CEPOL given greater role in EU law enforcement training


As it evolves to help meet new threats to safety in the European Union, CEPOL, the first EU institution to have its headquarters in Budapest, has an expanded mandate in training law enforcement officials around the union, CEPOL Executive Director Dr. Ferenc Bánfi told a press conference today.

In this file photo, Hungarian Interior Minister Sándor Pintér shows Dr. Ferenc Bánfi the symbolic key to the CEPOL office in 2014, to celebrate the first EU institution to have its headquarters in Budapest. (Photo: Kormany.hu/Károly Árvai)

“The security situation is changing, with a greater threat from terrorism, and technology is moving rapidly, increasing the spread of cybercrime,” Bánfi said this morning at the agency’s Ó utca office. “In this changing world, CEPOL had to evolve as well.” 

Starting today, the higher education institution still known by the acronym CEPOL will have the full title of European Union Agency for Law Enforcement, a name that better describes its expanded responsibilities, Bánfi said. Once mostly focused on the work of police officers, the agency has been mandated by the European Commission to train prosecutors, border guards and all other law enforcement officials in the EU. 

As crime and law enforcement efforts are increasingly international concerns, Bánfi said, it is important that the institution for training law enforcement officers also take a more universal approach. “It is not only the criminals who have globalized – law enforcement training has globalized too,” he explained.

In addressing new international challenges, ranging from mass migration to international crime networks to terrorism, it is vital that everyone involved in law enforcement in the EU learn to work together better, sharing best practices and common terminology, Bánfi said. He added that CEPOL’s increased mandate will help make that possible.

Founded in 2005, CEPOL moved its headquarters from the U.K. to Budapest in 2014, becoming the first EU institution based in the capital. Its training is conducted throughout Europe – through online courses, seminars in member countries and in-person work exchanges of law enforcement officers. The work of CEPOL has been growing steadily, according to Bánfi, who took over as director in 2010.“CEPOL’s training has improved in the past 15 years to be more effective and efficient,” he said in a June interview. “Just to give an example: in 2010 we trained about 2,400 police officers, and in 2015 they were close to 13,000.”

With the new mandate, there will be broader cooperation with a wider range of EU and other international law enforcement agencies, according to Bánfi.

Other changes include a new title for Bánfi, who was once called director and is now executive director, and a rebranding effort that features a new logo (shown at left), new organizational documents and new communication materials.


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