Dec 19, 2022
SEPCA General Assembly under the Romanian SEPCA Presidency 2022
On December 13, 2022, the Romanian Police hosted, in Bucharest, the General Assembly of the South-East European Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA)
In 2022, Romania, through its National Police, has ensured the Presidency of the regional mechanism for law enforcement operational and strategic cooperation. Since its establishment in 2002, SEPCA has been playing a strategic role in fighting trans-national organized crime in South-Eastern Europe by warning on the set priorities and trying to build up a stronger partnership in the region.
The Criminal Intelligence Service of Austria (BK) constantly supported the activities carried out by SEPCA through the Internal Security Fund -Police, including during the Romanian Presidency.
During the meeting in Bucharest, the progress achieved under the Romanian Presidency of SEPCA was reviewed and proposals for actions for the future Presidency were presented.
Romania gave an overview of the priorities set for this year and the results obtained, such as the drafting of the SEPCA Threat Analysis 2022 and other actions aimed at strengthening international cooperation: the web site https://www.sepcaregion.eu/, regional and bilateral dedicated meetings:
Based on the information made available by the SEPCA member states, the Romanian Police drafted the SEPCA Threat Analysis 2022, with the support of the Italian partners from the CSC WB IPA 2019 Project, the analyzed period being 2017-2021.
The main updates brought to the report are: new modes of operation, changes in the routes used by organized criminal groups, possible future risks and threats, the impact produced by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the conflict in Ukraine, etc.
An important cooperation step was also The 17th Regional conference of the Heads of Organized Criminality Structures in South East Europe which took place in Brasov between the 14th and the 17th of November, this year and during which many important regional challenges where approached.
Further on during the meeting, the Council of Europe presented its approach on countering cyber risks and the collection of e-evidence, offering SEPCA states the perspective of cooperation under the umbrella of the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, highlighting that a second additional protocol was recently adopted and is open for signature.
As part of Europe, the priorities of SEPCA countries should be aligned with the EU priorities, following the successful pattern applied at the EU level. CEPOL was invited to present the training opportunities available to SEPCA member states through the CEPOL Partnership against Crime and Terrorism –WB PaCT Project.
As a potential hub for combating transnational organized crime in Southeast Europe, SEPCA needs to cooperate with all relevant regional and international partners. INTERPOL and then SELEC gave presentations on the opportunities for cooperation with SEPCA member states.
In the last part of the meeting, Romania handed-over the Presidency to the Republic of Srpska, wishing success in all activities carried out during its mandate.
The work carried out under the Romanian Presidency has contributed to developing new possibilities to strengthen the cooperation on common areas of expertise, to evaluate the latest trends in crime, as well as to build personal relations between the law enforcement personnel.
On the margins of the meeting, on December 12, bilateral meetings took place between the management of the Romanian National Police and the delegations of Moldova, Serbia and Montenegro.
The topics discussed were: identifying common risks and encouraging international cooperation by sharing common resources, training and operational data/information. There are a variety of tools available to third countries, so SEPCA States are encouraged to make best use of them.