DNA-fingerprinting and DNA-databanks
by Detlef Nogala
By the end of this century DNA-analysis is playing the role in forensics that fingerprinting has had at the end of the last one. Police seems to hold an instrument in their hands, that not only speeds up investigations and convictions, but makes it more likely to solve a crime even when an actual suspect is missing. The advantages expected by the police are contrasted by the costs of the new technology, both in financial as in civil liberties terms, when genetic mass searches and forensic DNA-databanks are becoming more common.
Surveillance Technologies in the United States
by David Banisar
Privacy is under constant threat from new technologies. These technologies can more easily identify, locate, and analyse individuals’ activities and create comprehensive dossiers of their lives. Legal and political responses have thus far been inadequate to deal with the new problems. The article describes recent developments in the US.
Widespread Videosurveillance in Great Britain
by Clive Norris and Gary Armstrong
This article presents an overview of the rise and the widespread use of CCTV surveillance schemes in inner-city areas in the UK. Issues of legal regulation are discussed as well as those of efficiency and effectiveness against a broader background of empirical examinations. Referring to their own research, the authors analyse how observation are carried out in the surveillance centres, who are the targets of surveillance, and what are the operators’ motives for the selection of their objects. According to their findings, targets are selected not because of their criminal behaviour, but on the grounds of outfit and social status. Young black and poor men are most likely to fall under closer observation.
The rising global electronic surveillance state
by Steve Wright
Based on a 1998 report to the European Parliament’s Scientific and Technological Options Assessment Committee, the author shows recent developments in surveillance technologies and intelligence concepts. He presents two different international networks for the surveillance of telecommunication: the ECHELON-system, which is the product of co-operation between the US-National Security Agency and British intelligence services, and the plans forwarded by the FBI and its partners in the Third pillar of the European Union. There is a real risk for these systems to become a state unto themselves, completely unaccountable to any parliament and beyond control by the public.
Freedom or Security?
by Frédéric Ocqueteau
Traditionally, in social sciences there has been a firm implicit nexus between the concepts of freedom and security. In the light of the contemporary development of police and security technologies, the author challenges this assumption from the perspective of the citizens’ interest in defending their civil liberties against police forces invading those freedoms under the pretext of producing more security. The article discusses the use of modern technology by the police and the ways how citizens are trying to keep their freedoms.
Red-green politics of internal security
by Martina Kant and Norbert Pütter
After 16 years of conservative rule, the FRG has once again a government headed by social democrats. In internal security matters the red-green coalition government has taken over Tony Blairs slogan „tough against crime, tough against the causes of crime“. The new government announced to put more emphasis on crime prevention and protection of victims, and on the other hand to intensify the repressive fight against crime. However, a closer look at the coalition contract between the social democrats and the greens as well as to the declarations of the new ministers of the Interior, Mr Schily, and Justice, Mrs Däubler-Gmelin, reveals that the new government will obviously continue the politics of internal security led by its predecessor. New police powers, which were put on the statute book by the Kohl government, will not be withdrawn. On the contrary, the police for a number of offence will be given the competence to decide on penal sanctions without any consultation of a judge. There are plans to create new types of sanctions for minor offences. Instead of decriminalization, the new ministers call for speeding up trials and more consequence.
The documentation and arrest unit of Thuringia
by Christoph Ellinghaus
Documentation and arrest units are specially trained in the use of force and mostly deployed against demonstrations. With the creation of these special units since the mid 80s, the police leadership has reacted against the changing forms of political protest in the FRG. According to the concept, their task consists in isolating and arresting violent activists and procuring the necessary evidence for conviction. In 1997, the police forces of the Länder had a total of 2.120 officers working in such a unit. The author presents the case of the documentaion and arrest unit of Thuringia (personnel, training, equipment), which came to public knowledge because of there specially violent action. As a result, those special units constitute a threat to right to demonstrate. Their martial outfit and their practice to arrest persons out of the middle of a march will increase violence between protesters and the police.
Police use of firearms in France
by Fabien Jobard
In France, police violence and especially their use of firearms are a constant subject of political debate. The french police register any single use of an arm, however, as the figures and the documents, on which they are based, are held under secret, their is no public information on the quantity and the consequences of the use of firearms by French police officers. The author had access to documents of the Police Nationale (which has competences in all cities with more than 10.000 inhabitants). He reviews the frequency of police shootings, their fatal consequences and the situations, officers employ there arms. An additional evaluation of newspaper articles on police use of arms in the Paris region shows that immigrants and sons of immigrants are overrepresented among the victims of fatal shootings.