Europol hosts international expert conference against domestic burglary

29 November 2017
Press Release
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This News/Press release is about Organised property crime

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Great opportunity for increased exchange and intensive talks

A local and regional approach is not enough to dismantle mobile organised crime groups (MOCGs) if we’re to make Europe a safer place. Mindful of this, Europol, working with the Police Headquarters of Munich, the German BKA, Eurojust, and the Spanish National Police, brought together over 300 high-level experts from law enforcement agencies (police and justice) as well as some researchers, from 38 countries, from 27 until 29 November 2017, to discuss organised property crime at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague.

Organised property crime, in particular domestic burglary, is a criminal offence that all European Union security agencies are vigorously fighting with numerous actions since it deeply affects the victims and causes a feeling of insecurity amongst citizens. A large proportion of these offences are committed by mobile organised crime groups (MOCGs) characterised by a high degree of flexibility and mobility.

The aim of this 3-day conference was to effectively combat the transgressive offender groups in the field of burglary by improving cross-border structures. The intensive, transnational and interdisciplinary work of conference participants aimed to identify similarities and problem areas in the fight against the crime, thereby developing specific solutions and best practice. Only close national and international cooperation makes it possible to identify crime series and cross-border active groups of perpetrators. There was also a common understanding that the investigations should not focus solely on the acting offenders on the spot the ‘soldiers’ - but should on the contrary also include the masterminds and facilitators, which should include financial investigations and asset recovery.

Michael Will, from Europol’s Organised Property Crime Unit, says:  “Europol definitely sees the need for an international and cross-border approach for tackling this problem. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to offer the perfect place for hosting this international conference at Europol. Strengthening our collaboration with law enforcement authorities around the world will reinforce the crackdown on domestic burglary committed by mobile organised crime groups.”

Hermann Utz, head of the Munich criminal investigation department, says: “It is essential that those within police and judicial authorities working on the topic of domestic burglary get connected closely, in order to fight mobile organised crime groups with the greatest possible success. Without networking, crime series and cross-border active groups of perpetrators will remain undetected in certain circumstances. The participants of the conference had the possibility of exchanging information and learning from each other. Both support and improve the prosecution of internationally operating criminals.”

Fernando Guerrero Garcia from the Spanish National Police says: “Judges and prosecutors from all around Europe have gathered for the Domestic Burglaries Conference. Finding loopholes in legislation and procedures and raising awareness among judicial practitioners of the peculiarities of organised property crime have been topics in the Empact OPC in the framework of all European Policy Cycles against serious and organised crime. During the current one, Spain, alongside Europol and Eurojust, has led an action driven to achieve such goals. A workshop where police and justice practitioners have elaborated further on the recommendations achieved within this action has been an outstanding activity of this conference.”

Hans Dieter Schiffels, Commander at the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) highlights: “Because domestic burglaries affect citizens directly and cause a feeling of insecurity amongst the population within the European Union, the importance of a transnational and multidisciplinary approach to crack down mobile organised crime groups is urgently needed.”

Learn more about Europol’s support

Europol plays a key role in combatting the criminal activities of organised property crime. To assist its partners more effectively, and to follow a multidisciplinary and horizontal approach, the Organised Property Crime Unit focuses on mobile organised crime groups (MOCGs). Raising more awareness in the affected Member States is one of the main targets.  A lot of information is already available at investigative level in the Member States but it is not shared. The aim must be to make this crucial knowledge available for law enforcement agencies in other affected countries.

The project does this by, for example:

  • Implementation of a new supporting team with four seconded national experts (since 2016) with the task of linking up with investigators and prosecutors from the Member States to

                                -   identify the structures and members of involved crime gangs;
                                -   organising operational meetings;
                                -   providing operational analysis support during live investigations.

  • Identifying and detecting new trends through strategic analysis.
  • Organising expert conferences and training courses throughout Europe.
  • Enhancing the network-oriented approach.
  • Supporting and enhancing the Europol Platform for Experts in Domestic Burglary.