S. Bikelis participated in the Lithuanian Criminology Day’s discussion

On 31st May, when the forces of nature were battling outside the window over which of them would scare the city’s residents and visitors more, the participants of a discussion held on the occasion of the Lithuanian Criminologists’ Day in the auditorium of Vilnius University’s Faculty of Philosophy engaged the audience in a struggle of ideas about trust in justice. The theme of this year’s discussion, which has become a tradition of the Lithuanian Association of Criminologists, was “Trust in Justice: What do we Expect from Criminology?”.

The discussion, moderated by Dr Eglė Vileikienė, representative of the Ministry of the Interior, was attended by both criminology academics and practitioners - representatives of the police and the judiciary system. Skirmantas Bikelis, a researcher at the Law Institute of the Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences, also shared his insights.

The discussion and the Q&A session focused on how and why trust in law enforcement and judiciary system is changing. For example, why has trust in the Lithuanian police increased significantly over the last decade, while the public security situation has not changed much? The participants exchanged quite different views on whether the courts should invest in their image and improve communication with the public by explaining their decisions that are not understood by all, and whether the involvement of judges in communication with the public limits their independence?

Finally, ideas were shared on how criminological knowledge could contribute to the development of science-based law enforcement practice. Dr S. Bikelis pointed out that in the current trend of increasing recognition of the importance of circumstantial evidence and the context of a case in the process of evidence discovery and assessment, criminological knowledge is becoming more important than ever for law enforcement officials and judges.