Addressing EU security issues at the highest level

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Poster of the Leadership Conference
17 September 2015

From 15 to 16 September 2015, CEPOL has organised the first EU Leadership Workshop for Police Chiefs. The CEPOL Leadership Workshop for Police Chiefs was a 2 days conference, the first of its kind. It brought together the highest ranking Police Chiefs from all EU Member States to exchange good practices on leadership. The conference aims at becoming a forum for debate and dialogue amongst EU law enforcement leadership.

Experts from the European Commission, EUROPOL, FRONTEX, the OSCE, INTERPOL, the University of Leeds and Dacia/Renault Group Romania animated workshops on the European Agenda on Security and on contemporary policing themes, examined from inside and outside perspective.

1st EU Law Enforcement Leadership Workshop for Police Chiefs

Ms. Cecilia Verkleij, Head of Sector at DG HOME, was representing the European Commission. Her presentation focused on the European Agenda on Security and on the renewed EU Internal Security Strategy 2015-2020. She presented the three key priorities in internal security (counter-terrorism, serious and organised crime and cybercrime), explaining that the EU decided to focus its strategy on these priorities due to their cross-border nature. Recent events have shown that an effective response to the security threats emerging from this instability requires a coordinated action of Member States and EU Agencies, as only such actions can make a real difference. Ms. Verkleij also emphasised that the police plays a major role in guaranteeing the security of EU citizens and quoted the results from the latest Eurobarometer saying that EU citizens feel secure thanks to the police work. She concluded by highlighting that CEPOL is leading a program to train leaders to solve the assymetry problem in security policies at EU level.

Mr. Wil Van Gemert, Deputy Director Operations, was representing EUROPOL. His presentation focused on the trends in serious and organised crime. Serious and organised crime is an increasingly dynamic and complex problem. While the key dimensions of some criminal threats remain broadly unchanged and traditional criminal markets such as drugs trafficking and organised property crime continue to be a large part of the overall organised criminal landscape, the routes, modi operandi and increasingly the technologies exploited by criminals continue to diversify and evolve. There is a shift of criminality towards online activities. There is a completely new form of the use of social media for criminal purpose. Social media make it easier for organised crime groups to reach out and agree on how to proceed. Digital technologies are also favorising an increase in polycrime groups. Criminal actors, both groups and individual criminal entrepreneurs, increasingly adopt the crime-as-a-service business model, which is facilitated by social networking online. In the pursuit of new clients, organised crime invariably seeks to change the commodities they trade shifting from traditional goods to new commodities. To conclude, Mr. Van Gemert raised several key questions for the future of EU internal security that served as basis for discussion among EU police chiefs.

Ms. Béatrice Comby, Director of Capacity Building Division, was representing FRONTEX. She explained that Europe is facing the biggest migration crisis since the end of World War 2, with more than 500.000 detected irregular migrants at its external borders by the end of August as a consequence. Tens of thousands of people seeking security and shelter within the EU and risk their health and lives to reach the safe haven, our countries. For the EU Border Management Agency FRONTEX this migratory pressure at the EU external borders, at such level unpredicted, has become an issue of greatest concern. Due to the increase of migration flow, border guards have on average 12s to decide if a person documents are falsified. This workflow constitutes an ominous threat for the management of EU borders. The challenges at EU external borders assume 3 main forms: 1) Mixed migratory flows, 2) Cross-border crime and terrorist threat, 3) Mobility and budgetary constraints. These challenges require intensified cooperation on national as well as international level within the law enforcement family, the civil society as much as with the business and industry sectors. Ms. Comby concluded that only a broader perspective of border management as instrument to the EU internal security and international security will allow efficiently fighting against organised and crossing border crime, terrorism, smuggling of people and trafficking of human beings.

The OSCE presentation focused on terrorism, radicalisation and financing related to terrorism. After a brief introduction on the terrorism evolution, the focus was put on the radicalisation processes of individuals. Community policing reveals to be a very effective tool to prevent violent extremism. However, there are serious gaps in prevention and law enforcement shares the responsibility for this with others. There is a need to involve civil society (parents, young people) and other State institutions (ministries of education, culture, etc.) to tackle the issue together. He concluded by emphasising that preventing terrorism is a task for all layers of society.

Professor David S. Wall, Professor of Criminology, was representing the University of Leeds. His presentation explored how technology is changing the cyber-threat landscape and impacting upon the police services in terms of overall crime workloads. It also briefly outlined technological impacts upon public service delivery and its own organisation. Prof. Wall warned about mesh technologies and how they reduce the ability to govern the Internet. He also pointed out the issues linked to self-deleting communications, such as Snapchat, that reduce the intelligence gathering potential. Discussions evolved around which kind of cybercrimes are affecting the police today before moving on how technological developments shall impact on the police over the next 5-10 years. Prof. Wall concluded that with the fast-paced nature of cybercrime, training becomes crucial for law enforcement officers to tackle evolving threats.

Mr. Glyn Lewis, Executive Director for Strategy and Governance, was representing INTERPOL. His presentation set the scene in regards to some major challenges confronting police globally and the impact it is having on police leadership and decision making. Mr. Lewis then presented how INTERPOL is responding to this environment and how it is being reconfigured to respond more flexibly to meet these challenges and the needs of police in its 190 member countries. Mr. Lewis emphasised the challenges linked to different leadership cultures and styles. He examined how to deal with these various approaches. He concluded that the only way to coordinate between these different leadership styles is to create a platform where leaders can meet and debate. This would allow for better coordination and information sharing at the highest level.

Mr. Mihai Acsinte, Chief Legal and Ethics Officer at Renault Group Romania, was representing the view of the private sector. He presented the business model of Dacia/Renault and provided with food for thought on how to apply such a model to the public sector. He examined scenarii on how to perform more with less resources. Concepts like “Do more with less” or “Low cost” have been dissected and analysed for years in order to be applied in real life. Sometimes it worked and Dacia is the relevant example. Lessons learned from Dacia’s success and parallels in terms of vision, strategy, and day to day management were analysed for use in law enforcement leadership. His presentation closed the workshops of the first EU Law Enforcement Leadership Workshop for Police Chiefs.

What can be learned from these debates and discussions?

Preventing crime is a very difficult task. The dynamic nature of crime forces EU law enforcement to adapt in order to respond to evolving threats. But, what are the "must-haves” for policing in the EU? Where to put the resources for maximum outcome? These questions remain open. A way forward shall be to move from cooperative models to co-production and co-creation. The EU should moreover device more systems and standards to understand crime and share information about it. Finally, globalisation is getting more important to the domestic agenda as crime knows no borders. It is crucial to bring international affairs at the front of national agendas to tackle this threat efficiently. Part of the solution has to come from outside policing: we need to integrate the best ideas that would come from private/public partnership.

This workshop offered a platform bringing together practitioners and academics to reflect on EU security issues at the highest level.

The first EU Law Enforcement Leadership Workshop for Police Chiefs is part of CEPOL’s comprehensive Leadership Programme. In addition to the conference, CEPOL’s Leadership Programme consists of a training for Future Leaders (divided in two modules taking place in October and November 2015), of a training for Heads of Training Institutions (one module in 2016) and of the European Joint Master Programme, the first EU academic programme focused on policing.



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