Europol has supported TISPOL (The European Traffic Police Network) in a multi-agency cross border European road policing operation last month, which took place in respect of European cross border long distance buses. TISPOL co-ordinated the controls with officers from Belgium, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Romania and the UK, who worked in partnership with colleagues from border guard agencies, customs, immigration and transport inspectorates to stop buses and check drivers and occupants for criminality.
Officers acted both through information provided via Europol and through random spot checks to seek out evidence of human trafficking, irregular migration, drugs, weapons and stolen or prohibited items. The results from the controls revealed a disturbing array of crimes and offences.
Almost 4,000 vehicles were controlled, resulting in 40 cases of irregular immigration being detected. Additionally, there were nine cases of possession of a weapon (two of which were firearms), five drug seizures, six cases of smuggling, the arrest of three people wanted on warrant, two cases of forged documents (passport), two stolen cars, one case of human trafficking, as well as other crimes and road traffic related offences.
Koen Ricour, TISPOL President, praised the swift exchange of information between participating law enforcement agencies and Europol which ensured effective support for the operation. He said the operation had yielded some good successes and that this ‘pilot’ would be developed further in the future.
“This was a successful, information-led, cross border road policing, multi-agency enforcement operation with six TISPOL member countries, Europol and other agencies taking part,” he concluded. “The planning and co-ordination, and the clear lines of communication allowed for an efficient information flow during the operation.”
“We will be looking at conducting more long-distance European bus operations of this kind, and we plan to expand the number of TISPOL member countries taking part. This type of operation illustrates TISPOL’s commitment to work with appropriate stakeholders to enhance the safety of European citizens.”
Europol is the European Union’s law enforcement agency whose main goal is to help achieve a safer Europe for the benefit of all EU citizens. Europol assists the European Union’s Member States in their fight against serious international crime and terrorism.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
Belgian Police controlled buses at the Gare du Nord Station in Brussels.
They checked 307 occupants on 10 buses, and found 20g of cannabis, three illegal immigrants and three suitcases containing 800 smuggled new GSM mobile telephones.
In France, controls took place between 13 and 17 May at the Paris Gallieni International Bus Terminal, the Port and Eurotunnel at Calais and the départment Nord Pas de Calais. As a result, 3,819 vehicles were checked.
Three weapons, including one firearm (a Smith & Wesson revolver) were found.
A quantity of illicit drugs (0.4 kg of amphetamines, 56.5 g of cannabis and
0.5 g of heroin) were found on 10 people. A total of 32 people were detained on suspicion of irregular immigration and one person was detained because of suspected forged documents.
Hungarian officials worked at Nagylak, convenient to a border crossing point to Romania. In total, 144 people were checked, on three coaches, three trucks and 33 cars. A forged passport was discovered, and police found two of the three trucks drivers to have contravened resting time regulations.
Other offences relating to the smuggling of alcohol were also discovered.
Dutch Police controlled buses at the Amstel Bus Station in Amsterdam, as well as at Rotterdam Station. The Dutch Police’s Flexible Intervention Teams controlled long distance coaches nationally on the roads in their countries for the week from 13-17 May. 50 vehicles were controlled, resulting in the arrests of three illegal immigrants, the discovery of an illegal firearm and a stolen bicycle. Two stolen cars were seized, two people wanted by police were apprehended, a car with €4475 of fines outstanding was seized, a Taser gun and a pepper spray canister were confiscated and various quantities of drugs were discovered and removed.
Romanian Traffic Police worked at Nadlac convenient to the Hungarian border, controlling 301 people in 10 buses and six other vehicles. Three criminal offences were recorded relating to forged documents, as well as one smuggling offence of perfume goods worth around €3,600. A Romanian man was arrested for trying to leave the country with a child, while trying to use falsified written permission of the child’s mother.
Additionally, the driver of a truck registered in Iraq and stolen from Germany in 2008 was arrested.
In the UK, Metropolitan Police officers controlled 58 buses at Victoria Bus Terminal in London. Six arrests were made: one for weapons, one for a stolen telephone, two for possession of illicit drugs, one wanted on warrant and one for prostitution carding. Additionally, 15 persons were detected in possession of cannabis.
More information from James Luckhurst, TISPOL Media Adviser (Email, +44 7770 608153))