It’s all about communication and co-operation

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14 October 2019
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Malta

The CEPOL activity 51/2019: Language Development – Professional Law Enforcement Terminology in English was hosted in Malta between the 22nd September and the 11th October 2019. This residential activity’s aim was to improve operational cooperation between law enforcement authorities to increase language abilities and increase participants’ knowledge of European law enforcement systems and instruments of cooperation. For this reason, law enforcement officers involved in cross-border work or international police cooperation in either operational or educational arenas across Europe were invited to attend. Adding to this, the activity provided all participants with a range of skills useful for speech fluency to enhance accurate spoken interventions on a pragmatic level of conversation analysis. Considering the audience present for this three-week course, the main emphasis for the taught component was to support the participants in learning specific and appropriate policing terminology, whilst using the language of comparison, and giving clear and effective instructions or presentations in an operational or educational situation related to cross-border and international police co-operation.

Although the world is becoming an ever-smaller place to live in, borders are dividing us, but communication and effective English knowledge is essential and instrumental to key co-operation within European borders. This course was organised by the Malta Police Force in conjunction with the Academy for Disciplined Forces, as well as the University of Malta, specifically the Centre for English Language Proficiency.

For this course, 29 participants have attended despite many others who have shown interest in attending. The participating countries represented 20 European Member States and 2 associated countries, all of which increasingly added value to the course itself, and for the European cross-border co-operation and network.

Since the course was ultimately aimed at the English language development, the main trainers throughout the whole course were two; namely Ms. Larissa Jonk, and Ms. Jeanette Theuma. They are both very professional in their way of working, but most of all very proficient in their subject and in coming up with various methods and techniques for delivering their lectures, and to ensure that the audience will be engaged for most of the time. Their strong academic background and personal interest in the subject have featured in the successful course content and the participants’ knowledge and language competences achieved overall.

Other trainers and experts were invited to teach relevant policing components. Dr. Mary Muscat, who is a lawyer by profession, but has embedded experience with policing, criminology and family court, has delivered lectures about Police systems and Data protection. Similarly, Inspector Timothy Zammit, serving within the Malta Police Force for the past 16 years has incredibly vast knowledge and experience within cybercrime and open source intelligence as it works both locally and internationally. Indeed, his lectures witnessed his competences in the mentioned subjects, of which all participants found interesting and informative. Another two inspectors; Edward Zammit and Justine Grech were involved within this course. Inspector Edward Zammit has been a Police Officer for more than 20 years, and besides working within the Cybercrime unit for several years, he is an official counsellor for any Police Officers who wish to reach out for support due to mental health difficulties. He has given out a session on Hate crime and the implied context on an international level. Inspector Justine Grech, on the other hand has been serving within the Police Force for more than 12 years and her area of expertise is Drug Trafficking. Deputy Commissioner Dr. Mario Spiteri, ex Head of the National CEPOL unit in Malta, was involved by delivering a lecture about Fundamental Rights locally and within a European dimension. A number of case-studies were presented and open discussions were mostly encourages.

Other components within the three-week schedule included a visit to the Malta Police Headquarters and touch down with representatives working within the Europol, Interpol and SIRENe. The participants had the opportunity to visit the working offices and hear about the Maltese daily operations within the highlighted sections. Besides, the flow of information disseminated, the participants had the time to ask questions and equally practice English language skills even further. Another off-site visit was at the European Asylum Support Office in Malta (EASO), where all participants were given a presentation of its work on a local and on an international level to involve and support hotspots that EASO constantly liaise with.

Despite the course being intense and very rich in the teaching component, the whole learning experience and the inter-relatedness between all participants have surpassed our expectations. This course brought on an element of “United States of Europe”, and rain or shine, the motivation never faded away. It was definitely effective for all those present. Their language skills have surely improved and so did their confidence in speaking the language. The overall aim was achieved and the baggage of experience was packed with all that they learnt, connections made and friendship to be sustained. This course represented time well invested and great moments that were shared from beginning to end.

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