Policing in the EU: A Way Forward? Part 2.

Dr Iyiola Solanke

In two posts Dr.Iyiola Solanke examines the issues of race and policing within the EU. The first post summarised the Matrix Chambers and Leeds University School of Law Seminar on Black Experiences of Policing in the EU, held on the 24th May, while the second post goes on to examine the EU framework governing EU wide policing.

Policing in the EU

Policing first became an EU policy competence in 1992, when the Treaty of Maastricht created the tripartite pillar structure of the EU. Issues concerning policing were somewhat buried in the third pillar on ‘Justice and Home Affairs’ until 1997, when visa and asylum matters were ‘communitarised’ and the third pillar was re-focused on ‘Policing and Judicial Co-operation in Criminal Matters’ (PJCC). A new EU-wide ‘Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’ was declared to provide a context for such co-operation. The Lisbon Treaty has integrated this area of freedom, security and justice into the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) as set out in Articles 67 to 89 TFEU. These provisions provide the EU with powers to act in a wide variety of fields including immigration and asylum (arts 77 – 80), cross-border crimes such as trafficking of humans, drugs or arms, computer crime, and money laundering (art 83). It also provides a framework for co-operation among the judicial authorities of the Member States in both civil and criminal matters through the European Judicial Co-operation Unit (art 86). Article 87 empowers the Union to establish ‘police cooperation involving all the Member States’ competent authorities, including police, customs and other specialised law enforcement services in relation to the prevention, detection and investigation of criminal offences.’

An agency was created to carry forward this task: CEPOL, or the European Police College. CEPOL cooperates with a wide range of senior police colleges and institutions within the EU as well as law enforcement agencies such as Europol and Interpol. It has working agreements with non-EU countries (Norway, Iceland and Switzerland) and relationships with non-EU countries and different universities and research institutes. One of its tasks is to disseminate best practice and research findings but its main purpose is to train senior police officers of the MS and develop a ‘European approach’ to the ‘main problems facing MS in the fight against crime, crime prevention and the maintenance of law and order and public security, in particular the cross border dimension of those problems.’ In other words to develop an EU police service.

The CEPOL ‘Common Curricula’

To create this European approach, CEPOL has developed Common Curricula (CCa). The subjects of the Common Curricula are determined by the CEPOL Governing Board together with the key EU institutions (European Commission, Council of the European Union, European Parliament). The number of Common Curricula has grown from four in 2004 to ten in 2012.

The Common Curricula is also used to provide the basic ideas and elements for CEPOL’s courses and seminars. The aim is that it acts as a basis for European courses and modules for police training targeted at all levels of police officers, from the most senior to those in special functions (e.g. traffic police, criminal investigation, border police) and new entrants. It also targets instructors and trainers in police training institutions. In line with the principle of subsidiary, use at the national level is voluntary – member States are to implement the common curricula in their national police training systems according to their own needs ‘adapting what they think is most appropriate in each case.’ Whilst suggestions are made for specific actions, ‘The different Member States have to decide for themselves how to make use of these to suit to their national training systems and training programmes as well as the specific needs and previous experience of trainees.’

The CCa are the basis of  recommendations made to member states about police training on specific subjects with a European dimension. A European dimension exists in police training when:

a) the police training need is of a Europe-wide or trans-national nature,

b) the common approach to such training brings important advantages at a transnational level, such as determining and exchanging good police practice, reinforcement of mutual police understanding and cooperation,

c) such training could reinforce the effectiveness and visibility of the European space of freedom, security and justice.’

The black experiences of policing seminar suggests that the policing of racial violence and violent, racist policing would satisfy the need for a ‘European dimension’ but this topic does not yet appear on the CCa. It might be addressed under CC05/ D on ‘Police Ethics & Prevention of Corruption’ whichfocuses on knowledge, attitudes and skills of police officers. It is divided four sections:

1.   Role of police in a democratic society;

2.   Position of ethics in the police organisation and day-to-day police work;

3.   Managing police ethics and prevention of corruption;

4.   Risk management in the field of police ethics and prevention of corruption.

It aims, amongst other things, to ‘Develop awareness of the role of police in a democratic society; ‘Demonstrate that everyone has a responsibility to act in an ethical manner’; ‘Strengthen the desire to behave in an ethical way and the ability to behave correctly under pressure or in stressful situations’; ‘Learn how to respond to non-ethical and corruptive behaviour’; ‘Ensure an ethical climate (managers)’; ‘Incorporate ethical behaviour in day-to-day police work’; and ‘Strengthen and improve professionalism.’

In its strategic goals and objectives for 2010-2014, CEPOL lists the delivery of training on police ethics and prevention of corruption’ as well as ‘Human Rights’. Yet on its website there is no category of events for the former, thus it seems no training is planned on police ethics in the near future. This is a shame, as such training is vital to the enjoyment of freedom, justice and security of black Europeans. All may not be lost however, the ‘Human Rights’ category includes a programme on ‘human rights and police ethics’ which suggests that ethics will be a horizontal theme rather than a specific focus of training. After this programme, participants will be able to: explain the importance of a personal integrity in policing; describe the scientific approach to measuring personal integrity and awareness of the importance of integrity within the police; explain the relation between integrity, ethics and human rights and discuss experiences within the European police services and police education. This is the first of a 3-step programme in the Human Rights strand, which also includes ‘management of diversity’ and ‘dealing with crime victims.’ Its website also lists a training programme on ‘Community Policing’ scheduled for November 2012 in Finland. Upon completion of this programme (which incidentally falls under ‘EU Cooperation’) participants will know about good practice on community policing projects in MS; management of prolific offenders in a community policing context; and multi-agency approaches to accountability in a community policing framework.’

Yet given the seriousness of the issues, this is somewhat unsatisfactory: problems with the level of service given by the police to black Europeans are blurred and buried. It is worth thinking about whether race and policing warrant the creation of a specific strand in the CCa. This would give the issue an important profile across the EU and at all levels of policing in the member states. The impact would be significant if CEPOL were to organise an activity on race and policing. CEPOL functions primarily as a network and its activities – courses, seminars, conferences and meetings – are implemented in and by Member States, mainly by the national senior police training colleges. It organises between 80 and 100 courses, seminars and conferences per year on key topics relevant to police forces in Europe – surely at least one of these should focus on the interests of black citizens? According to its literature, ‘In 2007, over 1900 senior police officers attended CEPOL activities. More than 700 experts, lecturers and trainers contributed to CEPOL activities. A vast majority of the experts, lecturers and trainers were senior police officers, whom together with the participants form a competent and experienced network for future European police cooperation.’ A CEPOL programme would therefore not only be of great value but is also clearly needed – in its survey on Police Education and Training in the EU in 2006 only one member state had a training programme on diversity – the UK.

There is not only the absence of specific training to consider, but also the further future use of the CCa. The Common Core Curricula are likely to form part of the European Training Scheme being developed as part of the Stockholm Programme. The Stockholm Programme refers to a “systematic European Training Scheme” (Chapter 1.2.6) which is meant to offer systematically accessible EU training to all law enforcement officers active in the implementation of the area of freedom, security and justice in order to foster a genuine European judicial and law enforcement culture. This includes judges, prosecutors, judicial staff, police officers, border guards, and customs officers. The Council tasked the Commission with examination of what could be defined as a European Training Scheme. CEPOL conducted a surveyto help the Commission get an initial overview of the law enforcement training activities related to cross-border cooperation in the EU provided in and by Member States and international organisations. The survey closed in January 2012 and the data is now being analysed to get an idea of who is doing what training and what is still required. The Commission will present a Communication on a European Training Scheme policy that will form the basis for the implementation of the ETS. It is again questionable whether the ETS will include race or diversity – the questionnaire identified non-discrimination, human rights and diversity as ‘specialised’rather than ‘basic’ training and only asked whether ‘more training is required’ in relation to fundamental rights.

In the 2009 Police Science and Research Bulletin, CEPOL director, Ulf Gorransson, asked:

‘How can governments across Europe ensure that police services are delivered in the best way possible for the sake of their citizens? How can policing in the 21st century be organised in the most efficient manner while at the same time ensuring that human rights and the rule of law are observed without compromise? How should ‘good police practice’ be achieved in the European area of freedom, security and justice’?

Answers to this question are readily available: the question is whether anybody is listening. CEPOL will be an important body for the development of policing in the EU – it may therefore be one to watch for those concerned with race, violence and policing in Britain and beyond. CEPOL has expressed a desire to work with NGOs, and it should do so to ensure that every law enforcement official at every level in the EU not only knows the story of Stephen Lawrence but also learns the crucial lessons provided by his murder. This task would satisfy the obligation upon it in the Treaty – as a formal EU agency, it is covered by the duty to serve the interests of its citizens as laid out in Article 13 TEU. Anything less may constitute a failure to act.

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