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IN FOCUS

Lines of action

Criminal intelligence and rule of law

Intelligence as the production of strategic knowledge for decision-making can be a powerful tool for the development of our country and the strengthening of our democracy. But to do so, it must abide by the Rule of Law by establishing clear rules on legitimate procedures and the conditions of transparency and mechanisms of democratic control and accountability.

In addition, there must be a sustained state policy that establishes medium and long-term intelligence needs in relation to strategic issues related to defense, security and the socioeconomic development projected for the country.

The consolidation of institutional frameworks and political agreements that democratically validate intelligence activities requires deepening the path started when the Intelligence Law was passed in 2001, the different reforms proposed to it later on in 2015 and the frameworks promoted by the intervention of the Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) between 2019 and 2022.

In Focus proposes to contribute to the broad and deep debate necessary for the construction of the legitimacy of intelligence activities, a debate that should incorporate critical and diverse perspectives. It is necessary to head towards a clear functional differentiation of the various intelligence bodies, discuss the scope and responsibilities of criminal intelligence, military strategic intelligence and intelligence for sovereign and sustainable development. And also review the institutional models of articulation and political rule of the activity.

Criminal Policy

Criminal policy is constructed by the set of regulations, institutions, symbolic and material resources, and State interventions – national and subnational – to address and prevent violence and crimes. Strictly speaking,with these different inputs, States configure the events so that they are conceived as “violence” and/or “crimes”, they select and discard, they promote certain actions and relegate others. Thus, there are a multiplicity of variables that shape criminal policy. Unfortunately, Argentina has been shaping its criminal policy in favor of hyper-repressive regimes of already segregated and violated populations. Criminal policy shifts intermittently from a construction that diversifies criminal prosecution towards large-scale criminal networks and organizations to another that preventively addresses lethal and harmful violence with multi-agency participation.


In Focus aims to contribute to the production of evidence and critical reflection that demonstrates the effectiveness of certain instruments in the protection of citizens, public goods and resources. The challenge is to analyze these measures in the context of growing inequalities and the existence of non-state agents in charge of a pseudo para-state criminal policy.

Working conditions, rights and gender equality in law enforcement agencies

The horizon of construction of security policies in democratic contexts establishes the need to include among our lines of action the working conditions of law enforcement agents. This implies considering them subjects of rights with expectations and views about the activity, work or profession they carry out. It also involves analyzing and reflecting on the instances of demand and claims for salary issues, access to health, adequate work environments, forms of mistreatment or harassment at work, among other issues.

At In Focus we understand that adopting a gender perspective in the analysis of compliance and claim of labor rights is productive to understand law enforcement institutions, the professional relationships that inhabit them and the conflicts that go through them.

Professionalization of law enforcement agencies

Law enforcement agencies in democratic regimes require highly professionalized personnel whose education, training and retraining are focused on unrestricted respect for human rights, equal treatment of all citizens and the rational use of force. We understand that the process of professionalization of law enforcement agencies is not limited to the initial training but a process that must begin beforehand with a rigorous selection and admission system and that must be extended throughout the career with constant training and retraining.

Likewise, given that the education of members of law enforcement agencies does not occur only in conventional spaces such as training schools and retraining centers but largely in their everyday activities, it is imperative that those who occupy leading roles in these institutions are subject to permanent evaluation. Promotions should not be mere administrative milestones in the career of officers, but rather instances where their ability to perform the tasks that their institutional function demands is evaluated.

Penitentiary policy

We propose to address penitentiary policy in order to propose interventions that tend to reduce the social harm that prison produces in a context of sustained increase in the prison population. Indeed, it is essential to review, discuss and seek alternatives to punitive confinement, which has amply demonstrated its failure over time.

At In Focus we propose to address some unavoidable points that do not exhaust penitentiary policy but indicate paths to follow. Firstly, discuss preventive confinement, in Argentina practically half of the imprisoned people are being prosecuted. Secondly, systematize the data that exists regarding the living conditions of imprisoned people, the enormous difficulties they have in accessing basic rights such as health, education and work, in addition to the systematic violation of their most basic rights. Thirdly, account for the working conditions of wardens, their training and the support they receive to work in spaces of confinement. Fourthly, seek proposals to “open” the prison to various organizations that can commit to labor, cultural, educational initiatives, among others. Finally, we must review and collaborate to enhance post-prison approaches so that they effectively make it easier for those released to rebuild their life projects.

Security and federalism: jurisdictions and national, provincial and local articulation of security

At In Focus we believe in the need to build federal security policies that strengthen the articulation between the different levels of government (provincial, regional and local) and favor a strategic and equitable distribution of national resources.
During the 1990s decade, characterized by policies that limited the State action and the subscription to fiscal and federal pacts that increased the need for resources of most provinces and deepened the asymmetries at the regional and local level, provinces and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires implemented different strategies to address insecurity, mainly associated with common urban crime.

Law enforcement agencies have as their function the prevention and investigation of federal crimes, however, through different articulations between the national government and the provincial, local jurisdictions or the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, they have provided services of urban policing to strengthen the police capabilities of the different jurisdictions.

This requires building a federal perspective that takes into account interagency articulation and the different jurisdictions that strengthens crime reduction and prevention capabilities without widening inequalities between citizens of different jurisdictions. At In Focus we consider that in order to achieve this is essential not only the political decision of articulation and interagency and interjurisdictional work, but mainly the strengthening of the capacities of each province or municipality to exercise control over their jurisdiction. To do this, it is necessary to know and discuss the experiences and possible models of articulation and strengthening.

Production and Analysis of Criminal Information

At In Focus we are convinced that the design of democratic, rational and effective security policies requires diagnoses based on rigorously constructed information. We also believe that it is important to have work teams that are capable of knowing and analyzing the different existing sources of police, judicial and penitentiary information and recognizing their potential and limits.

The possibilities generated by new technologies in terms of information construction collaborated in the proliferation of different systems for receiving complaints, emergency management and creating databases. For the first time we are faced with a large quantity of information related to crimes, violence and citizen demands. However, this data, in most cases, it’s not useful for strategic diagnoses or regional or federal approaches since it’s gathered together without taking into account institutional and methodological criteria that could allow progress in the construction of indicators for the generation of public policies.

In Focus drives the initiative to develop a space for interdisciplinary reflection on the needs in the construction of criminal information that transcends the paths predetermined by the technology market and the practice of importing formats from countries with other political and institutional designs. We will work on generating spaces for dialogue between social sciences, statistics and computer science to enable the construction of a systematic perspective in accordance with the needs of a criminal policy aimed at the prosecution of complex crime and the reduction of lethal crimes and highly harmful violence.

Alternative conflict management

Conflicts in a democratic society are the expression of the plurality of interests and perspectives that coexist in space and time. The punitive approach, far from providing solutions, usually generates or increases violence. State agencies must develop inter-institutional and inter-jurisdictional bodies for the management of conflicts that allow listening to and identifying the different visions and seeking multiple instances to generate solutions.

At In Focus we will systematize and study alternative conflict management experiences because we understand that in security management these forms of action that avoid or reduce situations of violence must be considered.

Rational use of force

At In Focus we promote the construction of a security policy that contemplates not only respect for the human rights of all the inhabitants of our country, but also one that is also framed in the international commitments established in our National Constitution, and abides by national legislation and also other regulations that rule the actions of the different actors that make up the national internal security system.

In this context, understanding security from the perspective of the rational use of force will allow us to think and propose policies and lines of action that contemplate that the work in prevention and dismantling of crime, and the investigation and effective response to organized crime, need to go by the human rights standards that make up our regulatory system. Thus, when thinking about security policies from this perspective, a framework of action is configured that gives due relevance to law enforcement agencies, while enabling the construction of legitimate and professional security institutions.The development of this construction must simultaneously contemplate policies for the control of law enforcement agencies as well as those aimed at the prevention of institutional violence.

Communication strategies on crime, security and violence

At In Focus we propose to analyze and debate the relationship between communication (especially media) and the ambiguous classification of the security/insecurity pair, as well as the conditions of production of the information that is displayed and published in the media on this topic.

Current forms of mediatization strengthen speed, immediacy and contact with their audiences (who are not immune to certain demands), while at the same time cede the argument in favor of emotion. Thus, imposed typologies and aesthetics shape the texts: the result of conditioning and pressures become “news” and are presented as information (multiplied by contemporary multi-screen consumption).

We propose to address what and how “security/insecurity/violence” is in the current media universe, in its relationship with the production process, circulation and construction of public space.

This relationship is based on two basic questions: what is “security” news? and what are its production conditions? Both concerns draw on the critical analysis of discourse and place the media as institutions for the construction of hegemony.