The Euroregion Meuse-Rhine encompasses three separate European countries: the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Since the opening of borders according to the Schengen Convention (1990), criminals can move between the different jurisdictions freely. Law enforcement agencies, however, are still bound by their national borders and thus forced to cooperate.
Most research into cross-border cooperation strongly concentrates on organisational, legal and logistical aspects. In 2011 a research team of Maastricht University, under supervision of Prof Hans Nelen decided to conduct bottom-up research into the experiences of the criminal investigators in the region. The main research question was:
What do cross-border criminal investigations in the Meuse-Rhine Euroregion look like in the period between 2006-2010, what factors strengthened or weakened the cross-border cooperation and in what direction can it evolve?
The sub questions were:
1 How were requests for cross-border police cooperation conducted from the perspective of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands?
2 What are the current strengths and weaknesses of cooperation in criminal investigations?
3 What experiences should be included in the debate about new developments?
The presentation focuses on the most important findings of this project:
- the formation of formal and informal network hubs;
- obstacles for cooperation, mainly with regard to organisational differences between the police forces across borders and;
- identified best practices.
Furthermore, recommendations formulated by the research team will be outlined, hopefully leading to an open discussion whether these recommendations could be useful for cooperation between Australian police forces.
Presentation at the ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security, Brisbane Australia. http://www.ceps.edu.au/home/podcasts