SEEFEN 8: the future of gun-related criminality - how does it look and what can be done to prevent crimes before they happen
Latest firearms related developments, from European directives to technology and its’ impact on traditional crime, debated at SEEFEN 8 - SEESAC’s flagship event merging senior technical expertise from South East Europe, the European Union (EU) and international organizations to further strengthen the fight against firearms-related crime at the regional level.
Held between 23-24 November 2017 in Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the eight Regional Meeting of the South East Europe Firearms Expert Network (SEEFEN 8), gathered 27 participants from prosecutors, customs officers, forensic specialists, to police representatives, including expert contributors guests from Europol, the National Ballistics Intelligence Service (NABIS), European Commission or the Guardia Civil of Spain. Taking place twice a year since 2014, SEEFEN’s meetings support the fight against serious, organized, and cross-border firearms related crime through enhanced regional cooperation at the technical level.
Key statements from officials present at the event:
Mr Agim Nuhiu, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Interior, Skopje
- ‘Latest developments regarding firearms-related criminality make cross-border cooperation and information exchange at technical level essential.’
Mr Tibor Varadi, Representative of the EU, Skopje
- ‘EU looks forward to seeing SEEFEN meetings continue to lead towards promoting stronger cooperation with the EU, its member states, and specialized EU agencies, such as Europol, Frontex, as well as key international actors like INTERPOL.’
Mr Zoran Popov, Political advisor from Regional Cooperation Council (RCC)
- ‘RCC supports SEEFEN meetings as they provide a much-needed forum for regional senior experts to advance and exchange knowledge about firearms investigations, share practical information on this matter, promote collaborative work, and network.’
SEEFEN 8 brought to the discussions table latest trends in terms of firearms criminality, including future foreseeable threats like the dark web, 3D printed firearms, smuggling of firearms using drones but also the latest legislative developments and how can the EU criteria on firearms be efficiently met and implemented. With the aim of preventing criminal acts with firearms before happening, SEEFEN experts shared case studies revealing most commonly misused firearms, where are the arms coming from, what are the latest mechanisms for converting firearms, best practices related to arms, ammunition and explosives seizures. Additionally, SEESAC’s latest developments in implementing the EU recommended approach to use technology when fighting crimes - establishing the Firearms Focal Points across South East Europe - have been presented and discussed with experts present.
SEEFEN was created to facilitate the exchange of information and the transfer of knowledge within the region and between the region and the EU while promoting practical cooperation in fighting the illegal possession and illicit transfer of firearms. The members of the Network are members of the Police services, Customs Administrations, Public Prosecutors’ Offices and forensic experts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Moldova, Kosovo*, Serbia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. SEEFEN meetings take place with the support of the EU, in the framework of Council Decision 2016/2356/CFSP in support of SEESAC disarmament and arms control activities in South-East Europe.
*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).