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Lords calls on government to participate in European Police College

The UK Government must exercise its option now, rather than later, to opt-in to the draft Regulation on CEPOL, the European Police College, says the Lords Committee on Home Affairs, Health and Education in its new report, published today.

CEPOL is established by a Council Decision of 2005. Its aim is to bring together senior police officers from across Europe to share research and best practice, to encourage cross-border cooperation in the fight against crime and to help facilitate training and exchange programmes between European police forces.

However, in March 2013, the Commission presented a proposal for a new Europol Regulation, one effect of which would have been to merge CEPOL with Europol. The Committee, the Government, the Directors of Europol and CEPOL, the European Parliament and the Council all opposed the proposed merger. A separate Regulation on CEPOL was therefore proposed.

The new draft Regulation would allow CEPOL “broader objectives” and “modernised governance”. The Government supports the work of CEPOL but is unhappy with a number of proposals in the Regulation, including the removal of the requirement that all attendees on CEPOL courses should be senior police officers, and the suggestion that Member States should designate a national unit to contribute to CEPOL's work programmes.

The Committee points out that there are legal reasons why the UK must, at some stage, opt-in to the Regulation. It recommends that the Government to do so now, to give the UK a place at the negotiating table when the draft Regulation is discussed.

The Report will be debated in the House of Lords on 3 November 2014.

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