On 30 November 2017, Europol hosted an expert meeting arranged by the Dutch National Intelligence and Expertise Centre (LIEC) under the Ministry of Justice and Security, which saw the participation of around 70 police officers, prosecutors and ministries from 15 EU Member States (MS).
Outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs) have a strong international dimension with an established transnational network and are present in all EU MS with a large capacity for territorial expansion. The number of OMCG chapters in Europe still remains high, new outlaw motorcycle gangs are entering the field and the number of street gangs is increasing. This not only has an impact on the organised crime situation, but can also affect and deeply impact the lives of ordinary people as many fear these groups.
In recent years, many EU MS have experienced crimes related to OMCGs. In response to these problems, countries have developed various strategies. These often go beyond traditional law enforcement measures and encompass an integrated and administrative approach to tackle OMCG-related crime and other issues relating to these groups. This multi-agency approach combines criminal investigations with measures taken by other government institutions and authorities, such as tax authorities, customs services and local and regional municipal authorities, in order to combat OMCGs more effectively.
Europol sees the need for an international and cross-border exchange of experience and closer cooperation for tackling all the challenges presented by OMCGs.
Wil van Gemert, Deputy Executive Director of Europol, says: “The EU Internal Security Strategy highlights how it is the main duty of our governments to keep our citizens safe. To step up to this goal and considering the many faces crime can have, we, as law enforcement and other authorities, need to take a multidisciplinary approach in combating this. I am therefore delighted to see participants from different authorities and EU Member States, all working on the same goal in one way or another, coming here to Europol for a high-level exchange and to find new solutions to fight organised crime.”
Karel Schuurman, Head of LIEC, emphasized that an integral approach is vital to address the OMCG phenomenon and the problems it causes. ‘Using a combination of traditional law enforcement measures and measures from other governmental authorities such as public administration and tax authorities makes for a more effective approach to OMCG related crime. In the Netherlands different government agencies work together in the Intelligence and Experise Centres to coordinate actions against organised crime. It was very interesting to hear today how other countries have organized this. Sharing best practices, like we did today at the conference, helps us to gain new insights, learn from each other and improve cooperation.’
High-level exchange and constructive work
This conference brought together representatives from different authorities and countries within the EU following a holistic and a coherent approach in targeting border crossing crime. The participants had an intensive information exchange about the current situation and trends in different countries. Innovative investigative approaches to fighting organised crime, especially related to OMCGs, were also discussed.
Learn more about Europol’s support
Europol plays a key role in combating the criminal activities of outlaw motorcycle gangs and supports Member States in preventing or combating all forms of criminality within Europol’s mandate. This is among other things done through operational analysis during investigations, identifying new trends and phenomena through strategic analysis, information about threats and organising expert conferences and training courses throughout Europe.