Eastern Partnership countries receive law enforcement training on illicit firearms trafficking

It is estimated that 56% of firearms (approximately 35 million) are possessed illegally in the EU. Tackling this phenomenon is one of the EU’s priorities in the fight against serious and organised crime as part of the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats. To facilitate this process, the TOPCOP project organised a training course on illicit firearms trafficking and investigation techniques for law enforcement officials from the Eastern Partnership region.

Due to this training, 30 participants from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine now have a deeper understanding of the legal, strategic and operational aspects of firearms trafficking. As an example, the officials learnt about the EU’s legal framework in relation to firearms and explored different methodologies to detect dark net forums and identify legal instruments to be used in investigations. Furthermore, the activity created a network among professionals, which will facilitate the sharing of best practices and trigger discussions on emerging threats and trends.

The activity also envisaged the development of a common training curriculum, which can be utilised in the national training system of the partner countries. As a result of the joint work, a multi-day programme will be developed, and as a follow-up activity, the TOPCOP project will organise a train the trainers course.

The activity took place between 24 and 28 April in Warsaw, and the keynote speakers of the event were Adriana Toston, EMPACT Firearms Driver from Spain and Martin van der Meij, Senior Specialist from EUROPOL. We appreciate their contribution, just as the interventions of the guest speakers from the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs, Frontex, Interpol, France, Moldova, Portugal, Romania, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the USA.