Schengen Police Cooperation
In order to provide coordination and police cooperation within the Schengen Area with other Member States, a single point of contact for international police cooperation was established in the Slovak Republic – International Police Cooperation Office of the Presidium of the Police Force (hereinafter referred to as the “Office“).
The Office provides for police cooperation within the Schengen Area by means of the national SIRENE office, Europol National Unit and a department for international police cooperation. International police cooperation with non-Schengen states is provided by the National Central Bureau of INTERPOL channel and the network of police attaches and police liaison officers. In addition to exchange of information through the Office’s single point of contact, requests for cross-border police cooperation may also be submitted to the police cooperation centers (PCC) established on the borders with neighbouring states except for Ukraine.
On the basis of bilateral agreements on police cooperation, the Slovak Republic, in cooperation with its neighboring states of the Schengen Area, has established seven police cooperation centers which main aim is to support cross-border police cooperation in order to prevent and deal with threats to public order safety. On the border with the Republic of Poland there is a PCC in Vyšný Komárnik and in Trstená, on the border with Austria there is such PCC on the highway crossing Jarovce – Kittsee, on the border with the Republic of Hungary such PCCs are located in Čunovo, in Slovenské Ďarmoty and Slovenské Nové Mesto and on the border with the Czech Republic in Hodonín.
Other forms of Schengen police cooperation
Cross-border surveillance is laid down in the Article 40 of the Schengen Convention. Officers of one of the Contracting Parties who, as part of a criminal investigation, are keeping under surveillance in their country a person who is presumed to have participated in an extraditable criminal offence shall be authorised to continue their surveillance in the territory of another Contracting Party where the latter has authorised cross-border surveillance in response to a request for assistance made in advance. Where, for particularly urgent reasons, prior authorisation cannot be requested from the other Contracting Party, the officers carrying out the surveillance shall be authorised to continue beyond the border the surveillance of a person presumed to have committed criminal offences, provided that the authority of the Contracting Party, in whose territory the surveillance is to be continued, must be notified immediately, during the surveillance, that the border has been crossed.
The Article 41 of the Schengen Convention on hot pursuit enables police officers pursuing a person caught in the act of committing or of participating in a serious crime in their country to continue the pursuit on the territory of another state without the latter´s prior authorization where given the particular urgency of the situation, it is not possible to notify the competent authorities of the other Contracting Party prior to entry into that territory or where these authorities are unable to reach the scene in time to take over the pursuit. The same shall apply where the person being pursued has escaped from imprisonment, provisional custody or while serving a sentence involving deprivation of liberty. The pursuing officers shall be easily identifiable, either by their uniform, by means of an armband or by accessories fitted to their vehicles.
In order to intensify police cooperation when maintaining public order and safety and preventing crimes, relevant authorities may use joint patrols and other joint operations, i.e. nationals of one Member State participate in operations on the territory of another Member State.
The aim of the joint patrols is to facilitate the access to law enforcement by nationals from the different Member States concerned, to improve general cooperation among the authorities and officers involved, to provide practical and linguistic assistance to the officers of the host State, to facilitate communication with national authorities of the supporting State, etc.
Two kinds of joint patrols are usually carried out:
joint patrols in the border areas between Member States – they are established depending on operational needs. Such patrolling may be performed on the territory of one of the Member States concerned, or patrols may repeatedly cross the borders
joint patrols in the framework of particular events or periods.
A special kind of joint operation is assistance in mass gatherings and similar major events, disasters or serious accidents with the aim to prevent criminality, maintain public order and safety. In relation to football matches with an international dimension and adopting measures to prevent violence and riots, National Football Information Point has been established, providing for cooperation during international football matches exceeding the exchange of information.
Joint investigation teams are considered to be a suitable tool in the fight against cross-border criminal activities. Joint investigation teams will be set up in line with the provisions of the Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance and following an agreement between two or several Member States and other contracting parties for a specific purpose and limited duration.