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SPCP Story of Change

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Organised and serious crime presents a big challenge to law enforcement in the region.

Involving law enforcement agencies and officials from 6 Western Balkan countries, the Regional Police Cooperation Programme 2012-16 promoted communication, coordination, enhanced skills and harmonized approaches within the region to favor positive change in the fight against organised crime.

Exchange of information, common practices, trust - what are the benefits and challenges of addressing these issues through regional cooperation? Discover it on the following pages.

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We asked beneficiaries to describe the impact the programme had on their daily work and ultimately on collaboration in the region as a whole.

We clustered their answers around three main areas of achievement: improved cross border cooperation, enhanced national capacities and increased trust.

Click on the images below to learn more about the programme's achievements from the beneficiaries' point of view.

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The programme offered concrete instruments and opportunities to enhance capacities both at individual as well as institutional level. Important areas that were covered include human rights awareness, specific technical trainings for analysts, law enforcement and customs officials and the provision of adequate equipment to concerned institutions.



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    Humanitarian Border Management is particularly important during migration peaks.

    Trainers from different countries participated in regional training courses before delivering national trainings to Border Police officials of their respective countries.

    More than 12 national trainings have been delivered so far.

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    Listen to participants how they assess the impact of the trainings on their personal perception of migration, leading to a better understanding and respect for basic human right principles.

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    Be at the service of citizens and help those in need: this is the training's main message.

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     — Marinko Kočovski, Assistant Police Director for Border Management and Head of Border Police and member of the Steering Board within the IOM Project.

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    Cultural norms continue to have a strong influence on the presence of women in the police at an operational level. Greater gender diversity can be observed in strategic and analytical positions.

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    In order to increase efficiency in crime prevention you need to increase know-how. At the same time some institutional barriers need softening so that the concerned units can collaborate closely and actively.

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    The programme supported experienced officials with state-of-the-art knowledge and instruments to increase the detection of illicit goods.

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    — Artan Sulejmani, Head of Durres Customs House, Albania

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    The programme increased skillsets but it also favoured new channels of communication between the countries snd between different agencies, thus overcoming persisting institutional barriers.

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     — Ivana Kovačević, advisor for international cooperation within the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro and member of the Steering Board of the Container Control Programme (CCP).

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    The programme's joint trainings and support to new communication channels  among different units and involved countries instilled a real team spirit.

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     — Mario Lovric, Head of the Field Office South - Čapljina, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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    Efficient and up to date equipment is crucial in the fight against organised crime.

    During the implementation period, four patrol boats as well as various technical equipment such as devices for the identification of falsified documents or thermal imaging cameras were procured for beneficiaries.

    Laptops and analytical softwares were also provided.

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    Speedy boats allow timely reactions.

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    In the case of Višegrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the patrol vessel is used on the river Drina mainly for community policing.
     

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    National capacities are the fundament of efficient and effective regional collaboration in the fight against crime. This includes developing human capacities by providing knowledge, skills and tools allowing law enforcement officials to perform their duties more effectively and according to international standards; but it also requires the development of institutional capacities to provide the necessary guidance, information and resources to enable concrete and sustainable action in the fields of crime prevention and law enforcement.  

    The programme has enabled change at both levels – the institutionalization and anchorage of continuous capacity development within national institutions will however require strong political commitment and dedication at national level.


    Scroll down to return to the menu and to explore other aspects of the Programme.

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    Learn more about SPCP2012-16

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    The “Swiss Regional Police Cooperation Programme in the Western Balkans” (SPCP 2012-16) was part of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) engagement in Eastern Europe.

    The Programme aimed to strengthen regional police cooperation in the Western Balkans during the period 2012 to 2016 in order to ensure a more efficient and effective fight against organised and serious crime, with the ultimate aim to enhance the security of citizens in the Western Balkans region and throughout Europe.

    The SPCP 2012-16 focused on projects that were aimed at enhanced police cooperation between the countries in the region and that deepened knowledge and expertise among practitioners regarding state-of-the-art methods of fighting organized crime. Consequently, the Programme was implemented through regional and international stakeholders that are well established in the region and that have operational, technical and professional competences in fighting organized and serious crime.

    This Programme was funded by the SDC. The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) was mandated by the SDC to manage and oversee the Programme.




    Learn even more:
    http://spcp2012-16.ch/
    https://www.eda.admin.ch

    Contact:
    p.costa@dcaf.ch
    liliane.tarnutzer@eda.admin.ch



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    The SPCP 2012-16 was active in six countries, six different projects were implemented including police, border police, customs and concerned ministries.

    Each project involved at least two different countries thus contributing to cross border cooperation, trust and harmonization within the region.






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    Police Cooperation Convention for South East Europe (PCC SEE) Secretariat

    "The PCC SEE implementation is a complex process which would not have evolved to this point without the support of the SPCP 2012-2016 Programme.

    The PCC SEE project aided the Western Balkan countries in enhancing their national capacities, developing regional networks facilitating cross-border cooperation, achieving greater legal and practical compatibility, and creating strategic links with corresponding EU agencies and instruments.

    The local expertise and growing regional experience is especially relevant today, as the PCC SEE increasingly responds to the real operational needs of law enforcement authorities in the fight against cross-border and organised crime."
                       
    - Ottavio Bottecchia, Head of the PCC SEE Secretariat



    International Organization for Migration (IOM)

    "This project was the first project in the Western Balkan region that initiated regional approach in tackling various issues, thereby gathered law enforcement institutions and officials from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, FYROM, Kosovo and Serbia who actually started working together.

    Its implementation yielded sustainable results in terms of enhancing capacities of border police officials all over the Western Balkans region.

    Apart from measurable results achieved through the project, which had been initially planned, it significantly contributed to closer cooperation thereby communication and coordination of activities at the regional level which resulted in new regional initiatives and future projects.

    Finally, this project provided sustainable grounds for the joint work of Albania, Montenegro and Kosovo police at PCC Plav."

                        -Tijana Simić, Programme Officer IOM Montenegro/ IOM BiH



    Organization for Security and Cooperation with Europe (OSCE) 

    OSCE mission to Kosovo

     “To foresee crime trends and prevent them, is the key to success. Investing in quality threat assessment and more than that in a regional cooperation, is always a great investment.

    OSCE Mission in Kosovo was privileged to facilitate such an important process of drafting SOCTA itself and contributing to the enhanced cooperation among Kosovo Police and Albanian State Police.”

                        -Vesna Vujovic-Ristovska, Chief of Serious and Organized Crime Section, OSCE Mission in Kosovo




    OSCE mission to Serbia
    "The programme was crucial and important as it was the first real regional project that we initiated and concluded quite successfully.

    The ministries of interior were involved since the very beginning, throughout the process and even for the implementation. Cooperation was also enhanced within the OSCE itself, especially between field offices."

                        -Denise Mazzolani, Head of Police Affairs Department OSCE Mission to Serbia




    Criminal Intelligence Service Austria (.BK)

    "The ILECUs network serves all states of the EU, Law Enforcement Agencies such as Europol and INTERPOL as well as third countries through specific exchange of information in the field of organized crime.  

    In each individual unit, all EU agencies (eg Europol, Interpol, SELEC) are functionally integrated. Through this process, ILECU is precisely the answer in the fight against organized crime."

                        -Andreas Hofbauer, Head of the Project Office, Bundeskriminalamt Austria




    United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

     "The support gave UNODC and the World Custom Organization the possibility to assist relevant law enforcement agencies in Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro to establish dedicated targeting units aimed at identifying illicit container shipments and facilitating legitimate trade.

    We have delivered training and equipment, and introduced modern working methodologies as used in any Customs administration.

    This includes information sharing at both national and international levels, improved cooperation between different law enforcement agencies and with the private sector.

    In addition, we have demonstrated best practices from other seaports and border crossing points to the CCP Units in South Eastern Europe, including lessons learned during the previous implementation of CCP activities.

    The years of implementation have generated a wealth of information and experience; we have been able to discuss ways and methods for better implementing CCP; we have been able to identify the competences and skills of the Port Control Units in the respective countries. The officials trained in the three countries have made extraordinary progress, and this is quite evident in the increased number of seizures.
     
    The regional training workshops, and working together across borders on the front line level, have created friendship and solidarity between the countries.

    This could never have been achieved without the funding form the Government of Switzerland and DCAF and without the interest and dedication of the participating countries."

                         -Ketil Ottersen, Senior Programme Coordinator, Organized Crime Branch, UNODC



     








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    For the preparation of this visual narrative, we went to 6 countries, spent more than 3 weeks in the region, met over 100 persons, talked to at least 60 and interviewed around 40.

    Many recorded and unrecorded stories of committed professionals have been collected. This section gives you the opportunity to discover a few more of them.



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    Ahmet Nuredini, Director, Directorate of Intelligence and Analysis/Investigation Department/Kosovo Police

    Aleksandar Jovanov, Head of ILECU Macedonia and Head of International Cooperation within the Macedonian MoIA

    Aleksandar Stjepanović, Head of Police Cooperation Department - INTERPOL, Europol and SELEC and SEPCA National Coordinator, Republika Srpska, BiH

    Ankica Tomić, Head of Department for International Cooperation in BIH and  member of the  PCC SEE Expert Working Group (EWG).

    Artan Sulejmani, Head of Durres Customs House, Albania
       
    Avdyl Kadria, Trainer and Captain at Kosovo Police Border Department – Regional Directorate “West” - Head of the Sector for Control and Surveillance, Kosovo

    Besnik Murrani, Customs officer and Head of the Joint Control Unit at the port Durres, Albania
            
    Diana Kajmaković, State Prosecutor at the State Prosecution Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina and member of the Working Group on Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) Expert Network

    Fatmire Rama, analyst, Directorate of Intelligence and Analysis Department/Kosovo Police    
     
    Ina Koti,  analyst at the Criminal Intelligence Analysis Unit in the General Directorate against Serious and Organized Crime,  Albanian State Police

    Ivan Perić, PCU staff and Border Control Policeman, BiH

    Ivana Kovačević, advisor for international cooperation within the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro and member of the Steering Board of the Container Control Programme (CCP)

    Kamer Jonuzaj, Lieutenant-Colonel, Director of the Division for Control and Surveillance Kosovo Police Border Department

    Marinko Kočovski, Assistant Police Director for Border Management and Head of Border Police, member of the Steering Board within the IOM Project, Macedonia

    Mario Lovrić, Independent Inspector, PCU staff and Head of Field Office South – Capljina, BiH

    Marko Krstić, Customs officer and Head of the Joint Port Control Unit at the port of  Bar, Montenegro    

    Migena Haxhi, Anti Drug Unit Officer and member of the Joint Port Control Unit at the port of Durres, Albania

    Mirela Tesanović, SEPCA National Coordinator, Republika Srpska, BiH.

    Nebojša Mrvaljević , Police trainer at the Police Academy of Montenegro, I class chief superintendant within the Border Control Department, Montenegro   

    Nenad Vojinović, criminology lecturer and member of the Thematic Working Group on Education and Training within the PCC SEE.

    Nermin Mrkaljevic, Head of Field Office East, BiH Border Police

    Oldřich Martinů, Deputy Director of Europol

    Predrag Radojčić, Head of Operations Directorate within BiH Border Police

    Rigels Shahini, Trainer, Chief of Investigation Sector, Local Department for Border & Migration at the Albanian State Police, Albania

    Sanel Nuhić, PCU Coordinator and Team leader for the prevention of smuggling, tax frauds and other violations at the Indirect Taxation Authority, BiH

    Shefki Syla, Acting Head of the Sector for Control and Surveillance at the Kosovo Police border Department
          
    Slavko Vojinović, Head of Border Control Department within MNE Border Police
           
    Valentin Fetadjokoski, Head of the Legal Department within the Directorate for Personal Data Protection of Macedonia and former member of the Thematic Working Group for Data Protection, within the PCC SEE

    Venco Stamenkovski, independent inspector for planning, training and prevention within the Regional Centre East of the Border Police of the Republic of Macedonia

    Vladimir Popović , Head of Office for Professional Standrads and Internal Control within BiH Border Police

    Vukoman Zarković , Head of State Border Supervision Department (MNE Border Police Sector )

    Zeqir Ramaj, Analyst, Directorate of Intelligence and Analysis Department, Kosovo Police

    Zoran Stupić, Commander of Borde Police Station Visegrad, BiH  
     















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    Serious and organised crime know no borders and neither should the fight against it.

    We asked ministers, police chiefs, border police officials, custom officials, prosecutors and independent experts in what ways the programme supported them in building bridges across borders.

    Listen to their answers.

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    Since 2013, joint patrols are a regular practice between Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.




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    Joint Investigation Teams provide prosecution and law enforcement in different countries with the necessary instruments to bring perpetrators swiftly to justice and avoid parallel investigations. 




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    Based on the inputs from various thematic working groups and networks comprised of national experts, the Expert Working Group (EWG) prepares recommendations to the Committee of Ministers responsible for the implementation of the Police Cooperation Convention for South East Europe.




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      — Pëllumb Seferi, member of the Expert Working Group and chief of sector at the Albanian State Police.


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    Share information and agree on strategic priorities in the fight against crime. This is one of the objectives of the South East Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA).

    SEPCA is closely aligned and supported by Europol who is expected to continue its support.

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    — Hristo Terziyski, General Police Director of Bulgaria and SEPCA Chair (2016)


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    The Joint Operational Office in Vienna provides a neutral place for police officers who cooperate on sensitive issues. It also serves as venue for the collaboration with other EU countries.

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    Listen to selected statements made by the Ministers of Interior of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia on the occasion of the launch of the Joint Serious and Organised Threat Assessment (SOCTA) in November 2016.

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    The Swiss Police Cooperation Programme 2012-16 promoted cross border cooperation through a set of different measures both at operational as well as strategic level, involving technical staff but also dealing with the politics of cross border cooperation. Joint patrols and joint investigation teams were established, working groups composed of national experts were supported and different activities that brought together the heads of police services to agree on common strategies were promoted.

    This multi-layer approach resulted in more instances of efficient and effective cross border cooperation. In order to sustain and extend the practices introduced by the programme, further measures such as the harmonization of curricula for police academies in the region or the institutionalization of cooperation with European agencies, most notably Europol, will be needed.

    National governments will play a crucial role in further anchoring and  institutionalizing the measures introduced by the programme. By providing political and institutional support they prepare the grounds for translating cooperation approaches into concrete action to successfully fight serious and organized crime in the Western Balkans.

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    Trust and harmonized approaches provide strong tools for the fight against serious and organised crime. But to build trust takes a lot of time and efforts. And measuring trust is equally tricky.  

    How did the programme succeed in building trust? We asked the people concerned.


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    The timely exchange of information, which is key in the fight against organised crime, requires a certain level of trust.
    The International Law Enforcement Coordination Units (ILECU) are one of the best instruments enabling daily and reliable exchange of information.

    Mechanisms to oversee this process were put in place and particular attention was paid to the aspect of personal data protection.

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    Sharing human and technical resources strengthens regional "team spirit".

    The Police Cooperation Center in Plav (Montenegro) is ready for use awaiting the final signatures from the parties involved, another one in Trebinje (BiH) is fully operational since 2015.

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    —  Kamer Jonuzaj, Lieutenant-Colonel - Director of the Division for Control and Surveillance at the Kosovo Police Border Department

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    The Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessments (SOCTAs) are the basis for defining the strategic priorities in the fight against serious and organized crime. The Programme supported the establishment of national and regional SOCTAs by strengthening the capacities of national analysts and regional exchange. Fully aligned to Europol’s policy cycle, the regional SOCTAs are the tangible result of improved trust and collaboration amongst law enforcement agencies in the region.

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    — Tamara Schotte, Project Manager Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA) at Europol.

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    The harmonisation of national legislation, procedures and practices is not only essential to increase efficiency, but also to enhance transparency and therefore trust among professionals.


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    Trust and the establishment of harmornized approaches, methods and practices go hand in hand. They reinforce each other and pave the way to effective cooperation while also sending a strong message to the population: regional cooperation not only improves the fight against organized crime, it also allows partnerships with important institutions beyond the region, such as Europol.

    But trust is fragile and needs continuous commitment from all involved parties. Only then will the Western Balkans become a decisive and trustworthy partner in the European quest for safety.

    If you want to learn more about the programme, take advantage of the "More background" chapter. Scroll down to return to the menu

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