TOPCOP

Project lead: CEPOL

Partners: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine

Implementing Partner: EUROPOL

Other Partners: European Commission services, European Union External Action Service (EEAS), Delegations of the European Union, Europol, Frontex, Eurojust and other donors and international/regional organisations in the area

Contracting Authority: European Commission DG for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR)

Project duration: 48 months

Social media hashtag: #CEPOL_TOPCOP


The TOPCOP project

The Training and Operational Partnership Against Organised Crime (TOPCOP) project aims to improve cooperation within the Eastern Partnership (EaP) region and with the EU agencies on countering organised crime. The partner countries of the project are Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

The main emphasis of the project lies on the capacity of relevant actors (law enforcement officers, including border and customs officials, prosecutors and judges) to engage in international cooperation, including with the EU, to fight cross-border crime. More specifically, the project targets law enforcement and other relevant personnel whose tasks encompass the criminal justice process to counter serious and organised crime.

Context

Organised crime is a problem in all six Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, partially because they are located along the Black Sea route (a sub-branch of the Balkan route) of the ‘Heroin Route’. Organised Crime Groups (OCGs) from Eastern Neighbourhood countries are active in, amongst others, migrant smuggling, organised property crime, trafficking in human beings for forced labour and sexual exploitation (mainly women and children), firearms and drug trafficking, money laundering, and other related crimes such as document fraud. Organised crime has a cross-border dimension and affects neighbouring countries. This warrants emphasising regional dialogue and collaborative action across borders on these issues both among the Eastern Neighbourhood countries and between these countries and the EU.

In its most recent communication on the subject, the European Commission reiterated its commitment to assist the partner countries in the broad area of security, including specific support in fighting organised crime also by means of increased cooperation with EU Justice and Home Affairs agencies. This project aims at providing an opportunity for structural improvement and developing long lasting partnerships between the Eastern Neighbourhood region and the European Union.

Specific objectives

Under the TOPCOP project, and in partnership with Europol, CEPOL aims to achieve the following:

  • Create networks of analytical and capacity-building contact points to ensure a balanced nexus between law enforcement training and operational law enforcement efforts
  • Analyse operational law enforcement training needs with a view to providing regional and targeted training based on established needs and commonalities
  • Increase the operational cooperation among the partner countries as well as between the EaP, EU Member States and EU agencies (CEPOL and Europol)
  • Under the guidance of Europol produce a regional threat assessment report

Components

The project is structured across three components.

1. Enhancing of regional networks

The project aims to further strengthen the existing regional networks and strategic coordination level, while also increasing ownership over project activities and their results.

To this end, the project shall undertake National Assessment Missions to gather initial strategic elements concerning national serious and organised crime priorities with international implications and related training needs in partner countries. A Strategic Cooperation Forum will be established to provide a unique opportunity for EU Member States, EU institutions and agencies and Eastern Partnership countries to open a platform of communication to exchange views and information on issues of strategic importance. Capacity building activities will also be designed to ensure that partner countries’ staff tasked with coordinating capacity building portfolios and analysis receive up-to-date training to further develop their technical and coordination skills.

Furthermore, the project shall establish two expert networks – the capacity building network composed of single points of contact for capacity building (CAPASPOC) and the analysis network composed of single points of contact for analysis (ANASPOC), the latter under Europol. They will receive, collect and consolidate information and data related to training (specific for CAPASPOC) and to criminal analysis (specific for ANASPOC) at the national level. These networks will be responsible for promoting cooperation and information exchange between authorities at the national level as well as internationally.

2. Training activities

In the framework of the TOPCOP project, CEPOL will instigate synergies between different operational units in the auto-diagnostic process leading to training needs identification. The instrument used is the Operational Training Needs Analysis (OTNA), which refers to the analysis of training needs of partner countries in terms of thematic areas, quantity and level. The results of the OTNA will allow CEPOL to develop a solid training portfolio based on the concept of blended learning, a methodology envisioning the flanking of traditional face-to-face activities with online learning. In this context, CEPOL aims to deliver both residential activities at regional, sub-regional and national level, as well as e-learning activities.

Under this component, the project further aims to facilitate a framework of closer and more structured collaboration between training institutions and operational units, and to provide training products that can facilitate international operational cooperation on serious and organised international crime, e.g. residential activities, e-learning, and an exchange programme, including study visits and a mentoring programme.

3. Support to the regional threat assessment and ad hoc assistance

The exchange of data is a fundamental element for effective police cooperation. Most data exchanges take place at bilateral level, among countries based on bilateral cooperation agreements. However, a regional dimension to data exchange is becoming increasingly important to fight organised crime as it can permit to better identify regional and trans-regional threats and when necessary prepare a common response.

The creation of a network of analysts (ANASPOC) shall be one of the building blocks of this endeavour. The EaP Threat Assessment document will be drafted by the members of the ANASPOC network and focus on threats covering serious and organised crime. One of the objectives shall be to provide a tool that would facilitate future cooperation with Europol.


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Contact

Office address

European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training
1066 Budapest
Ó utca 27
Hungary

Correspondence address

European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training
1903 Budapest
Pf.314
Hungary

Email address

Telephone: +36 1 803 8030/8031

Fax: +36 1 803 8032

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