Basic Principles of Operation for the Local Councils for Crime Prevention

Citizens΄security and LCCP
Public security constitutes a public good associated with social solidarity and security of the citizens´ rights. Under this angle, the citizens´ security and the protection of legal goods do not only constitute the state´s first and foremost obligations, but they also echo a universal and strong demand voiced by modern societies. In order to guarantee the security of the citizens today, it is of paramount importance to adopt a spirit of social alertness, joint responsibility and joint management, in other words, a spirit of a greater participative process in the field of prevention. Moreover, the citizens΄ security is also a matter of quality of life and a stabilizing factor for living together in a society.
The theoretic background of Local Councils for Crime Prevention is based on promoting and deepening the participation in the policy against crime, by eliminating to the best possible degree the conditions of social exclusion and marginalization and by mobilizing the citizens in the field of prevention of everyday petty crime. These Councils are part of a policy aiming at making the citizen cooperate with the institutions, consolidating social cohesion and solidarity and at strengthening the joint responsibility created by the social contract. The Local Councils for Crime Prevention constitute the primary bodies which consolidate the citizens´ sense of security, their sense of co-producing public security and timely preventing the generating causes and factors of offending behavior.
The application of a participative policy against crime cannot be just limited to the State administratively transferring certain competences to the Local Authorities and local societies in the field of prevention. There is no latent process undertaken by the State in an effort to fend off in this way its responsibilities when dealing with crime. On the contrary, it is a pragmatic proposition for cooperation between the state and the local societies, requiring the active participation of the citizens themselves.
The creation and operation of Local Councils for Crime Prevention comes to confirm the change that is steadily brought about in Greece regarding the procurement of public security; it underlines the recasting of roles to be played when creating the policy against crime. The state has the responsibility to draw up and apply the general guidelines of the anti-criminal policy and of the actions to combat crime, whereas local authorities, social factors, local police and the citizens are called upon to participate in planning and implementing prevention policies at the local level.
Mission of Local Councils for Crime Prevention
The Local Councils for Crime Prevention were created with L. 2713/1999 (article 16). The mission of this newly introduced institution in Greece is to make an inventory of crime at the local level, proceed to an assessment of the situation and plan, organize, coordinate and implement actions undertaken by the community initiative bodies, so as to prevent or limit certain forms of petty crime. The Local Councils for Crime Prevention have set as their target to develop an alternative and decentralized anti-criminal policy, adapted in the special needs and requirements of local societies. They are the arms of a multilateral cooperation between the State and the Local Authorities, the police and the judiciary, the social institutions and of the citizens themselves, aspiring to consolidate public security in everyday life by their own active participation.
In accordance with the legislative framework, the Local Councils for Crime Prevention are consulting and opinion issuing bodies that can be created in any Municipality or Community of the country with a population exceeding three thousand residents.
They are comprised of scientists and operators permanently residing in the region of the Municipality or the Community with special knowledge in the field of crime (crime scientists, sociologists, psychologists, judicial and social workers, doctors, police officers etc).
The members of the Local Councils for Crime Prevention shall not be less than five or more than eleven; their mandate is set for three years.
All Local Councils for Crime Prevention are convened and chaired by the Mayor of the Municipality or the latter´s proxy.
Local Councils for Crime Prevention undertake specific action on the following issues:
  1. making an inventory and studying crime in its pragmatic dimension in the Municipality that the Council is active and drawing up an annual report on the developments regarding crime in the area,
  2. mobilizing and securing the active participation of social factors and citizens in prevention programmes,
  3. following or coordinating initiatives of other social factors, such as – for instance – therapeutic communities, parents΄ associations, professional associations, church institutions etc, aiming at prevention,
  4. helping the police force with the social work,
  5. submitting suggestions to set up aid, help and information centres for the victims of criminal actions in cooperation with local social institutions,
  6. developing community mediation and consolidating social solidarity,
  7. drawing up and implementing programmes of social work,
  8. submitting proposals to competent authorities (region, prefecture, Ministry for the Environment, Urban Planning and Public Works) for upgrading certain areas with big or long-lasting social problems related to urban planning or to law-infringing behaviour,
  9. setting up a network of “prevention executives” in the field of road behaviour, anti-social behaviour, school and out-of-school violence, drug use, abuse and exploitation of minors,
  10. drafting prevention programmes related to specific forms of law-infringing or criminal behaviour or to specific groups of perpetrators with the support of the central – state level.
Local societies can benefit from the actions and operations of the Local Councils for Crime Prevention mentioned above, so that they reach the point of naturally managing and preventing petty crime and therefore, contribute to consolidating the citizens΄ sense of security in their everyday life, since the latter is the principal condition for achieving quality of life.
Cooperation between Local Councils for Crime Prevention and the Hellenic Police Force and the Municipal Police
Local Councils for Crime Prevention can become, thanks to their mission, the partner ensuring cooperation between the Local Authorities, the Hellenic Police Force and the Municipal Police wherever the latter has been set up.
The objective of such cooperation is to plan and undertake preventive actions at the neighborhood level and promote the social role played by the Police Force.
These actions shall put the local community at the point of reference and shall be based on the regular operation and growth of LCCPs within the new institutional and operational framework of the Hellenic Police Force and the Municipal Police, not to mention that they shall constantly draw lessons from the modern strategies deriving from the European Union in the field of crime prevention.
It is a multi-faceted cooperation aiming at promoting the concept of co-production of public security, which is a social good, and at securing the rights of the citizens, thus resulting in the deepening of participative democracy at the local level.
Cooperation between Local Councils for Crime Prevention and other Authorities and Institutions
1. Local Councils for Crime Prevention shall cooperate with the following institutions in order to complete their mission:
a. with similar Councils of other Municipalities and Communities and in particular, the neighboring ones,
b. With public services and in particular, with local Police Authorities and the Department´s Police Committee, with the General Secretariat for Equality as well as with the Local and Prefectural Authorities,
c. with institutions such as the Organization for Fighting Drugs (OKANA), with the Institutes of Policy against Crime and with NGOs,
d. with scientific, professional and social institutions and in particular, with Parents´ Associations, Therapeutic Communities, Bar or Medical Associations, Universities and other educational institutions,
e. with penitentiary institutions and centres or rehabilitation and therapy institutions,
f. with the Media,
g. with our national representatives to international organizations or European Union institutions active in the field of crime prevention and if Local Council members are called to do so by the former, they shall participate in their meetings, developing their points of view.