CEPOL organised a Kynopol seminar for heads of dog handling centers from the 28th November to 1st December 2011 in Lognes, France. The event was hosted by France and inaugurated by Martine NAUTE, sub-director of the French training department. Frontex, Italy, Portugal and Hungary, the initiator of the Kynopol secretariat, contributed to the activity.
The main objective of the activity was to create a network of law enforcement dog professionals in Europe, Kynopol, to describe and identify their operational tasks and needs. This network will be created based on Council Decision 8178/11.
The programme and objectives of the activity were prepared by CEPOL in close cooperation with Frontex thus creating a new activity based on the right criteria.
Within the workshop's setting, participants were then able to identify the needs and tasks of a future Kynopol network.
Participants had the opportunity to exchange best practice and to be informed about the development of EU border guard K9, the national implementation of Frontex standards, the most important stages and content in and identifying the tasks and needs of Kynopol. Last, but not least, a Study visit to the French dog training centre (CNFUC) took place, during which participants were informed about the legal basis of using law enforcement dogs and how dog & handler training is carried out in France. Participants also enjoyed a live demonstration of dog training in the field of drug and explosive detection as well as in the use of force with dogs.
After a short discussion on Council Resolution 8178/11, regarding the creation of such a network, participants had a workshop which generated the following proposals / conclusions from the brainstorming session carried out in relation to Kynopol:
- Priority at this stage is not to develop another network but to group and coordinate existing networks in order to avoid overlapping and use of community funds for parallel initiatives;
- Development of a network of professionals in the field of dog handling at the same level with already existing ones would lead to the development of a parallel process with the one undertaken by Frontex since 2006 aiming at setting common standards for service dog handlers.
- Due to the fact that Frontex standards for dog training / dog handling could apply to any law enforcement body managing a dog training unit, they can be universally used – if considered nationally important – by any law enforcement agency.
- Kynopol could distribute to the Member States the annual programme of activities carried out by EU bodies in the field of dog training.
- In order to support further development of standards, collection and assessment of expertise at an EU level is of utmost importance. Contribution from all Heads of dog training centers would be expected to the annual conference leading to a common culture for dog handlers in EU Member States. A systemic approach will increase the efficiency of cooperation in this field of expertise.
- The necessity for the designation of Kynopol National Contact Points is emphasised, which would make communications between Member States (relevant dog training institutions – police – border guards, law enforcement in general) and relevant EU Agencies more efficient.
- The creation of parallel networks, in the field of dog training with similar tasks, based on EU funds would provoke confusion in the Member States. The most efficient strategy is to not create another network but to tie existing bodies into one network, represented by Kynopol.