Select Committee on European Scrutiny Twenty-Second Report




Initiative of the Kingdom of Spain establishing a European Institute of Police Studies.

Legal base:Articles 30(1), 30(2)(d), 31(c) and (e), 32, 34 (1) and (2) EU; consultation; unanimity
Deposited in Parliament:28 February 2002
Department:Home Office
Basis of consideration:EM of 12 March 2002
Previous Committee Report:None
To be discussed in Council:Date not set
Committee's assessment:Politically important
Committee's decision:Not cleared; further information requested.


  14.1  This is a Spanish Presidency initiative, arising from the belief that the existing informal arrangement, based on annual meetings between the relevant bodies, is ineffective.

The document

  14.2  The draft Decision proposes the establishment of an Institute of Police Studies to encourage research and studies into criminality, to develop common research criteria and to foster co-operation and the sharing of research material. For at least its first three years, the Institute would operate as a network of research institutes across Member States.

  14.3  On similar lines to the European Police College network, the Institute would have a Governing Board composed of directors of national training and research institutes. The Governing Board would draw up the annual work programme and establish a permanent secretariat to oversee the work programme and manage the budget. The costs of running the Institute and its programme would be borne jointly by the Member States.

The Government's view

  14.4  The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office (Mr Bob Ainsworth) tells us that, although the Government recognises the value of initiatives designed to improve the effectiveness of research in the fight against crime and disorder, it has a number of concerns about the current proposal. He points out that it was not one of the specific conclusions of the Tampere European Council, and reiterates the UK belief that EU effort should concentrate on implementing those conclusions.

  14.5  The Minister continues:

"The proposal does not adequately identify the nature or the extent of the problem that establishing an Institute of Police Studies is supposed to address. It would be helpful to have more clarity in this area and, in particular, more detail about the existing informal arrangements, and alternative solutions, which could form the basis of a cost comparison.

"The UK does not have an Institute of Police Studies and other Member States may find themselves in a similar position. This gives us some cause for concern in that there may not be a substantial enough framework of national research institutes around which to construct the proposed formal network."

  14.6  The Minister then expresses concern about the overlap with a number of existing EU institutions involved in crime-related research, including Europol, Eurojust, and the EU Crime Prevention Network (EUCPN). In particular, he considers that many of the activities proposed for the Institute would duplicate the work of the European Police College (CEPOL). He also cites the role of special fora such as the European Network of Forensic Science Institutes and the European Society of Criminology. In general, he considers that insufficient attention may have been given to the research-related activities of all these institutions before this proposal for a new body was developed.

  14.7  The Minister points out that a costing for the proposed Institute will be needed. He also suggests that the legal base will need further examination if the proposal is carried forward.

  14.8  He informs us that the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Scottish Police College and the College of the Police Service of Northern Ireland have been consulted on the proposal, and have expressed concerns about the potential costs and the strength of the business case. They would not, however, actively oppose the development.

  14.9  Finally, the Minister tells us that the Presidency does not appear to have a date in mind for including the proposal on a Council agenda.


  14.10  We share the Minister's concern about this proposal, which seems to have been developed without taking into account the role and remit of other bodies already working in closely-related fields.

  14.11  We will keep the document under scrutiny until we know more about the progress of negotiations. We ask the Minister to inform us if, as seems possible, the proposal does not proceed.

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Prepared 28 March 2002