Richard North, 01/03/2005  

No, not Europol but EuroCop. This is the European Confederation of Police, an EU-wide organisation that, according to its own mission statement, represents police officers' interests in Europe, "the answer for Police Unions, Federations and Staff Organisations" – including our own Police Federation.

Yesterday, after a one-day EuroCOP conference in Riga on policing in an enlarged EU, president Heinz Kiefer urged EU governments to provide all the necessary resources to their police forces to perform their duties properly.

"Politicians will be punished," he said, "if they try to save at the cost of internal security of the state. This, unequivocally, is a priority for people in the EU."

Quite by whom the politicians would be punished and under what specific circumstances, Kiefer does not appear to have said (or if he did, it was not reported) but his message during the conference was clear.

Police had to apply uniformly high standards throughout the EU so it was vital for officers in the ten new member-states to obtain the support and assistance of colleagues in the older established members.

"Police work should be perfect in all the member-states," he said, "because internal security is already dependent on international security… It no longer is an issue of national character, because we have to deal with cross-border crime and international organised crime groups for whom no national borders exist."

I must say that I find it rather disturbing that police federations and unions are getting together on an EU-wide basis, especially when their website declares that their first objective is "increasing European cooperation in the field of policing".

In my book, the first objective of any police federation is to look after the interests of its members and to have a group such as this making its priority such an overt political objective is sinister.

However, there it is. The EU, having destroyed its "internal borders" has not only created an open house for the movement of criminals, it has also created the perfect rationale for a pan-European police force. And the police federations are right in there, egging it on.

Is there no one you can trust nowadays?

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