CEPOL Executive Director debates at European Parliament on police ethics and respect of fundamental rights

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12 May 2022

Invited by the European Parliament, the Executive Director of the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), Ms. Montserrat Marín López, has debated today on the police’s role in democratic societies and ways to ensure that the use of force remains in line with EU values.

The discussion took place at a parliamentary hearing aimed at enabling members of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) to reflect on fundamental rights issues posed by the use of police force. Also invited to this meeting, led by the Committee Chair Juan Fernando López Aguilar, were representatives from the Fundamental Rights Agency, the global criminal justice watchdog Fair Trials and the initiative Better Police.

Ms. Marín López shared her views on ways to improve awareness and training. In addressing the LIBE Members of the European Parliament, CEPOL’s Executive Director underlined that training on fundamental rights for law enforcement receives proper attention and features high on the Agency’s agenda. To accelerate the improvement of CEPOL’s approach on fundamental rights on law enforcement work, an expert group was established in 2021 to develop a more structured and strategic approach to fundamental rights training. The expert group has focused on mainstreaming fundamental rights both as a separate and a horizontal topic, creating guiding principles for CEPOL and tools and instruments for the integration of training on fundamental rights into operational subjects.

CEPOL’s offer on fundamental rights has evolved considerably over the last years, moving from an initial two-step activity on hate crime and victim protection to a wide range of classroom-type and asynchronous web-based training products available today on various subjects: vulnerable groups (such as LGBTI, Roma or other ethnic minorities); gender-based violence; anti-Muslim hatred; antisemitism; victims of labour exploitation; unaccompanied minors; persons with mental health problems; victims of domestic violence; victims of cyber violence; victims of terrorism; prevention of torture; unlawful profiling; and police stops and searches, to name a few. A new activity on protection of personal data for law enforcement purposes will be available in CEPOL’s training catalogue.

CEPOL’s Executive Director unveiled that the Agency is exploring the possibility to launch in the near future a massive online open course (MOOC) on Basic Principles and Standards of Fundamental Rights for Law Enforcement Officials.

Ms. Marín López noted:

“Reinforcing the protection of fundamental rights in the law enforcement work cannot be achieved through training alone; but training is an essential component to achieve that goal. CEPOL has already developed cooperation with international organisations and key EU bodies, such as the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. We are ready to step up efforts and further collaborate with other relevant stakeholders with whom we share values, in particular with organisations representing the civil society”.

Presentation of the EU Strategic Training Needs Assessment 2022-2025

Following her intervention at the hearing panel, Ms. Marín López was also invited to present the EU Strategic Training Needs Assessment 2022-2025, a strategic handbook developed by the Agency for providers of law enforcement education and training across the EU. Based on the criminal threats identified, this publication provides guidance on what needs to be trained to help ensure that the learning offer available to law enforcement officials is pertinent and consistent across the European Union.

The Executive Director of CEPOL stressed the need to upskill law enforcement officials in digital skills and the use of new technologies, as highlighted by the report. Ms. Marín López’s intervention generated significant interest triggering questions and comments by MEPs Jeroen LENAERS (EPP/NL), Tineke STRIK (Greens-EFA/NL) and Javier ZARZALEJOS (EPP/ES).

The intervention can be followed in the video recording here.


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