1st Euromed Exchange on Firearms

On 20-24 January 2019, the Euromed Police Project invited specialists from the Southern and the Northern Mediterranean to explore the management of operations related to firearms trafficking across land borders. The aim was to identify the main capacity gaps for law enforcement authorities regarding the conduct of investigations.

This training was hosted by the Public Security Directorate of Jordan, which spared no efforts to ensure the success of the activity. Another key feature of this programme was the participation of the EMPACT Firearms network of Europol as co-organisers of the Exchange, with the support of the Spanish Guardia Civil representing the EMPACT Firearms driver’s team. Their contribution considerably reinforced the operational outlook of the experts’ discussions.

The training course spanned 5 days, during which experts from the South Partner Countries and the European Union exchanged views on investigations methods, real case studies, and the legal and administrative tools of firearms control. The meetings were complemented by visits in departments of the Public Security Directorate in Amman and at the Nasib/Jaber border crossing point between Jordan and Syria, where control procedures on firearms take on their full meaning.

The activity provided networking opportunities with police officers from the Northern and the Southern Mediterranean and international organisations. Seven South Partner Countries participated in the Exchange – Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Palestine – as well as four European countries – Spain, Portugal, France and The Netherlands – and representatives from Interpol, the International Criminal Police Organisation, and Europol, the law enforcement agency of the European Union.  

The patterns of firearms trafficking were addressed in a holistic way in an attempt to discuss all the aspects of an investigation in this field and adopting an operational perspective. A wide range of topics was examined: risk analysis, search methods, forensic analysis, online investigations, investigations related to small arms and lights weapons, deactivation, international cooperation and the interconnection between firearms trafficking and other criminal activities and networks (especially terrorism).

It emerged from the discussions that countries form the Southern and the Northern Mediterranean may share similar security concerns in the field of firearms control and trafficking. In addition, firearms trafficking is interlinked with other organized crime activities, especially drug trafficking – which strengthens the case for closer, more effective international cooperation. Conflict and post-conflict zones are the main sources of trafficked firearms. Thus, joint efforts could be dedicated to enhance the control of land and maritime borders and to optimize the traceability of firearms through proper marking and efficient record keeping. Finally, investment in new technologies is key to improve law enforcement’s capacities to cooperate across borders and trace firearms.

After the end of the training sessions, the participants will continue sharing experiences, information and training material among themselves via the Euromed Knowledge Base, a secured online database, managed by Euromed Police and supported by the Euromed Capacity-Building Network’s points of contact in the South Partner Countries and Member States of the European Union.

Euromed Exchanges are regularly organised by Euromed Police’s team in the framework of the Euromed Police Mobility Scheme and implement the project’s original approach for training programmes. For the duration of the project Euromed Police IV, one exchange is organised in each one of the project’s seven core priority areas that were endorsed in the Euromed Police Strategy. Firearms trafficking was recognized as one of these priority areas.

Building upon the results of this Exchange, the project team will consider the possibility of implementing a more targeted Capacity-Building Action co-organised by Euromed Police and one of the South Partner Countries. This training activity could focus on the most striking issues identified by the invited experts in Jordan.