LIBE Committee: CEPOL Executive Director outlines impact of COVID-19 on law enforcement training needs

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28 October 2020

The Executive Director of the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Training, Dr h. c. Detlef Schröder, has been invited by the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) to share his views on the impact that COVID-19 has had on law enforcement training needs.

Participating yesterday at the Committee meeting in the presence of its Chair, Mr Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, Mr Schröder indicated that new crime phenomena and emerging patterns of criminal behaviour have come to the fore as a result of the pandemic. “To stay ahead of criminals in this fast changing situation, our law enforcement community needs relevant, specifically designed training”, he said.

To better understand where the knowledge gaps are, CEPOL carried out this year an analysis of specific training needs that identified areas where upskilling and reinforcement of competences is required. As offenders are shifting their criminal activity to the Internet, cybercrime, open source intelligence and cyber patrolling make up for high priority training areas, explained Mr Schröder. Two other fields requiring strengthening of capacities are online investigations and domestic violence, where a substantial increase in cases has been observed as a consequence of the pandemic.

Beyond the priority training areas, the pandemic has also unveiled other severe needs with regard to law enforcement training in Member States: with the massive push towards online learning, the lack of solid online infrastructure and appropriate professional capacity to deliver e-learning activities has become evident in some countries. Mr Schröder explained that those constraints were immediately detected by CEPOL through their COVID-19 Task Force which articulated a quick response by putting all CEPOL available e-learning infrastructure, resources and expertise to the service of police academies and national training institutions requiring support. Thanks to CEPOL's quick response, more than 3,800 participants have been able to continue receiving training through law training institutions in their countries.

Mr Schröder’s intervention generated significant interest triggering numerous questions by MEPs Jeroen LENAERS (EPP/NL), Caterina CHINNICI (S&D, IT), Abir AL-SAHLANI (Renew/SE), Tineke STRIK (Greens-EFA/NL) and Birgit SIPPEL (S&D, DE).

The intervention can be followed in the video recording here:

https://multimedia.europarl.europa.eu/en/committee-on-civil-liberties-justice-and-home-affairs_20201027-1345-COMMITTEE-LIBE_vd

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