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Local political leadership and the governance of urban security in Belgium and the Netherlands

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In this paper, the meaning of the ‘governance of security’ in Belgium and the Netherlands will be explored. It is argued that the role of the mayor is substantial in both countries. This is why this article focuses explicitly on the political leadership of the mayor. The first section provides a comparison between Belgium and the Netherlands, contrasting their different constitutional-legal settlements and the relationship of these two cultures of control in the two countries. The consequences for which authorities and actors are ‘responsibilized’ for undertaking strategies of urban security governance are discussed. In a following section, the paper examines the current and potential challenges for governing urban security across both countries. In the final section, the dilemma of politics and science as drivers of policy responses to urban security problems is considered, identifying in particular certain deficits in mayoral expertise and training. The paper concludes that, despite a common tendency in comparative politics to group the ‘Low Countries’ together (given their strong historical and cultural connections), a powerful contrast is highlighted between the effects of federal and unitary constitution-legal settlements on policy responses to urban security.
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European Journal of Criminology
10(3) 314 –325
© The Author(s) 2013
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DOI: 10.1177/1477370812473544
Local political leadership
and the governance of urban
security in Belgium and the
Elke Devroe
Leiden University, The Netherlands
In this paper, the meaning of the ‘governance of security’ in Belgium and the Netherlands will
be explored. It is argued that the role of the mayor is substantial in both countries. This is why
this article focuses explicitly on the political leadership of the mayor. The first section provides
a comparison between Belgium and the Netherlands, contrasting their different constitutional-
legal settlements and the relationship of these two cultures of control in the two countries. The
consequences for which authorities and actors are ‘responsibilized’ for undertaking strategies of
urban security governance are discussed. In a following section, the paper examines the current
and potential challenges for governing urban security across both countries. In the final section,
the dilemma of politics and science as drivers of policy responses to urban security problems is
considered, identifying in particular certain deficits in mayoral expertise and training. The paper
concludes that, despite a common tendency in comparative politics to group the ‘Low Countries’
together (given their strong historical and cultural connections), a powerful contrast is highlighted
between the effects of federal and unitary constitution-legal settlements on policy responses to
urban security.
Constitution-legal settlements, governance, mayor, political leadership, urban security
In Belgium, with 3 regions, 27 judicial districts, 11 provinces and 195 police zones,
urban governance is closely embedded at the local level (Van Outrive et al., 1992). The
mayor in Belgium is an independent political figure, with every municipality being more
Corresponding author:
Elke Devroe, Institute for Criminal Law & Criminology, Leiden Law School, Leiden University, 2311 ES
Leiden, The Netherlands.
473544EUC10310.1177/1477370812473544European Journal of CriminologyDevroe
Devroe 315
autonomous from national government direction than is the case in the Netherlands. The
mayor in Belgium directs the (local) police to act close to citizens and to practise com-
munity-oriented policing. In the Netherlands, the tendency is towards greater centraliza-
tion, with the implementation of one national police force and limited influence of
municipal mayors over the direction of local police work. In the Netherlands, prevention
and integral security projects are mostly situated within police forces, and not, as in
Belgium, under the direct leadership of the mayor. As a consequence, steering urban
government is a complex task for the Dutch mayor, with such limited control over the
national police force. Although Dutch mayors have limited influence over local police
work, they do posses significant powers to influence other aspects of municipal govern-
ment that are relevant for tackling problems of urban security. The paper uses these
contrasting constitutional-legal settlements as a means of understanding contrasts in the
policy response to problems of urban security, the authorities responsible for this response
and tensions between political and scientific drivers of urban security.
Contrasting constitutional-legal settlements and
cultures of control
Recognition of the specificities of the constitutional-legal settlement of the Belgian state
facilitates an understanding of the evolving meaning of ‘governing urban security’ in this
country. As a consequence of the transformation of the national state in 1988, Belgium
became a federal state. Given this historical evolution of the Belgian federal state and its
division into, and enmities between, Flemish/Dutch-, German- and French-speaking
community councils and the regional governments of Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels-
Capital, these regional authorities have developed different approaches to urban security,
including their selective importation of ideas from other countries, including the
Netherlands, the UK and Canada. A key consequence of the 1988 Federal Constitution
has been a shift in the balance of power from national to regional and municipal authori-
ties (Ponsaers and Devroe, 2008). Only a few policy domains remained exclusively in
the hands of the federal government. One of these was a steering role in the maintenance
of public order (police) and law enforcement (justice). Otherwise, those competencies
relating to social policy, more specifically education, employment, health, living condi-
tions, culture, housing and spatial planning, etc., became the responsibility of the regional
governments. This settlement established a tension between federal government policies
on criminal justice responses to crime and other problems of urban security and regional
government responses that privilege social policy responses to the perceived causes and
prevention of these problems.
Whereas federal and regional authorities retain responsibility for formulating these
contrasting policy responses, policy implementation is the responsibility of the munici-
pal authorities (Devroe and Ponsaers, 2005). To draw upon a common distinction made
in the study of governance between ‘steering’ and ‘rowing’, regional authorities steer
social policy responses (policy formulation, agenda-setting, allocation of resources, etc.)
to quality of life issues, federal authorities steer law enforcement and the maintenance of
316 European Journal of Criminology 10(3)
public order, and municipal authorities are obliged to row both criminal justice and social
policy approaches. Consequently, it is at the municipal level that these competing federal
and regional responses are negotiated, hence the critical importance of mayoral political
leadership in determining the outcomes of competing, often contradictory, policy agen-
das in their local jurisdictions. The basic features of this settlement are summarized in
Figure 1.
Within this settlement, mayors derive their authority from local elections, which priv-
ileges a popular-democratic approach to the definition of policy agendas for urban secu-
rity the outcome of a significant variability between the agendas pursued in different
municipalities. Some mayors are very active in the development of urban (security)
policy, others have exercised their discretion to limit their involvement; some formulate
more repressive agendas whereas others have promoted an approach to prevention that is
more oriented to social policy. In Belgium, mayors are chosen not because of their exper-
tise in urban security management but because of their political mandate.1 In addition to
significant ideological differences, it is possible to identify a negation of other kinds of
knowledge about urban security management, such as social research findings and
administrative expertise.
A number of problems of urban security have been prioritized on these agendas. The
population of the big cities increased rapidly during the second half of the 1990s as a
result of migration, unemployment in rural areas, poverty and greater social mobility (De
Decker, 1994; Noppe and Lodewijckx, 2012). Although this population growth was seen
as the most important motor for economic growth, the local financial need for additional
resources to tackle the negative consequences of urbanization increased accordingly. The
federal government cannot command municipalities to pursue its policy agenda, but it
has sought to influence municipal authorities by offering ‘prevention contracts’ that pro-
vide additional grant aid to those municipalities agreeing to implement its priorities. For
example, the Belgian Federal Minister of the Interior agreed to sign contracts with up to
40 cities (Willekens, 2008) following the approval, in 1992, of the federal government’s
report into ‘Security of the citizen, police and security’ (Veiligheid van de Burger, Politie
en Veiligheid).2 The arrangement consisted of a contract between the federal government
Figure 1. Constitutional-legal settlement of urban security policy in Belgium.
Devroe 317
and the mayor, in which the city proposed a preventive programme (often in collabora-
tion with the local police), which was monitored and subsidized by the federal govern-
ment after approval. As all cities were encountering significant pressures on public
expenditure at this time, these contracts provided much-needed additional financial sup-
port and none of the 40 bigger cities declined these contracts. As such, they provided a
means by which the Ministry of the Interior advanced its preventative approach to urban
security problems during the 1990s.
During this period, however, a first sweep of the federal government survey on vic-
timization and insecurity (the so-called ‘Security Monitor’) was launched in 1993 and
the findings from this identified a high level of feelings of insecurity among inhabitants.
These results were interpreted as implying a need for a broader approach to prevention
beyond the relatively narrow construction of security in terms of criminal law enforce-
ment and repressive maintenance of order. The principal consequence of this was the
promotion of local ‘integral’ security policies requiring the involvement of other actors
in preventive strategies (for example, outreach workers, street-corner workers, coaches,
mediators). This led, in 1998, to the establishment of ‘preventive and societal contracts’
that broadened the policy agenda to include welfare- and health-related issues, such as
drug and alcohol addiction, in addition to a concern with law enforcement. Although the
federal government adopted an ‘integral security policy’ in 2004, which explicitly recog-
nized the relevance of social policy responses to problems of crime and the quality of life
in Belgian cities, its policy agenda continued to prioritize investment in a narrower focus
on the repression and prevention of crime and disorder, privileging the role of the police
and justice agencies in accordance with their constitutional competencies.
At this time, the regional governments also began to adopt the concept of ‘urban secu-
rity’, but prioritized a different approach. They argued that crime and disorder had their
roots in social problems, such as (ethnic) discrimination, high levels of unemployment,
precarious housing and living conditions and the decline of social cohesion in the city
centres (Ponsaers and Devroe, 2012). This concept implied a more encompassing policy
agenda than just prevention and/or repression of crime and disorder. It acknowledged the
responsibilities of citizens and of other actors both in the response to problems of crime
and disorder but also in terms of improving the ‘quality of life’ in Belgian cities. Social
disorder, aggression, a sense of insecurity, the exodus of the middle class from the city,
the arrival of asylum seekers and other ethnic groups, problems of city vandalism, dam-
age to buildings, etc., were defined by the regions as ‘quality of life’ problems that were
embedded in the economic and social conditions of Belgian cities and not as stand-alone
security problems remediable through policing and criminal justice interventions alone.
In turn, this broadening of the policy agenda can be understood in terms of the constitu-
tional-legal settlement granting regional governments authority in social policy-making
allied to their interest in increasing their influence over, and reformulation of, the secu-
rity agenda. ‘Governing urban security’ for the regions meant contributing to a healthy,
durable, attractive and safe living environment, where citizens participate in their own
well-being and where equality and social justice are guaranteed for every citizen. General
well-being is accentuated in this context, not the more restricted aspect of ‘security’.
This analytical focus on the constitutional-legal settlement helps to explain the apparent
anomaly of how federal administrations comprising social democratic and liberal parties
318 European Journal of Criminology 10(3)
– ordinarily associated with an ideological preference for social policy responses to
problems of crime and quality of life – nonetheless advanced urban security policies
prioritizing criminal law enforcement and punitive responses to offending behaviour, as
demonstrated by the proportion of funding allocated to law enforcement and punitive
interventions in their integral security contracts with municipal authorities.
This analytical approach also informs an understanding of the variegated and often
contradictory outcomes of urban security polices in Belgian municipalities as mayors
seek to reconcile competing federal and regional government agendas with the prefer-
ences of their own political parties and local electorates, while retaining their access to
the governing resources (in particular financial support and political legitimacy) pro-
vided by these various interests. As a consequence, urban security is often characterized
by a pragmatic balancing of different perspectives, depending on the different political
majorities and coalitions that comprise specific City Councils during particular terms of
A further influence on the local outcomes of urban security policies is the position of
the public prosecutor. Prosecutors are required to have no party political affiliation and
are charged with seeking social justice for the perpetrator, victim and society (Crawford,
1997). The mayor and the public prosecutor discuss local policies in the local security
board.3 Every four years, the police prepare a ‘Policy Plan’ that has to be approved by
both the public prosecutor and the mayor. Through this instrument, a strong collabora-
tion between the different actors is guaranteed by law. Empirical research findings com-
paring the concrete activities of this board show that in some districts they are very
dynamic and active (mostly in the big cities) and in rural municipalities the functioning
is much more modest (Devroe et al., 2004). These differences can be explained by means
of resources and of (the lack of) belief in bargaining and consultation of (some) members
of this zonal security board. The work of these boards is currently affected by the auster-
ity restrictions on public expenditure that are faced by other West European states
(Edwards and Hughes, 2012). The difference between the Flemish and the Wallonian
localities can be explained by the contrast between the relatively affluent Flemish cities
and the more austere economic conditions found in Wallonia.
The Netherlands
By contrast, the Netherlands is not a federal state, nor is it currently divided by the kind
of linguistic and cultural pressures on national government found in Belgium. The Dutch
national state retains a steering role across the breadth of criminal justice and social
policy, as illustrated in the diagrammatic representation of the constitutional-legal settle-
ment underpinning urban security policy-making in the Netherlands (see Figure 2).
Within this settlement, urban security policy-making is centralized in the Dutch
national state and, prior to the party politicization of this issue during the 2000s, was
driven primarily by the civil service. Even so, the definition of ‘integral security’ by vari-
ous national administrations has been sufficiently broad to grant municipal authorities a
significant degree of discretion in setting local policy agendas. Although the mayors of
Dutch municipalities are not directly elected but are appointed by the national government
for six-year terms,4 and are not consequently subject to the direct popular-democratic
Devroe 319
pressures that Belgian mayors are, almost all of them are members of a political party,
usually the majority party on the City Council, and this can influence the execution of
their administrative responsibilities. Significantly, mayors have the duty of implement-
ing national integral security policies in their municipalities and some, notably mayor
Opstelten in Rotterdam and mayor Cohen in Amsterdam, have used this position to shape
local policy agendas in accordance with their ideological predilections, by privileging
the more repressive or social-policy-oriented aspects of national policy.
It is possible to identify key turning points in the dominant orientation of national
policies on urban security. A transformation from a (more) preventive policy towards a
more punitive response can be observed in the 1990s. In order to integrate different
aspects of governing urban security during the 1990s, the national Dutch policy opted for
an integral security policy advocated in the aftermath of the Roethof Commission on
Petty Crime (Roethof, 1984). This resulted in a White Paper in 1986.5 The main purpose
of this influential Commission was to implement measures in the domain of crime pre-
vention (Van Swaaningen, 2005). In the slipstream of these activities, a second White
paper followed, entitled Society and Criminality (1985). A few years later, the idea of an
Integral Security Report (1993) was promoted, prioritizing incivilities as an important
factor in the quality of life in cities. During the 1990s, issues of urban security occupied
a more prominent place in both national and local politics. In addition, feelings of inse-
curity and anxiety grew as many social problems were interpreted in terms of ethnic
divisions. According to Van Swaaningen (2005), it became an exception for there to be
no reference to ethnicity in debates on nuisance, youth gangs, terrorism, abuse of social
benefits, etc. The urgency of tackling incivilities was thus strongly connected with the
increasing problem of immigrant, ethnic minority youngsters, gathering in groups in
public spaces.
After shocking incidents such as the assassination of the popular right-wing political
leader Pim Fortuyn in 2002 (Terpstra, 2007), ‘governing urban security’ became a highly
politicized issue in the Netherlands. This shift was already visible before Fortuyn’s party
(LDF) claimed, in 2002, to be The Party of Law and Order, coining the term ‘liveability’
Figure 2. Constitutional-legal settlement of urban security policy in the Netherlands.
320 European Journal of Criminology 10(3)
(leefbaarheid) as a buzzword on the political agenda (Van Swaaningen, 2005). The
White Paper Tackling Crime (2001) argued for stricter and more severe controls on
behaviour in public spaces. The notion of prevention through social policy interventions
diminished as greater emphasis was placed on a more repressive orientation to the main-
tenance of public order and criminal law enforcement.
Although street warrants already existed from the 1980s, the Dutch government in the
1990s was still rather reluctant about using the private sector for street patrol activities.
From 2000, politicians became increasingly critical of the police and local government
for inadequately fulfilling their duties to investigate crime and maintain public order.
This insight led to the establishment of supra-regional investigative teams and perfor-
mance contracts with a strong focus on remittance notes and performance management
of detective work. From 2000 onwards, the possibilities for private security work in the
field of delinquency became more prominent (Terpstra, 2007). Apart from the position of
the police, the private security industry also gained an important place in local partner-
ships for urban security in the Netherlands.
In this context, a number of municipal mayors struggled to form stable governing
coalitions, because 36 out of a total of 460 were compelled to step down from office dur-
ing the period 2002–5 (Korsten and Aardema, 2006). Only very strong political figures
such as mayor Opstelten in Rotterdam (former ‘informateur’ and in 2012 Minister of
Justice and Security) and mayor Cohen in Amsterdam, who was secretary of state in the
Ministry of Justice and professor in Law, succeeded in advancing their political agendas
in the face of an increasingly fragmented and volatile local politics of urban security. The
agenda-setting of Rotterdam, the origin of Pim Fortuyn’s party, complemented the
national tendency towards an increasingly punitive approach, with Amsterdam providing
a notable liberal counterweight. More recently, this repressive tendency was confirmed
by the Law on incivilities and measures against football hooliganism of 2010, which
provided the mayor with an extra set of tools against disorderly behaviour and incivilities
in the cities.6
Current and potential challenges for governing urban
In analysing both the actual and potential challenges for governing urban security in
Belgium and the Netherlands a series of observations can be made.
First of all, the challenge of developing an integral policy in each city persists, as
the actors in the domain of public order and quality of life expand. The latest statement
by the Belgian government (2011) stipulated that more and more competences will be
delegated to the regions.7 As a consequence of that, still more actors will operate at a
city level. The mayor has the challenging job of integrating different kinds of policy
actors and approaches (for example, youth workers, social workers, city coaches, stew-
ards) in a context where it is becoming harder to forge a consensus around policy
agendas for urban security. A particular focus for political competition over urban
security is the use of public space and decreasing tolerance for ‘incivilities’, such as
obstructive car parking, the taking over of public routes by bar owners placing chairs
and tables on sidewalks, throwing litter on the streets, rowdy groups of juveniles,
Devroe 321
beggars blocking the entrances to railway stations, shopping malls and banks, drug and
alcohol users occupying public squares, skaters blocking the entrance to the library,
even the occupation of park benches by the elderly (Devroe, 2008)!
Considering these frictions, my own interview-based research with Belgian politi-
cians and administrators uncovered the increasing priority given to intergenerational
conflicts over the use of public places on local policy agendas for urban security (Devroe,
2012). A possible driver of this conflict is the changing demography of Belgium, and
other West European countries, towards an ageing population more anxious about, and
subsequently less tolerant of, young people’s use of the public sphere.8
A second challenge is associated with migratory population flows and especially the
increasing number of asylum seekers and migrants from other parts of Europe in the big-
ger cities. After the Samira incident in Belgium,9 the policy on welcoming foreigners
changed into a soft, open policy where foreigners who were staying in Belgium could
more easily gain Belgian citizenship. The migration of Europeans seeking economic secu-
rity in the richer countries and of non-EU citizens seeking asylum expanded enormously,
not only in Belgium but also in the Netherlands (Van Swaaningen, 2005). However, in the
context of the current economic and financial crisis confronting many European states,
where governments are increasing taxation while reducing public expenditure to address
sovereign debt problems, policies promoting greater migration and mobility are becoming
more unpopular. In this context, tensions between established and migrant populations are
increasing and this is being exploited by political parties of the extreme right wing (in
Belgium Vlaams Belang, in the Netherlands Wilders’ PVV) with slogans to exclude these
groups from living in both countries. The Netherlands contrasts with Belgium in this
regard: in dealing with incivilities, foreigners are removed to places where they are less of
a nuisance, or are deported to the country from which the authorities think they have come
(Downes and Van Swaaningen, 2007; Van Swaaningen, 2005).
In summary, tensions associated with intergenerational use of public space and with
new migrants moving into cities are the most pressing challenges for urban security poli-
tics in both countries. However, contrasting the constitutional-legal settlements in
Belgium and the Netherlands helps us to understand the diversity of policy responses to
these challenges at the municipal level.
Politics and science as vocations? Deficits in mayoral
expertise and training
In negotiating this increasingly volatile political environment for urban security, a pos-
sible resource for municipal mayors is social scientific expertise on crime, disorder and
prevention. However, this presumes that such expertise can be employed within the pol-
icy-making process in order to act as a counterweight to punitive populism. For this to
occur within Belgian and Dutch municipalities there needs to be a greater understanding
of the contribution of social science amongst the mayoral and City Council leadership in
urban security policies. Currently research suggests, however, that mayors have had no
specific training in ‘managing urban security’, or in steering competences (Cachet et al.,
2008), or in management in general or in strategic planning. This is because no specific
322 European Journal of Criminology 10(3)
expertise is required for mayors. As a consequence, their political vocation and mandate
often act as a cipher for punitive populism.
This is more the case in Belgium than in the Netherlands. By separating facts from
values in politics, Weber (1958) focused on the distinction between objective sources
and personal political views. In the Netherlands, mayors are executors, with no spe-
cific training (Sackers, 2010). However, there is greater investment in staff and infor-
mation and communication technology in the Netherlands than in Belgium, although
this has not been evaluated systematically. We might infer that, being more of a tech-
nocrat in the Netherlands, a Dutch mayor can more easily differentiate between evi-
dence-based material (often produced at a national level) and political influences
stemming from the City Council. On the other hand, being appointed by the national
government, Dutch mayors may be more influenced by central government plans than
their Belgian colleagues.
In Belgium, the Minister of the Interior offered some basic tools for urban security
management to the mayors, in particular the ‘local security diagnostic’, a handbook on
how to develop an analysis of the environment, and a guideline for ‘integral and inte-
grated policy’. Both instruments were only partially implemented, owing to the fact (1)
it was not mandatory and (2) the Minister of the Interior has – after the state transforma-
tion in 1988 – no capacity to compel local municipalities to act on such federal govern-
ment guidance.
Relatedly, a scientific research project concluded that local integral security policy
in Belgium generally lacked coherence and a clear rationale (Bauwens et al., 2011). In
an analysis of policies in the cities of Antwerp (Flemish region) and Liège (Walloon
region), major differences were observed between the Flemish- and the French-speaking
parts of the country (Devroe, 2012). In the Flemish government, far more tools were
developed at the regional level and handed over to the mayor than in the French-
speaking part. In practice, it depends on whether the mayor has in-house expertise
(managers, criminologists, sociologists, economists and statisticians) to elaborate a
solid policy plan for the mayor. Again, the big cities can afford these kinds of special-
ized employees, but the smaller cities cannot. It is too early to measure the effects of the
recent pressure on public expenditure following the latest municipal elections of
October 2012, but it is likely to lead to a big contrast in professionalism in governing
urban security depending on the availability of such resources. Hitherto, however, the
comparison of Antwerp and Liège suggests that investment in in-house expertise can
have a significant effect on the promotion of evidence-based policy-making driven
more by social scientific expertise. Even so, the broader picture and overwhelming
tendency is that mayors do not employ evidence-based approaches to policy-making
(Devroe, 2010b). Empirical research shows that no theoretical concepts substantiate the
programmes developed to tackle crime and incivilities (Devroe, 2012). Mayors do not
integrate academic studies on urban crime and incivilities into their governing pro-
grammes. The situation is worse in Belgium than in the Netherlands, because Belgium
does not make use of experimental research results, stating only whether a certain pro-
gramme ‘works’ or ‘does not work’ (Devroe, 2010b). In the Netherlands, experimental
studies exist, and for financing a new project in some cases you need certification (given
Devroe 323
by a Commission) that the previous programme worked, but the use of such academic
material and evidence remains rather modest (Klee et al., 2007).
In a policy context increasingly dominated by punitive populist responses to intergenera-
tional conflicts and anxieties about migrant populations (both within the EU as well as
immigration from outside member states), a key question for further research is how
evidence-based approaches can realistically be accomplished. This is not, of course, a
problem limited to the Belgian and Dutch contexts but, nonetheless, a key lesson from
the experience of evidence-based policy-making in these countries is the identification
and targeting of key policy actors, such as municipal mayors, who are capable of acting
as catalysts for policy change and learning. A particular advantage of the conceptual
approach adopted in this paper is that through comparative analysis of constitutional-
legal settlements it is possible to identify potential catalysts, to consider both how prob-
lems of urban security are actually governed and how else they could be governed.
In addition to determining responsibilities for urban security, these contrasting consti-
tutional-legal settlements help explain the influence of scientific expertise on the policy
response to problems of urban security. The contrast between Dutch and Belgian munici-
palities suggests that the political leadership of elected mayors in Belgian municipalities
has marginalized the input of scientific expertise to the policy process, for example in
terms of ‘what works’ in crime prevention. This is because this information does not
exist and only scarce government funding is invested in scientific research in Belgium
(Devroe, 2010a). In contrast, scientific expertise has been more evident in the Netherlands,
where significant scientific research bodies such as the Research and Documentation
Centre (WODC) and the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law
Enforcement (NSCR) are financed by the government, and it is within the cultural tradi-
tions to steer on an evidence-based basis. Because mayors are appointed by the national
government in the Netherlands, they can easily access these national scientific sources.
Last but not least, because mayors are more technocrats than politicians, they are more
insulated from party political competition and probably more open to scientific advice.
However, the urban security policy of mayors in the Netherlands is more influenced by
the national policy, is more steered by the central state, uses more scientific resources
provided from the central state and is more distant from the (national) police force, leav-
ing the mayor with less power over local police resources in order to execute the local
policy. Of course, strong professional figures such as Cohen and Opstelten can, because
of their political expertise and their intellectual background, counterbalance national
influences in advancing their own policy agendas, but this is rather rare and in the
increasingly volatile politics of urban security a number of Dutch mayoral terms of office
have failed over the past decade.
1. In Belgium we find all kinds of occupations amongst mayors such as butchers, bartenders,
salesmen and insurance agents. Rarely are mayors scientists or experts in urban policy.
324 European Journal of Criminology 10(3)
2. Independently of the federal policy, the regional governments developed a similar strategy in
the framework of contracts for urban development with the bigger cities, avoiding the mention
of security issues.
3. A zone can cover one or more municipalities, with an average of three municipalities.
4. The appointment procedure in the Netherlands was raised for discussion in the early 2000s,
because some of the political parties (represented in parliament) regarded the procedure
as undemocratic. Alternatives proposed were direct election of the mayor by the people or
appointment by the City Council. A constitutional change to allow for this failed to pass the
Senate in March 2005.
5. Final report from the Commission on Petty Crime (Commissie Kleine Criminaliteit), 1986.
6. For example, the mayor can impose a territorial ban (gebiedsverbod), a group ban (groepsverbod) or
compulsory registration at a police station (meldingsplicht) on persons acting in a disorderly man-
ner in public space. Article 172b brings together a number of measures against youngsters under
12 years old, such as a curfew and compulsory parental support. Youngsters exhibiting uncivil
behaviour can, as in Britain, receive an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) (Koemans, 2010).
7. The new government was installed on 6 December 2011, with Di Rupo as Prime Minister. Di
Rupo’s governmental programme was established in December 2011.
8. This is a general European trend; see (accessed 25 November 2012).
9. This Nigerian asylum seeker had to return to her country after a negative assessment by the
Refugee Commission. She died on the airplane that repatriated her on 22 September 1998, as a
result of the force used by policemen.
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... geïdentificeerd wordt met 'community safety' (Hughes, 2004), in Nederland en België met 'integrale veiligheid' (Devroe, 2013) of nog als als 'urban security' (Edwards, Hughes & Lord, 2013). ...
... In landen met een sterke gemeentelijke autonomie bestaat een grote discretionaire bevoegdheid voor de burgemeester om een eigen lokale veiligheidsagenda uit te bouwen (Devroe, 2013;Olislagers & Steyvers, 2014). Ook België koos voor een hoge mate van gemeentelijke autonomie, die in de grondwet werd vastgelegd. ...
... Burgemeesters in Nederland zijn niet direct gekozen maar zijn benoemd door de Koning voor een termijn van zes jaar. Hierdoor zijn ze niet direct gevoelig voor de populaire democratische druk die bijvoorbeeld Belgische burgemeesters wel ondergaan (Devroe, 2013). ...
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In de toekomst zal de stedelijke populatie alleen maar toenemen. In het begin van de twintigste eeuw woonde zo’n 13% van de wereldbevolking (toen 1,6 miljard) in steden. In 1950 was dat 29% en in 2005 al 49%. Dat aantal zal stijgen tot 60% in 2030. Dat betekent dat het aantal stadsbewoners is gestegen van 220 miljoen, over 730 miljoen tot ruim 4,9 miljard vandaag (Corijn, 2015). Het concept ‘glocalisering’ vertolkt het idee dat, als gevolg van een grotere mobiliteit van kapitaal, werk, goederen en diensten over de nationale grenzen heen (European Commission, 2015) steden de motor zijn van innovatie en verandering (Devroe et al., 2017). Dit brengt allerlei veiligheidsrisico’s met zich mee; criminaliteit (en vooral geweld) stijgen al jaren in stedelijke gebieden, met potentiële uitdagingen in de toekomst tot gevolg, vooral voor preventie en handhaving door politie. Metropolen worden ‘key nodal points’ (Castells, 1996) in een geïntegreerd netwerksysteem van sociale relaties genoemd, waarbij nationale overheden zich steeds meer oriënteren rondom de belangen van ‘powerful’ steden (Scott, 2012; Clegg, 1989; Edwards et al, 2017). Steden communiceren - meer dan nationale staten - met elkaar in een ‘world urban system’ (King, 1997).
... Az alapegységek partneri együttműködéseiben egyensúlyt kellett találni a decentralizált helyi, a regionális és a nemzeti érdekek között (Bekkers et al., 2017). A 43 körzetben működő 167 alapegység vonatkozásában az egyensúlyi helyzet megtalálása jóval összetettebb kérdés, mint a korábbi, regionális szinten szervezett rendőrség esetében (Devroe, 2013;Prins, Cachet, Linden, Tudjman & Bekkers, 2012;Terpstra, Duijneveldt, Eikenaar, Havinga & Stokkom, 2016). Az egyensúlyi helyzet kialakításának pillérei a közösségi rendőri szolgálat, az alapegységek, körzetek, régiók rendőri egységeinek parancsnokai, valamint a polgármesterek és az ügyészség közötti háromoldalú konzultációk. ...
... Ennek tükrében feltűnő hiányosság, hogy a regionális polgármesterek elszámoltathatóságának nincsenek kiépült törvényi feltételei ( Van Sluis & Devroe, 2020). A rendőrség helyi irányításában továbbra is a duális rendszer érvényesül (Devroe, 2013). A közbiztonság fenntartásáért a polgármester, a rendőrség büntető igazságszolgáltatási funkciójáért az ügyész a felelős. ...
Cél: Az észak- és nyugat-európai rendőrségi szervezetek közelmúltbéli strukturális reformjai közül e tanulmány a holland rendőrség 2012–2013-as átalakítását vizsgálja.Módszertan: A releváns nemzetközi szakirodalom felhasználásával bemutatja az ország korábbi és jelenlegi rendészeti berendezkedését, a reformot előidéző körülményeket, valamint az annak értékeléséből származó megállapításokat.Megállapítások: A tanulmány rámutat a reform végrehajtásával kapcsolatos alapvető hibákra: arra, hogy a reformtól túl gyorsan vártak jelentős eredményeket, annak végrehajtása aszimmetrikusan tolódott el a strukturális változtatások irányába, és a reformok előre nem tervezett hatásaként a rendőrség és védelmezett közösségei egymástól eltávolodtak.Érték: A reform tapasztalatai hozzájárulhatnak a jövő rendészeti átalakításaival kapcsolatos kihívások érzékeltetéséhez.
... Scholars have widely reported a "preventive turn" across the Western world along with riskbased approaches to prevent everyday crime and to ensure the spread of public order throughout most of the major cities in Western industrialized countries (Crawford, 2009). However, scholars have acknowledged only recently that cultures of control might vary among nations, federal states, and cities (Devroe, 2013;de jong & strikwerda, 2021;Kreissl & Ostermeier, 2007). This acknowledgment opens avenues for further research considering the specificities of place and its relatedness to order maintenance policies and neighborhood change. ...
In recent years, many major German cities have expanded the capacity and legal authority of their municipal order enforcement services and order maintenance policing. The focal action points are central neighborhoods characterized by a concentration of social problems, reinvestment in the built environment, and prevailing feelings of insecurity and the need to improve the quality of life. This study explores the causes of local cultures of control and their relations to order maintenance policing and neighbourhood change. We used a document analysis and guided interviews with experts in the railway station districts of Düsseldorf, Leipzig, and Munich. Our findings demonstrate how the local control habitus shapes neighbourhood change while being shaped through neighborhood-specific demands for formal social control. Demands for order maintenance policing originate from both the supply (business people) and demand sides (new residents). Moral entrepreneurs convey such demands through the local political context.
... The second reason that racism may be important to AELP is that it helps to sustain the hyperlocalized governance of American policing (Hirschfield 2020), whose crucial influence on AELP is further elaborated below. Whereas many countries with enduring localized policing systems such as Belgium, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands have gradually increased centralized regulation (Bayley & Stenning 2016, Devroe 2013, local American leaders, including 300 "Constitutional Sheriffs" (Weiss 2021), resist external regulation. In locales where social hierarchies and boundaries are racialized and contested, welfare provisions are meager, and the precarity and centrality of property values, "good" schools, and "safe" neighborhoods provide most White residents a financial, if not emotional, investment in the stratification system (Beck & Goldstein 2018), control over the police is particularly important for favored groups (Bayley & Stenning 2016). ...
Police in the United States stand out in the developed world for their reliance on deadly force. Other nations in the Americas, however, feature higher or similar levels of fatal police violence (FPV). Cross-national comparative analyses can help identify stable and malleable factors that distinguish high-FPV from low-FPV countries. Two factors that clearly stand out among high-FPV nations are elevated rates of gun violence—which fosters a preoccupation with danger and wide latitude to use preemptive force—and ethnoracial inequality and discord. The latter seems to be tied to another fundamental difference between the United States and most other developed nations—the “radically decentralized structure of U.S. policing” (Bayley & Stenning 2016). Hyperlocalism limits the influence of external oversight, along with expertise and resources for effective training, policy implementation, and accountability. However, elevated rates of FPV among some Latin American countries with relatively centralized policing demonstrate that decentralization is not a necessary condition for high FPV. Likewise, relatively low FPV in Spain and Chile suggest that achieving low FPV is also possible without the extensive resources and training that appear to suppress FPV in wealthy Northern European nations. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Criminology, Volume 6 is January 2023. Please see for revised estimates.
... As a legacy of the Napoleonic period, local authority over the police remains with the mayor and the public prosecutor (Devroe, 2013). The mayor holds authority over and is responsible for the maintenance of public order or the rendering of assistance. ...
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This paper researches the quality of democratic control of the public police in a democratic society. Governance structures tend to be complex, reflecting that in democratic societies the police perform a wide range of tasks, both (inter) nationally and locally. Given the variety of police authorities and consultations at different levels, is there room for adequate democratic oversight? In this article, a theoretical frame on democratic control is drawn up which is applied on the recently established Dutch system of national police. Based on an extensive multi-method field research the authors conclude that the governance of the Dutch national police is not multi-level, that centralist influences are strong, that the mechanisms for vertical integration of local concerns in national policies are weak, and that there is a democratic deficit within the Dutch police system.
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Marek Madej The New Terrorism Revisited: Some Remarks on Terrorism Evolution and Its Strategic Significance After 9/11 Artur Gruszczak The European Union’s Counter-Terrorism Policy Twenty Years After 9/11: What Has Really Been Done? Aleksandra Gasztold, Damian Szlachter The Role of Anti-Terrorist Coordination Centers in the Security Systems of Germany and Poland. A Comparative Analysis Bartosz Bolechów The Islamic State’s Worldview as a Radical Terror Management Device Karolina Wojtasik “Rely on Allah, Not on Your Equipment”. Modus Operandi and All Errors of Tsarnaev Brothers Marek Górka The Importance of Surveillance in the Context of Contemporary Threats: Based on the Experience of the Terrorist Attacks of 11 September 2001 Magdalena Tomaszewska-Michalak Biometric Technology 20 Years After 9/11 – Opportunities and Threats Jarosław Tomasiewicz The Ideological Component in 21st Century Terrorism Александр Игоревич Черкасов (Alexander I. Cherkasov) Назначаемые мэры и их взаимоотношения с муниципальными советами в Нидерландах (Appointed mayors and their mutual relations with municipal councils in the Netherlands)
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This article focuses on the security of the city in connection with politics and public administration. After the industrial revolution, there has been an increase in migration from rural to urban areas. Migration from rural to urban has brought many problems with it. Inadequacies in the infrastructure and superstructure for the increasing population began to appear. At the beginning of these problems, important problems related to urban security also emerged. The increasing population has paved the way for the formation of an inseparable link between urban security and politics. The aim of this study is to investigate how politics and public administration can contribute to urban security. On the other hand, it shows who are the important actors for urban security and what effects the political powers and other groups dealing with for public security can have. To contribute to the determination of the activities that individuals and groups struggling for urban security can do. It is to determine the issues where synergy between administrators and politicians can be transformed into action for urban security. In this study, the dimensions of the determinants affecting the security phenomenon will be discussed, with the rapid increase in crime, violence and terrorism in the context of their relationship with the problems in urban security. In today's world where rapid change is easily noticed, the rapid evolution of urban problems has expanded the scope of various and essential measures to the city's security needs.
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Het toezicht op politie is in België anders georganiseerd dan in Nederland. In deze bijdrage wordt inzicht geboden in de toezichthoudende instanties op de politie in een vergelijkend perspectief tussen beide landen. 1. Inleiding en probleemstelling We schetsen, bij wijze van probleemstelling, kort waarover toezicht gaat, namelijk het borgen van democratische legitimatie van een stelsel of een orgaan. We nemen hierbij de definitie van de Commissie Holtslag (1998) als uitgangspunt, die stelt: 'Toezicht betreft het verzamelen van informatie over de vraag of een handeling of zaak voldoet aan de daaraan gestelde eisen, zich daarna vormen van een oordeel daarover en het eventueel naar aanleiding daarvan interveniëren.' In het verlengde van de legitimatie van het stelsel en het handelende orgaan geldt dat toezicht tot doel heeft dat het betreffende orgaan in overeenstemming handelt met de wet en het algemeen belang, veelal gedefinieerd als het belang van de toezichthoudende en hogere bestuurslagen (Schlössles & Zijlstra, 2010). De theoretische toezichtsmoda-liteiten (ook wel kerncompetenties genoemd) 'informatie', 'beoordeling (evaluatie)' en 'interventie' moeten, zoals geschetst, samen aanwezig zijn om van toezicht te kunnen spreken. Toezicht creëert verder inzicht in de normen van goed bestuur. Het toezicht expliciteert normen van controle waarop de toezichthoudende organen en personen zich bij de uitoefening van hun taak kunnen baseren. Hiermee wordt publiekelijk inzichtelijk gemaakt volgens welke normen de uitvoering van het proces moet geschie-den (Steenhuisen & Van der Voort, 2015). Met het hiervoor genoemde normatieve inzicht beïnvloedt de toezichthouder het handelen van de onder toezicht gestelde persoon of instantie. Soms informeel, maar meestal via vormen van jurisprudentie en beleidsregels, politieke oordelen of op andere wijze. Toezicht voorziet in 'checks and balances' een verdeling van bevoegdheden om een eventuele machtsconcentratie te voorkomen: bepaalde besluiten worden niet uitsluitend aan één actor toegekend.
Studies into organizational networks and governance tend to analyze professional behavior through the lens of rational (self)interest, resources, conflict, and power relations. However legitimate, this viewpoint overlooks the normative dimensions of networks. Therefore, in studying nodal security governance, the authors introduce the concept of “social practice,” which highlights the intrinsic normativity of what networked actors do. Social practices, they argue, deepen the theory of nodal governance by focusing more precise attention on the mentalities and value-laden characteristics of actors in highly complex settings. Drawing on this insight, the chapter presents a theoretical framework for analyzing social practices in nodal security governance, after which an empirical example concretizes our rather abstract line of reasoning.
Studies into organizational networks and governance tend to analyze professional behavior through the lens of rational (self)interest, resources, conflict, and power relations. However legitimate, this viewpoint overlooks the normative dimensions of networks. Therefore, in studying nodal security governance, the authors introduce the concept of “social practice,” which highlights the intrinsic normativity of what networked actors do. Social practices, they argue, deepen the theory of nodal governance by focusing more precise attention on the mentalities and value-laden characteristics of actors in highly complex settings. Drawing on this insight, the chapter presents a theoretical framework for analyzing social practices in nodal security governance, after which an empirical example concretizes our rather abstract line of reasoning.
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Implicit in the concept of negotiated orders is an understanding of the social productivity of political power; the power to accomplish governing programmes for citizens as much as the power over citizens for the purposes of social control. This distinction is especially pertinent for the role of political analysis in critical criminological thought, where criticism of the authoritarian state has vied with studies of governmentality and governance to explain the exercise of political power beyond the State and with the distinction between politics and administration found in liberal criminology. Outside of criminology, political economists interested in the ‘power to’ govern suggest its analysis in terms of ‘regimes’ of advocacy coalitions that struggle for the capacity to govern complex problems and populations in specific social contexts. Regime formation or failure can differ in character, and in outcomes, as much within nation states as between them and in relation to different kinds of governing problems. The article considers the applicability of regime theory to the negotiation of ‘public safety’, a governing problem which is a particular focus for political analysis within criminology.
Postwar developments in Dutch penal policy encompass one period of sustained reduction in the scale of imprisonment (1947-74), producing the most humane penal system in Europe, followed by a second (1975 to date) in which that trend reversed, producing an imprisonment rate that exceeds the European average, with adverse consequences for the character of prison regimes. The causes of the initial period are not self-evident, taking place while crime was rising, and based on a philosophy of minimizing the resort to custody. Key elements of that approach continued from 1975 to the mid-1980s, during a period of sharply rising crime rates. The period of sustained recarceration after 1985, and its prolongation, into the 1990s and beyond, entailed a sweeping reconfiguration of penal policy. Managerial, instrumental, and incapacitative measures took precedence over previous goals of resocialization and restorative justice.
In the international criminological literature the Netherlands is generally characterized as a tolerant, liberal country: permissive towards many vices, foreigner-friendly and blessed with a mild penal climate. Today this image is about as worn out as the odd postcard image of the Netherlands as the country of clogs, windmills and tulips. With this alleged tolerant past portrayed as a mistake, the Netherlands has over the last few years turned into a rather confused, intolerant and punitive country. In this article, the development of inclusive ideas about a local prevention of crime into a merely exclusive politics of public safety is analysed. By doing so, an attempt is made at answering the question: ‘How could the traditional sober-minded, research-led and Enlightened Dutch approach of crime control change so quickly?’