Photo: Ministry of Interior
On 28 and 29 March 2018, Sofia hosted the plenary meeting of the Network of EU Contact Points for Tackling Cross-Border Vehicle Crime (CARPOL). Representatives of the law enforcement authorities of the EU Member States and Europol reviewed the results of the joint operations performed in the last months, which led to the identification and seizure of a significant number of stolen vehicles and vehicle parts. The members of the network discussed the possibilities for enhancing cooperation, improving the exchange of information and organising coordinated activities supported by Europol, Frontex and the CARPOL initiative on public-private partnership.
“Vehicle crimes cause significant financial losses to the owners and insurance companies, and lead to negative reactions of society. Counteraction to this type of crimes is a responsible task also due to the fact that stolen and incriminated vehicles are often used for perpetrating serious crimes”,
stated Senior Commissioner Konstantin Dimitrov, Deputy Director of the National Police General Directorate, at the official opening of the meeting. He recalled that Bulgaria has been among the most active members of CARPOL since its accession to the EU. During the past years, the country participated in a number of successful operations for counteraction to vehicle crimes.
The members of the European network exchanged experience and best practices aimed at achieving their common goal for more efficient counteraction to the activities of international crime groups involved in thefts, insurance frauds, smuggling and illegal deals with vehicles. They discussed the possibilities of extending the scope of cooperation within the network with regard to the exchange of information and identification of vehicles in cases of potential terrorist acts.
The participants analysed the information on the situation in the different countries with regard to thefts and illegal trade in vehicle parts, gathered by the Bulgarian Presidency based on a questionnaire. The initiative will be developed further by Europol in order to upgrade the analytical product and use it in planning and carrying out operational actions.
The Network of EU Contact Points for Tackling Cross-Border Vehicle Crime (CARPOL) was established in 2004 pursuant to Council Decision 919/2004. Its activities aim at improving the fast exchange of information between the police structures of the network’s Member States, as well as extending the cooperation with Europol and with the private sector in tackling vehicle crimes. CARPOL regularly organises international police operations focused on trafficking in stolen cars or fraudulently obtained cars with the intention to legalise them.