A Critical Analysis of International and National Legal Frameworks for Urban Security Policies
IcARUS is an EU-funded project that aims to identify innovative ways to implement urban security policies by addressing barriers to their implementation. The project focuses on four priority areas: preventing juvenile delinquency, preventing trafficking and organised crime, managing and designing safe public spaces, and preventing radicalisation leading to violent extremism. To clearly delimit the limits and possibilities of the IcARUS outcomes in ethical and legal terms, Plus Ethics has conducted a legal analysis of the international and European legal frameworks in the sector of crime prevention and urban security, as well as the national legal frameworks of six cities: Nice, Rotterdam, Riga, Stuttgart, Turin, and Lisbon.
To achieve the project's objectives, the legal report (D6.1) adopted a methodological approach based on the analysis of regulatory frameworks at both the international and national levels. The project analysed the legal instruments available to the law enforcement agencies (LEAs) or municipalities in each of the six cities. The analysis focused on the relevant guidelines, recommendations, resolutions, directives, declarations, rules, protocols, conventions, proposals, opinions, and international codes at the international level. At the national level, the analysis focused on the constitution, criminal code, specific legislation, and other relevant instruments. To identify the specific urban security challenges faced by each city, an online questionnaire was distributed to representatives of each city.
Firstly, the analysis of the international legal frameworks at the Council of Europe, United Nations, and European Union levels revealed that the most relevant instruments for each of the priority areas are as follows (in quantity of instruments found):
On the other hand, the IcARUS project has collaborated with law enforcement agencies and municipalities in Nice, Rotterdam, Riga, Turin, and Lisbon to analyse legal tools and challenges in preventing conflict and negative uses of public space. Each city has identified its specific concerns related to public safety and urban security.
- Nice is primarily concerned about mass gatherings, incivilities, and increased aggressions against law enforcement officers, and has enacted legislative and regulatory measures to punish antisocial and criminal behaviours in public spaces.
- Rotterdam is also focused on the prevention of violent demonstrations, incivilities, and criminal activity in the online world, and has embraced the idea of administrative orders providing mayors with an instrument to sanction infringements on municipal codes of prohibitions.
- Riga is concerned about public order and public security in public spaces, with a particular interest in prevention of violent demonstrations, mass gatherings and crowds, incivilities, aggression against law enforcement, and protection of public spaces against modern technologies. Latvia has developed strong emphasis on supporting human resilience, with many law enforcement agencies working to guarantee the safety of individuals and society.
- Stuttgart is concerned about radicalisation and terrorism in relation to urban security, with a focus on religious radicalisation, hate speech, and discrimination towards certain groups. Germany has developed comprehensive legislation on this topic, with a recent focus on the problems that hate speech is causing for citizens, due to the rise of right-wing extremism.
- Turin is concerned about juvenile delinquency and crimes in public spaces committed by young people, with a specific interest in the phenomenon of "Baby Gangs." The tools to be applied for urban security in this context should be oriented towards prevention and reintegration of delinquency by young people and not towards harsh punishment.
- Lisbon is concerned about crime committed in public spaces, in particular the problem of drug use on the streets. While most of the international and supranational legislation on the subject is directly related to drug trafficking itself, there is a lack of extensive legislative development at the national level to alleviate this problem, and the little legislation that does exist is not enforced by local authorities.
To study these topics, the national legal frameworks of the six cities were analyzed to assess the legal options and limitations of various legal tools, including:
- Nice: the Constitution, Criminal Code, and specific laws
- Rotterdam: the Constitution, Municipalities Act, Public Order Act, Police Act, and specific laws
- Riga: the Constitution, Criminal Law, Law on Police, Law on State Border, and specific laws
- Stuttgart: the Constitution, Criminal Code, Police Act, and specific laws
- Turin: the Constitution, Juvenile Code, and specific laws
- Lisbon: the Constitution, Penal Code, Municipalities Code, and specific laws
While each city has specific tools, mechanisms and legislation in place to address their urban security concerns, the main problem is the lack of initiative to implement legal recommendations or indications at the local level. National power should follow up and reinforce local authorities to implement action and prevention plans for crimes of concern to the actors.
The IcARUS legal report provides a critical analysis of the international and national legal frameworks for urban security policies in the six cities involved in the project. The analysis identified the most relevant instruments for each of the priority areas and the legal instruments available to the LEAs or municipalities in each city. The analysis also revealed the specific urban security challenges faced by each city and the legal instruments that are relevant for addressing these challenges. The report is expected to provide a comprehensive understanding of the required legal frameworks for preventive actions at the local level and the policies that are currently in place to prevent further criminal activities.
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