The Thin Line Where Tackling Organised Crime Ends and Discrimination of Deviant Subcultures Begins

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 18:30
Oral Presentation
Viktor KARPINSKI, Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony, Hannover, Germany
This presentation concerns so-called Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs (OMCGs), which are supposed to have a major share in Organised Crime for their participation in drug traffic, human trafficking, sexual exploitation and violent crime. It presents how states address this cross-border crime by conjoint measures. Most recently the European Union set up an innovative kind of regulatory and punitive measures which allows to circumvent the trial court and thus the presumption of innocence. Being dependent on arbitrary decision based on sole discretion the envisaged measures may be used in a twofold way: in order to prevent dangers for public order or being misused in order to discriminate an unpleasant subculture. Due to non-compliance to the overall society’s values the Bikers’ subculture becomes stigmatised by authorities while not every Biker is criminal. One has to differentiate even in this setting which seems to be strongly adherent to violence and crime due to its norms and values based on a specific image of masculinity, honour and hierarchy. That’s why discretionary power is a thin line between preventing criminal associations from (mis-)use of legal assets and harassing a disaffectionate subculture when employing these so-called “Administrative Measures” without a judicial process proving the perpetrator’s guilt.

Focusing on the point, where power, violence and justice converge the responsible political agenda setters, their operating principles and the aims of their policies shall be identified. A review of the UE’s methods and their outcomes should be presented as well as critical reflection on the undersized evaluation period: scheduled too narrow to the policy’s implementation, it precludes taking into account the time-delay of problems which are yet to come.

Since the potential punishment depends on an individual’s assessment being non-transparent, vaguely defined by legal acts, barely reproducible and thus being vulnerable to appeal and contestation, differentiation remains of key importance.