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14 October 2010

Terrorism is a hazard to all States and to all people. It poses a serious threat to our security, to our democratic values and to the rights and freedoms of our citizens, especially through the indiscriminate targeting of innocent people. Terrorism is unlawful and unjustifiable under any circumstances.

The European Union is an area of open borders, both literally and figuratively, in which the internal and external aspects of security are intimately linked. It is an area of increasing inter-dependence, allowing for free movement of people, ideas, technology and resources. This environment is abused by terrorists in order to pursue their objectives. In this context and in the spirit of solidarity, concerted and collective European action is indispensable to combating terrorism.

The CEPOL Unit of the Hellenic Police Academy, with the above in mind, and aware that seminars organised under the auspices of CEPOL have proven to be the best meeting points for Police Officers from Member States, undertook the responsibility of organising a CEPOL Seminar on “Counter Terrorism Awareness”. The seminar took place in Athens, Greece on 04 - 07 October 2010.

The target group for this event was Senior Police Officers or experts from E.U. Member States, Associated countries and E.U. Agencies specifically involved in Counter Terrorism activities within their organisations.

The use of the LMS, part of CEPOL’s e-Net, fully supported this activity and was greatly appreciated by both lecturers and participants.

The seminar was led by experts from Member States (Italy and the UK), Eurojust, Europol as well as Greek Experts coming from various national services that deal with Counter – Terrorism.

After the initial introductory CEPOL – EU and e-Net awareness presentations, the first day was further divided into elaboration and technocracy: Europol’s contribution aimed at Counter Terrorism in general, whereas the three following presentations focused on the intelligence analysis of Counter Terrorism, on Counter Terrorism Financing and the challenges of new Terrorism and, finally, on Religion motivated Terrorism.

The second day opened with a presentation from Eurojust on “Recognising different instruments of European cooperation, and judicial experiences in the field of Counter Terrorism with regard to financing of terrorist activities and organisations” while the following presentations described various national terrorist groups such as the revolutionary organization “17 November”, “Revolutionary Struggle” and “Conspiracy of Cells Fire”. The day concluded with a workshop on the “Transformation of an Extremist group to a Terrorist Organisation” based on the ‘’Conspiracy of Cells Fire’’ case.

The third day’s presentations started with: “Terrorist Organisation Revolutionary Struggle –rise to fall”, followed by discussions about the latest Terrorist bomb cases and a presentation entitled “Forensic Investigation in Keys, Locks & Burglar’s Tools for cases related to Counter Terrorism and Specifically the Revolutionary Organisation 17 November”. The day’s workings concluded with the workshop “Table Top exercise on Counter Terrorism”, which was a practical audio visual exercise based around a specific scenario and structured hypothetical real-time questions.

The last day’s activities commenced with a presentation giving an overview of terrorism in Greece, using the cases of 17 November, Revolutionary Struggle and Conspiracy of Cells of Fire. Following that, the outcomes of the seminar were reported and recommendations and conclusions were drafted. During the closing of the seminar the Police Brigadier General Olga Kokkorou, Deputy Director of the Hellenic Police Academy, delivered the seminar certificates to the participants.

The seminar’s main objectives, reflected in the evaluation feedback by the participants, were fully met, and were:

  • Contrast examples of differing national approaches and experiences to intelligence management and planning
  • Identify backgrounds to terrorism
  • Identify trends relating to terrorist threat
  • Recognise different instruments of European cooperation in the field of counter terrorism
  • Establish an ongoing network with other colleagues on the seminar

Mark Parker, expert from the UK had the following to say regardind the seminar in his report:

“This was an extremely rewarding professional experience and a great opportunity to share knowledge with my European colleagues. As an invited Expert, the initial planning and preparation from the Hellenic Police Academy course management staff was first class, particularly the seminar objectives and proposed topics for presentation. Furthermore the use of the CEPOL Learning Management System provided the opportunity to engage with the participants during the pre-course phase. This allowed for the provision of preliminary reading material to supplement the presentation and provided details of the professional experiences of the participants, thus enabling me to configure the presentation accordingly with a view to achieving the learning outcomes.'

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