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International conference: EU Prospects and Security in South Eastern Europe: Hidden Economy, Transborder Crime and Development

Francisco J. Vanaclocha Bellver
Fco. Javier Ruiz Martínez
Policing, Internal Security and Crisis Management Research Group

The last two decades have been characterised by the globalisation process, over all after internet expended throughout the world. As a straight consequence new kinds of crime have appeared and the prosecution of every case of criminality related to organised crime, illegal traffics, human beings trade and in general international delinquency or terrorism emerged during this process has become a main and priority issue in the political agenda of most Western World countries. Clear proof of this is the development of several legal instruments ready to allow the prosecution of such a kind of crimes. All the partners involved in the signature of the agreements that led to the creation of those instruments compromised themselves to introduce in their domestic acquis all the necessary legal provisions to make possible the use of those instruments designed to face such new ways of transnational (cross-border) crime.

Combating international organized crime (OC), and terrorism, is one of the major new challenges facing the international community. According to estimates of the United Nations and others, international organized crime now has an annual turnover of several hundred billion US dollars. Apart from drug trafficking -a traditional domain of organized crime- lucrative sectors for OC activity includes money laundering, smuggling of illegal immigrants, trafficking in human beings, arms trafficking and smuggling of vehicles and other high-quality goods, and lately terrorist activities. The fast-paced innovations in communications technology at the beginning of the 21st century offer organized crime some new opportunities -difficult to assess as yet- for economic and other offences broadly known as Internet, high tech or cyber crime, offences increasingly related to very different ways of corruption and terrorism. There is no doubt that organized crime poses a threat to international security and stability in general and to new, still unconsolidated democracies in particular.

The European Union has been engaged since the mid-1990s in a concentrated effort to fight OC. The Treaty of Amsterdam (1997) -in which member states agreed to increase cooperation in the area of justice and home affairs- has also considerably enlarged the scope for coordinated action against organized crime. The conclusions of the Special Meeting of the European Council held in Tampere in October 1999 identified the EU-wide fight against crime as an important priority for the “creation of an area of freedom, security and justice”. Still under the Finnish EU presidency and in the light of the Tampere conclusions, a 1997 action plan was revised and updated as a “European Union strategy for a new Millennium” in the field of the prevention and control of organized crime. The European Police Office (EUROPOL) based in The Hague serves as a central agency for crime analysis and the exchange of information between member states. Its remit is to collect, analyse and transmit information and data on serious cross-border offences to the relevant national law enforcement authorities. In November 2002 EUROPOL's competences were expanded: it is now authorized to participate with member states in joint investigation teams and request member states to initiate investigations. In February 2002, the European Judicial Cooperation Unit (Eurojust) was established to coordinate cooperation between prosecution authorities in EU member States. The EU also runs a number of special programmes such as CARDS designed to promote regional cooperation between police and judicial authorities in the EU neighbouring countries, what is becoming a key issue to control and prevent the criminal action of organised groups (including terrorist groups).

The European Parliament together with representatives of national parliaments has just issued four initiatives to discuss the role parliaments can play in improving judicial and police cooperation among Member States:

1) the exchange of data to investigate organised crime, including terrorism;

2) the improvement of the Eurojust role;

3) the clarification of the Europol task;

4) the European arrest warrant.

Training EU and EU neighbouring countries police forces in a common strategy of crime prevention is therefore an inevitable conclusion. This role has been assumed by the USA with initiatives such a ILEA (International Law Enforcement Academy) in Hungary or the SECI (Southeast European Cooperative Initiative) network, mainly because of the lack of common agreement among the EU member States. Notwithstanding the current and near integration in the EU of eleven out of the whole number of Central Eastern European countries should lead the EU to redefine its position and looking for a sheer coordination between Eastern and Western law enforcement institutions, not only at policy level but in the battlefield. The former 15 already developed some instruments to fight crime at a EU-wide level and regarding to the Schengen single home affairs space it seems absolutely necessary extending them to the new partners. Now the EU needs to share these instruments and some other much more accurate with the new members, especially with those that will become EU borders in a enlarged Schengen area.

It is not a matter of ideology, but a simple social need. The collaboration with the USA is absolutely compulsory in our common task against transnational crime, though it should be passing to carry out a complementary role. A clear evidence shows up from all this new scenario, we Europeans need to solve our problems by ourselves, organising our common strategy of internal security beginning with a good law enforcement institutions coordination within a common European policy to prevent transnational crime. We argue that the establishment of a Crime Prevention Academy for the CEECs should become in one of the pillars of this new strategy. Regarding to this we highlight the main features of a proposal aiming to train in this kind of academy CEE law enforcement institutions staff under a common study program, with the aim of coordinating the police action to fight crime in a really efficient way.

1) Training in international crime prevention

The original objective consisted of undertaking the completion of an international curriculum and training material, which dealt with the issues of cross-border crime and terrorism, drug crimes, illegal migration, trafficking in human beings, organized crime and money laundering, smuggling and international mafia crimes. This curriculum is planned to be instructed in a Central and Easter European academy by the best European experts in the course of its international trainings, and eventually concerning 250 professionals mainly from the CEE region.

This curriculum is designed to offer basic and further training to enable civil servants and professionals to perform specialised and executive functions in preventing and fighting crime. It was also thought to become a place for advocating and developing the topic of quality prevention. The curriculum eventually also intended to provide further training among international active participants, high civil servants, responsible political party members and academics from the CEE region, and as well from the former 15 EU member States. As a theoretical premise the law enforcement institutions do not prevent crime but fighting it. Many analyses have, consistently, shown that there is no type of relationship between the numbers of resources the law enforcement institutions count with and the increase or decrease on criminality rates. The reason why police cannot prevent crime is because what they do on the practice has nearly nothing to do, or is related to, with crime itself or the conditions leading to a criminal conduct.

The challenge proposed for the curriculum of a future Crime Prevention Training and Research Centre for the CEECs is to turn the law enforcement institutions into instruments that will cooperate not only on crime repression but also on its prevention within a EU-wide scenario. But prevention is not only a task exclusive to police, it needs the cooperation of other public agents who, involved in the decision making processes and elaboration of policies at a local level, are, for the same reason, involved in fighting cross-national crime. Prevention will be an efficient task only through this collaboration.

Nowadays, governments follow a community-orientated direction. In this sense, police forces are more and more to work in tightly cooperation with other professionals. That is why the training is addressed not only to police officers from different countries but eventually to other civil servant whose job has something to do with security tasks and fight against crime.

2) Candidate origin

First of all we define the geographic area of interest or target-countries. This area is focused on the Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs), both EU members and EU membership candidates. The eventual students would mainly be extracted from the ranks of police forces or related Public Administration services. Two requirements were accepted as necessary conditions in order to admit the trainees in the course:

1. Proficiency in English.

2. To be, at least, middle level officials or officers with some previous management experience.

Since the goal of the curriculum is to improve the skills of these officials in order to enhance crime prevention in their countries, it would be important that they worked not only at international level but also at a domestic one. The importance of the interdependence between police and community is here immediately acknowledged, because policemen and other public servants involved on internal affairs issues must have the time and the knowledge to persuade, teach, warn, advise, mediate and support, and making prevention predominate over reaction in domestic level. Furthermore, in this level, police interaction with the community extends from awareness of a problem to its solution. The Schengen extension to the future 13 new EU member States will turn the old idea of national affairs into simple EU domestic affairs and we must be ready to face it.

3) Curriculum structure

The most suitable structure for this training is thought to be a modular curriculum. The timetable and the detailed contents of each subject or course is not the main point of the discussion so far, since this project is just a design phase and giving details should be introduced during an eventual implementation. The structure is focused in three general aspects:

1.The total number of modules. We consider that the most suitable number of modules in the curriculum is three. One of them has to be focused on theories about international crime and the legislation issued from international organizations. The two other modules should converge in their practical scope. They should provide the trainees with methodological instruments and tools in order to allow them to analyze the prevailing forms of international crime in Europe: terrorism, smuggling and illegal migration.

2.The possibility of specialization. The last module is considered as a noteworthy opportunity to delimit three main areas of study. Therefore, a brief specialization period is foreseen.

3.Degree recognition. Finally it is acknowledged the importance of an international recognition of the curriculum by the European University establishment and educational systems.

The curriculum is addressed to people who have already been trained on that field. They are supposed to arrive with knowledge and experience that helps them to easily catch the basis of the subjects explained and the work that police carries out on crime prevention. At the same time, however, they are an audience that deserves a high quality educational experience.

4) Curriculum contents and specifications

The curriculum proposed intends to provide an educational experience that will not only improve trainee’s abilities but that it will also turn them into leaders within a future crime prevention network focused on fighting the most important ways of transnational crime distressing Eastern Europe.

In order to reach these goals, we have produced a curriculum with three big thematic areas: Theory of Crime Prevention, Methodology of Crime Prevention and Specific Areas of Crime Prevention with a broad range of activities necessary to fight new transnational criminality and which need a closer attention from the European Union: terrorism, trafficking in human beings, irregular migration and smuggling.

The development of this curriculum reflects the importance to get a comprehensive and balanced training. Even a quick glance shows that different thematic areas are properly balanced. The goal is not to equal the number of hours within every subject but to make sure each of them will receive the appropriate treatment related to the others.

Within the first thematic area (Theory of Crime Prevention) it is possible to point out the importance given to those subjects related to political and constitutional structures and to other legal aspects because as stated above, students, due to their jobs, must be familiar with them. The same can be said about other subjects such as public security policies or European Union. The number of theoretical hours devoted to them is balanced if we keep in mind that the ensemble of subjects focused on prevention (Criminology, International cooperation in the fields of law enforcement crime fight and prevention; Theory of Crime prevention; Crime prevention models and main law enforcement patterns; Socio-economical factors contributing to cross-national crime).

The success in the elaboration of this curriculum will be measured according to its suitability to reach its main objective: training target-countries to prevent transnational crime. Preventive activity demands the development of aptitudes that allow to successfully performing activities related to: evaluation of new needs and diagnosis of crime causes; development of strategies against crime; defence of new ways of action; implementation of new approaches and evaluation of results. The proposed curriculum offers the above-mentioned training with a high level of quality.

1.Evaluation of needs and diagnosis of crime causes. Prevention needs anticipation, so the law enforcement institutions as well as other public civil servants in charge of fighting crime must constantly evaluate changes on security within their communities. They will be required to be responsible for a public security agenda. And also, in order to run an efficient action, trainees will have to be able to analyse those circumstances leading to a crime. The curriculum offers this information within the Module on Theory of Crime Prevention to provide the essential knowledge to develop these activities. They are spread into the following subjects: Criminology, Public Security Policies, Theory of Crime Prevention,. Crime Prevention Standards and Main Law Enforcement Patterns in the EU, and Socio-economical factors Contributing to Cross-national Crime. While it includes within the Module on Methodology of Crime Prevention a subject on Design and Management of Public Programs.

2.Strategy Development. Once the causes of crime have been diagnosed students will have to be able to take the initiative to develop different corrective actions. The Module 2 (Methodology of Crime Prevention) is the one which offers a more accurate answer to this kind of need: it devotes to subjects that will develop students’ abilities in this sense: Team Building Applied to Crime Prevention and Crime Fight, Law Enforcement and Communication Techniques, and Negotiation Techniques.

3. To defend new ways of action. Students will not be able to run, in their respective countries, these strategies on their own: they will have to mobilize others, using to this effect every resource they have within their communities. Through subjects related to leadership and human resources management, the curriculum gives the opportunity to analyze and overcome those problems that prevent the development of the mechanics that will involve different communities of origin to prevent crime: Team Building Applied to Crime Prevention and Crime Fight, and Human Resources Management within the European Law Enforcement Institutions.

4. Implementation of new approaches. Crime prevention is an activity that requires adaptation to new circumstances surrounding it. Subjects such as Law Enforcement and Communication Techniques, Technology of Crime Prevention and Crime Fight, IT in Crime Prevention and The ITC as an Instrument for Crime Commission offer conceptual and practical tools to reach this objective.

5. Specialization. Regarding the specialization offered in the Module 3 (Specific Areas of Crime Prevention) it is important to point out the magnitude of the subjects chosen to that effect (Terrorism, Trafficking in Human Beings, Illegal Traffic of Goods and Money) and the interest they have reached within the European Union for the last years. In any case, the point is not to reach a sort of specialization that offers an exclusive knowledge of just one area without knowing anything about the other two ones. It pays attention to the overall planning of the module that offers the student training about three subjects through some common areas: The ITC as instrument for crime commission Informatics applied to policing, Integrated border Management and Border Control Asylum, Refugees’ Rights, Organized Crime Patterns, Socio-economical Offences, and Intelligence and counterintelligence Patterns to police response to terrorism.

6. Coordinated actions. The curriculum stresses the importance of scenarios and structured activities. Scenarios show real situations that defy trainees to put into practice all what they have learned during theoretical classes. They are into situations that force them to put into practice their aptitudes, judgement, character and ethics. That is why the number of practical hours has been foreseen to be high as well as the hours devoted to individual work. The development of joint activities will allow them reaching a high degree of professional collaboration in the future.

7. Results monitoring. It is crucial in order to establish a feedback procedure, in a not very long term, to gather information and to analyze it later to check at what degree goals are reached. This ought to be solved with the help of the countries sending trainees to the academy. The number of hours of practice and the joint duties carried out will lead to the establishment of personal links between students so this will create an exchange network of experiences that will allow getting reports on the level of success that the different initiatives run by each of them within their respective countries.

5) Final remarks

The distribution between theoretical and practical classes, the total period of time devoted to each module, the problem of conflicts between the trainees from different countries, and the possibility of translation in order to overcome the linguistic barrier will deserve to be considered in the future too. The curriculum pledges its firm commitment to a determined Crime Prevention Standard. Obviously, whole dedication on crime prevention means a major change on the roles of law enforcement institutions as well as other public agents involved in the fight against crime. The extension of their activity goes beyond the limits of just imposing the fulfilment of the law. Crime results from comprehensive social and even psychological conditions and its prevention must imply a thorough analysis and a direct intervention under these conditions. The curriculum reflects a complex conception of the organisations in charge of crime prevention. But this can bring along certain political risks. Assuming Crime Prevention as a European task breaks the traditional division existing between those who elaborate policies and those who execute them. It also breaks with the traditional conception of internal affairs security and internal State borders security, and advocates for police cooperation throughout the EU and between the EU and its neighbours. We do not want to argue whether the curriculum pledges for an appropriate point or not, making security forces to be a promising and useful tool for social reconstruction, but only to point out the standard training levels its put into practice may apply to.

However, the fact that the training course is also addressed to local authorities means that in this way it is possible to get a stratified crime prevention strategy, which will be carried out by medium and autonomous commands that are closer to the community where they work. It is the duty of the training staff staying closer to this first action line. The success on prevention tasks would be assured once there is a standard similar to what British call “police by consensus”. The proposed curriculum shows to be a decisive and accurate step in seeking for this pattern.

The execution of this proposal might lead to an interregional dissemination process that can set up operative cooperation between the States involved in such a kind of project. Implementing that project within the EU policies would improve the outcome cuased by the integration of law enforcement institutions representatives from States within the EU.

Finally it is important to argue that the goals envisaged by our proposal constitute only the first stage, the design phase, of an eventual public program led to the foundation of a European crime prevention Centre. We argue that the accomplishment of this project should consider to be strategically good for the EU and therefore for the CEECs. In consequence to achieve this goal it would be compulsory to be institutionally and financially supported by the EU institutions and the CEECs governments in order to guarantee the implementation of the aforementioned objectives.
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