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Joint Investigation Teams (JITs)

A new criminal landscape is emerging. It is increasingly characterised by highly mobile and flexible groups operating in different EU States and criminal sectors and aided, in particular, by the widespread illicit use of the Internet. Criminal networks and their activities become more and more international. This trend calls for strengthened cross-border cooperation between competent authorities and for more joint operations involving police, customs, border guards and judicial authorities in different EU States. Joint Investigation Teams (JITs) are an instrument for achieving this closer cooperation.

Setting up JITs

The competent authorities of two or more EU States can set up a JIT for a specific purpose and a limited period of time to carry out criminal investigations in one or more of the EU States setting up the team.

In particular, a JIT can be set up when:

  • an EU State’s investigations into criminal offences require difficult and demanding investigations having links with other EU States;
  • a number of EU States are conducting investigations into criminal offences in which the circumstances of the case necessitate coordinated, concerted action in the EU States involved.

In addition to the competent authorities of the EU States setting up the JIT, seconded members from other EU States, Europol, Eurojust and OLAF may take part in the JIT and support the team.

For example, Eurojust can make an official request to the competent authorities of an EU State to set up a JIT, help set up a JIT agreement or support the activities via funding provided by the Commission. Europol can support the setting up and work of JITs, inter alia, with its fast and secure communication and information exchange network (SIENA), logistical and forensic expertise and analysis capabilities.

Support to the setting up of JITs

In order to support the setting-up of JITs, raise awareness of this instrument and facilitate exchanges of experience and best practices, a Network of National Experts on JITs with a permanent secretariat at Eurojust has been established and a JITs Manual elaborated.

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