The Commission sets out recommendations to EU states for how to improve the implementation of the existing information exchange instruments. It emphasises the need to ensure high data quality, security and data protection and explains how it will provide support, including funding and training for the EU countries.
Information exchange is needed to address not just serious and organised crime, such as terrorism, trafficking in human beings, drugs or firearms, but also less serious offences committed on a large scale by mobile criminal groups or by individual offenders across borders. A criminal investigation can involve parallel or sequential use of more than one instrument of the range available within the EU. The Commission’s assessment is that cross-border information exchange generally works well. There is, however, scope for improvement. As well as insisting on the need to fully implement EU legislation, the Commission is recommending especially that the EU countries build on their existing use of a secure communications tool between their Europol National Units so that the ‘Europol channel’ becomes default for information exchange. At the same time, it will be beneficial to develop national Single Points of Contact that act as a ‘one-stop-shop’ bringing together all the main information exchange channels and all national law enforcement authorities, with access to national databases.