Sunday, March 27, 2016

Benelux leads European fight against outlaw motorcycle gangs

Benelux Secretary-General Jan van Laarhoven today presented Dutch Minister of Security and Justice Ard van der Steur with the Benelux report ‘Tackling Crime Together’.

The progress report is just one of the outcomes to emerge from the Benelux declaration of intent on administrative measures to tackle organised crime, and a political statement by the responsible ministers in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany announcing joint action against outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs) in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion.
The report summarises how national administrative authorities in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia) are tackling OMCGs and sets out the challenges they have encountered in the course of their cross-border cooperation and recommendations for further strengthening their cooperation.

Administrative measures to tackle crime focus on instruments already available to local and other authorities that can be used in addition to those used by the police and judicial authorities. The report will allow the EU to learn from the experiences and the challenges encountered in cross-border administrative action against OMCG-related crime in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion.
EU conference
The report was presented during the EU’s ‘Working Apart Together’ conference, organised as part of the Netherlands’ EU Presidency. The aim of the conference was to strengthen the administrative approach to preventing and tackling crime, both in individual member states and at EU level. The focus is on resolving problems in cross-border information sharing, and the report highlights some of the things being done to achieve these objectives.
Van der Steur responded with enthusiasm. ‘The fight against organised crime doesn’t stop at the border’, he said. ‘So, it is important to work together closely in an EU context. This report provides useful tips on how to do this.’
Benelux report
The development of the administrative approach to tackling organised crime is high on the Benelux agenda. The Benelux report summarises the experiences, findings and conclusions of the Benelux working group on this issue. The focus is on the administrative measures used to tackle OMCG-related crime in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion, a practical cross-border test case. The region has seen an increase in violence by OMCGs on both sides of the border.
The report sets out the latest situation concerning administrative measures against these gangs in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion. It provides building blocks for developing a successful international administrative approach to motorcycle gangs. Besides identifying individual countries’ potential and limitations as regards administrative action against OMCGs, the report also considers the opportunities for and problems associated with cross-border action taken by administrative authorities.
The report includes recommendations for the further development of the administrative approach:
·         The provisions of the Benelux treaty on police cooperation relating to administrative measures should be amended and a cooperation agreement between key stakeholders in the individual countries drawn up to facilitate faster information sharing for administrative purposes in operational cross-border cases.

·         A pilot project should be set up to establish an international information and expertise centre in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion in order to roll out the administrative approach to organised crime, in collaboration with national local authorities, police services, judicial authorities and other stakeholders.

·         A cross-border barrier model for tackling OMCG-related crime should be developed. (The barrier model is a method of identifying what barriers partner organisations can impose on criminal activities on the basis of existing instruments and legislation. The partner best placed to prevent criminals abusing legal structures is identified for each element.)

·         Results from the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion can be used as examples for future EU activities to further develop the administrative approach.

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