Informal COSI meeting centres on topics of major importance for the future operation of law enforcement in the EU
Jože Senica, Assistant Director-General of the Police and Slovenia’s national COSI delegate, hosted an informal meeting of COSI (Standing Committee on Operational Cooperation) in Portorož on 7 and 8 July 2021.
As underlined by Senica in his opening address, the meeting centred on a strategic discussion of major topics from the agenda of the Council and that of the Slovenian Presidency: the upcoming EU Police Cooperation Code (EU PCC), missing persons, the fight against crime in digital settings and the impact of digitalisation on internal security with an emphasis on the development of artificial intelligence.
Minister of the Interior Aleš Hojs greeted the participants ahead of the meeting. “Your agenda points are of significant importance for the future of law enforcement in the EU. I am very satisfied with the selection of thematic points, as you are members of the most important working body of the Council of the EU regarding internal security, which is involved in the preparation of key decisions to be taken by interior ministers,” noted Minister Hojs and expressed his wishes that they enjoy a constructive debate.
The participants, including high-level representatives of police organisations and interior ministries, first held a strategic debate on the upcoming proposal for an EU Police Cooperation Code, which is to be presented by the European Commission by the end of the year. “I believe that this discussion has contributed to the development of this important legislative act aimed at unifying the rules for police action in the EU and, above all, facilitating the work of police officers in the field, including through timely exchange of quality information,” concluded Senica.
The participants also covered the topic of missing persons, one of the other thematic priorities of the Slovenian Presidency regarding home affairs. Given the rate of unresolved cases in the EU with the current number of 40,000 persons reported missing, and many of them victims of crime, this is an important area where further progress can be achieved also through the exchange of best practice. “We place major importance on the first response of police officers, the proper evaluation of facts and the investigation of circumstances surrounding a person’s disappearance. The Slovenian police want to share their best practices in this field,” emphasised Senica. The participants unanimously agreed that the successful return of a missing person to a safe environment requires the rapid exchange of information, coordinated action, as well as the exchange of experience and best practice, as well as harmonised legislation.
Fighting crime in the digital era was another major point on the agenda. Criminals exploit the full potential of technological advances to commit crime. “In order for law enforcement to be able to continue to fulfil its core mission of providing security, it will need to adapt its investigation methods. We should not uncritically restrict the use of technological developments by law enforcement, but we still need to balance it with the respect for human rights and the proper oversight,” Senica emphasised. The participants agreed that the law enforcement community needs the latest tools to support the investigation of crime, which is increasingly moving to digital spaces.