600 criminologists gather in Vilnius to “rethink crime and punishment in Europe” (sept 2011)

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Vilnius (Lithuania) – September 24, 2011 – “Rethinking Crime and Punishment in Europe”was the title of the European society of criminology’s annual conference in Vilnius, Lithuania on the 21, 22 and 23rd of September 2011.

This topic not only invited the conference attendees – 600 criminologists from across Europe – to reflect on the basic and classical criminological ideas from a contemporary perspective, but also proposed to discuss their current transformation, modification, and new developments. It was hosted by the Vilnius University, the Law Institute of Lithuania, the Centre for Crime Prevention in Lithuania and the Lithuanian Association of Criminology. The conference offered a very comprehensive overview of current research in the field in its four plenary sessions and its 120 workshops. Interestingly for the Forum, the issue of street violence and gangs it wants to address in its new European project was not directly addressed in any of these sessions. While it was certainly touched upon in session on youth violence or policing, one might wonder if the UK riots – which have been the topic of many discussions amongst participants – will lead to a new wave of research activities on the issue.

Efus held a networking and informative stand during this event to share on-going and past projects led by our network of cities with the scientific community.

Efus’ participated actively in order to ensure that the voice of local initiatives in the area of crime prevention be represented, but also because it aims to promote knowledge-based local security policies integrating the most recent findings of the scientific community. It was also important to encourage participation of the criminological world at the 2012 conference in Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis.

In the context of this conference, two events were organised around the CECOPS project (on Citizen involvement in policing activities), of which Efus is a partner:

• a short conference at the Ministry of Justice of Lithuania gathering 50 participants from the Lithuanian police and community workers,
• a panel session on “People power – Community engagement for civic order, policing and security” gathering 40 participants from the European criminologist academic field.
The aim was to give feedback on the experiences of citizen participation in policing activities at the local level in the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Lithuania assessed by the expert group of the CECOPS project. Mark Burton-Page, Efus project manager, gave a presentation on “Making police and citizens work together: practices of citizen participation in policing in France”.