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Shortcomings in European admission policy for refugees

Wednesday 22 June 2016

All the versions of this article:

* Sub-standard coordination * poor information exchange * police seriously under-staffed * incomplete registration

EPU is a European member organisation of Eurofedop

There are serious shortcomings in European admission policy for refugees. Police forces in the Netherlands, Germany and the Balkan countries are under-staffed and under-equipped to process and screen large flows of refugees. The European Police Union (EPU) reached these alarming conclusions after a survey among police officers. “Immediate action is needed from European authorities in order to avoid further escalation”, says Gerrit van de Kamp, chairman of the umbrella organisation for European police unions (and the Dutch police union, ACP).

The EPU conducted its survey among police officers in the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria. The results point to an ineffective registration process, sub-standard or absent checks on large groups of refugees and poor information exchange between the various arrival and transit countries. This means potential terrorists can travel among flows of refugees without being detected, warns the EPU. There is no tracking system and police do not have an overview of where people are going.

Direct risks for police officers in Europe

European police officers are the first people to encounter the consequences of these glaring shortages in staff, resources and organisation. There is insufficient protection against infectious diseases. For instance, 45 police officers have been diagnosed with TBC in Italy. One case of open TBC was also encountered in the Netherlands, but this had to be kept secret. Police officers also say they are not being given the training required to deal with new security challenges they are now facing. There is a shortage of special know-how and appropriately qualified personnel.

Police officers in Germany and the Balkan countries say they are also encountering more aggression and violence due to the arrival of refugees. And there are often no protocols for dealing with aggression (from and against refugees), or police officers don’t know where to find them. Many police officers feel that politicians are turning a blind eye and have left them standing in the cold.

Shortages throughout Europe

Police forces throughout Europe are facing major shortages, which involves a general absence of funding, capacity and resources. Police personnel and civilians throughout Europe have been placed under an unacceptable amount of pressure because more and more austerity measures are being implemented in the police sector. Extra tasks involving refugee support and anti-terror activities can only be performed effectively if the required funding is available.

Call to European authorities and national governments

The EPU and all its members are calling upon European authorities and national governments to avoid further escalation in the identified problems. The security of police officers and society is under serious threat. Politicians have the duty to make sure police officers, and thus society, are given the required level of protection. This means good equipment, training and working conditions for police forces. They are at the front line and are currently being exposed to too many unnecessary risks.

The EPU is calling upon European authorities to respond appropriately to signals and warnings of European police unions about the increasing risk of terrorism and the accompanying social and public unrest.

EPU (European Police Union) is an overaching police union in which police trade unions from the Netherlands (ACP), Germany (DPOLG), Austria (KDEO), Romania (SNPPC), Bulgaria (TUFEMI), Serbia (PUS), Croatia (SPH), Spain (CEP), Ukraine (Police TU of Ukraine), Moldova (Demnitate), Lithuania (TU of Constables and Police Employees), Latvia (United Police TU), Poland (NSZZP) and Bosnia Herzegovina (Sindikat Granicne policije) cooperate and collaborate. Together, the member organisations of EPU represent more than 800.000 police officers in Europe. EPU is affiliated to Eurofedop ( European Federation of Public Service Employees)

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