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MODULE 5 - POLICE COOPERATION - VERSION 3.0
(logo of the training organiser)
Training organised by
(name of training organiser)
on (date) at (place)
Based on
the standard training programme in judicial cooperation in criminal
matters
within the European Union
Module 5
POLICE COOPERATION
Version: 3.0
Last updated: 20.12.2012
The European Judicial
training network
With the support of the European Union
MODULE 5 - POLICE COOPERATION - VERSION 3.0
PROJECT DESCRIPTION
This module is part of a standard training programme in judicial cooperation in criminal matters
within the European Union (EU-Copen Training Programme).
The ‘programme’ as a whole is an educational training tool designed to facilitate the training of
judicial authorities in the field of judicial cooperation in criminal matters within the European
Union. The tool is primarily aimed at any national authority responsible for judicial training, for the
purpose of developing specific training courses on the subject, as well as to any stakeholder
involved in judicial cooperation as part of their day-to-day professional practice. It may also be
used by anyone interested in this field.
The methodological approach of the ‘standard programme’ aims to provide authoritative
information while also focusing on the practical aspects of the mechanisms of judicial
cooperation.
This tool was originally developed based on two projects run in 2005-2006, and subsequently in
2009, by the Institute for European Studies (Free University of Brussels) and ECLAN (European
Criminal Law Academic Network) with funding from the European Commission (under the AGIS
programme and subsequently the ‘Criminal Justice’ programme) of the Ministry of Justice of the
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the International University Institute of Luxembourg.
In 2012, the European Judicial Training Network, which has been involved in the Copen Training
programme since it began, took over the project’s management and coordination. Version 3 (3.0)
of the Copen Training tool is therefore the property of the European Judicial Training Network.
Any comments regarding its content and any requests for information about Copen Training
should be sent to [email protected], quoting Copen Training.
The main authors of version 3.0 are: Serge de Biolley, Gisèle Vernimmen and Anne
Weyembergh. Veronica Santamaría and Laura Surano contributed to the previous versions.
How to use this document:
The ‘standard training programme in judicial cooperation in criminal matters’ training tool and all
parts thereof are the property of the European Judicial Training Network. Its use is subject to the
following conditions:
1. Its content and layout cannot be altered in any way, except:
- where space is explicitly provided for the insertion of data relating to training organised on the
basis of this standard programme (organiser’s logo, date, place etc.)
- where space is explicitly provided for the insertion of data relating to the national situation of
the Member State concerned
2. If the user feels that corrections or additions need to be made to the content of the tool or
MODULE 5 - POLICE COOPERATION - VERSION 3.0
parts thereof, provided each of the following criteria is met:
- the additions or amendments must be accompanied by a foreword indicating the origin of these
amendments or additions
- these additions and amendments must be notified to the project’s development team
[email protected], quoting Copen Training.
3. No section of the tool or its parts may be copied or separated from the tool as a whole without
the express permission of the Institute for European Studies and of its authors.
MODULE 5 - POLICE COOPERATION - VERSION 3.0
WHAT’S NEW IN THIS VERSION?
This is the 3rd version of this Module. It takes into account:
-
The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty
Developments of the SIS II
The implementation of the ‘Prüm Decision’ (Decision 2008/615/JHA)
The implementation of the Swedish Framework Decision (Framework Decision
2006/690/JHA)
The new ‘EU policy cycle for organised and serious crime’
Developments of Europol
AIMS OF THIS MODULE
Most European police cooperation focuses on the prevention, prosecution and investigation of
crime through the exchange of information and operational cooperation. Judicial officers
engaged in judicial cooperation should therefore have at least a general awareness of the
different facets of police cooperation.
This may be the starting point for launching an investigation or may lead to discovering links
between investigations conducted in different Member States. This can occur where, for
example, criminal analysis by Europol uncovers information that has an impact on the
investigations and proceedings undertaken at national level.
Police cooperation may also be an effective resource for judicial cooperation. Police
cooperation is more flexible, faster, and less formal than judicial cooperation.
Finally, police cooperation offers tools and channels that are indispensable to judicial officers:
for example the SIS, which will, inter alia, make it possible to create an alert for a person
against whom a European arrest warrant has been issued.
This Module does not aim to provide exhaustive training on police cooperation, but rather to
identify the main aspects judicial officers need to know, particularly since they may encounter
them during the judicial stage.
MODULE 5 - POLICE COOPERATION - VERSION 3.0
RELEVANT LEGISLATION
- Convention of 19 June 1990 implementing the Schengen Agreement of 14 June 1985 
Compendium B.2.1.
- Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA of 18 December 2006  Compendium B.7.6.
- Decision 2008/615/JHA of 23 June 2008  Compendium B.7.7.
- Decision 2009/371/JHA of 6 April 2009  Compendium B.7.8.
- Decision 2003/170/JHA of 27 February 2003  Compendium B.7.5.
MODULE 5 - POLICE COOPERATION - VERSION 3.0
CONTENTS
1. Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 7
2. The exchange of information ................................................................................................ 9
2.1. The legal procedure for the exchange of information ............................................... 9
2.1.1 Material scope ......................................................................................................... 10
2.1.2 Information concerned ............................................................................................. 10
2.1.3 Exclusion from use as evidence .............................................................................. 11
2.1.4 Involvement of the judicial authority......................................................................... 11
2.1.5 Grounds for refusal.................................................................................................. 12
2.1.6 Implementing the new legal framework ................................................................... 12
2.2. Direct access to national databases (‘Prüm’ system) ............................................. 13
2.2.1 General comments .................................................................................................. 13
2.2.2 Direct access to vehicle registration files ................................................................. 14
2.2.3 Direct access to fingerprints records ....................................................................... 14
2.2.4 Direct access to DNA profile records ....................................................................... 15
3. Stakeholders and channels of police cooperation .............................................................. 16
3.1. EUROPOL ................................................................................................................... 16
3.1.1 Fact sheet ............................................................................................................... 16
3.1.2 Introduction ............................................................................................................. 16
3.1.3 Objective ................................................................................................................. 17
3.1.4 Competences .......................................................................................................... 17
3.1.5 Structure.................................................................................................................. 18
3.1.6 Europol’s reach ....................................................................................................... 21
3.1.7 Cooperation beyond the EU .................................................................................... 26
3.1.8 Conclusion .............................................................................................................. 27
3.2. The Schengen Information System (SIS) ................................................................. 27
3.2.1 Introduction ............................................................................................................. 27
3.2.2 Territorial scope....................................................................................................... 28
3.2.3 Structure.................................................................................................................. 28
3.2.4 How it works ............................................................................................................ 29
3.3. Interpol ........................................................................................................................ 33
3.3.1 Structure and functioning ........................................................................................ 33
3.3.2 Tasks and objectives ............................................................................................... 33
3.3.3 Operational action ................................................................................................... 34
3.4. Liaison officers ........................................................................................................... 36
3.5. Cooperation between financial intelligence units (FIUs) ........................................ 36
3.6. Specific cooperation in border areas ....................................................................... 37
3.7. Towards an effective and coherent EU strategy for combating serious and
organised crime ................................................................................................................... 38
MODULE 5 - POLICE COOPERATION - VERSION 3.0
1. Introduction
Before 1990, there was no common foundation for the legal and institutional framework
governing cooperation between European police forces. This contrasted with the framework for
judicial cooperation, which was determined as early as the 1950s through key conventions (the
1957 Extradition Convention and the 1959 Mutual Legal Assistance Convention). The status of
police cooperation, which has for a long time taken place informally, is less clear.
Some of this cooperation takes place through the channel of Interpol, the outcome of a
European initiative in the early the twentieth century that has since become a global
organisation. Other work has taken place bilaterally or within defined regional frameworks (such
as Benelux cooperation).
Work also took place at European level in the 1980s within the framework of Trevi. Trevi was
not a channel for police cooperation, but rather a forum for discussing developments in police
cooperation. Trevi paved the way for future developments, but did not directly give rise to any
specific instrument.
By creating a legal framework for ‘European’ police cooperation, the 1985 Schengen Agreement
and its subsequent implementation via the Schengen Convention of 19 June 1990 marked an
initial turning point. The Schengen Convention contained such advances as establishing a
general legal basis for the exchange of information, setting up the Schengen Information
System (SIS) and the authorisation, under certain conditions, of cross-border surveillance and
hot pursuit.
Although the scope of this legal framework was initially limited to 5 member countries,
Schengen cooperation, at least with regards to police and judicial cooperation, gradually
merged with the EU and today even includes non-EU countries (Switzerland, Norway and
Iceland).
Police cooperation in the EU received a second important boost from the Europol Convention of
26 July 1995. The aim of Europol was not only to encourage bilateral cooperation between the
States concerned, but also to enable a concerted response from all the Member States to the
threat posed by organised crime, in particular by sharing, facilitating the circulation of, and
analysing the information gathered.
In the 10 years following signature of the Europol Convention, EU work in the area of police
cooperation focused on developing Europol (including the gradual enlargement of its mandate),
developing the SIS and, police training.
Work on the Convention on the Future of Europe, the text of the Constitutional Treaty and,
lastly, The Hague Programme of November 2004, all in the context of combating terrorism, gave
fresh impetus to police cooperation. This fresh impetus mainly took the form of profound
changes to both the exchange of information and to the development of an internal security
strategy.
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The entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009 did not significantly change the
EU’s competences in the area of police cooperation, but did introduce drastic changes to the
EU’s institutions of police cooperation. Please refer to Module 1 for more information on this
subject. However, remember that the Lisbon Treaty entails that a large number of the EU’s
instruments for police cooperation will now be adopted by the Council and by the Parliament
under the co-decision procedure, that the Commission may require Member States to
implement EU instruments (including, to some extent, instruments adopted before 2009) and
that the ‘normal’ competences of the Court of Justice apply to all these instruments.
These drastic changes to the institutions have yet to have much impact, given the low number
of new proposals. As at late 2012, the EU had not yet adopted any major instrument relating to
police cooperation. The focus is on implementing existing law, particularly the ‘Prüm’ decision
(Decision 2008/615/JHA, see below).
Lastly, it should be noted that joint investigation teams (see Module 4) are a tool for police
cooperation and judicial cooperation.
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2.
The exchange of information
Collecting, processing, managing, analysing and transmitting information are key elements of
police work and most European police cooperation centres on these functions.
The first major undertakings focused on ways of sending information to contacts securely, and
on information as an operational means of monitoring. Interpol and the Schengen system, for
instance, offer secure systems for transmitting information from one State to another as well as
‘check’ or ‘alert’ systems. Liaison officers also play a role in the exchange of information. These
initial undertakings were primarily at bilateral level.
The establishment of Europol, for multilateral cooperation, came later. Its focus is on sharing
information with a view to analysing it at European level.
Police information became critically important in the European response to terrorism, particularly
after the Madrid bombings of 11 March 2004. In The Hague Programme of November 2004, the
Council adopted the ‘principle of availability’. The scope of this principle has never been clearly
defined. However, its objective can be explained as follows: in the context of a criminal
investigation, an investigator from State A who requires information located in State B should to
be able to access this information under the same conditions (legal rules) and by the same
means (if necessary, direct access to the database) as if they were an agent from State B.
Although the flow of information may sometimes be insufficient, this is not solely the result of
legal or technical difficulties; the source of the problems is often the fact of dealing with multiple
police forces and channels (and therefore multiple databases), a lack of reciprocal knowledge,
as well as a lack of reflexive coordination. The attitude towards exchanging information may
also vary widely from one State to the next.
2.1.
THE LEGAL PROCEDURE FOR THE EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION
The exchange of information between the police services of different States has long taken
place without a multilateral legal basis.
Article 39 of the Schengen Convention ( Compendium B.2.1.) offers general rule, for the first
time. This is, however, limited to allowing information to be exchanged without really imposing
requirements. Article 46 of the Schengen Convention also establishes a legal basis for the socalled ‘spontaneous’ transmission of information (that is, at the initiative of the State transmitting
the information without a request having to made by the receiving State).
Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA of 18 December 20061 ( Compendium B.7.6) on
simplifying the exchange of information replaces Articles 39 and 46 of the Schengen Convention
and establishes more detailed and binding procedure, as regards both the obligation to transmit
1
OJEU L 386, 29 December 2006, p. 89.
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information and the time-limits. It constitutes an initial implementation of the ‘principle of
availability’.
Decision 2008/615/JHA ( Compendium B.7.7.), which integrates the Prüm Treaty into EU law,
goes further than Article 39 and Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA, since it provides for direct
access by a national police authority to a national database of another Member State. It is, in a
sense, a perfect vision of the principle of availability. However, it only covers fingerprints, DNA
profiles and vehicle registration data, and various restrictions are placed on this direct access
(see below).
2.1.1 Material scope
Article 39 does not place any limitations on material scope. The Framework Decision on
simplifying the exchange of information is also broad in scope, but contains a ground for refusal
making it possible not to transmit information when the offence justifying the request is
punishable by a prison term of one year or less.
2.1.2 Information concerned
Whereas Article 39 did not provide any clarification regarding the information concerned, the
Framework Decision on simplifying the exchange of information is more specific.
The determining criterion is the availability of the information. Information held by a law
enforcement authority must be exchanged, as well as information that is held by another public
authority or by a private individual and to which the law enforcement authority has access
without having to take a coercive measure.
The most straightforward example is that of information found in a database held by the
requested police or a database to which the latter has direct access. The Framework Decision
also applies to information to which the police only have access following authorisation from a
judicial authority.
The mention of coercive measures plays a decisive role in this procedure, since it makes it
possible (it is for each Member State to make this choice) not to transmit information previously
obtained by means of a coercive measure and always excludes information that has yet to be
obtained by means of such a measure. ‘Coercive measure’ is not, however, given a conceptual
definition, so how this is implemented may vary significantly from one State to another.
Article 39 and the Framework Decision on simplifying the exchange of information are, in effect,
broadly applicable regarding the content of the requested information. This may therefore
equally involve non-sensitive information, such as a number plate, or more sensitive personal
data, such as whether a person is linked to criminal cases in the requested State.
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2.1.3 Exclusion from use as evidence
Both Article 39 of the Schengen Convention and the Framework Decision stipulate that
information obtained by requesting authorities may not be used as evidence. The exchange of
information between police services takes place at a preliminary stage of the criminal
investigation, where it is primarily a matter of ‘closing off avenues’ and guiding the inquiries, for
example by ruling out certain suspects. In police jargon, this is information transmitted ‘for police
use only’.
That does not mean that the information cannot be brought to the attention of the judge leading
the investigation. However, the information exchanged is not, at this stage, intended to be
referred to the trial judge.
If, subsequent to transmission via police channels, it is found that the information is so important
that it must be used as evidence, this information must be ‘validated’ via a judicial procedure (if
appropriate, via a European evidence warrant where this is applicable – see Modules 6 and 7).
However, it is not necessary to use the channel of mutual legal assistance if the State
transmitting the information has previously authorised its use as evidence 2. Member States
therefore have the option of authorising, without further explanation, the ‘judicial’ use of
information transmitted by means of ‘police’ cooperation. It may be anticipated that such
authorisation will be given for some categories of non-sensitive information in order to ease the
burden on mutual legal assistance.
2.1.4 Involvement of the judicial authority
The scope of Article 39 is reduced by the fact that the exchange of information only has to take
place if ‘national law does not stipulate that the request has to be made [...] via the judicial
authorities’. National legislation banning all transmission of police information abroad because
such information is linked to a criminal case and therefore under judicial supervision would
consequently be legally compatible with Article 39. Aside from this extreme example, Article 39
allows for a wide range of possible solutions, depending on national laws.
As stated above, it was this restriction that the Framework Decision on simplifying the exchange
of information primarily sought to relax.
Firstly, the fact that judicial authorisation is required can no longer, in itself, be an
obstacle to the exchange of information through police cooperation. It is here that the
Framework Decision most clearly overlaps with judicial cooperation. This does not mean,
however, that judicial authorisation should be abandoned. Member States may retain
judicial supervision of the exchange of information and apply ‘the same rules […] as in a
purely internal case’ (Article 3(4)). But this supervision no longer requires following the
mutual legal assistance procedure. It is therefore the police authorities that take the lead in
2
Article 1.
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the exchange of information. This contrasts with the procedure under Article 39, whereby
judicial supervision in the requested State requires that requesting police authorities refer
the matter to judicial authorities in their own State to initiate a mutual legal assistance
procedure.
Secondly, the Framework Decision limits Member States’ margin of manoeuvre as
regards cases where such prior judicial authorisation may be required. This cannot be the
case unless the requested police authority would have had to obtain the same authorisation
from its own judicial authority in a similar, purely domestic case. In other words, prior
judicial supervision cannot be retained if the requested police authority has independent
access to the requested information. A good example would be there the information is
found in a police database or in a register to which the police have direct access.
2.1.5 Grounds for refusal
If a request falls within this scope, the information must, in principle, be transmitted. This is not,
however, an absolute rule and there are significant but exhaustive exceptions to the obligation.
The first exception, the result of a compromise, is that national law may exclude from the scope
information that is already in the possession of the police services but which was obtained by
means of coercive measures. This choice is therefore left to Member States. The conceptual
definition of coercive measure is also left to national law, which reduces the scope for
harmonisation. The Framework Decision also contains conventional grounds for refusal relating
to national interests and to protecting the ongoing investigation or the safety of an individual. It
is possible to refuse to execute requests that appear to be manifestly disproportionate, which
entail that supervision is retained in the requested State. Lastly, requests relating to minor
offences may be refused.
2.1.6 Implementing the new legal framework
Guidelines for implementing Framework Decision 2006/960/JHA were adopted in late 2010 3.
These contain, inter alia, national ‘fact sheets’ where each State sets out which data can be
directly accessed by the police authorities and to which data the strict time limits of the
Framework Decision apply.
An evaluation in late 2011 of the new legal framework’s implementation found mixed results 4.
The implementation of Framework Decision 2009/960/JHA was deemed unsatisfactory, since
around one third of Member States had not yet transposed it. Where it had been transposed,
practitioners believed that the impact was not readily visible. One reason for this is that in many
cases the Framework Decision only reflects the level of cooperation already applicable in
practice. Furthermore, day-to-day police cooperation takes place relatively informally, without
the need for such a specific framework.
3
4
EU Council doc. 9512/1/10.
EU Council doc. 15278/11.
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The existence of strict time limits in an urgent case are, however, considered useful in practice.
It could be concluded that the Framework Decision has the particular merit of establishing the
legal procedures and indicating how far Member States are ready to go. It also clarifies the
separation between police cooperation and judicial cooperation.
2.2.
DIRECT ACCESS TO NATIONAL DATABASES (‘PRÜM’ SYSTEM)
Implementation of the principle of availability, as adopted by the European Council in The
Hague Programme (November 2004), not only concerns the legal procedure for the exchange
of information, but also direct access to national databases. The latter constitutes a very ‘pure’
application of the principle of availability, since direct access means that there are no further
grounds for refusal.
Initial work took place outside the formal framework of the EU, under the Prüm Treaty of 27 May
2005, which, at its inception, brought together seven Member States (the Benelux countries,
France, Germany, Spain and Austria). Almost all articles of the Prüm Treaty relating to police
cooperation, and in particular those concerning access to national databases, have been
incorporated into EU law via the ‘Prüm Decision’ – Council Decision 2008/615/JHA of 23 June
2008 on the stepping up of cross-border cooperation (...)5 ( Compendium B.7.7).
Three types of information are covered, each with a specific access procedure.
2.2.1 General comments
The following limitations apply:
The direct access takes place via a central contact point in each Member State, while
there may also be a specific contact point for each category of data.
Access is limited to a case-by-case search, which therefore excludes consultations for
strategic purposes such as profiling.
Note that this case-by-case usage does not preclude carrying out various searches for longstanding cases: the interconnection of German and Austrian fingerprint and DNA profile records
has enabled links between several ongoing cases in these two States to be established.
Finally, note that participation in the database access mechanism necessitates an evaluation of
each State for each of the three categories of information. A State will only begin participating in
direct access following a specific decision of the Council stating that the conditions have been
met for that State.
5
OJEU L 210, 6 August 2008, p. 1.
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2.2.2 Direct access to vehicle registration files
Access to vehicle registration files is the most extensive access under the Prüm system. This is
truly direct access to the data, including personal data. This access is via the EUCARIS system.
As at 1 November 2012, the following countries were ‘interconnected’: DE, AT, ES, BE, FR, LU,
NL, RO, SI, FI6.
Indicate here the current situation and arrangements concerning access to data relating to
vehicle registrations from your Member State.
Note that access to data on vehicle registrations in order to identify perpetrators of road traffic
offences is governed by another instrument, Directive 2011/82/EU7, which in turn is based on
Decision 2008/615/JHA with respect to the technical procedures. This Directive will take effect
from November 2013, and will enable the mass identification of the perpetrators of road traffic
offences committed in a country other than the country of registration.
2.2.3 Direct access to fingerprints records
Access to fingerprint records is more restricted than for vehicle registrations. Access is via a
‘hit/no hit’ system: this only tells the user whether a fingerprint is known in another Member
State, and does not enable them to directly obtain the data on this fingerprint.
If consulting the records of another Member State gives rise to a ‘hit’, how can more information
be obtained? The key question is whether it is necessary to use the mutual legal assistance
channel or whether a request/response through police cooperation is possible. This question is
discussed in section 2.1. of this module. Consider, however, that:
In theory, the mutual legal assistance channel is necessary if the data is intended to be
used as evidence. In practice, this division is not always obvious. It is also possible to
request the data through police cooperation and then, if the data proves to be useful as
evidence, to ‘validate’ obtaining them in this way through an a posteriori mutual legal
assistance request.
Moreover, even if we assume that the data is not gathered for evidential purposes, the State
that holds the data may require the use of mutual legal assistance channels if this data was
originally gathered by means of a coercive measure.
6
EU Council doc. 5086/7/12 (English only). For more information, see the enclosed table.
Directive 2011/82/EU of 25 October 2011 facilitating the cross-border exchange of information on road safety related traffic offences, OJEU L 288, 5
November 2011, p. 1.
7
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Finally, even if police cooperation is the chosen channel, approval from a judge may be
required in the State where the data is held.
If police cooperation is the chosen channel, the State that holds the data must respond within 8
hours (in urgent cases) or within one week (in other cases)8.
The status of interconnections as at 12 October 2012 is shown in the enclosed table. The
following countries are connected to certain others but not all are necessarily interconnected
(see the table for further details): BG, CZ, DE, ES, FR, LT, LU, NL, AT, SI, SK.
Indicate here the current status and arrangements concerning access to data on
fingerprints from your Member State.
2.2.4 Direct access to DNA profile records
As is the case for access to fingerprint records, access to DNA profile records does not entail
access to the contents of the record but merely a ‘hit/no hit’ access. It only indicates whether a
DNA profile is included in the records of another Member State.
In theory, the specifications provided above regarding access in the case of a ‘hit’ for data
relating to fingerprints are also applicable to access in the case of a ‘hit’ for data relating to a
DNA profile. However, it appears that in most Member States, access to data on DNA profiles is
so sensitive that the mutual legal assistance channel is required.
The status of interconnections as at 12 October 2012 is shown in the enclosed table. The
following countries are connected to certain others but not all are necessarily interconnected
(see the table for further details): BG, DE, ES, FR, LV, LU, NL, AT, RO, SI, SK, FI.
Indicate here the current status and arrangements concerning access to data on DNA
profiles from your Member State.
8
Cf. Framework Decision 2009/960/JHA – see section 2.1. of this module.
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3.
Stakeholders and channels of police cooperation
Police cooperation involves multiple channels and stakeholders. There is, to date, no binding
rule, other than the rules that are specific to each of the channels and stakeholders, and the
rules determining scope and competence, for choosing one channel or stakeholder over
another.
Coordination work takes place at different levels. It should thus be noted that, in most Member
States, the ENU (Europol National Unit), the NCB (Interpol National Central Bureau) and the
SIRENE Bureau (Schengen Information System) are located together in the same premises in
order to ensure coherent information exchange.
3.1.
EUROPOL
3.1.1 Fact sheet
 Founding instrument: Convention of
26 July 1995 on the establishment of
a European Police Office (Europol
Convention), as amended on a
number
of
occasions
(
Compendium B.7.1). This Convention
has now been replaced by Decision
2009/371/JHA of 6 April 20099 (
Compendium B.7.8)
 Date it became operational: 1 July
199910
Europol headquarters in The Hague (© Europol)
 Headquarters:
The
Hague,
Netherlands
 Website: www.europol.europa.eu
 Composition: around 650 employees at Europol headquarters, including national liaison
officers
3.1.2 Introduction
Operational since 1999, Europol is a permanent body located in The Hague set up to assist
national authorities in preventing and combating serious criminal offences linked to organised
crime.
9
OJEU L 121, 15 May 2009, p. 37.
The Europol drugs unit began operating a few years earlier as a light interim version of Europol.
10
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Europol’s main function is to make structured information relating to criminal investigations
available to national authorities and to carry out strategic and operational analysis of this
information. Europol also acts as a centre of expertise and, indirectly, as a channel for
exchanging information between Member States.
This assistance may be provided in advance of the work of the investigating judge (the
information provided by or via Europol may contribute to an investigation being opened), or
during the investigation itself (Europol’s assistance may make it possible, for example, to
highlight links with ongoing investigations in other Member States).
3.1.3 Objective
Europol’s objective is to improve the effectiveness of police cooperation by providing assistance
to national police authorities.
Europol is not therefore a European ‘FBI’ with its own investigative powers. It acts in the context
of criminal investigations, supervision of which is retained by Member States.
This objective of assisting national authorities is nonetheless highly important. It involves
promoting the exchange and sharing of information and avoiding duplication of effort, due to the
multiple authorities of different Member States involved in transnational cases. Nevertheless,
Europol aims to gradually become more operational, in particular through participation in joint
investigation teams.
3.1.4 Competences
Like Eurojust, Europol was designed to focus on serious, transnational and complex crime. The
two organisations’ areas of competence are not identical in legal terms but, in most instances,
cases submitted to one fall under the competence of the other, since the type of case and crime
referred tends to be similar.
Europol’s competences fall within three different areas:
3.1.4.1 Material field of action:
Until recently, Europol only had competence if there was evidence of the involvement of a
criminal organisation in the case concerned. This condition was removed by the Europol
Decision. In practice, organised crime remains Europol’s main, indeed sole, field of action, but it
is no longer necessary to demonstrate, on a case-by-case basis, that this criterion has been
met.
The criterion that does remain, as in the Europol Convention, is that cases handled by Europol
must concern specific offences. Its mandate in this area has been extended substantially over
the years. It currently includes the following types of crime:
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– organised crime
– terrorism
– unlawful drugs trafficking
– illegal money laundering activities
– crime connected with nuclear and radioactive
substances
– illegal immigrant smuggling
– trafficking in human beings
– motor vehicle crime
– murder, grievous bodily injury
– illicit trade in human organs and tissue
– kidnapping, illegal restraint and hostagetaking
– racism and xenophobia
– organised robbery
– illicit trafficking in cultural goods, including
antiques and works of art
– swindling and fraud
– racketeering and extortion
– counterfeiting and product piracy
– forgery of administrative documents and
trafficking therein
– forgery of money and means of payment
– computer crime
– corruption
– illicit trafficking in arms, ammunition and
explosives
– illicit trafficking in endangered animal species
– illicit trafficking in endangered plant species
and varieties
– environmental crime
– illicit trafficking in hormonal substances and
other growth promoters
3.1.4.2 ‘Temporal’ field of action
Europol may intervene at both the prevention stage and at the suppression stage. With regards
to prevention, it should, however, be noted that Europol has no competence in the area of
maintaining law and order. A case brought before Europol therefore needs to concern concrete
facts.
3.1.4.3 ‘Territorial’ field of action:
While not entirely identical, the competences of Europol are similar to those of Eurojust in this
area. Europol usually only has competence if at least two Member States are involved 11.
3.1.5 Structure
Europol’s structure is made up of a number of components:
a) The management board
This comprises one representative from each Member State and meets regularly (around once
every two months), reflecting the fact that Europol is controlled by the Member States. It
11
It is also possible to refer cases involving a Member State and a third country to Europol: Europol may
investigate offences committed mainly outside EU territory, provided that at least two Member States are
‘affected’. Like Eurojust, part of Europol’s remit is also forging preferential relationships with various third
countries. Europol therefore concludes cooperation agreements, which may include the transmission of personal
data.
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oversees the activities of Europol and its management by the Director. It takes some decisions
on its own; the most important decisions must be endorsed by the EU Council.
b) The Director of Europol
The Director is, in brief, responsible for the day-to-day administration of Europol and implements
the decisions taken by the Management Board. He or she is the organisation’s legal
representative, prepares budgets and manages personnel. The current Director, appointed in
2009 on a four-year basis, is Rob Wainwright, who was previously head of the international
department of SOCA (Serious Organised Crime Agency) in the United Kingdom.
c) Europol personnel
Europol’s employees are appointed by the Director. They have their own status, but this is
modelled on that of European civil servants. As at the end of 2011, Europol had 632 employees.
Around 50% of Europol’s employees come from national police services and are recruited for a
limited term of up to 9 years (rotation principle).
Almost all Europol employees are based at Europol’s premises, but it can also second its own
liaison officers abroad. For example, Europol has two liaison officers in Washington and one
liaison officer at Interpol.
d) Europol National Units (Article 4)
The Europol National Units (ENUs) are the interface between the national level and Europol.
Each Member State must designate a single ENU within its law enforcement services. The ENU
is usually multidisciplinary and comprises members of the main authorities concerned (police,
customs, etc.). The Member States generally choose to streamline police cooperation by
bringing together the Interpol national bureau, the SIS central authority and the ENU within the
same unit or in the same location. The main task of the ENUs is to transmit information to
Europol, as well as to verify and update this information. They must transmit this information at
their own initiative where such information falls within Europol’s mandate. Transmission may
also be reactive, that is, following a specific request from Europol. The ENUs are also
responsible for making use of and disseminating information and analyses transmitted by
Europol.
The ENU is the only liaison body between Europol and the competent national authorities.
Information referred up to or down from Europol has to go via the ENU 12.
This rule was relaxed by the Protocol of 27 November 2003, but should not affect the work of judicial officers.
While maintaining the central role of the ENU, under this amendment it is now possible to designate other
competent authorities that may, if the Member State concerned decides to use this option, make direct contact
with Europol. The ENU must always be informed about these contacts, but is no longer necessarily the only
channel for transmitting the information. This amendment is primarily in the interests of combating terrorism and a
commitment to facilitating the transmission of information from national intelligence services to Europol.
12
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Note that this rule relates to the transmission of information but does not preclude direct
contacts between Europol and certain competent national authorities.
Indicate here the contact details of the ENU in your country
e) National liaison officers and bureaux at Europol (Article 5)
Each Member State seconds at least one liaison officer to Europol. There are, on average, four
liaison officers from each Member State. They are grouped together in ‘liaison bureaux’ based
in the Europol building. The liaison officers are an extension of the ENU: contact between the
ENU and Europol goes through them.
Liaison officers are, however, also involved in bilateral cooperation with their counterparts from
the other Member States. As the liaison officers are based in the same building, they can
exchange information with each other without it necessarily having to be transmitted to Europol
(for example, because the case in question does not come under Europol’s mandate).
Indicate here the contact details of the ENU and the Europol liaison officer(s) for your
country
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Sch1_mod5_V10_europol
3.1.6 Europol’s reach
Europol mainly intervenes at the level of police information (1), but involvement in managing
investigations is also provided for (2). Importantly, Europol can also provide assistance with
logistics and in expertise (3).
3.1.6.1 Exchange, sharing and analysis of information
Europol’s added value lies, above all, in its capacity to facilitate access to information and to
analyse it in order to assist national authorities and investigators. This function can be
summarised under three headings: exchanging information, providing information and analysing
information.
3.1.6.1.1 Exchanging information: the liaison officers channel
Europol is a widely used channel for exchanging information. This function is indirect, since it is
not actually Europol itself that is this channel, but rather the network formed of the national
liaison officers based in the Europol building.
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The liaison officers, who are based in the same building for their day-to-day work, forge
preferential relationships founded on working together, which encourages mutual confidence
and understanding.
Member States may therefore ask their Europol liaison officers to contact their colleagues from
other Member States to obtain information, even if assistance is not sought from Europol
itself13.
3.1.6.1.2 Providing information: the Europol information system
Information is provided via the Europol Information System (EIS), which has been operational
since 2005. It is therefore a recent tool whose primary aim is to make it easier to link several
cases. Data is inputted by the ENUs, which are subject to a real obligation (rather than merely
an ability) to transmit information, but also directly by Europol, which can receive data from third
countries, for example.
The system contains data relating to objects (weapons, chemical substances) and personal
data (relating to natural or legal persons). This data must, however, only relate to offenders or
those suspected of having committed or preparing to commit an offence.
The EIS is accessible online to the ENUs, the liaison officers and to authorised Europol staff14.
Added to on a massive scale, the EIS may become a powerful tool for frequent checks in
serious organised crime cases.
Example
Conducting an investigation into drugs trafficking, the Austrian police suspect X of playing a
coordinating role in the criminal organisation. By entering X’s personal data into the EIS, the
Austrian ENU discovers that X is also a suspect in a similar investigation conducted by the Italian
police. Following this information, the Austrian liaison officer will contact his Italian colleague in
The Hague to initiate cooperation.
ex_mod4_V10_1.1
By way of example, in late 2011, the EIS contained data on 183 240 objects and 41 193
individuals, and 111 110 searches were run through the system in the past year. The crime
13
Information exchanged in this way may also have to be transmitted to Europol if it falls within the scope of the
obligation laid down by the Europol Convention and Decision.
14 Access may also be granted to other competent national services, but such access is limited to hit/no hit
functionality. In there is a hit, the authority concerned must contact its ENU to obtain the information.
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areas concerned were drug trafficking (25% of all objects), trafficking in human beings (23%),
forgery of money (18%), robbery (10%) and fraud (5%) 15.
3.1.6.1.3 Information analysis: analysis work files
The aim of analysing information is to derive added value by sharing various data. This analysis
function is mainly undertaken using Europol’s analysis work files.
These are temporary computerised files created to analyse a specific criminal issue at the
initiative of one or more Member States or of Europol.
Example
Italy requests the creation of an analysis work file on the trafficking of human beings from Central
Asia.
ex_mod5_V10_1.2
Each Member State may choose whether to participate in the analysis work file. An analysis
group is set up. In 2007, 16 analysis work files were created at Europol, mainly in the complex
sectors of financial crime and drug trafficking.
Example
France and Belgium decide to participate in the analysis work file, since, based on information
provided by Italy, the French and Belgian police believe it is likely that one or more joint criminal
networks are involved. The analysis group therefore comprises Italian, French and Belgian and
Europol analysts.
ex_mod5_V10_1.3
The participating States must add information to the analysis work file (they cannot, however, be
obliged to do so). The analysis work file contains much broader and more sensitive information
than the EIS, both with regards to individuals (it is not limited to offenders and suspects) and the
types of personal data processed.
15
Source: ‘Europol Review 2011’, available at www.europol.europa.eu.
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Example
As part of a case falling within the field of action of analysis work file F, the Belgian police monitor
X, who is suspected of acting as a contact with prostitution networks, for several months. They
encode data in the analysis work file regarding X, such as surname; first name; address; vehicle;
places frequented; lifestyle; personality traits; identifying physical characteristics, etc.
The Italian police seize a mobile telephone during a search. The telephone is fitted with an
anonymous prepaid card but, following contact with the telephone operator concerned, the
Belgian police are able to draw up a list of the telephone numbers with which communications
have taken place during the previous months. All these telephone numbers and their subscribers,
if known, will be encoded in the analysis work file.
ex_mod5_V10_1.4
After several months or years, depending on the quality and quantity of the data transmitted, the
analysis work file may produce results. It is not only a matter of demonstrating that links exist
between different cases but of bringing hidden characteristics to light. The results are translated
into information that can be used by the investigators, such as:





revealing a modus operandi
identifying the routes used by the criminal organisation
the role played by certain individuals in the network
offences committed other than those that justified opening the investigation,
…
The involvement of the judicial authorities in creating and managing analysis work files varies
from one State to another. In some Member States, participation in an analysis work file
requires consent from the judicial authorities, and the information collection plan to be
transferred into the analysis work file is determined with the competent judicial authority that will
take part in analysing the results of the work file. Personal data included in an analysis work file
must only be stored in this file for a limited period.
3.1.6.1.4 SIENA: establishing direct links between national databases and Europol.
The ‘SIENA’ platform is the latest of Europol’s key tools. It enables interconnection between
Europol databases, information exchanged bilaterally by liaison officers at Europol, and national
databases. This interconnection will, inter alia, automate the transmission of information to
Europol. Eventually, it will also act as a platform for the exchange of information between
databases in the Member States. SIENA enables a secure exchange of information between the
various stakeholders, including in bilateral relations between Member States (via liaison officers)
and relations with third countries.
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More than 330 000 message were exchanged via SIENA in 2011.
3.1.6.1.5 Europol strategic analysis
Europol also has the task of carrying out strategic analysis, separately to specific investigations,
in order to assist the Council and the Member States in determining their security policies.
Europol has produced an annual report on organised crime since 1993. Since 2006, this
situation report has evolved into a threat assessment (‘OCTA’, which stands for ‘organised
crime threat assessment’) that looks to the future. Once it has been produced by Europol using,
inter alia, data collected by the national authorities, the OCTA is submitted to the Council.
Based on the OCTA, the Council then produces the ‘working priorities for the fight against
organised crime’. From 2013, the scope of the report will be expanded to serious crime, rather
than only organised crime, and the report will become the SOCTA (‘Serious and Organised
Crime Threat Assessment’). See below for the EU’s internal security cycle.
The reports are published in two versions:
 one is confidential and details cannot be published here but judicial officers may, if
necessary, obtain it by contacting the national police authorities
 the other, which is less detailed, is in the public domain and may be accessed on the
Europol website (www.europol.europa.eu, ‘Publications’ section).
Each year, Europol also produces the EU terrorism situation and trend report: TE-SAT. This
report is in the public domain, available in the ‘publications’ section of Europol’s website.
3.1.6.2 Europol’s involvement in managing investigations
Since the Protocol of 30 November 2002, Europol has been entrusted with competences more
directly linked to managing investigations.
Europol may now ask national authorities to conduct or coordinate investigations in specific
cases. Previously, Europol requests could only relate to the transmission of information. Europol
is therefore granted a leading role based on its knowledge of crime phenomena acquired
through its various activities. Note that Eurojust has been given the same competence.
Europol may also participate in joint investigation teams, usually in cooperation with Eurojust
(see Module 4).
3.1.6.3 Material, logistical and expert support
Lastly, Europol significantly assists national authorities by providing the expertise it has acquired
in certain areas (e.g. Euro counterfeiting), material resources (e.g. organisation of an
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operational coordination meeting at Europol with interpretation for the national authorities) and
its experience in relations with third countries.
Furthermore, a ‘European Cybercrime Centre’ will be established within Europol from 2013. This
will act as a centre of expertise to support investigations in the Member States but will also play
a role in educating and training.
3.1.7 Cooperation beyond the EU
In order to improve cooperation beyond EU borders, Europol fosters partnerships with third
countries and international organisations and bodies. This enables Europol to play a strategic
role and to focus on types of crime that transcend EU borders.
These partnerships are subject to the conclusion of agreements and may, in some cases,
include the transmission of personal data. This list of countries and organisations with which
Europol cooperates can be found below. The symbol ‘ ‘ means that Europol has concluded an
operational agreement with the State or organisation concerned, which entails the possibility of
exchanging personal data. For other States or organisations, Europol has only concluded a
‘strategic’ agreement.
Candidate countries:
- Turkey, Croatia
Schengen partners
- Iceland , Norway , Switzerland
Western Balkan countries:
- Albania , Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
(FYROM)  , Serbia, Montenegro.
Countries of Eastern Europe
- Moldova, Russian Federation, Ukraine.
Transatlantic partnership
- Canada , United States of America 
Miscellaneous:
- Monaco  , Colombia , Australia 
Bodies not linked to the European Union:
- ICPO-Interpol 
- World Customs Organisation
- Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention
Source: ‘Europol Review 2011’, www.europol.europa.eu
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3.1.8 Conclusion
At European level, judicial officers involved in judicial cooperation will generally liaise with
Eurojust and/or the European Judicial Network, but contact with Europol may occur at various
stages, for example:
a) the decision to open the investigation may be based on information transmitted by
Europol (analysis work file);
b) investigators may approach Europol liaison officers as a channel for requesting certain
information from other Member States;
c) searches of the EIS by investigators may lead to new developments in the investigation,
for example by revealing links with other cases;
d) an investigation may be facilitated by insights gained from a Europol analysis work file;
e) if a matter is referred to Eurojust, it may consult Europol and request its assistance (and
vice versa);
f) setting up a joint investigation team should lead to Europol employees being asked to
participate in that team.
3.2.
THE SCHENGEN INFORMATION SYSTEM (SIS)
3.2.1 Introduction
The Schengen Information System (SIS) makes it possible to create an alert, in a computerised
system accessible at local level in the Schengen Area (for further information on the Schengen
Area, see Module 1), concerning persons or objects, in order that officers carrying out a check
on the persons or objects in question take a specific measure, such as arrest for the purposes
of surrender (European arrest warrant).
The SIS was established by the Convention of 19 June 1990 implementing the Schengen
Agreement (hereinafter, the Schengen Convention). It is one of the key measures compensating
for the abolition of checks at internal borders in the Schengen Area.
The SIS is due to be replaced by the SIS II, but considerable difficulties are being encountered
in setting it up. One of the objectives of the SIS II was its extension to include new States, but
given the delays in setting up the new system, this extension has been achieved using an
interim technical solution based on the existing system (SIS-one-for-all).
The SIS II should be operational in 2013. Most of the changes are technical, and judicial officers
involved in judicial cooperation and the majority of law enforcement authorities should not be
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greatly affected by the transition from the SIS to SIS II. The SIS II does, however, introduce
some substantial changes and will enable the use of biometric data. The legal basis for SIS II is
in Council Decision 2007/533/JHA of 12 June 200716.
3.2.2 Territorial scope
As at 30 November 2012, the SIS could be accessed in the following countries:
 EU member countries of the Schengen area: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain,
France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Estonia,
Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Malta.
 Non-EU member countries of the Schengen area: Iceland, Norway, Switzerland.
The following countries should have access soon17:
 EU countries that are future members of the Schengen area: Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania
 EU countries not members of the Schengen area18: United Kingdom
Ireland has indicated its commitment to joining the SIS as regards data relating to criminal
matters, but this process appears to have stalled.
3.2.3 Structure
The SIS consists of a central system located in Strasbourg (C-SIS). This system is
complemented by national ‘mirror’ systems in each of the Member States (N-SIS). The national
systems are copies of the central system.
The central system has a purely technical function. Information is not added to the SIS, nor its
contents monitored, in Strasbourg. These tasks take place solely at national level. In other
words, the central system is fed by data added into each of the national systems and copies of
the central system, updated accordingly, are made in the national systems.
A single authority holds responsibility for the national system in each Member State. Only that
authority is authorised to issue, modify or delete an alert in the SIS. That authority, known as the
‘SIRENE’ Bureau, is also responsible for exchanging additional information linked to an alert
with the SIRENE Bureaux in the other Member States (see below).
OJEU L 205, 7 August 2007, p. 63.
The new wave of enlargement of the SIS is only due to take place when the SIS II comes into operation. Given
the delays surrounding the SIS II, the Council decided to grant SIS access to all States ready to join the
Schengen Area through a temporary technical solution known as ‘SIS-one-for-all’ (Conclusions of the Council of 4
December 2006). Access to the SIS is not automatic. For countries that require access as part of joining the
Schengen Area, all conditions for joining must have been met. This involves a series of evaluations, for example
concerning border controls.
18
The United Kingdom has requested to participate in the SIS regarding only the aspects of cooperation in
criminal matters that we are concerned with here. See Module 1.
16
17
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Indicate here the SIS national central authority for your country
Lastly, note that Europol and Eurojust participate in the SIS.
3.2.4 How it works
Types of alert: Each type of alert is determined by its object and its objective. The object is
either a category of persons (for example, persons guilty or suspected of having committed an
extraditable offence) or a specific material object (such as a stolen vehicle). The objective is the
measure to be taken if the object of the alert is located or found. The following table lists the
main alerts in criminal matters.
Reference
Object
Article 95
Article 26 et
Decision
Article 98
Article 34 et
Decision
CISA and Persons guilty or suspected of an offence that
seq. SIS II may lead to extradition or to a European
arrest warrant
CISA and Witnesses or persons summoned to appear in
seq. SIS II connection with criminal proceedings.
Persons who are to be served with a criminal
judgment or a summons to report in order to
serve a penalty involving deprivation of liberty
Article 99 CISA and (Vehicle driven by a) person where there is
Article 36 et seq. SIS II evidence that an offence has been committed
Decision
or will be committed
Article 100 CISA and Material objects stolen, misappropriated or
Article 38 et seq. SIS II lost: motor vehicles, trailers and caravans,
Decision
firearms, blank official documents, identity
documents, vehicle registration certificates
and number plates, securities and means of
payment (credit cards, shares, etc.).
Registered banknotes
Objective / measure to be
taken
Arrest for extradition purposes or
execution of a European arrest
warrant
Communication of data relating
to the person (place of
residence, etc.)
For discreet surveillance or
specific checks (in particular, a
search)
For seizure or use as evidence
(depending on the applicable
instruments)
CISA = Convention of 19 June 1990 Implementing the Schengen Agreement
SIS-II Decision = Decision 2007/533/JHA on the SIS II
Tab1_mod4_V10
Note that most of the alerts are not for the purposes of criminal proceedings, they are alerts
concerning access to the territory.
Statistics (as at 1 January 2012)19:
- 42 million alerts, of which 98% are for objects (of which 35 million are documents and
nearly 5 million are vehicles) and 2% are for people (900 000 people) 20
19
See EU Council doc 8281/12.
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-
Of the 900,000 wanted person alerts in the SIS, 74% concern non-access to the
territory.
Of the alerts for persons for the purposes of criminal proceedings, or at least judicial
proceedings, most are in order to locate them and serve them with a notice (86 000
persons, 41%) or because they are reported missing (53 000 persons, 25%). 35 000
persons (16%) are wanted for extradition purposes or on the basis of a European arrest
warrant.
Data contained in the SIS: depending on the alert, the SIS contains the data necessary for
identifying the person or material object, or for the measure to be taken. Some are mandatory
and others optional. With the SIS II, the system will contain biometric data. Use of such data is
initially only possible for confirming a person’s identity. The possibility of searching the SIS
based solely on biometric data has not been ruled out, but has been deferred to a later date.
Issuing an alert: only the SIS central national authority is entitled to enter a new alert in the SIS.
The decision to issue an alert is, however, taken by another authority. It is, for example, the
judicial authority competent to issue a European arrest warrant that will take the decision to
issue an alert for a person’s arrest and surrender
Execution of an alert: when, during a check, a competent authority of a Member State finds an
object or person that is the subject of an alert, this is referred to as a ‘hit’ in the system. In the
event of a hit, the competent authority must take the requested measure attached to the alert
(arrest of the person, search of the vehicle, seizure of the object, etc.). How the ‘hit’ is followed
up will depend on the applicable instruments
Access to the SIS:
 In general, the SIS is only accessed during a check concerning a person or object. This
may, for example, be a customs check, an identity check following a law enforcement
operation or a road traffic check. Only the authorities with competence for these
customs or police checks may access the SIS.
 The value of access to the SIS, not only for checks but also for investigative purposes,
is, however, clear. Judicial authorities have thus been granted access 21. Partial access
has also been granted to Europol and Eurojust, which do not have competence for
carrying out checks22. In addition, the SIS II Decision states that the national authorities
granted access to the SIS are no longer solely the authorities with competence for
customs or police checks, but also the authorities with competence for requesting the
issue of an alert. The State’s security agencies may therefore be included.
This does not include the some 289 000 entries corresponding to aliases.
Council Decision 2005/211/JHA of 24 February 2005 concerning the introduction of some new functions for the
Schengen Information System, including in the fight against terrorism, OJEU L 68, 15 March 2005, p . 44.
22
Ibid.
20
21
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Indicate here the authorities with access to the SIS in your country
Role of the SIRENE Bureau: the SIRENE Bureau is responsible for the exchange of
‘supplementary information’. This may be information that must be sent at the time of the alert to
supplement the standardised data contained in the alert in question. It also includes exchanges
of information subsequent to a ‘hit’ (such as notifying the Member State issuing the alert of the
fact that the vehicle in the alert has been searched and of the results of the search in question).
Indicate here the contact details of the SIRENE bureau for your country
Practical example
-
Alert request by a competent authority of State A
As part of a drug trafficking case, police in Marseilles (France) want to trace a vehicle with
registration number XYZ. They request an alert for the vehicle in order for it to be searched.
-
Verification and encoding by the SIRENE Bureau of State A
-
If appropriate, transmission of supplementary information via the SIRENE Bureaux.
By way of supplementary information, the French SIRENE Bureau transmits the fact that the
search is based on the suspected presence of heroin in the vehicle.
-
Automatic updating of the C-SIS
-
Transmission of the alert to the N-SIS of the other Member States and validation of the
alert by the SIRENE Bureaux of the other Member States
The alert is now operational throughout the Schengen Area.
-
‘Hit’ in Member State B and execution of the requested action
During a routine road traffic check, Barcelona police stop vehicle XYZ. The officer in question
transmits the vehicle’s details to his information centre; having checked the national data
base, the information centre informs the officer that the vehicle is the subject of an alert and
that a search is required. The officer carries out the search but does not find any trace of
drugs in the vehicle.
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-
Transmission of information about the ‘hit’ from the SIRENE Bureau of State B to the
SIRENE Bureau of State A.
The Spanish SIRENE Bureau transmits the following information to the French SIRENE
Bureau: place and time of the check, persons present in the vehicle, result of the search.
ex_mod5_euj_1.5
For more information about the use of the SIS in connection with a European arrest warrant, see Module 8.
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3.3.
INTERPOL23
The International Criminal Police Organization (ICPO) Interpol (hereinafter, Interpol) is a global
organisation. It is nevertheless still frequently used in relations within the EU 24.
Established in 1923, Interpol has its headquarters in Lyons (France) and is a purely
intergovernmental body. The main principles guiding its tasks and functioning are laid down by
its statutes, adopted in 195325. 187 countries were members of Interpol in 2009.
3.3.1 Structure and functioning
Interpol’s supreme governing body is its General Assembly, which consists of representatives
from each of its 182 Member States. The General Secretariat is Interpol’s day-to-day working
structure, and currently has between 450 and 500 employees, as well as representatives in
more than 80 countries.
Interpol is the sum of its member countries and therefore relies on the National Central Bureaux
(NCBs) these States have put in place (there is one NCB for each State). The NCBs carry out
liaison work within the country concerned, with the other member countries and with the
General Secretariat.
Indicate here the contact details of the NCB for your country
3.3.2 Tasks and objectives
Article 2 of Interpol’s Constitution defines its objectives in very general terms:
a) to ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police
authorities within the limits of the laws existing in the different countries and in the spirit of the
‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’;
b) to establish and develop all institutions likely to contribute effectively to the prevention and
suppression of ordinary law crimes.
It is the first paragraph that constitutes Interpol’s ‘core business’, the main function of which is to
23
http://www.interpol.int/
Interpol also maintains a special relationship with Europe. The establishment of Interpol was, at the outset, a
European initiative and its headquarters are in Europe. All its General Secretaries have been European, up until
the current General Secretary, Ronald K. Noble, who is from the United States. 18 of the 25 Interpol Presidents
have been European.
25
http://www.interpol.int/en/Internet/About-INTERPOL/Legal-materials
24
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facilitate information exchange.
Interpol’s 2007 Annual Report mentions Interpol’s six priority crime areas: corruption, drugs and
organised crime, financial and high-tech crime, fugitives, public safety and terrorism and
trafficking in human beings26.
3.3.3 Operational action
Interpol’s main function is to put its various member countries in contact with each other to
exchange police information.
The I-24/7 telecommunications network
Interpol and the NCBs are connected via a secure telecommunications network known as I24/7, ensuring security and efficiency27. This network is the technical link between the NCBs,
and between the latter and the information held at Interpol. It is via this network that police
officers can send information to police officers abroad, create specific alerts or search and
update the Interpol databases. The NCBs remain the anchor points of the system in each
country, but the latter may decide to extend system access to other agencies.
The I-24/7 system enables the exchange of information from NCB to NCB, access to Interpol’s
databases and access to national databases, but Interpol’s main strength lies in the alert
function. This now takes place via the I-24/7 system, but has existed via other technical means
since Interpol was established. This alert function is used extensively and largely explains
Interpol’s success.
Interpol alerts
Interpol’s alert system is divided in different-coloured notices, depending on the objective
sought. There are 7 notices28:
 Red notice: to seek the arrest or provisional arrest of a person with a view to his/her
extradition based on an arrest warrant
 Blue notice: to collect additional information about a person’s identity or illegal activities
in relation to a criminal investigation
 Green notice: to warn about a person’s criminal activities and communicate police
information if that person is likely to repeat these crimes in other countries
 Yellow notice: to help locate missing persons, especially minors, or to help identify
persons unable to identify themselves
http://www.interpol.int/content/download/768/6059/version/6/file/iaw2007.pdf
All member countries were to be connected by 2005.
28
http://www.interpol.int/en/News-and-media/Publications/Fact-sheets/International-Notices-system/
26
27
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 Black notice: to seek information on the true identity of unidentified bodies
 Orange notice (since 2004): to warn police, public bodies and other international
organisations about potential threats from disguised weapons, parcel bombs and other
dangerous materials.
 Interpol-United Nations special notice: to seek groups and individuals who are subjects
to UN sanctions against Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
It is for the NCB requesting an alert to specify which member countries will have access to it.
An alert request sent by an NCB must be checked and approved by the Interpol General
Secretariat before the alert is disseminated. The time-limit for this procedure in urgent cases is
72 hours, which means that the time-limit in standard cases may be several days.
To avoid this delay, it is usual to pre-empt General Secretariat approval by sending a simple
message to the other countries via I-24/7 warning them, for example in the case of a red notice,
that a certain person is sought for arrest 29. This is a simple transmission of information.
Lastly, Interpol’s framework only provides for dissemination of the alert and not its follow-up.
Each country may, in addition, systematically filter and process the alerts it receives. In the case
of red notices, for example, the country receiving the alert will usually decide only to input it into
its domestic system if it has signed an extradition agreement with the country that issued the
alert. Follow-up of a positive result in a State other than the State issuing the alert will thus
depend on the applicable national law, the instruments in effect between the two countries
concerned and the goodwill of the authorities involved.
Interpol alert and Schengen alert
Interpol alerts and Schengen alerts largely overlap. Although SIS alerts are generally more
effective, Interpol alerts are still frequently used by EU countries for two reasons:
 firstly, the police authority of an EU country issuing an alert will, for evident reasons of
efficiency, usually want this alert to be as wide as possible and not limited by the
borders of the EU;
 in addition, some EU Member States do not currently have access to the SIS (see
below).
In the specific case of Interpol Red Notices, that is, notices issued for the purposes of arrest and
extradition, note that these are not equivalent to a European arrest warrant between the EU
Member States, unlike an alert under Article 95 of the Schengen Convention (see below) 30. The
Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 merely states that the European arrest warrant itself may
be disseminated via Interpol. This is a transmission from one member country to another via the
I-24/7 system.
The check undertaken by the General Secretariat is a formal verification (e.g. completeness of the information)
but also a check of the contents. The contents check focuses on compliance with Article 3 of Interpol’s
Constitution, which aims to prevent Interpol being used for political purposes.
30
Article 9.3 of the Framework Decision of 13 June 2002 on the European arrest warrant, op. cit.
29
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3.4.
LIAISON OFFICERS
Liaison officers are officers from a law enforcement service seconded by their Member State of
origin to another Member State to facilitate police cooperation with the latter and, in particular,
information gathering and exchange.
Use of liaison officers pre-dates the work undertaken at European Union level. This was
primarily as part of bilateral initiatives. The network of liaison officers is much more extensive
than that of liaison magistrates. Their rationale is similar: many obstacles to police cooperation
can be overcome through the intermediary of a liaison officer who is permanently resident in the
country with which the cooperation is taking place, who may speak the language, knows the
police and judicial structures and has developed interpersonal links with colleagues in the
country in question.
The European Union has taken action, under Council Decision 2003/170/JHA of 27 February
2003, to provide a minimum framework for the use of liaison officers ( Compendium B.7.5.)31.
The aim of the EU’s intervention was to strengthen the network of liaison officers posted by the
Member States or by Europol in various ways, particularly with regards to third countries, so that
each State can benefit from the assistance of liaison officers seconded by the other Member
States. Regular meetings of EU liaison officers in a third country are provided for: these are a
key tool of EU cooperation with certain countries (such as Russia in combating organised
crime). In addition, if a Member State does not have a liaison officer in a third country, the EU
liaison officers seconded to that third country must gather information on serious criminal threats
directed against that Member State.
3.5.
COOPERATION BETWEEN FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE UNITS (FIUS)
Financial intelligence units are set up in each Member State in the context of combating money
laundering.
The European Union instruments adopted under the 1st pillar require certain professions to
transmit intelligence relating to suspicious transactions (money laundering or financing
terrorism) to the national FIUs. The primary task of the FIUs is to process this intelligence.
However, Council Decision 2000/424/JHA of 17 October 2000 32 supplements this framework by
providing for the exchange of information between the FIUs of the different Member States,
which therefore represent a preferential channel for exchanging information in the areas of
money laundering and financing terrorism.
31
Council Decision 2003/170/JHA of 27 February 2003 on the common use of liaison officers posted abroad by
the law enforcement agencies of the Member States. This Decision repeals Joint Action 96/602/JHA. It was
amended and supplemented by Decision 2006/560/JHA ( Compendium B.7.5b)
32
OJEU L 271, 24 October 2000, p. 4.
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Indicate here the contact details of the FIU for your country
3.6.
SPECIFIC COOPERATION IN BORDER AREAS
As might be expected, it is in border areas that police and judicial cooperation is most
significant, at least in terms of the number of cases. Specific modes of cooperation have been
established in these areas, sometimes also acting as a test bed for subsequent extension 33.
It is not possible to go into detail about these forms of cooperation, since they vary depending
on the Member States concerned. There is no binding European framework 34, except of course
that they must go at least as far as permitted by the general rules on police cooperation (such
as the rules on cross-border surveillance and hot pursuit under the Schengen Convention, see
Module 7).
We simply mention that, increasingly, this cooperation takes the form of establishing ‘police and
customs cooperation centres’ (PCCCs), located in the border area in question, where police and
customs officers from the various Member States concerned are based in the same building.
These PCCCs may cover more than two countries, as is the case for Luxembourg’s PCCC,
which brings together Belgian, Luxembourg, German and French officers.
These forms of cooperation may include particularly flexible mechanisms for exchanging
information (since each officer has access to their national databases and all officers are
grouped together in the same building), joint patrols and joint assessments of criminal activity in
the border area.
Enter here useful information regarding specific cooperation in the border areas of your
State.
Such is the case, for example, for rules on cross-border surveillance and hot pursuit that have existed since
1962 in the cooperation treaty between the Benelux countries and were subsequently included in the Schengen
Convention.
34 A proposal submitted by the European Commission aimed to establish a minimum framework for these border
areas shared by two EU Member States (Proposal for a Council Decision on the improvement of police
cooperation between the Member States of the European Union, especially at the internal borders and amending
the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement, COM(2005)317). However, negotiations have stalled.
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3.7.
TOWARDS AN EFFECTIVE AND COHERENT EU STRATEGY FOR COMBATING SERIOUS AND
ORGANISED CRIME
The EU is developing a ‘policy cycle on organised and serious crime’, which is based on the
intelligence-led policing method. Originating in a number of Anglo-Saxon countries in the 1980s,
this method aims to guide policing on the basis of a cycle in which the collection (on a large or
smaller scale) and analysis of information is presented as a starting point for a better
understanding of the phenomenon, for identifying priority areas and taking operational
measures. Increasingly widespread at national level, this method is also gradually becoming
established at European level.
The cycle, which lasts four years, is based on Europol’s SOCTA (Serious and Organised Crime
Threat Assessment) report35. This report is sent to the Standing Committee on Internal Security
(COSI), which analyses the report and proposes that the Council identify certain priorities.
These priorities are adopted by the Council in April or June. For example, the priorities identified
by the Council in its June 2011 conclusions were as follows (EU Council doc 11050/11):
- Weaken the capacity of organised crime groups active or based in West Africa to traffic
cocaine and heroin to and within the EU
- Mitigate the role of the Western Balkans, as a key transit and storage zone for illicit
commodities destined for the EU and logistical centre for organised crime groups, including
Albanian-speaking organised crime groups;
- Weaken the capacity of organised crime groups to facilitate illegal immigration to the EU,
particularly via southern, south-eastern and eastern Europe and notably at the GreekTurkish border and in crisis areas of the Mediterranean close to North Africa;
- Reduce the production and distribution in the EU of synthetic drugs, including new
psychoactive substances;
- Disrupt the trafficking to the EU, particularly in container form, of illicit commodities,
including cocaine, heroin, cannabis, counterfeit goods and cigarettes;
35
Note that the first SOCTA report is not released until early 2013. But an annual report on organised crime has been produced by the EU
since 1994. Since 2002, it has been produced by Europol and evolved in 2006 from a simple snapshot of criminal activity to a threat
analysis, becoming the OCTA (Organised Crime Threat Assessment). It will be expanded in 2013 to become the SOCTA (Serious and
Organised Crime Threat Assessment): this will go beyond the strict conceptual and legal framework of organised crime to include types of
serious crime that are not necessarily committed as part of a criminal organisation. Note that the French translation of the scope of the
Europol report and of the cycle in general is erroneous: it refers to a report and a cycle concerning ‘serious organised crime’, thus limiting
its scope to the most serious forms of organised criminal activity, even though the aim was to cover both organised crime and serious, nonorganised crime. The SOCTA, the first version of which will be produced in early 2013, will be published every four years, with an interim
report after two years.
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Combat against all forms of trafficking in human beings and human smuggling by targeting
the organised crime groups conducting such criminal activities in particular at the southern,
south-western and south-eastern criminal hubs in the EU;
Reduce the general capabilities of mobile (itinerant) organised crime groups to engage in
criminal activities;
Step up the fight against cybercrime and the criminal misuse of the internet by organised
crime groups.
-
-
These priorities therefore guide the actions of European stakeholders (the Council’s working
groups, Eurojust, Europol, Frontex) and should also guide national priorities. Each priority is the
subject of a Multi-Annual Strategic Plan (MASP) prepared by the COSI, and each MASP in turn
gives rise to Operational Action Plans (OAPs). Finally, the OAPs are implemented through
projects known as ‘EMPACTs’ (European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats) 36.
In addition to threat analysis, identifying priorities and implementation, the cycle entails
evaluation. The priorities’ implementation is reviewed in an annual evaluation report and a final
evaluation report at the end of the four-year cycle.
The COSI plays a central role in this process within the Council: it was established in 2010
under the Lisbon Treaty37, and replaced the former ‘Police Chiefs Task Force’.
Indicate here who represents your State on the COSI and which EMPACT projects your
country is participating in.
How are the judicial authorities involved in this exercise?
The judicial authorities’ involvement is necessary, although the degree of their involvement will
inevitably vary depending on the national structure and above all the relationship between the
police and the public prosecutor.
This involvement of the judicial authorities in the EU Internal Security Strategy takes place or
may take place at three levels:
- national judicial authorities’ participation in the COSI: although it is usually the police
authorities that represent the Member States within the COSI, many Member States
have established coordination mechanisms for the involvement of prosecutors, for
example, in defining national positions within the COSI;
- the implementation of the priorities identified by the Council and the implementation of
the EMPACT projects, in particular, will only really be effective with the involvement of
the judicial authorities;
36
37
EMPACT projects are the successors of the so-called COSPOL projects.
Article 71 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.
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-
-
Eurojust participates in the policy cycle, both before – when preparing the SOCTA and
identifying priorities, since Eurojust participates in the COSI – and afterwards, since the
priorities identified by the Council also guide the action of Eurojust;
The Consultative Forum of Prosecutors General, which is overseen by Eurojust, aims to
ensure national public prosecutors are involved in this strategy and in the work of the
COSI.
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Annex – Status of interconnections on the basis of Decision 2008/615/JHA (‘Prüm’) – Date updated: 12 October 2012
Source: EU Council Doc. 5086/7/12. Refer to the guide on accessing the documents to obtain an update, if required, or contact the competent
authorities in your Member State.
a) Vehicle registrations
VRD operational data exchange (27/10/2011)
BE
BE
BG
CZ
DK
DE
EE
EL
ES
FR
IE
IT
CY
LV
LT
LU
HU
MT
NL
BG
CZ
DK
DE
EE
EL
ES
FR
IE
IT
CY
LV
LT
LU
HU
MT
NL
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
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AT
PL
PT
RO
SI
SK
FI
SE
UK
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x
AT
PL
PT
RO
SI
SK
FI
SE
UK
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
b) Fingerprints
FP operational data exchange
BE
BE
BG
CZ
DK
DE
EE
EL
ES
FR
IE
IT
CY
BG
CZ
DK
DE
EE
EL
ES
FR
IE
IT
CY
LV
LT
LU
HU
MT
NL
AT
PL
PT
RO
SI
SK
FI
SE
UK
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
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x
LV
LT
LU
HU
MT
NL
AT
PL
PT
RO
SI
SK
FI
SE
UK
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
c) DNA profiles
DNA operational data exchange
BE
BE
BG
CZ
DK
DE
EE
EL
BG
CZ
DK
DE
EE
EL
ES
FR
IE
IT
CY
LV
LT
LU
HU
MT
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
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NL
AT
PL
PT
RO
SI
SK
FI
SE
UK
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ES
FR
IE
IT
CY
LV
LT
LU
HU
MT
NL
AT
PL
PT
RO
SI
SK
FI
SE
UK
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
The contents and opinions expressed herein are solely that of the EJTN, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use that may be
made of these contents and opinions.
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