A brand new CEPOL course on the EU Policy Cycle for fight against organised and serious crime took place in the UK from 8 – 12 October. The aim of the event was to give an insight regarding the area of Justice and Home Affairs policy making, explain the role of EU bodies and agencies, get more details regarding ‘dry’ documents like The Stockholm Programme or Internal Security Strategy.
Having the experienced and knowledgeable speakers from the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union, European Commission and Europol, the course certainly gave our colleagues from the 19 EU Member State a great opportunity to get the first-hand information from those who are involved in policy making which then affects life of law enforcement staff in the EU. As was perceived during the activity already, the audience was pleased with excellent contributions provided by the expert from the General Secretariat of the Council Mr Didier Dochain; by the policy officer of the European Commission Ms Katarzyna Kwiecinska and by Europol staff members Ms Ruth Linden and Mr Paul Minnebo. They managed to translate the well-known terms like ‘intelligence-led policing’ and ‘European Criminal Intelligence Model’ into clear practices, e.g. sharing of information and managing the national inter-agency information flow in a way which enables the other MS to benefit from your intelligence, also by means of threat assessment produced by Europol (SOCTA 2013, previously OCTA).
Together with the speakers from the Cyprus Presidency, and from Belgium and United Kingdom as drivers of two current EU priorities for fight against serious and organized crime, the team of speakers delivered a comprehensive portfolio of topics in a way which clarified links and interdependencies between the Member States and European policy making and motivated the participants from 19 EU Member States into a creative discussion.
The Head of UK Human Trafficking Centre David Dillnutt, as a driver of the EU priority on THB, shared with us some tactics how to make the actions from the Operational Action Plan really working; followed by the enthusiastic Belgium driver of another EU priority Mobile Organised Crime Groups Dirk Geurts, who exploited the existing tools, e.g. SIS, for making life of travelling criminals more difficult. Also the experience from the Cyprus National EMPACT Coordinator Michalis Gavrielides confirmed that everyone involved in EMPACT projects needs a lot of energy in order to cope with the tasks which usually come on the top of your regular workload.
The most exciting part of the course was surely the day 3 with the live exercises led by the trainer Glyn Morgan; participants received ‘Council priorities’ and were tasked to create strategic goals, and later also operational action plans. As we could witness, there were some talented future drivers!
As a course manager, I was very pleased to notice that there was a lot of positive feedback from participants of this pilot CEPOL course. It proves the necessity to continue with this topic intensively in 2013, which is the year of starting the full 4-years policy cycle. The SOCTA 2013 will be the first step of it, followed by setting of real EU priorities for fight against organised and serious international crime and creation of Multi-Annual Strategic Plans (step 2), with a break-down in an Operation Action Plans for each priority and most important is the implementation of actions via EMPACT projects (step 3); and last but not least the review and assessment (step 4).
Therefore, next year CEPOL intends to contribute significantly to the EU Policy Cycle 2013-2017 by providing learning opportunities for Members States.