European Union External Action

EUBAM: Combatting Organised Crime in Libya

05/12/2019 - 18:03
News stories

Countering organised crime demands an efficient exchange of information between law enforcement agencies. The civilian EUBAM Mission and Austria supported the launch of a Crime Information Unit which coordinates the sharing of data and information between Libyan security services.

The civilian EUBAM Mission and Austria supported the launch of a Crime Information Unit which coordinates the sharing of data and information between Libyan security services.

 

In most modern police organisations it is standard procedure to analyse crime data and to share information between law enforcement agencies.

During the Gaddafi era, sharing information between agencies was forbidden and classified as a felony. This legacy is still somehow imbedded in some agencies. EUBAM Libya addressed the current information and coordination gap by launching the idea of creating a Crime Information Unit (CIU) there. The aim is to connect the different Libyan law enforcement agencies and introduce the principles of 'intelligence led policing'

The new Crime Information Unit brings Libyan specialist services together

After several months of preparatory work with the respective Libyan law enforcement authorities, approval was given to EUBAM to set up a Crime Information Unit (CIU). The targeted Libyan law enforcement authorities included the Criminal Investigation Directorate, the Anti-Narcotics General Administration, the Libyan Interpol office as well as the General Administration for Border Security.

The first step for starting the CIU was training selected officers of Libyan law enforcement authorities and then assisting them in initiating and structuring the work of the Unit. After the first week of training, the participants returned to analyse the information collected by their own departments. In the second part of the training, these results were compared and presented, with the aim of aggregating the data collection processes between the agencies.

Strengthening situational awareness and overcoming the Gaddafi legacy

One of the members of the CIU who participated in the training stated:

The training is a good start and therefore it will give us a tool to start up the Crime Information Unit which is paramount for Libya’s security sector. During the Gaddafi era, sharing information between agencies was not accepted and even forbidden, being seen as crime or felony. This legacy is still somehow imbedded in some agencies. For us, it is not natural to share information, but I am concerned about drugs in Libya, which is a problem we need to counter”.

Connecting Libyan law-enforcement with international colleagues

After the internal organisation of the data collection and sharing in Libya, the next improvement will be to connect the Libyan CIU to the international law enforcement agencies by setting up an International Law Enforcement Cooperation Unit (ILECU). As any other country combatting organised crime, Libya would benefit by having a tool to coordinate crime data at an international level. With this international connection, Libya will open up the flow of information to modern international police organisations. By setting up an ILECU organisation, Libya can disrupt criminal activities taking place in an international context.

The CIU training was coordinated and facilitated by EUBAM Libya and supported by the Austrian police. It is also a first step towards strengthening the situational awareness of the Libyan law enforcement agencies.

Read more about EUBAM Libya here.

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