Dear Ms Maglione,
Following the meeting between EuroCOP and Commissioner Johansson on 14 July, we would like to share our more detailed views on the EU agency for law enforcement training (CEPOL), which we touched on during the meeting. We are also submitting this position paper as feedback to the Commission’s roadmap on the evaluation of CEPOL.
EuroCOP’s position on CEPOL
EuroCOP supports the setting of European standards in the area of law enforcement training and is therefore in favour of a more active role for the European Police Academy, CEPOL.
EuroCOP supports the idea of a cross-EU standard level of knowledge and skills for all law enforcement officials and fully endorses the development of the European Law Enforcement Training Scheme (LETS) as proposed by the Commission. We also believe that to create a truly European culture of law enforcement further issues related to training still need to be further emphasised in the future framework which are set out in this paper.
- Enhancing interaction between law enforcement officials across all ranks
Police officers experience the international dimension of crime on a day to day basis and should therefore be better able to cooperate with colleagues internationally. At the moment, the Stockholm programme promotes contact between senior officials of the Member States through structures such as COSI, Europol, and CEPOL, all of which centre on high-level interaction.
EuroCOP would therefore support the development of exchange programmes which seek to enhance interaction between police officers in an active and practical manner, both between training centres and operational police units.
- Ensuring a European dimension to training
European police officers should receive some form of European training. For example EuroCOP believes that the ‘Erasmus’-like exchange programme for law enforcement currently provided by CEPOL should be extended to officers at all levels, and that additional funding should be provided for so-called twinning projects not just with third countries, but also within the EU.
During a previous meeting with former CEPOL Director, Mr. Ferenc Bánfi, the EuroCOP President set out these proposals, explaining the need to create a kind of “Bologna plan” for Police Academies in order to achieve common standards on training, cross-border academic cooperation and the mutual recognition of study periods and qualifications earned abroad, including at other Police Academies.
Furthermore, to facilitate communication between police forces, it is essential to improve officers’ language skills at all levels and for language learning to be included in the standard curriculum for trainee officers. English courses should be a standard part of the law enforcement training curriculum.
- Implementing high standards across Europe
EuroCOP supports the implementation of an EU-wide system of quality assurance to ensure that all Police Academies offer a high standard of learning and teaching. This could be achieved through the accreditation of the studies taught by the different Police Academics across Europe, which would allow CEPOL to issue a certificate of recognition.
CEPOL should play a role in the implementation of a common European curriculum, by defining core subjects that should be taught in all Police Academies in Europe and validating those chosen by the Member States. This would imply the supervision by CEPOL of all the studies given in the different Police Academies in Europe to guarantee European standards.
In summary, EuroCOP calls for the evaluation of CEPOL to:
- Ensure training opportunities facilitate cooperation between police officers at all levels
- Ensure a European dimension to police training, including language learning
- Ensure mutual recognition of qualifications and periods spent abroad at other Police Academies
- Implement a system of quality assurance to strengthen the quality and relevance of learning and teaching in the Police Academies
- Allow for CEPOL accreditation of training to guarantee European standards
Finally, EuroCOP also calls on the European Union to establish a common framework for policing by updating the European Police Code of Ethics and incorporating it into the acquis.
We are at your disposal should you wish to discuss these issues further and look forward to working closely with you during the CEPOL evaluation process.