Joint investigation teams: ready, willing and able to combat cross-border crime within the EU?

Visvanathan, Morgan (2011) Joint investigation teams: ready, willing and able to combat cross-border crime within the EU? MSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Since the establishment of the area of freedom within the EU and the free movement of what have been dubbed the “four-freedoms”: goods, persons, services and capital, law enforcement cooperation has become even more important. Criminal groups are exploiting these opportunities to the utmost and law enforcement authorities are trying to keep up with them. This dissertation will focus on probably the most innovative and far-reaching concept agreed upon to date, namely Joint Investigation Teams (JITs). The developing legal provisions as well as the operational experience to date will be considered together with the specific contributions of Europol in those areas. The objectives were met through a comprehensive study of relevant literature including official documentation. In addition, as empirical research within this field is highly limited, interviews of four key persons with operational experience from JITs were carried out. During the research, it was found that the legal framework, more than covering the contemporary operational needs, is implemented differently in the member states, still leaving some challenges to overcome. Further, Europol’s remit has developed from a solely supporting role within a limited crime area, to a more proactive role in a very broad field of crimes. In respect of awareness and use of JIT tools, including the national JIT experts, and the development of the concept a lot still has to be done. No central place, containing comprehensive quantitative and/or qualitative JIT data, has been identified and it seems like no JITs are evaluated in a structured way. Furthermore the national JIT exerts are often not involved in any phase of the JITs missing the opportunity for external input and advice. The personal contact between persons involved in a JIT has also proven to have an impact, as the closer the personal contact is, the more efficient and smooth the cooperation and information exchange is. The main conclusions drawn from this research is that the right tool has been provided at the political level in order to effectively combat cross-border crime. The challenge is now to use it correctly in respect of setting up the team and using the assisting instruments most effectively. The fact that no structured evaluation is carried out is highly worrying, as an effective improvement and adjustment of the JIT concept is needed and depends on a structured evaluation. If evaluated thoroughly and fully developed the concept will show its real potential in the future as the right tool in fighting cross-border crime within the internal borders of the EU and be a model to copy for others cooperating within the framework of, for example, the UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crime.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2011 14:38
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:50

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