Strengthening the fight against firearms trafficking in Southeastern Europe
Project SIRAS aims to strengthen the capacities of the law enforcement agencies in Southeastern Europe to fight against firearms trafficking.
It has been designed to:
- support the use in the EU member states and in the SELEC member countries of data collection/analytic capabilities regarding firearms
- consolidate the investigation capacity
- facilitate joint investigations, police cooperation and promotion of best practices between LEAs in the region, by making use of the existing regional cooperation mechanisms.
The total budget of the project is €562,072, out of which €505,845 – EU contribution from the Internal Security Fund Police 2014-2020.
The implementation period is 3 years (December 2016 – December 2019).
Project SIRAS is built around a solid and diverse consortium of organizations from EU member states, third countries and an international organization, all having national or regional responsibilities directly connected with countering firearms trafficking in Southeastern Europe. The consortium aims at supporting regional cooperation and disseminating the project results in other states.
- The General Inspectorate of Romanian Police (Lead applicant) employs approx. 55,000 law enforcement officers; its specialized Firearms, Explosives and Dangerous Substances Directorate has subsidiaries in every county of Romania and its firearms experts are involved in all EU initiatives related to firearms trafficking and control.
- The Bulgarian Directorate for Countering Organized Crime has specific responsibilities for countering both drug and firearms trafficking in Bulgaria; its officers have investigated complex cases in the field of firearms trafficking and have specific regional expertise.
- The Directorate of Police of Albania is the national institution responsible for countering and controlling firearms trafficking, with extensive expertise in fighting organized criminal cross-border activities linked with firearms trafficking.
- The Ministry of Security of Bosnia-Herzegovina is the national authority in the field of firearms control and has extensive experience in controlling this phenomenon in a country affected by a military conflict, as well as on issues related to firearms deactivation.
- The Central Directorate of Criminal Police of Italy is a national authority in the field of countering organized crime and thus the most appropriate partner for expertise exchange related to detecting/investigating firearms trafficking in a destination country.
- SELEC is the only international organization focusing on police and customs cooperation in SE Europe. Through its liaison officers from its Member States, SELEC facilitates and enhances communication and cooperation within the consortium
The project is supported by various law enforcement organizations, EU expert groups in firearms or research institutes specializing in this field, from EU member states and third countries: Croatia (General Police Directorate), Greece (Greek Police, Department of Weapons and Explosives), Hungary (Riot Police, National Bureau of Investigation, Criminal Intelligence Department), Turkey (Counter-Narcotics Department), The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Ministry of Interior), Switzerland (Graduate Institute of Development and International Relations), European Firearms Experts Group/National Crime Agency (National Ballistics Intelligence Service – UK), US Department of Justice – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Main objectives and outcomes
- Enhancing interoperability: Developing, disseminating and promoting interoperability and data collection through facilitation of the use of a common set of indicators and specialized IT&C infrastructure/databases for tracking, investigation and analysis in the field of firearms control:
- developing/upgrading the Romanian Firearms Registry(Directive 2008/51/CE)
- evaluating the organisational structure and the institutional information flows of the Romanian Police
- 3 workshops to present the new functionalities of the Romanian Firearms Registry in third countries
- e-learning regarding the new functionalities
- pilot projects in 3 third countries
- Identifying, building and sharing best practices and developing common investigation capacities for detection of the use of deep-web/dark net markets for firearms trafficking:
- creation of an integrated training centre(procurement of IT hardware and software)
- 3 training sessions on investigating dark net/deep web markets
- 15 mobile investigation units
- drafting a best practice handbook
- Promoting networking, mutual learning and cooperation through the promotion of multinational and inter-disciplinary team work, establishing and developing a regional firearms experts network in Southeastern Europe, supporting police cooperation, joint investigations and exchange of best practices on firearms deactivation in SE Europe
- 4 interdisciplinary regional workshops
- links between firearms trafficking and cybercrime (Tirana)
- links between firearms trafficking and drug trafficking (Sofia)
- deactivation of firearms (Sarajevo)
- links between firearms trafficking and terrorism (Istanbul)
- establishment and promotion of SAFE-N (SELEC Associated Firearms Experts Network)
- 29 operational meetings
- study visit on firearms deactivation.
- 4 interdisciplinary regional workshops