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New European Crimes and Trust-based Policy

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More legitimate criminal systems, less crime in Europe

New policy briefs on criminal research can support EU governments in reducing crime through trust in justice, rather than fear of punishment.

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Criminal activity such as human trafficking, cybercrime and the smuggling of illegal goods such as wildlife, alcohol and antiquities, is unfortunately rife in today’s society. This is especially true in the developing world but also within the European Union. One way to alleviate such crimes is by fostering legitimacy in the justice system rather than systems of deterrent threat. The EU-funded FIDUCIA (New European Crimes and Trust-based Policy) project looked at non-coercive ways to secure compliance with criminal law. It proposed a ‘trust-based policy’ model to help overcome the different forms of criminality. Focusing on normative compliance, rather than coercive compliance, the project worked on ways to strengthen the legitimacy of criminal law and the justice system through a trust-based approach to criminal policy. It looked particularly at human trafficking and the smuggling of goods, but also at cybercrime, criminalisation, and over-policing of migrants. To achieve its aims, the project team conducted a survey in seven countries (Bulgaria, Finland, Germany, Italy, Lithuania and the UK). Based the results and analysis, FIDUCIA articulated clear policy briefs and recommendations. The key approaches recommended were private-public cooperation and procedural justice, as well as training, education, and awareness. For example, the project advised EU states to improve the training of officials and other professionals who come into contact with victims and potential victims of human trafficking. It also recommended to combat the smuggling of cigarettes and alcohol through enhanced external border controls, intelligence sharing, enhanced detection and stronger criminal sanctions. The findings were disseminated to policymakers and through publications, supporting criminal justice in Europe and encouraging ‘public trust in justice’. By tackling the key question as to why people break the law, the project has contributed valuable knowledge to criminology research and policymaking with respect to crime across Europe.


Trafficking, FIDUCIA, cybercrime, criminal law, criminality, criminology

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