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Irregular influences at prosecutors and judges in Finland and Sweden. Kauko Aromaa European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI), with Mika Junninen (HEUNI) and Johanna Skinnari and Lars Korsell (BRÅ). The Problem.

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Irregular influences at prosecutors and judges in Finland and Sweden

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Irregular influences at prosecutors and judges in finland and sweden l.jpg

Irregular influences at prosecutors and judges in Finland and Sweden

Kauko Aromaa

European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI), with

Mika Junninen (HEUNI) and

Johanna Skinnari and Lars Korsell (BRÅ)


The problem l.jpg

The Problem

  • Prosecutors and judges have been observed to be victimised to illegal influence attempts

  • What is the prevalence and nature of such problems? Standard information sources do not capture this phenomenon

  • What is the possible role of organised crime in the problem?

  • Solution: victimisation survey


What is irregular influence l.jpg

What is irregular influence

  • Harassment (libel, molestation, subtle threats that are not illegal threats, or other ways of exerting pressure that are not covered by criminal law)

  • Threats (illegal threats and similar criminalised acts such as extortion)

  • Violence (assault and other similar criminalised acts)

  • Vandalism (arson, damage to property, and similar)

  • Corruption (promised or offered a bribe or other benefit for carrying out one’s authority functions, bribery)

  • There could be extra category of ”Other” (e.g. extortion, sexual services, subtle and/or indirect messages…), but in this study we tried to have such cases comprised in the five main categories

    • All of these may target the civil servant personally, or his/her family or other people close to him/her


Methodology l.jpg

Methodology

  • Electronic anonymous survey targeting all first-level court judges and prosecutors in Finland and Sweden

  • Simple, short questionnaire

  • Fieldwork in 2008, reference period last 18 months

  • N (Finland) = 673 responses out of 1132, response rate 59.5 %

  • N (Sweden) = 1096 responses out of 1729, response rate 63.4 %


Problems with method l.jpg

Problems with method

  • Data protection regulations made it impossible to study the non-response, particularly important because of the low response rate

  • An earlier study revealed that non-response may indicate lack of interest and non-victimisation but also reluctance to disclose serious problems because of fear or rejection of problem, i.e. the non-response is not random and reduces generalisability of results

  • Face-to-face interview would be preferrable but was excluded because of the high costs involved, in particular as all judges and prosecutors were the target group


Results l.jpg

Results

The vast majority of the disclosed problem situations were harassment and threats:

Type of problemFinland %Sweden %

P JgJa P JgJa

Harassment22.416.711.021.410.310.7

Threats 9.0 4.9 3.2 8.0 3.1 7.9

Violence 0.8 0.8 0.6 0.6 0.5 1.1

Vandalism 0.4 0.4 0.0 1.7 0.8 0.6

Corruption 0.4 0.4 0.0 0.8 0.3 1.1

Family members

targeted 2.0 1.9 0.0 1.9 0.5 1.1

P= prosecutors, Jg= general court judges, Ja= administrative court judges


The types of harassment l.jpg

The types of harassment

Finland %Sweden %

(N=118)(N=170)

Phone call, letter, e-mail,

sms to workplace6743

Signalling 2 9

Report to police, petition etc.14 8

Indications of being

observed, stalking 4 8

Phone call etc. to home 4 5

Other 2027


The types of threats l.jpg

The types of threats

Finland %Sweden %

(N=42)(N=68)

Phone call, letter, e-mail,

sms to workplace7943

In person 726

Tips or other secondary

information 2 8

Phone call, letter, e-mail,

sms to home 5 6

Other 715


Who was the harasser l.jpg

Who was the harasser

Finland %Sweden %

(N=118)(N=169)

Substance abuser4.23.6

Mentally disturbed person29.721.3

Person in a desperate situation12.715.4

Person who goes to court for

the sake of principle12.721.9

Individual criminal without

organised crime context8.511.2

Political activist3.43.6

Person from youth gang0.04.7

Person from prison gang0.80.0

Person from biker gang2.54.1

Person from Eastern organised crime0.00.6

Person from other organised crime1.77.1

- Organised crime total5.016.5

Businessperson1.71.2

Unknown, someone else, no answer22.05.3


Who made the threat l.jpg

Who made the threat

Finland %Sweden %

(N=41)(N=65)

Substance abuser9.83.1

Mentally disturbed person34.121.5

Person in a desperate situation4.96.2

Person who goes to court for

the sake of principle9.812.3

Individual criminal without

organised crime context4.915.4

Political activist0.06.2

Person from youth gang0.03.1

Person from prison gang0.00.0

Person from biker gang4.97.7

Person from Eastern organised crime0.00.0

Person from other organised crime2.415.4

- Organised crime total7.326.2

Businessperson4.90.0

Unknown, someone else, no answer24.39.3


Was the harassment reported to someone l.jpg

Was the harassment reported to someone

Finland%Sweden %

(N=118)(N=161)

Superior4062

Colleague7558

Family1933

Security chief 319

Friend1016

Police 914

Staff or union

representative 0 3

Other 6 4


Was the threat reported to someone l.jpg

Was the threat reported to someone

Finland %Sweden %

(N=40)(N=63)

Superior4865

Colleague7838

Family1835

Security chief 530

Friend1016

Police2030

Staff or union

representative - 2

Other 8 5


What was done about the problem l.jpg

What was done about the problem

In many instances, action has been taken recently in order to improve the security. Examples include a new security plan, improving internal communication about the issue, new instructions on physical protection, guidelines for uniform reporting, and new external cooperation (e.g. with police). However, in most workplaces no concrete changes had as yet been introduced.


Conclusions 1 l.jpg

Conclusions (1)

  • Irregular/unlawful influence is not uncommon: The prevelance of harassment victims ranged from 10 to 20 %, of victims of threats from 3 to 9 %.

  • It is however officially less known: only 10% of harassment and 20-30 % of threats were reported to police

  • The influence is mostly harassment and threats – other types of irregular influence violence, vandalism, corruption etc. are rare, victimisation prevalences ranging from 0 to 2 %.

  • Also, family members are targeted only rarely

  • The overall pattern is very similar in both countries


Conclusions 2 l.jpg

Conclusions (2)

  • The means applied are mostly telephone, mail, e-mail, sms; threats are also often made in person.

  • Some incidents are very severe. However, mostly no immediate harm is done.

  • The impact on the work atmosphere is considerable. Also, irregular influence is often successful in terms of causing delays and uneasiness

  • Organised criminals are doing this relatively often – more often in Sweden (17% of harassers and 26 % of those making threats) than in Finland (5% and 7%). This means that the idea of trying to ”measure” organised crime withe the survey makes sense.


Conclusions 3 l.jpg

Conclusions (3)

  • In both countries, the respondents felt that the matter had not been dealt with adequately and had not been taken seriously enough. In this respect, the situation was deemed to be a bit better in Sweden than in Finland.

  • In both countries, there is still much that can be done in terms of enhancing prevention.

  • Many respondents believed that the situation is going to grow worse

  • The civil servants concerned have concrete suggestions as to what could be done when designing counter-measures


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