Strengthening the Fight against Firearms Trafficking in Southeastern Europe

On 17 December 2019, the Beneficiaries of PROJECT SIRAS – Strengthening the fight against firearms trafficking in Southeastern Europe marked the ending of the project, by a Concluding Conference and a Donor and Stakeholder Meeting held in Bucharest/ Romania.

The project was co-funded by the Internal Security Fund Police (2014-2020) of the European Union and was implemented for 37 months, between December 2016 and January 2020. 

Project SIRAS aimed strengthening the capacities of the law enforcement agencies in Southeastern Europe to fight against firearms trafficking. It was designed to support the use in the EU member states and in the SELEC member countries of data collection/analytic capabilities regarding firearms, to consolidate the investigation capacity, as well as joint investigations, police cooperation and exchange of best practices between law enforcement authorities in the region.

Project SIRAS was built around a solid and diverse consortium of organizations from EU member states, third countries and an international organization: the General Inspectorate of Romanian Police – the Lead Partner; Southeast European Law Enforcement Center (SELEC); the Bulgarian General Directorate Combating Organized Crime; the Police Directorate of Albania; the Ministry of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina; the Central Directorate of Criminal Police of Italy.

The main objectives proposed by the project were:

  • To enhance interoperability 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;
  • To identify, build and share best practices and develop common investigation capacities for detecting the use of Deep-Web/Dark Net markets for firearms trafficking;
  • To promote networking, mutual learning and cooperation.

The objectives were achieved by a variety of activities, including 6 interdisciplinary regional workshops, the equipment of a training centre and 3 training sessions, the procurement of 15 mobile investigation units, the drafting of a handbook, the establishment of a regional network of firearms experts, a study visit, 11 operational meetings, the upgrading of the Romanian Firearms Registry and a pilot application deployed to third countries, two conferences. The activities complemented and enhanced one another, reaching a large number of experts in several related fields, encouraging networking and the exchange of best practices at every stage.

The Concluding Conference was attended by representatives of the beneficiaries, of law enforcement agencies of the Southeast European countries, experts in the field of countering serious and organized crime and in particular firearms trafficking, diplomats, liaison officers, a/o.