European Commission
New Commission plans for EU police cooperation and data exchange between law enforcement agencies
On December 8th, the Commission issued three legislative proposals covering new EU plans for operational police cooperation, information exchange between Member State law enforcement authorities, and also automated data exchange under the “Prüm II” framework (covered in detail in the second article below). The Commission has noted the sub-optimal situation at present, where organized criminal gangs typically exploit the lack of harmonization of the various bilateral and multilateral police cooperation agreements in Europe. Thus, the Commission calls for a Council recommendation on police cooperation to create a coordination platform alongside Europol to better support joint police patrols and operations across the EU. The Commission also calls for harmonizing rules of engagement across Member States in cross-border police operations. Moreover, to address gaps in cross-border data exchange between Member State police authorities, the proposal for a Directive on data exchange aims to make the Secure Information Exchange Network Application (SIENA), a framework managed by Europol, the default channel of communication. That proposal also calls on Member States to install a “single contact point” – a 24/7 one-stop-shop for information exchange with other EU countries.

Commission presents proposal to update the Prüm framework (Prüm II) on police data sharing
To recall, the Prüm framework lays down provisions under which EU Member States grant each other access to their automated DNA analysis files, automated fingerprint identification systems and vehicle registration data. The Commission notes that while the Prüm framework has led to an improved situation in terms of preventing, investigating and detecting crime, some of the rules are now outdated since forensic science and technology has significantly improved in the last decade. As a result, the Commission’s newly published Proposal for a Regulation on automated data exchange, or Prüm II sets out the need to introduce a “central router” for information to be processed through, to which national databases can connect. This will replace the array of bilateral systems currently operating between the various national databases. Additionally, it sets out a new time limit for data exchange – if a match occurs following a given Member State’s query to another Member State concerning a suspect or convicted criminal, the requisite data (identifying the suspect or convicted criminal, including their name, nationality and date of birth) should, under the proposals, be shared within 24 hours.)  (link)


Country News:

·        Belgium: Belgian police had to deploy water cannons and tear gas to tackle anti-lockdown protests on the 5th December, after about 8000 people marched across Brussels. (link)

·        Czech Republic: Czech police detained 53 illegal migrants in four cars in the Břeclav border district neighboring Slovakia and Austria. (link)

·        France: French police have discovered more than 182,000 fake digital COVID certificates. (link)

·        Germany: The German Police Union (GdP) have said they are running at “full capacity” and officers on the ground are struggling to cope with violence and stress incurred while policing extensive protests against COVID-19 containment measures.

·        Italy: Italian police have seized key components used to manufacture fuselages for Boeing 787 jets in Grottaglie, in Apulia, from Leonardo SpA’s plant which were allegedly produced using titanium and aluminium that is non-compliant with quality and origin conditions. (link)

·        Malta: The Maltese Police Union has demanded a rapid revamp of the offices which house the licensing unit and the Mosta Police Station, where it says conditions are deplorable and virtually “third world.” (link)

·        Slovenia: Slovenian citizens have called on the country’s police force to tackle surges in crime in the country’s Roma villages, particularly in the industrial area Dobruška Vas, near Škocjan. (link)

·        Spain: Spanish police have arrested two men for allegedly trying to raffle off a Christmas hamper packed with narcotics, a so-called “narcobasket” or “narcocestas” which contained cocaine, hashish, alcohol and tobacco. (link)

·        UK (NI): The Police Service of Northern Ireland has ordered uniformed officers to move to 12-hour shifts to cover new demands associated with enforcing new COVID-19 restrictions and also possible staff shortages. (link)

Other news
Council of Europe finds Croatia has failed to implement police ethics, anti-corruption recommendations
In a compliance report published on 22nd December 2021, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) assesses measures taken by the Croatian authorities to implement recommendations issued in the Fifth Round Evaluation Report on Croatia, published in March 2020. Overall, GRECO concludes Croatia has not satisfactorily implemented any of the 17 recommendations issued in that report. With regard to law enforcement agencies, GRECO welcomes that Croatia has begun enacting measures to abandon the practice of fines being paid in cash directly to police officers, and that initial and in-service training has been adapted to include specific integrity classes. However, GRECO also notes that in Croatia “a revised code of ethics for police is still yet to be adopted, a risk assessment of corruption prone areas in the police is to be carried out and possibilities to further improve appointment and promotion processes within the police are to be further explored.” (link)

Norwegian Police Association calls for increased staffing and more permanent police employment
In a written statement, the Norwegian Police Association has called for 400 permanent appointments in the force and criticized the continued heavy reliance upon temporary contracts, as well as the arduous process involved in hiring for permanent positions. On the one hand, the Association notes that more funding appears to be materializing for permanent contracts. But the bottom line for the Association is that 400 permanent employees must be added to the force, and will continue pushing for this during the discussions on the police budget for the next year, which will take place in mid-2022. In the statement, Sigve Bosltad, leader of the Association noted that, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, “it is unsustainable for people to go into precarious, temporary positions over a long period of time. It gives no predictability for our young colleagues, and gives a bad first impression of the police as an employer.” (link)


Look Ahead :

–       12 January 2022: CEPOL hosts a webinar on Tobacco fraud – illegal manufacturing and trade of cigarettes. More information is available here and the link to register is available here.

–       13 January 2022: European Parliament LIBE Committee meets. On the agenda: Computerised system for communication in cross-border civil and criminal proceedings (e-CODEX system); exchange of views on the Commission’s provisional emergency measures for the benefit of Latvia, Lithuania and Poland in the context of the asylum emergency at the EU external border with Belarus; 2020 discharges on the European Asylum Support Office, Eurojust, Europol and CEPOL.


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