Current migration situation in the EU: Community policing

This report outlines examples of community policing measures in select EU Member State regions and localities with recently arrived asylum seekers and migrants. It focuses on four main issues: 1) community policing, 2) related police training, 3) community involvement (for example: consultations; giving voice to the concerns of local communities; police involvement in local responses to concerns), and 4) crime prevention activities.

This report covers:

  • Crime statistics and related data
  • Community policing concept
  • Building police competences
  • Community consultations
  • Community concerns and solutions
  • Crime prevention activities
  • Further information

Main findings

  • Ten of the 14 Member States covered by this report had some statistics available on the number of ‘foreigners’ staying in communities in the selected regions/localities. However, these are not collected systematically and refer to different groups of persons and different timeframes.
  • Related to this, in most of the Member States covered by this research, no exact data exist on the numbers or proportion of asylum seekers and refugees who are victims of crime (with some exceptions in a few localities) or convicted of criminal offences. Authorities in some Member States note that asylum seekers are less likely to report being victims of crime.
  • Community policing measures seem to be in place in a majority of the localities. Some schemes include a focus on integration and include strong links with local authorities in the region. A number of initiatives pre-date the asylum crisis and responses thereto, and are part of larger efforts to engage with diverse communities in the context of community policing and related initiatives.
  • The police in some of the covered localities have in recent years dedicated more resources to dealing with hate crime against migrants (in addition to other categories of persons vulnerable to hate crime) – including by establishing specialised units.
  • Localities in seven of the 14 Member States reported that local authorities/communities and civil society are involved in community policing processes (not always involving explicit cooperation with the police, but including cooperation with reception centres, for example). However, few localities reported involving migrant communities (new or existing) in these processes.
  • Community policing-related training activities were reported in 9 of the 14 localities.
  • Localities in five Member States reported consultations of citizen and community organisations on the arrival and/or reception of asylum seekers. Several localities reported that the police are involved in such consultations or information sessions.
  • Data are limited regarding the kind of concerns that local and existing migrant communities have brought to the attention of the police before and after the arrival of asylum seekers. One common concern that emerged in several Member States – voiced by both local communities, including existing migrant populations, as well as by asylum seekers or refugees – was the fear of becoming a victim of crime.
  • Police play a central role in trying to resolve conflicts that arise within different communities – but evidence shows that a relationship of trust between the police and the local population, as well as adequate resources and competences within local police services, are key if the police are to effectively help resolve or prevent conflicts.
  • FRA data show that information provided to newly arrived migrants in seven of the 14 localities involved policing-relevant content. The police were only directly involved in some way – for example, by organising or participating in such initiatives – in four of the localities reported on here.
  • The majority of localities confirmed having crime prevention activities in relation to reception facilities or asylum centres. Localities in seven Member States reported prevention of radicalisation activities.

Note on geographical coverage:

The information presented only applies to the specific regions or localities covered in this report (unless otherwise indicated), which were chosen based on availability of relevant data and due to the high numbers of received asylum seekers. These are: Graz (Styria, Austria), Sofia (Sofia City Province, Bulgaria), Landkreis Heilbronn (Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany), Jammerbugt (North Denmark Region, Denmark), Calais (Hauts-de-France region, France), Athens (Central Greece Region, Greece), The Autonomous Community of Madrid (Spain), Helsinki (Capital region, Finland), Roszke (Southern Great Plain region, Hungary), Settimo Torinese (Piedmont, Italy), Rotterdam (South Holland province, Netherlands), Mazovia Province- Mazovian Voivodship (Poland), Nitra (Nitra region, Slovakia) and Region West (Sweden).