International Edition Volume 5 (2015)

Population Ageing and Safety

Selected aspects of a topical issue

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Hanns Matiasek

Demographic change, i.e. alterations to the size and structure of the population, has been on the political, media and academic agenda for a number of years. Companies and organisations are also increasingly identifying demographic change, in particular ageing, as a challenge and are adapting their strategies in order to remain fit for the future. Police authorities are no exception. Demographic change and population ageing have three key properties that should be taken into account by players such as companies and authorities in their long-term strategic development and planning. (1) Long-term character: Demographic change is not a brief, transient phenomenon. It is a challenge with profound effects that by its very nature will continue over decades and keep increasing in scale. (2) Predictability: It is a challenge whose magnitude and trend can be predicted relatively accurately compared to most other challenges with which organisations are confronted. (3) Uncontrollability: Demographic development, like other fields (such as technology and communication) lies increasingly outside state control in a free society. This paper looks at key aspects of population ageing, some of which may be less well known than others, and points to their significance in the police context. It will conclude with a discussion of the security and safety of older people, their sense of safety and fear of crime, as well as the sometimes overlooked influence of health.

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Urban Resilience

A new paradigm of crime prevention through urban planning?

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Tim Lukas

Resilience is a new buzzword in national and European security research. The concept, which originates from a wide range of research contexts, promises answers to various security problems. The idea is that resilience plays a part in minimising risks and threats, and limiting, and ideally preventing, damage events (cf. Floeting 2013a, 19). In the specific context of cities, urban resilience means the creation of resistant structures that are also sufficiently flexible to be able to cope with unexpected events. The development of urban resilience follows approaches and strategies that have been discussed and increasingly implemented for many years in the field of crime prevention through urban planning. The question is, however, to what extent crime prevention through urban planning can benefit from the discourse about urban resilience and whether a resilience perspective can provide the basis for a new paradigm of crime prevention through urban planning. Urban resilience can be understood as an extension of crime prevention in a risk society. It can be seen, however, that the concept can only be considered promising with regard to crime prevention through urban planning, if questions of security are addressed not only in terms of construction and technology, but also their social context.

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Police and Adolescents in Multi-Ethnic Societies

Findings of a comparative survey of adolescents in German and French cities

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Dietrich Oberwittler, Anina Schwarzenbach

The German-French research project POLIS (“Police and Adolescents in MultiEthnic Societies”) investigates the relationship between the police and adolescents in German and French cities based on systematic, empirical surveys in order to explore the causes of tensions and potential for protest. The key findings of a survey of adolescents involving more than 20,000 respondents reveal a contrast between Germany and France with respect to the attitudes of adolescents to the police and their experiences in relation to the police. For adolescents in German and French cities, interactions, and in some cases multiple interactions, with the police are nothing out of the ordinary. In Germany, however, adolescents with a migration background are not stopped or checked more frequently by the police than native adolescents, and the overwhelming majority of the respondents find treatment by the police to be fair and have great confidence in the police. In France, the experiences of native adolescents and of adolescents of African origin in particular differ markedly. The survey findings indicate that this minority is treated in a discriminatory and unfair way by the police, with the result that the adolescents concerned lack trust in the police.

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True and False Confessions under Interrogation

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Ottmar Kroll

Around eighty percent of the work of a police detective consists of conducting interrogations, one of the aims of which is to obtain a confession. But are such confessions actually true, or are they unconsciously or deliberately false? With reference made to previous studies, this paper looks at the extent to which there are indications of the existence and the frequency of false confessions in Germany. Nearly 800 sets of interrogation records at a criminal investigation office in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg were analysed. The findings did not reveal any specific indications of false confessions. Interesting correlations could, however, be observed between age, gender, type of crime, detention and the willingness to confess. The paper also presents the causes of false confessions using several real cases. It is rounded off by a discussion of factors influencing the willingness to talk and to confess during an interrogation.

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Compliance at the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior and Public Service Law

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Albert Koblizek

Compliance is becoming a strategic instrument of the Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior as a body responsible for law and order. It serves to prevent and combat corruption and other undesirable forms of behaviour within the ministry's own ranks. In the discussion to date on the introduction of compliance in order to combat corruption in public administration, there has been a very strong emphasis on criminal legislation, owing to the various amendments to the Criminal Code in the past few years, and most recently the amendments to the Criminal Code that came into force on 1 January 2013 as a result of the Act of 2012 on Amendment of the Criminal Law on Corruption. Academic research into the organisational implementation of compliance tends to focus on business management in the private sector. The organisation of compliance structures at some companies is now of considerable scope. This paper will show that, when implementing compliance (which involves raising awareness and guidance) in public administration, which is governed by public service law, it is possible to rely on existing regulations and organisational units, rather than focusing on the creation of new regulations and organisational units.

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Undocumented Immigrants: Health Needs in Sweden and Austria

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Monika Potkanski

Undocumented immigrants represent a particularly vulnerable group within the migrant community. Approximately 1.9 to 3.8 million undocumented persons were estimated to be staying within the European Union in 2008. Since 2002, the number of unauthorized people within the Union has been declining due to the expansion of EU borders, increased border enforcement as well as changes regarding laws and regulations within the European countries (Morehouse/Blomfield 2011, 6). There is a general lack of knowledge regarding the specific health problems of undocumented migrants and their strategies for dealing with these problems. Their access to health care is influenced by a variety of factors, ranging from formal barriers (legislation and economic barriers such as low income), to informal barriers like lack of knowledge about the health and care system of the country they are staying in, as well as access to said system. Illegal immigrants often fear being reported to the police or immigration office by health workers. Illegal children are one of the most disadvantaged groups when it comes to irregular migration as they are in a position of triple vulnerability: being children; being migrants; and being undocumented migrants. Although their right to access to healthcare is protected by international and European law, on a national level the access varies depending on country and types of access. In Sweden, undocumented people under the age of 18 are entitled to full care including regular comprehensive dental care. Furthermore, all children between 6 and 18 years old are legally entitled to attend school, even if undocumented children are not subject to compulsory school attendance. In contrast to Sweden, Austria has no specific regulation regarding the legislation for health care of undocumented migrants. However, public hospitals are advised to give medical assistance to anyone in case of an emergency (Karl-Trummer et al. 2009, 4).

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Toxicological Hair Analysis

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Hans Sachs

The German legal system provides for the possibility of studying hair samples, in addition to urine samples, to check the abstinence of given offenders from drugs or alcohol as a condition of their probation. In addition, questions often arise during investigations about the consumption of drugs/alcohol in the history of a case, e.g. whether a suspect was under the influence of drugs at a given time in the past. It can also be important for investigators to know which substance or combination of substances were consumed during a certain period of time. After a while, such information can no longer be obtained from urine or blood samples, since the substances are metabolised in the body and the metabolites are excreted. Hair, by contrast, incorporates substances during growth and stores these for a relatively lengthy period. Special methods of analytical chemistry (mass spectrometry techniques) can detect minuscule quantities of alcohol/drugs or their breakdown products in hair samples, thereby enabling patterns of past alcohol or drug consumption to be identified by taking the rate of the growth of the hair into account. Details of the applications, methods and current limits of hair analysis are presented in this paper.

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The Military Organisation of the Habsburg Gendarmerie from 1849 to 1918

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Helmut Gebhardt

Austria had a gendarmerie for 156 years, from 8 June 1849 to 30 June 2005. The roots of that law enforcement agency lay in the French model, which became a global model for the maintenance of law and order. This paper looks at the first main period of the history of the Austrian gendarmerie, when the imperial-royal gendarmerie was still part of the army and therefore chiefly subject to military regulations. It can be seen that the gendarmerie, which was introduced following the serf emancipation of the revolutionary year of 1848, initially filled a law enforcement vacuum in the provinces, but soon become an instrument of the absolutist empire. The progressive democratisation of the Habsburg Empire and its transformation into the dual Austro-Hungarian monarchy gave rise to major changes in the 1860s. From that time, the gendarmerie was only responsible for the Austrian half of the empire, and endured massive cuts. Moreover, many politicians called for its military influence to be largely abolished and for the gendarmerie to be turned into a civil law enforcement agency. Finally that did not gain a parliamentary majority. Nevertheless, the gendarmerie's military character was reduced. However, a partial reversal occurred around the turn of the century, enabling the gendarmerie to be also deployed in the event of war, which proved to be of great importance during the First World War. Shortly after the establishment of the Republic in 1918, Austrian politicians decided to separate the gendarmerie from the army, marking a departure from the international gendarmerie model.

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