The promotion of crime prevention has only had general objectives. What it has brought concretely is mostly impossible to assess.
Press release to audit No 18/20 – 17 June 2019
The Supreme Audit Office examined the funds provided by the Ministry of the Interior (MoI), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for crime prevention between 2015 and 2018. In total, over CZK 295 million from the state budget were allocated for 1 230 projects in those years. In addition to the crime prevention system, the SAO also reviewed 137 projects for almost CZK 36 million. In most cases, the Ministries did not set measurable targets or indicators concerning the distribution of aid, thus, benefits of such aid could not be assessed. The set system did not, therefore, measure and evaluate how earmarked funds had helped in crime prevention.
The support for crime prevention was, for example, aimed at camera systems, community work with children and youth, probation and resocialisation programmes, and/or prevention of risk behaviour of soldiers. More than 78 % of funds for crime prevention were distributed by the Ministry of the Interior. For example, the general objectives of the projects were “to increase the sense of safety” or “to reduce the possibility of committing an infringement”.
Furthermore, the Ministry of the Interior did neither aim the support to the regions with the highest number of crimes, nor did the distribution of money correspond to the risk index of regions which the MoI had elaborated itself. This was, i.a., due to the low interest of applicants, administrative complexity, or the use of funds from other subvention sources.
In the years under review, the MoJ had five priorities in crime prevention focused on probation and resocialisation of adults, but it supported only three of them. One of the reasons for this was that the Ministry did not promote the programmes sufficiently. The number of applicants was low and the MoJ approved all aid applications. Thus, more than half of the total aid was granted to two projects of the same general utility.
For 15 of the 31 MoJ’s probation project programmes, the planned number of clients was not reached. The programme was successfully completed only by half of them. The cost per client varied from CZK 907 to 39,600 and the highest expenses fell upon programmes that drew most funds. The maximum financial limit per client or number of successful clients started to be assessed by MoJ in August 2018.
From 2015 to 2017, the MoD spent almost 90 % of the funds for crime prevention on leisure activities in accordance with the Act on Professional Soldiers. It included, for example, tickets for cultural and sport events for members of the MoD and families of professional soldiers. Only a small proportion of the funds went to diagnostic and educational activities.
As for the aid of the MoI and the MoJ, measurable criteria for evaluating the results were set by beneficiaries themselves. However, they often set them in an incomparable way, such as ‘healthy leisure time of children and youth from risk groups’, ‘changes in the behaviour of the target group’ or ‘media response’.
As part of the audit, the SAO also carried out a questionnaire for other European SAIs to compare how crime prevention programmes were set up and how they were evaluated. For example, in Estonia, measurable targets were already set at a strategic level, within programmes there were set objectives and measurable results. The majority of programmes were based on practice from other European countries and the effectiveness of the programmes was even assessed by researchers.
Supreme Audit Office