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Tijdschrift Justitiële verkenningen x Jaar 2011 x Rubriek Artikel x

    Comparing an organized crime group to an ‘enterprise’ or ‘firm’ and its key persons to ‘entrepreneurs’ is only a small step to viewing its illegal activities as a business process. Yet, it took until the early 1990s before criminologists started to study the logistics of specific illegal activities. Since then, the Dutch police have adapted to thinking of organized crime in terms of criminal business processes and to erecting barriers (preferably insurmountable ones) to specific steps in these processes. Firstly, the police analyze logistical processes to find weak spots that can be targeted to hinder illegal activities most effectively, either through investigative action or by means of preventive measures. Secondly, law enforcement agencies consider such an analytical approach an attractive tool to explore the viability of involving other public or private parties in setting up barriers. The Dutch investigation authorities have used this concept successfully in the case of ecstasy production, by aiming at the small number of suppliers of particular chemicals and hardware. As regards large-scale (and indoor) cannabis cultivation, however, the approach is less fruitful, because there are no explicitly ‘vulnerable’ stages in the cultivation process. Furthermore, some of the intended barriers can be deemed rather intrusive, such as a plan to persuade banks to withdraw a mortgage if the police discover a cannabis nursery in a person's private home. This raises the question to what extent the police and the judiciary may call in other parties to help them put up barriers to illegal activities, instead of using the conventional tool of criminal investigation.


A.C.M. Spapens
Dr. Toine Spapens is als senior onderzoeker verbonden aan de Faculteit Rechtswetenschappen van de Universiteit van Tilburg. Hij is tevens lector milieucriminaliteit aan de Politieacademie te Apeldoorn.
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