Last week, Frontex hosted the second meeting of the Horizontal Expert Group on Document Fraud at the agency’s headquarters in Warsaw.
The Horizontal Expert Group, led by France and supported by Frontex and Europol, consists of experts in investigating document fraud from EU Member States, as well as from European agencies, Interpol, the European Commission and the Council. The group has been set up to exchange intelligence, and provide operational and technical support to target document fraud and organised criminal groups behind this phenomenon.
The objective of the meeting was to establish cooperation at EU and national level to combat criminal activities involving document fraud, raise awareness on the existing tools and databases, and discuss possible training activities for law enforcement officers to increase their competences in controlling and investigating fraudulent documents.
“Countering criminal activities involving document fraud is one of the key factors to ensure border and internal security,” said Ana Cristina Jorge, Head of Frontex’s Joint Operations Unit. Julia Viedma, Head of the Europol Department for Horizontal Operational Services, added that “Forged documents are often used for committing crimes of different nature and document forgery is one of the main supporting activities of several criminal organisations.”
“Targeting document fraud is an extremely challenging task,” explained Jean-Michel Brevet, the French chair of the expert group. “We are not focusing on travel documents such as passports or ID cards alone, but on all possible documents that may be used to support criminal activities, such as fake driver's licenses or social security cards, as well as documents with low technical protection, such as birth or residence certificates.”
The EU Council defined document fraud as a priority in fighting organised crime in the coming years, as it is often used to support other criminal activities, such as facilitation of illegal migration, concealing potential terrorists, drug trafficking or financial crimes.