In this interview, the Romanian Police outline some of the challenges that Law Enforcement Agencies are facing in the fight against organised crime and terrorism and explain how the COPKIT solutions can help address these challenges.
What are the main challenges Law Enforcement Agencies are facing in the fight against organised crime and terrorist groups?
As the world has become increasingly wired, and now wireless, it is only natural that organized crime has moved into the digital age. The use of sophisticated information systems is no longer solely the realm of the hacker and the coder, it is now also the realm of the drug dealer, the extortionist, and the illicit trader of firearms.
The use of new information and communication technologies by organized crime groups, terrorist groups, or criminal individuals is a key challenge for Romanian Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies due to the complexity of the phenomenon, the quantity of factors and actors involved, and the great set of criminal technological activities used to finance and support criminal and terrorist actions.
The use of new technologies by these groups strengthens their capabilities to support their activities (financing, laundering money, recruiting, planning a terrorist attack, identity frauds) and committing crimes anonymously.
What solutions would ideally help tackle these challenges?
To meet the challenges of investigating technologically advanced organized crime actors, the Romanian Police is developing new structures and new approaches to the crime problem. In this light, we have been actively involved in the COPKIT project in order to develop, together with other EU Law Enforcement Agencies and the Tech Partners, new software tools in order to target Dark Net marketplaces and online organized criminal activities.
Our expectation is that all these modern software tools will be integrated in an intelligence-led Early Warning (EW) / Early Action (EA) system that could be efficiently used by the Romanian Police in the future.
The research and development of the COPKIT tools are being guided and validated by a set of relevant use cases (scenarios) proposed and monitored by the Law Enforcement Agencies partners of the project. What is the added value of these use cases?
In order to test and to guide the software development of the COPKIT tools, all partner Law Enforcement Agencies agreed on and proposed two use cases: online Illicit Firearms Trafficking and Crime as a service/data as a commodity. In this framework, all partners had the possibility to work directly, to develop and to improve the software tools simulating “real” conditions together with the criminal investigators.
Moreover, choosing two important, complex and different cases involving both old and new forms of criminality allows COPKIT to assess and establish the scalability of the approach and possibly use it for all crimes in recognized crime areas.
How do the Romanian Police and other Law Enforcement Agencies in the project help with the development of these tools?
Based on our work experience and current challenges, the Romanian Police, together with other six EU Law Enforcement Agencies, have been actively involved from the early stages of the tools’ development, providing information on the technical requirements and needed functionalities to the tech partners in order to be developed within the use cases framework.
Within the demonstration sessions, all LEA officers had the possibility to test each tool and to provide live feedback that helped the technical team to make all the necessary improvements.
We look forward to seeing and using the finalised tools at the end of the project.