Recent Developments in Crime Prevention and Safety Policies in Finland

Article excerpt

Le Conseil national de prevention du crime (CNPC) de la Finlande a ete cree en 1989. Le gouvernement a adopte en 1999 un programme national de prevention du crime. Ce programme s'inspire du << modele nordique >> et comporte un organe national directeur et coordonnateur qui fournit des avis et des fonds au profit des comites et projets locaux de prevention du crime. Dans le cadre du modele nordique de la prevention du crime, le systeme de justice entretient des liens etroits avec d'autres secteurs et assure un equilibre entre prevention par le developpement social et prevention des situations criminogenes. Membre du Reseau europeen de prevention de la criminalite (REPC) depuis 2001, le CNPC choisit des projets a presenter a la conference annuelle sur les bonnes pratiques du REPC, qui seraient susceptibles de meriter un prix annuel europeen de la prevention de la criminalite. La politisation manifeste des questions liees a la lutte contre le crime necessite sans doute reflexion. Il faudrait probablement completer le modele nordique par d'autres demarches comme l'intervention precoce et diverses methodes de prevention sociale de la criminalite, et privilegier davantage le reseautage, la cooperation et les partenariats avec les nombreux acteurs intervenant dans la prevention du crime.

Introduction

In Finland, modern crime prevention began in a formal sense in 1989 with the establishment of the National Council for Crime Prevention (NCCP). The NCCP was based on precedents in the neighbouring Nordic countries of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway and followed a Council of Europe recommendation (see Takala 1999, 2005, in press). The NCCP's representatives come from many of the major stakeholders in Finnish society and from both public and private sectors. The NCCP also includes a secretariat established at and paid for by the Ministry of Justice. In Finland, the Ministry of Justice is responsible for the courts and the correctional system but not, as in the other Nordic countries, for police affairs. A representative of the police department in the Ministry of the Interior provides the link to police affairs and acts as vice-chair of the NCCP. The ministries of Social and Health Affairs and of Education are also represented, as well as the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities, several organizations from the business community, representatives of several non-governmental organizations, the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and experts in criminological and social welfare research. (1)

In the late 1990s, the NCCP developed a national crime prevention program that was adopted by the Finnish government in 1999. It follows the "Nordic model" and includes a national coordinating and steering body that provides funding and advice to local crime prevention committees and projects. It also helps coordinate the endeavours of different national bodies and organizations that play a central role in the field of crime prevention, such as ministries and national-level NGOs.

The Nordic model of crime prevention

Finland has traditionally considered itself one of the so-called Nordic Countries, together with Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The countries vary in regards to their international alliances; for instance, three countries are members of NATO, but not the same three that are members of the European Union. Nevertheless, the rive countries have a history of very close cooperation and frequent exchanges of ideas in a number of areas, including criminal justice and crime prevention. Each of them also has a Council for Crime Prevention or a national body with similar responsibilities; those in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are considerably older than the one in Finland.

In a 2001 brochure on crime prevention in the Nordic Countries (SNCCP 2001), the Nordic model of crime prevention is described as involving "a strong affiliation to areas outside the justice system and the balance made between social and situational crime prevention. …