Press Releases /

12 December 2011

Can a trust-based criminal policy lead to fewer crimes?

European Commission funds major research project led by the University of Parma.

In November 2011, 2.7 million € were awarded by the European Commission for research into criminal policy and the promotion of trust in justice

The FIDUCIA project (named after the latin term for “trust”) stems from the idea that public trust in justice is critical for social regulation, since it is tightly related to the respect for institutions, and therefore to personal compliance with the law.

“Repressive criminal policies, albeit popular with the public opinion, are often ineffective, even counter-productive” says Stefano MAFFEI of the University of Parma, coordinator of the FIDUCIA project. “In the long term, trust-based policies can improve the public perception of the legitimacy of justice institutions, and thus result in a stronger commitment to the rule of law”.

FIDUCIA will shed light on four distinctively “new European” crimes: cyber crimes, drugs trafficking, trafficking of human beings, and criminalisation of migration and ethnic minorities.

The FIDUCIA team will also analyse data collected by the latest sweep of the European Social Survey, which was designed by the EURO-JUSTIS consortium led by the ICPR-Institute for Criminal Policy Research (London). “The FIDUCIA project will investigate whether a change of direction in criminal policy – from deterrence strategies and penal populism to procedural justice and trust-based policy – is desirable, and in what terms” – says Mike HOUGH, director of ICPR. According to Jonathan JACKSON of the London School of Economics: “FIDUCIA is designed to find effective ways of tackling emerging forms of crime. The project will draw together theory and evidence from experts from many European countries, capitalising upon new and existing data on the dynamics of public trust and institutional legitimacy.”

The FIDUCIA project will start on February 1, 2012 and will last for three years.

Among the partner institutions are the University of Oxford, the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law and the London School of Economics. The consortium involves 11 Countries, including Greece, Turkey, Hungary, Finland, Lithuania, Spain, Belgium e Bulgaria.