Between 21 and 23 November, the Nicos Poulantzas Institute in cooperation with Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung and the transform! network held an international workshop in the Athens Chamber of Crafts on the issue of “Democratization of Police in Europe”.
The sessions of the international workshop were formed according to the following topics:
a) Democratizing police in Europe: theoretical trends and policy perspectives
b) Theoretical variations of security and control in late modernity: capitalism, crime, police, policing
c) Security, policing and democracy in the EU
d) Police reforms in Europe
e) State police and the state in late modern capitalism
f) Police, policing and civil rights in Greece
g) Police, crime and security in Greece during economic crisis
h) Freedom, security, police: law, ideology and reality of social order
i) Towards a democratic police: a left perspective
Among the topics discussed, one may find the issue of institutional amendments towards a democratic police, the relation of the Greek police with the far-right Golden Dawn party, the changing framework into which the police functions internationally, the issues of security and crime, economic and political aspects of the police functioning. Furthermore, there was an exchange of empirical evidence against the specialty of the “Greek case” from foreign speakers concluding that there are common parameters for the functioning of the police around the world. Furthermore, the issue of the dilution of the riot police was a crucial topic, bringing about fruitful controversy.
Part of the speakers was in favour of the immediate close-down of the riot police, from the viewpoint that they provide spurious violence in society, while another part of the delegates was supporting that having a populous far-right criminal organization and violence within stadiums and sports, means that part of the riot police should be maintained. Albeit interesting issues such as the policing of leisure-time is crucial for maintain the notion of public space and in order to vindicate the legal framework of a democratic society. Attention was also paid in the amelioration of the police workplace, in terms either of psychological support to the police force or of institutional ameliorations that have to be undertaken in order to mitigate the aggressiveness of the police forces.
These topics remained a firmly closed area for the discussion not only for the left but also for the academic milieu, and this international conference opened a path towards a more homogeneous and collectively sketched notion of democracy in the police institution.
Among the participants are to be found professors, the ombudsman, representatives from NGOs, MPs. Analytically, the speakers list consisted of: Andreas Giolasis, Greek dept. Amnesty International, Haris Golemis, Director of Nicos Poulantzas Institute, George Papanicolaou, Teesside University, George Rigakos, Carleton University, Sophia Vidali, Democritus University of Thrace, Walter Baier, coordinator of transform! europe, Fanis Papageorgiou Dr. NTUA, transform! europe, Anastasia Tsoukala, University of Paris XI, Stratos Georgoulas, University of the Aegean, Volker Eick, Humboldt University, Elli Simeonidou-Kastanidou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Athina Athanasiou, Panteion University, vice pr. Nicos Poulantzas Institute, Grigoris Lazos, Panteion University, Olga Themeli, University of Crete, Giannis Panousis, University of Athens, MP DIMAR, Tasia Christodoulopoulou, Lawyer, dept. of Rights SYRIZA, Dimitris Tsoukalas, MP, responsible for security and police issues, SYRIZA, Christos Fotopoulos g.s. Hellenic Federation of Police Servants, Vassilis Karydis, The Greek Ombudsman, Antreas Karitzis, dr Philosophy, Central Committee of SYRIZA, Nikolaos Koulouris, Democritus University of Thrace, Salvatore Palidda, University of Genova, Dagmar Svendova, Czech Republic, responsible on issues of security and justice, Communist party of Bohemia-Moravia, Hakan Tas, MP DIE LINKE, Tasos Mavropoulos, responsible of security and justice dept., SYRIZA, Spyros Koulocheris, Greek Council for Refugees, Cleio Papapantoleon, Lawyer, g.s, Hellenic League for Human Rights, Dimosthenis Papadatos Anagnostopoulos, SYRIZA, dept. of Rights, Sia Anagnostopoulou, Panteion University, Nikos Paraskevopoulos, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Aristidis Baltas pr. NTUA, president of the Nicos Poulantzas Institute, Vasiliki Katrivanou, MP dept. of Rights, Mania Mpartefski, dept. of Rights, SYRIZA.
Find the paper “Democratizing the Police in Europe” for download here.