On 11 and 12 December 2018, Euromed Police and the European Counter-Terrorism Centre (ECTC) of Europol (the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation) teamed up to organise the 1st Meeting of the Heads of Counter-Terrorism Units of Euromed Partner Countries.
The meeting gathered high level professionals from both shores of the Mediterranean to address key issues on “Protecting public spaces and managing major international events”, with a particular focus on threat assessment, the exchange of information and international cooperation.
Heads of Counter-Terrorism Units of European and South Partner Countries attended this meeting, together with representatives of relevant EU bodies and agencies – the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the EU Intelligence and Situation Centre (EU INTCEN), the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), Interpol, the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL), a representative of the EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator office (EU CTC), amongst others – and Turkey.
EU and South Partner Countries representatives presented their own experiences and good practices, sometimes in the light of recent major events that they helped to secure. The ECTC also generated a lot of interest by providing an overview of its products, activities and latest developments.
The topics covered related to: threat assessment conducted prior to a major event, intelligence gathering and police deployment; procedures to share information in relation to the event; the use of new investigation tools; the use of open sources and information available on the internet and social media to assess the threat and monitor the unfolding of the event; the procedure by which counter-terrorism units contribute to draft the security plans; the procedures and tools linked to the special intervention units (ATLAS network).
Counterterrorism makes up one of the priority areas endorsed in the Euromed Police Strategy in September 2017. Therefore, it constituted the core of several capacity-building activities implemented by the project for strengthening law enforcement capacities in partner countries. Counter-terrorism was the subject of the second Euromed Police Exchange carried out in Madrid in January 2018 under the Euromed Police Mobility Scheme with CEPOL support. Several important topics that were addressed during this exchange proved to be relevant during the Meeting of the Heads of Counter-Terrorism Units.
Two Capacity-Building Actions were also organised in Morocco on online investigations (June 2018) as well as in Algeria on the detection of foreign terrorist fighters and border control (November 2018). Other activities focusing on collecting and handling digital evidences were carried out in collaboration with Euromed Justice, and have resulted, in particular, in the production of the Euromed Digital Evidence Manual for law enforcement use.