detained. There have been informal reports of severe human-rights violations, but official investigations were still under way at the time of this writing. Former president and current High Commissioner of the United Nations Office for Human Rights (OHCHR) Michelle Bachelet sent a team to Chile tasked with investigating the incidents. Denouncing the declaration of a state of emergency and the imposed curfew as a violation of the public’s fundamental rights, the opposition filed a “constitutional accusation” against the minister of the interior in November 2019.

The facts underlying the accusations and the results of the investigations initiated by the OHCHR clearly bear on the evaluation of the issue. However, the first official results of the inquiry were not expected until the end of November 2019, beyond the period under review.

UNODC report 2013:

On insecurity as the chief public concern:

Final Report on Public Security:

Draft law Public Securita:

About the riots of October 2019:
In Hungary, regular crime is largely within normal limits. Budapest is a rather safe capital city and the crime incident rate in the country remains relatively low. According to the Hungarian Statistical Office, the number of committed crimes is now at the level observed in 1989. However, public trust in the police has remained low, and 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 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. As of 2018, the Israel National Cyber Directorate is responsible for cybercrime security. However, the directorate has been criticized for being inefficient and uninterested in cyber-threats that are not related to terrorism (for more information, see G13.3 section).

Notwithstanding occasional acts of terrorism, Israelis still report that they feel generally secure. According to the most recent crime-victimization survey, 70% of people claim that they feel safe walking alone at night. Israel’s homicide rate (a more accurate indicator of safety in a country) is 1.8 per 100,000 inhabitants in contrast to 3.8 on average in OECD countries.

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 total expenditure on internal security. 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.

Media headlines often focus on the level of crime and violence in Arab Israeli communities, and associated concerns about internal security. In 2018, the government’s activities to reduce and prevent crime within the Arab Israeli population were widely criticized. According to the State Comptroller report from 2018, about 45% of all murders in Israel take place in Arab Israeli communities. In addition, the prevalence of firearms and other weapons is relatively high. According to the State Comptroller, there are few police stations and security cameras in Arab Israeli communities.
“A View on MPS 2016,”

Grassini, E., Between security and military identities: The case of Israeli security experts, Security Dialogue, 49(2018)1-2, 83-95:

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.

State Comptroller: “Police do not reduce the gap between the number of crime cases and indictments in the Arab sector, Calcalist, 15.8.18 (Hebrew):,7340,L-3744371,00.html

Ziv, Amitai, “Instead of cyber protection we got a 200 million NIS “puppet of the Shabak,” The Marker, 29.08.2018 (Hebrew):

Hermann, Tamar et al., A Conditional Partnership. Jews and Arabs. Israel 2017, Israel Democracy Institute, Jerusalem 2017,

Abu Ras, Thabet, and Be’eri Sulitzeanu, Amnon, Roots of Crime Wave in Arab Cities of Israel, Abraham Initiatives, 15.10.2019,
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 rates have generally declined, and are today among the lowest in Europe. However, the rates of lower-level crimes such as theft and robbery have significantly increased, probably as a consequence of economic instability and rising unemployment. They often create a feeling of insecurity, particularly in some city peripheries. The public has a generally high level of confidence in the security forces. However, the segmentation of security forces (Carabinieri, Polizia di Stato, Guardia di Finanza, Polizia Municipale) might result in some inefficiencies and accountability issues. Italian security agencies have to date been fairly successful in preventing terrorist attacks.

The first Conte government, and especially its interior minister, exploited feelings of insecurity among some groups of the population. It additionally introduced measures to broaden the legitimacy of armed self-defense, which might negatively impact personal safety. Media reports suggest that the number of cases of xenophobic, racist and hate crimes are increasing, possibly as a consequence of the incitements to fight immigration expressed by the Northern League and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini. The second Conte cabinet has softened its tones, but as of the close of the review period had not changed the restrictive security norms adopted by the previous government.
Malta is generally considered a safe place to live. However, crime rates have spiked somewhat, and in 2017, Malta had the fourth-highest homicide rate in the EU. Fraud cases have also increased drastically. Conflicts between criminal organizations involved in drug-trafficking and money laundering also occur from time to time. The car bombing of a well-known Maltese journalist in 2017 garnered intense international attention; however, the identification of the alleged mastermind behind the murder in 2019 has raised the profile of the police force somewhat.

The state faces few external security threats, making it difficult to assess local readiness or the state’s ability to protect citizens if such threats were to materialize. The U.S. State Department highlights the fact that like all other European countries, Malta is vulnerable to transnational terrorist groups. However, in its 2019 report on crime and safety in Malta, the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) placed Malta only at Level 1, meaning that it is a country where no more than normal precautions need to be exercised. This is particularly significant given Malta’s geographic location and open borders with other Schengen-area members. Numbeo recently ranked Malta 44th worldwide on its Safety Index, based on data compiled in mid-2019.

Malta is affiliated with Interpol, and is party to several cross-border security cooperation efforts, particularly those coordinated by the European Union. Frontex operations in the Mediterranean area are also of pivotal importance to the island. As Malta is tasked with ensuring 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.

Malta’s Secret Service is small, and depends heavily on intelligence from foreign intelligence services. The country has the second-highest number of police per 100,000 inhabitants in the EU. Four police commissioners have resigned over a five-year period; in 2020, one of the first moves of the new prime minister was the removal of the current police commissioner. Changes to the process of selecting the head of police, with the goal of enhancing oversight, are in the pipeline. A 2016 report found that the police force lacks direction. A policy revision that no longer requires police officers to have demonstrated clean conduct for the purposes of rehiring and promotion was not received well. According to the EU Barometer 2019, trust in the army has risen somewhat to 67%, while confidence in the Maltese police force has fallen minimally to 65%. Parliamentary figures indicate that 103 officers were assaulted during 2019. A total of 24 murders have remained unsolved since 2008. Institutional capacity to deal with organized crime has not kept pace with the rapid change in Malta’s economic and social structures, although the police did score some notable successes in 2019. A Police Governance Board was appointed in 2019, and is seeking to address these evolving challenges with an EU grant. A 2019 assessment by the U.S. State Department acknowledged the progress that Malta had made in the area of human trafficking, but highlighted the fact that the conviction rate in this area remains low.

Meanwhile, the annual World Risk Report found Malta to be the second-safest country in the world when it comes to natural disasters.
Times of Malta 22/02/2019 Significant increase in cases of fraud as crime rate drops
The Malta Independent 16/10/2017 Updated: Daphne Caruana Galizia killed as vehicle blows up in Bidnija; bomb not in cabin – expert
The Malta Independent 11/06/2018 ‘Migrants’ search and rescue took place outside operational waters’ - Frontex
On Parade Magazine October 2014, Armed Forces of Malta p.17
Malta Today 21/05/2018 Trust in the Police needs to be rebuilt
Lovin Malta 09/10/2019 The Malta Independent 07/08/2016 Police force ‘lacks direction’, full skills-audit recommended
Lovin Malta 11/04/2019 70 Murder Victims Since 2008: Just 7 People Have Been Found Guilty Of Homicide In Malta In The Last 10 Years
Malta Today 21/06/2019 Malta made significant efforts to fight human trafficking but convictions remain low, U.S. report finds
The Malta Independent 13/09/2019 World Risk Report ranks Malta as the world’s second-safest country for natural disasters again
Times of Malta 24/01/20 Tenacity to implement change
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.
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. For a long time, Sweden has experienced substantial problems with organized crime and conflicts among gangs. 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. Much of the growing violence in Sweden is related to gangs and organized crime.

These issues are atop of the political agenda in Sweden in 2019. While all major parties agree that the present situation is not acceptable, they do not always agree on which strategy to curb the violence will be the most effective. In the 2018 election campaign, law and order-related issues played a major role. It seems clear that many people living in cities now feel increasingly unsafe. This means, for instance, that they will be less inclined to be outdoors after dark and less assured of the police’s capacity to guarantee safety and solve crimes. The response time, particularly outside metropolitan areas, is today longer than what many people find acceptable.

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 by the Swedish Agency for Public Management (Statskontoret 2018:18) found that the organizational reform has not improved performance and that the organization remains fragmented.

The red-green coalition government and the center-right parties agree that recruiting more police officers is an important component 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. Preemptive 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 (2018), Ombildningen till en samlad polismyndighet. Slutrapport. (Report number 2018:18) (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 number of registered criminal incidents per capita has declined from 93 per 1,000 citizens in 2002 to 43 per 1,000 in 2017. The total number of years people have been sentenced to serve in Dutch prisons has declined from 12,000 in 2005 to 7,000 in 2015. At the same time, the percentage of resolved cases remains steady, at about 25%. A recent CBS report called this “the mystery of the disappearing crime.” However, this decline came to a stop during the review period, with a rise in sexual offenses, probably related to human trafficking particularly of underage subjects.

Cybercrime rates (hacking, internet harassment, commercial and identity fraud, cyberbullying) remained stable since 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. Recent studies have concluded that the Dutch police lack the technical expertise to effectively tackle cybercrime. A new study warned in 2019 of the dangers of “digital dependency” and the possible resulting havoc. 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 gained in priority.

There is deep concern about the infiltration of organized crime into local politics, business and police forces, which has resulted in an unwanted seepage of the illegal economy into the formal economy, along with the undermining of the public administration. Recently, a number of reports drew attention to the scale of illegal-drug production and distribution in the Netherlands and beyond. Synthetic drugs with an estimated street value of over €18 billion and marihuana production have become a structural part of Dutch economy, thereby creating a constant danger of spill-overs into the mainstream economy. In an attempt to tackle the problem, a number of municipalities have begun experimenting with the legalization of soft drugs.

Two recent attempts (one successful) to assassinate lawyers are considered to be extremely alarming, as they expose the true reach of organized crime. Moreover, members of the police rank and file are expressing decreasing confidence in their leaders, due to scandals related to racism, discrimination and bullying. Police spokespeople m aintain that the citizenry’s confidence in the police forces remains high.

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 police officers claiming severe loss of operational capacity. Meanwhile, there is profound discontent and unrest inside the Ministry of Justice and Safety. Judges, prosecutors, lawyers and other legal personnel have voiced public complaints about the “managerialization” of the judicial process and the resulting workload, leading to “sloppy” trials and verdicts. Efforts to digitize the judicial process, intended to reduce costs, resulted in a massive operational failure and a cost over-run of approximately €200 million. The government now intends to save €85 million in 2018 by cutting legal assistance to citizens. Government policy is attempting to relieve part of the burden on the judicial system by introducing intermediation procedures.

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=8. Ontwikkelingen en samenhangen, WODC en CBS, Raad voor de Rechtspraak, 2015

Cybersecuritymonitor 2017, CBS,, consulted on 29 oktober 2017

1.2 million cybercrime victims, CBS, 24 juli 2019

Liquidatie van advocaat is ‘aanslag op rechtsttaat,” NRC, 18 september 2019

Veiligheidsmonitor, 2019 ((, consulted 3 November 2019)

Jurien de Jong, Het Mysterie van verdwenen criminaliteit, Statistische Trends, CBS, Mei 2018, Den Haag

Tops, P. et al, Waar een klein land groot in kan zijn. Nederland en synthetische drugs in de afgelopen 50 jaar.The Hague 2018

NRC-Handelblad, Nog hogere tekorten bij rechtspraak, 21 August 2018

NRC-Handelblad, Dekker overweegt drastische hervorming rechtsbijstand, 25 September 2018

Daling criminaliteitcijfers laatste halfjaar gestaakt, NOS, Jan. 17, 2019

Dutch police are being infiltrated by criminal gangs, report says, July 16, 2019
Internal security policy does not effectively protect citizens against security risks.
Despite relatively generous budgets, police forces remain ineffective, and are distrusted by both Bulgarian citizens and the country’s EU partners. Still, most citizens live relatively safely, and crime statistics have improved in in recent years. Violence against women, an issue given greater prominence by the public discussions triggered by the Bulgarian parliament’s failure to ratify the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention, has not been effectively addressed by state institutions.
Jones, J. (2018): The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the Council of Europe Convention on Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention), in: R. Manjoo, J. Jones (eds.), The Legal Protection of Women From Violence: Normative Gaps in International Law. London/ New York: Routledge, pp. 147-173.
Despite the long-term economic crisis, homicide rates declined in 2011 – 2017; but so did the share of population claiming to feel personally safe and secure. Greece’s homicide rate was 0.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, well below an OECD average of 3.7. However, only about 60% of people said that they felt safe walking alone at night, less than the OECD average of 68%, despite the decline in most other types of crime (e.g., robbery, burglary, assault and rape) reported to the police.

The decline in homicide rates and other types of violent crime may be attributed to a few converging factors. First, family ties remain strong in Greece, and were further strengthened during the economic crisis. Thus, the unemployed and poor relied on family members for social protection. Second, with the exception of a few regions (e.g., the island of Crete), the circulation of firearms is very small and restricted.

The decrease may also be partially explained by the relatively high levels of government expenditure on public order and safety (constituting 2.2% of GDP in 2016, among the highest such levels in the EU-28). However, this does not mean that there was extensive, let alone efficient, policing of Greek cities. Expenditure was primarily channeled to sustain a large police force. It is telling that Greece exhibits the largest public expenditure on policing of any EU-28 country (1.4% of Greece’s GDP), though effectiveness is widely disputed.

Feelings of personal insecurity may be attributed to the fact that trust in the police is comparatively low. This is probably due to the unwillingness or incapability of the police to control a number of central neighborhoods in large cities where there are daily incidents of petty theft, burglaries and drug use.

Police have not offered sufficient protection for refugees and migrants against attacks by racist groups, including by militants of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn. In the past, foreign migrants and refugees have been chased and beaten by Golden Dawn activists. Trials of those accused of perpetrating such attacks have lasted for an unjustifiably long time period.

Moreover, in the period under review, as in the past, there were frequent violent riots in central Athens and Thessaloniki organized by anarchist and extra-parliamentary left-wing groups. In almost all cases, the police, under orders by the Syriza-ANEL government (in power through July 2019), failed to intervene to protect state and private property. In some cases, police stations were physically attacked by some radical-left groups. Indeed, the Syriza-ANEL government showed considerable tolerance particularly toward groups that frequently engaged in low-intensity violence (e.g., throwing paint against the buildings of foreign embassies in Athens, or invading government or embassy buildings in order to distribute leaflets or smash windows). Many such groups also occupied empty private and public buildings in the center of Athens. In the summer and autumn of 2019, the new government (the New Democracy) ordered the police to empty such buildings of their occupants, and drafted criminal-law provisions intended to restrict the intruders’ activities.

In summary, in the period under review, even though the rates of some crimes (e.g., homicides and thefts) were low, there was broad public uneasiness regarding the security in Greek city centers, owing to activities by uncontrolled violent radical political groups.
Data on homicides and thefts as well as trust toward police, is drawn on the SGI statistical data available on this platform. Also, data is derived from OECD Better Life Index 2016,
Data on government expenditure on public order and safety is available from Eurostat,
The 2019 UNDP Human Development Report ranked Turkey in the top group of countries (i.e., countries with a score above 0.8 score), with Turkey scoring particularly well for life expectancy and standard of living. In a 2018 OECD survey, 59.8% of Turkish respondents stated that they felt safe walking alone at night, slightly lower than the OECD average of 68%. Moreover, while the Global Competitiveness Report identified a decline in the reliability of police services, 75.2% of respondents to the TUIK 2018 Life Satisfaction Survey expressed satisfaction with Turkey’s security services, the highest level of satisfaction reported in the survey. Turkey’s homicide rate is 1.4, lower than the OECD average of 3.7.

On the other hand, according to a report prepared by the oppositional Republican Peoples Party (CHP), 32 sexual assaults per week were perpetrated in 2018. During the last six years, the number of victims of sexual assault has exceeded 7,000, of whom 1,779 were under 18 years old at the time of the assault. The number of women who died from violence rose to 353 in the year to November 2019, and the alleged arbitrary treatment of critics of the government and state authorities has increased since the averted coup attempt of 2016, and the subsequent changes in state institutions and public discourse. Thus, the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index 2019 ranked Turkey only 96 out of 126 countries with a 0.63 score for order and security. The Judicial Records for 2018 indicated that offenses against property and sexual assaults, especially against children, are rising rapidly.

The General Directorate of Security employed over 292,000 personnel, and spent €4.3 billion on public order and security in 2018. The directorate launched a series of projects to tackle domestic violence, improve emergency support services for women, reduce drug use and strengthen IT security, among other things. The Ministry of Interior Affairs also initiated a joint border control project with Bulgaria and Greece. 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.

The Under-Secretariat of Public Order and Safety was established in 2010, but closed by Decree No. 703 in July 2018. The new Department of Internal Security Strategies was established by a presidential decree in September 2018.
OECD Better Life Index Edition 2019, (accessed 1 November 2019)

Yaşam Memnuniyeti Araştırması, 2018, (accessed 1 November 2019)

World Justice Project, Rule of Law Index 2019, (accessed 1 November 2019)

Kan donduran rapor açıklandı! Cumhuriyet daily newspaper, 6 July 2019, (accessed 1 November 2019)

T.C. İçişleri Bakanlığı 2018 Faaliyet Raporu, (accessed 1 November 2019)

T.C. İçişleri Bakanlığı Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü 2018 Faaliyet Raporu, (accessed 1 November 2019)
General Directorate of Judicial Records and Statistics, Judicial Statistics 2018, (accessed 1 November 2019)

Şiddetten Ölen Kadınlar İçin Dijital Sayaç, (accessed 1 November 2019)

İç Güvenlik Stratejileri Dairesi Başkanlığının görev ve yetkileri belirlendi, 27 October 2018)
The United States invests massively in efforts to protect citizens against security risks such as crime and terrorism. In the years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, 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. Since 9/11, the United States has been subject to only smaller-scale attacks from homegrown terrorists. In 2019, arrests for domestic terrorism held steady at about 100.

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. Hate crimes have increased, with Jewish and Muslim persons frequently targeted. Even though the 2019 level – 350 hate crimes reported to police – is about one crime per million population, the increase has resulted in a growing sense of insecurity among the targeted populations.

Under pressure from the National Rifle Association and its mass membership, Congress has failed to pass legislation tightening weapon regulations. In 2018, a massive national protest – led by students from a Florida high school that had suffered an attack – increased the pressure on lawmakers to introduce tighter restrictions on the sale and acquisition of guns and other weapons. In 2019, the Democratic Congress passed numerous gun control measures (background checks and limits on ammunition magazines) which the Republican Senate did not act on.

The issue of violence in predominantly black communities has been highly controversial.Whereas some studies have suggested that when apprehending a suspect, police are no more likely to use lethal force against blacks than whites, these studies have been criticized for methodologies involving conceptual bias. There are several other studies, however, showing that black men are much more likely than white men to be affected by police brutality. In terms of actual casualties and loss of life, the frequency of inner-city violence, which involves mostly black perpetrators and black victims, is by far the greatest failure to provide
safe living conditions (see 2016 FBI data “Crime in the United States”).
Internal security policy exacerbates the security risks.
Mexico has been among the most dangerous countries in the world and there have been no substantial improvement in recent years. 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, and the worst homicide rate of any OECD country. In Mexico, on average 96 murders happen per day, with more than 36,000 people killed in the first year of the presidency of López Obrador and a total of 250,000 people killed since the war on drugs began in 2006.

To solve the problem, Mexican governments have been actively fighting the drug mafia with military and security forces. However, the so-called war on drugs has actually contributed to an increase in the murder rate.

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. The National Security Commission has argued that the low wages paid to the security forces is one reason for this situation. 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 expensive 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.

During the election campaign, the incoming government promised to gradually reduce the militarization of the fight against the drug cartels. Nevertheless, in November 2018, López Obrador announced a plan to create a national guard, which will number 150,000 armed men at the end of his term in 2023. Consequently, the expected militarization of the conflict triggered numerous criticisms. After a wave of protests and a compromise with the Senate, the government announced that it would create a new police institution, the National Guard, which would be placed under civilian control, and act as an “inter-institutional coordination body” between the military and police. One of the first orders of the National Guard was to deploy guards along the border with Guatemala in order to control the flow of migrants into Mexico. However, it seems that despite the reform, the security situation under López Obrador has not improved and may get even more out of control in the near future.
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