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ECPR Joint Sessions 2020 Sciences Po Toulouse

The Belgian Administrative Approach to Disturb Organised Crime. Instruments, Information and Cooperation the Way to Success?

Organised Crime
 
Security
 
Technology
 
Presenter
Clara Vanquekelberghe
Belgian police
Authors
Clara Vanquekelberghe
Belgian police

Abstract
This paper aims to illustrate the Belgian administrative approach methods used by three pilot projects in order to fight organised crime. As to combat organised crime we need to be aware of the vulnerability of our society and its legal structures and, thus, work on the risk-resilient component. Vanderbeken (2001) points out that criminals benefit from the opportunity and that we offer them a way to use our legal structures to roll out their illegal activities. Until now, the Belgian answer to this crime has been the judicial investigation and maybe a settlement in court. These investigations take time, are mostly reactive and are not always successful. The administrative approach is seen by academics, politicians and civil servants as another way to tackle organised crime. To disturb the criminal process of organised crime, the Belgian government invoked three pilot projects to unroll an administrative approach for organised crime by using an integral and integrated method. The goal of these projects is twofold: on the one hand, they want to inform the municipal authorities and police forces about processes of criminality. On the other hand, they also want to support them in developing an administrative approach to prevent and maintain that these criminals use the local legal structures to put their businesses in place. International literature indicates that an administrative approach should consist of multidisciplinary actions on a target and introducing an adequate local regulatory framework. Within this framework, a municipality can request entrepreneurs to procure a permit or fulfil conditions for the exploitation of a business. When working with a permit or a system with conditions, the applicant can be asked to inform the municipality about his goals for the business, his financial sources, his background, etc. Another method is a multidisciplinary action. The municipality and the police can give a target a VIP (very irritating police) treatment, performed by a multidisciplinary team (police, inspection services, municipality services). Each member collects information in his domain and brings this information to the table. After the imaging phase, the team performs a joint action on the target(s), also called a flexcontrol, collects the information for their own service and takes measures. The aim of the control is to trace illicit goods, illegitimate money or illegal way of working and if possible, to take administrative sanctions, for example closing the business. By using these terms in the local regulation or doing a flexcontrol, important information can come to the surface to prevent or to maintain the public order. In brief, the combination of information, cooperation and multidisciplinary actions could proof to be one of the tools to tackle organised crime.
Van Der Beken, T. (2011). Kwetsbaarheid voor georganiseerde criminaliteit Een voor preventie bruikbaar concept? Justitiële verkenningen, jrg. 37, nr. 2. Pp. 121-133.
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