Police reforms arise in different contexts. They might be triggered by increasing levels of crime and violence. Sometimes, they can stem from a wider reforming project, such as attempts to modernize the State, or efforts to democratize the security sector in post-conflict and transitional societies. In other cases, they are related to particular events, to research results or to investigations – by the media, the judiciary, parliament, or the police itself – that highlight problematic aspects of the police and of policing that need to be dealt with.
The recent killing of George Floyd by a US police officer in Minneapolis and a series of high-profile cases involving the use of disproportionate and even lethal force by police against racialized minorities are once again putting law-enforcement institutions under the spotlight. That is why calls to reform the police are rising again, not only in the United States, but elsewhere too: in Canada, in Quebec, in Australia, in New Zealand, in South Africa, in Kenya, in St. Petersburg, in Barbados, in France, and in the United Kingdom. This time, these demands are rallying behind a new slogan: “Defund the police”. What does it mean? Where does it come from? What is new about this idea? What does it entail? How is it different from previous calls to reform or to abolish the police? In this policy brief, we want to look at some of the main demands of today’s movement and to contribute to the discourse by clarifying concepts and ideas that can sometimes be confusing.
COVID-19 : The measures taken by the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime
Montreal, March 27th 2020
The International Centre for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC) is concerned about the global pandemic situation linked to COVID-19. In accordance with government directives, all of our normal activities have been adapted to take the necessary precautions and measures to ensure the health and safety of our team and participate in the collective preventive containment effort. Consequently, the ICPC has reduced its staff temporarily, but remains accessible by email. Travel related to forums and other international meetings is suspended until further notice. Finally, the recruitment of research assistants and trainees is currently suspended and postponed to an indefinite date.
Given the gravity of this health crisis, these new government measures have and will have a direct impact on the most vulnerable people in our society. We are already seeing a worldwide increase in hate crimes and racism against certain communities, as well as a significant increase in domestic violence. In addition, social distancing measures make the accessibility and availability of services to victims of violence, or those in situations of marginalization, complex and restrictive. Some organizations, which normally welcome populations at risk, must now close their doors, thus increasing the risk factors for these individuals.
Since its foundation, the mission of the ICPC has been to promote the most promising strategies and practices in the prevention of crime and violence. Mindful of this commitment, we have decided to carry out, over the next few weeks, a monitoring of the challenges raised by the crisis linked to COVID-19. The primary objective will not be to compile the issues raised by this crisis, but rather to inform the various levels of government, civil society and citizens on the initiatives taken around the world to deal with these different issues. We invite you to follow us on social media in the coming days and weeks to find out more.
Finally, to find out about the measures taken by the health authorities of the City of Montreal, the governments of Quebec and Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO), we invite you to consult the resources available here:
The first day of the 6th International Conference on Crime Observation and Criminal Analysis is already shaping up to be a great success! With workshops 1 to 6 coming to an end, participants from all six continents were able to attend. Today's workshops focused on the following phenomena and themes: data quality and integrity; violence and discrimination in the public sphere; drugs and security; small data; firearms trade and trafficking; as well as domestic violence. The speakers were able to present the different types of approaches used in the field, as well as the results achieved in terms of crime observation and criminal analysis.
Similarly, Ariane de Palacio (CIPC) was able to present the development of the International Standard for the Evaluation of Crime Observatories Referential during a plenary session set aside for that purpose. The referential provides a set of standards that will enable crime observatories to build their capacity. It provides a self-assessment capacity for observatories to use as a management tool in order to strengthen their capability and expertise.
You will find some pictures of the first day below.
On October 2nd 2019, the ICPC met with John Brandolino, Director of Treaty affairs for the UNODC, for a 2-hour exchange. During this meeting, Mr. Brandolino stressed the importance of the Institutes of the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network (PNI) in aiding the work of the UNODC, especially with regards to information exchange, process and policy formation and the development of sound policy programs. Mr. Brandolino encouraged a strengthening co-operation between the UNODC and the PNI.
The ICPC also took the opportunity to present its ongoing projects and initiatives, reaffirming once more the significance and scope of its contributions to global crime prevention efforts.
We regret to announce that, due to the worldwide situation related to COVID-19 and related factors, the 14th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, scheduled to be held in Kyoto, Japan on 20-27 April 2020, has been postponed to an as yet undetermined later date. The General Assembly formalized the postponement by its decision 74/L.47 on 13 April 2020. UNODC and the Host Country Japan are in consultation on possible new dates and are working closely with the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which serves as preparatory body for the Congress. Additional information will be shared in due course.
It is with great excitement that we are announcing our presence at the Fourteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Not only will ICPC experts be attending the congress, but we will also be organising one of its workshops. Given the Centre’s expertise in the subject matter, we will be organising the Congress’s only workshop on crime prevention, entitled “Evidence-based crime prevention: statistics, indicators and evaluation in support of successful practices”. This two day workshop will allow attendees to better acquaint themselves with the various approaches and best practices that exist with regards to evaluation, indicator production and statistics collection in support of evidence-based crime prevention.
United Nations congresses on crime prevention and criminal justice have been held every five years since 1955. The Congresses bring together high-level representatives of Governments, representatives of inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, criminal justice professionals and scholars of international repute to discuss common problems, share experiences and seek viable solutions to problems related to crime prevention and criminal justice. The Fourteenth Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice will be held in Kyoto, Japan from 20 to 27 April 2020 and will be attended by an estimated 5000 participants.
The International Centre for the Prevention of Crime:
Based in Montreal, ICPC has become a key player in the international arena for crime and violence prevention. The Centre played a fundamental role in the creation of the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Crime and continues to actively promote them today. For over 25 years now, the main mission of ICPC has been the promotion of safer societies by preventing and reducing acts of violence and crime in communities through specific practices aimed at the reduction of criminality.
ICPC intends to continuously inform congress participants and interested parties about the preparation of our workshop. The Centre plans to produce several informative videos and news capsules intended to keep attendees up-to-date with the developments of the workshop design and preparation. Furthermore, ICPC intends to become a reference of choice for all the latest news related to the themes of our workshop. In the months leading up to the event, we plan to disseminate news updates or academic findings relevant to our workshop and the 2020 UN Crime Congress across our networks.
In the meantime, make sure to follow us and our “#preventionmatters” hashtag on our social media to stay up to date with everything related to the workshop.
It is with great interest that the ICPC participated at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) workshop to develop a set of tools to facilitate the implementation of their Guidelines on Crime and Violence prevention, held in Johannesburg on the 26 and 27 of November 2018. The guidelines themselves mark a bold recognition, by the Members States of the SADC, that crime and violence prevention is a transversal issue requiring the commitment of multiple stakeholders.
In this regard, ICPC is proud to have contributed to the development of these guidelines and to the creation of tools that will facilitate their implementation and would like to congratulate the SADC, the Southern Africa Regional Police Chief’s Cooperation Organisation (SARPCOO) and the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF) for their leadership in the field of crime and violence prevention in the region.