The Al Capone Method in the Danish Police

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: Booth 58
Oral Presentation
Annette OLESEN , Department of Law, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
The challenges and the scope of organised crime and gang violence (including outlaw motorcycle gangs) in Denmark have increased during the last years. This critical development has led Denmark to toughen the anti-gang laws and caused a more interdisciplinary approach to police work (also called the Al Capone Method). The Al Capone Method employed by the police is named after, and draws inspiration from, the case against the infamous gangster-boss Al Capone in the 1930s. The federal prosecutors worked for years to build a case against Al Capone based on suspicions of murder, gambling, bootlegging rackets etc. but could only pin charges, and convict him, of tax evasion.

The (re)invention of the Al Capone Method combines monitoring and registration of high-risk-profile gang members. According to my research the method in general has an impact as desired by the Danish Government. However, research has not yet shed light on the unintended consequences associated with the method in a Danish context.

Taking the viewpoint of the gang members I will highlight and discuss these unintended consequences and examine their impact. My research is based on interviews and follow-up-interviews with 16 gang members, carried out in Denmark during a 2.5 year period. Additionally, the underlying basis of the research consists of a six months long field study of two gangs in Denmark.

The (re)invention of the Al Capone method in the Danish police force is based on a close interdisciplinary cooperation with the Tax Authority, Prosecuting Authority, Danish Financial Supervisory Authority, Danish Bar and Law Society, Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic Crime, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Danish Business Authority a.o. The interdisciplinary cooperation manifest itself when policemen and staff members of the Tax Authority e.g. execute visitations and confiscations, tries to levy distress and conduct stop-and-search zones in high-risk areas.