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14 October 2013

Progress Meeting of the FIDUCIA project takes place in Budapest

On 4 September 2013, representatives from all FIDUCIA Consortium members and the EC project officer met at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences to discuss the progress of the FIDUCIA project, in order to share the findings and results of previous conducted research and to identify possible strategies for the implementation of trust-based policies in Europe.

STEFANO MAFFEI, coordinator of the project, chaired the meeting and outlined the common risks in statutory reforms in the areas of criminal justice, which include: 1) unintended consequences (such as too large and extended definitions of offences); 2) vicious circles (such as overcriminalisation, which lead to Human rights violations against inmates); and 3) backfiring (such as the criminalisation of the clients of prostitutes, which has a negative effect on the reporting of trafficked girls to the police).

MIKE HOUGH further discussed the model of a trust based policy, which is the core concept of FIDUCIA. ELENA VACCARI then summarized the key findings relating to ”alternatives to criminalization” in relation to the areas of vagrancy, drunkenness, drugs and prostitution. ZSOLT BODA focused on penal populism and discussed the variations of trust before and after political elections. JON JACKSON defined the drivers of compliance with the law, which is a central issue in the establishment of a trust-based policy. Dr Jackson stated that one’s willingness to cooperate with the police can be explained by the following: 1) people cooperate to reduce crimes and risks in their own neighbourhood, and because they are scared of punishment (self-interest); 2) people cooperate because they think that it is “the right thing to do” in support of legitimate authority; and 3) people usually obey the police because they think that it is “the right thing to do” and less for reasons of self-interest. This research revealed that negative experiences with the police are associated with low levels of trust, whereas positive experiences have a very small positive effect. BEN BRADFORD suggested that this is due to the rather high level of expectations; people expect the police to behave fairly and impartially, and thus any negative experiences have a very long lasting effect, altering peoples’ opinions. CRISTINA MARCUZZO, the EC project officer participated actively as always to the meeting. She emphasized the importance of maintaining overall coherence and noted positively that a significant amount of research was completed, submitted and approved in the first 18 months.

As per dissemination of the FIDUCIA findings, ELENA CRISTINI presented the new FIDUCIA leaflet, which will be circulated at the Annual Reunion of the European Society of Criminology and to Partner entities. Consortium team members finally split in 4 mini-groups in order to address the four crime-themes which are central to FIDUCIA (Trafficking of Human Beings , trafficking of goods, crimes of migration, cybercrimes).

The FIDUCIA team agreed that the next progress meeting will be held on Friday, 7 March 2014 in Freiburg, Germany.

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