Historical development before 1995
In the endeavours directed at implementing the European Police Academy (EPA) the president of the [German] Police Academy, Dr. Rainer Schulte, introduced a phase model for the establishment of a European Police Academy already in 1992 in the course of the international seminar “International Co-Operation in Crime Control“.
According to Dr. Rainer Schulte and the information contained in the above-mentioned Discussion Draft for the Establishment of a European Police (Training) Academy, this four-phase model was to comprise the following steps:
- Collecting and publishing training offers of the European police training institutions jointly;
- Establishment of a coordination body to harmonise the training topics – if funds permit, transformation of the coordination body into a permanent secretariat;
- Organisation of multinational training events by the secretariat as service point in close cooperation with the national training facilities;
- If funds permit and the staff requirements are met, transformation of the secretariat into an European Police Academy with the competence to organise and carry out international education and training measures.
Initially, the efforts made to co-ordinate the offers and hold joint events were reflected in a programme of the training facilities of the EU Member States which was issued by the Police Academy as from 1993.
However, since other aspects regarding the establishment of a European Police Academy could not be put into practice in the foreseeable future, in January/February 1995 the representatives of the Police Study Institutes of Germany, the Netherlands and Great Britain agreed on increased co-operation of at the executive level and signed an agreement between SLOP (Landelijk Selectie en Opleidingsinstituut Politie), Amersfoort, Netherlands, the Police Staff College, Bramshill, and the Police Academy (PFA), Munster, for the establishment of the Association of European Police Colleges (AEPC), Combined Police Studies Programme.
In my opinion, this agreement shows that the academies involved intended to exchange information as well as plan and implement education and training measures jointly within the meaning of phase 1 above for the establishment of a European Police Academy (EPA).
The development of the AEPC since 1995
With the three study institutes joining forces to form the AEPC a course had been adopted which attracted attention also by the other EU countries.
At a meeting of the heads of the European police training institutes in Avial, Spain, in September 1995 the decision was taken to expand the AEPC.
In October 1995, the EU Police Cooperation Working Group (PCWG) was informed of the existence of the AEPC. It was agreed that the AEPC was not to be supervised by the PCWG but that it should inform the PCWG of the activities and developments of the AEPC.
The first initiative was the conference “Policing A Multicultural Society“ in The Hague from 29 November to 1 December 1995. The conference attracted much interest and 65 executives from 13 different countries came together in the conference centre of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On 25 January 1996, delegations from the police institutes in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom met in Brussels. On this occasion, the AEPC was officially launched by the European Commissioner for Home and Judicial Affairs Mrs. Anita Gradin as EU representative. 12 of the 15 EU Member States signed a “Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)“ to found the AEPC.
When the Governing Board of the AEPC met on 14 June 1996 in Stockholm, the representative of Portugal signed the MOU on behalf of the Escola Superior de Policia. Only half a year later, at the beginning of the meeting of the Governing Board in Saint-Cyr-Au-Mont-D’Or on 5/6 December 1996, the representatives of the academies of Italy and Luxemburg joined the AEPC by signing the MOU so that by then all EU Member States were represented in the AEPC through their national academies.
European Co-operation should extend to the police forces of Europe to enhance security for all our citizens. This relationship has been fostered between the European Union countries and through a large number of agreements with non EU countries elsewhere in Europe. European Co-operation also has been enhanced in recent years through developments such as Schengen and Europol, but more can be achieved. Training has a very important role in this process of co-operation throughout Europe.
Whilst recognising national security and acknowledging national regulations, the AEPC is a kind of platform to further the opportunities for international police training, particularly, in relation to the training of senior police officers.
Members have agreed to arrange, where appropriate, joint training for senior police officers on matters of mutual concern and relevance, to exchange information and to maintain contact on appropriate areas of training and development.
The AEPC enjoys co-operation with other institutions involved in areas related with police (training):
MEPA Central European Police Academy
CEPOL European Police College
FRA Fundamental Rights Agency
PCC SEE Police Co-operation Convention for Southeast Europe
OSCE Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe