Fighting cross border crime

20 May 2016

Cross border cooperation is a priority when it comes to tackling transnational organized crime. The Western Balkan countries are facing many challenges where crime is increasingly becoming cross border; demanding tighter cooperation amongst law enforcement agencies in tackling it. One of the main problems is the quality of communication and information sharing as an important component required in solving these crimes.

Close coordination amongst the law enforcement agencies in Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania was one of the main tasks of IPA Western Balkans project that will facilitate, in close cooperation and coordination with EULEX, a trilateral Police Cooperation Centre. The joint centre will be based in Plav, Montenegro.

The future joint Police Cooperation Center (PCC) will be a unique operational office which will facilitate the rapid exchange of information between all authorities involved in integrated border management (IBM) to include contacts to and from Border Crossing Points, Customs terminals, Police offices, strengthening cross-border cooperation. This center will be also linked with the National Centre for Border Management (NCBM) located in Pristina, and it aims to enhance the exchanging of information between Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania.  

In order to train the personnel on how the procedures and information exchange process work in practice, EULEX organised a three day study visit to a similar tri-lateral Police Cooperation Centre (Austria-Italy-Slovenia) located in Tarvisio / Thorl Maglern for border police officers from Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro, who took part in the study visit. 

The study visit held between 25 to 29 April involved a fully packed agenda, lectures by heads of the center, and hands on experience on best European practices through theoretical explanations and practical exercises, in line with the new European concept based on the “training on the job”.

 “The operational activities of the centre will address  issues such as  trans-border crime, organized-crime, trafficking in human beings, migration, smuggling of drugs and weapons, customs fraud, forged documents and counter-terrorism,” explains Giuseppe Colosanto, EULEX Chief Advisory Unit on Boarder Matters. He added that the centre will be able to produce joint risk analysis and organise joint training programmes for law enforcement representatives of the participating countries. 

Training on the job

The heads of Austrian-Italian-Slovenian sides presented to the delegation from the Balkans the Trilateral Agreement serving as the Joint Centre’s legal basis, upon which the main tasks, activities and procedures are based. Practical work flow procedures and examples of also information sharing were discussed with the participants. They were further briefed on the added value and usefulness of such practices for police forces activities combating cross border crimes, illegal immigration, stolen cars, forged documents, etc. and how activities from different border Agencies involved in the Centre were integrated.

“Border security, and the tri-lateral Police Cooperation Centre in Plav will be bringing additional values for tackling cross-border crime and security issues  for Montenegro, Albania, especially in EU accession process, and also in Kosovo on its road map for Visa liberalization, “assesses Giuseppe Colosanto, Chief Advisory Unit on Boarder Matters, EULEX and project manager of the study visit in Italy.  

The final goal of the project is to set up in the Western Balkans a regional Police cooperation network, which will be linked with the EU police network, as modern tool for establishment of an efficient and effective trans-border cooperation, exchanging and sharing information and standards, having common legal framework - included data protection system, joint risk analysis, and a common comprehensive approach

EULEX has filmed all main study visit activities and will produce the training material which will be used for “cascade training” for future members of the Joint Police Cooperation Centre in Plav.

To see the short video about study, click in the photo below: