Six months after the launch of the ‘Europe’s Most Wanted Fugitives’ website, a platform hosted by Europol, 14 of the fugitives wanted by EU Member States have successfully been put behind bars. In at least eight of these arrests, the leads provided via the online platform played a direct role in locating the fugitives. Requesting the assistance of the general public has proven to provide significant added value for capturing criminals on the run.
Exactly six months ago, the European Network of Fugitive Active Search Teams (ENFAST), supported by Europol, created a dedicated new website where the public can help police trace Europe’s Most Wanted Fugitives. ENFAST is a network of police officers from the 28 EU Member States and associated states specialised in undertaking immediate action to locate and arrest fugitives.
The media attention around this project proved to be very important, according to Europol. Thanks to the increased media attention and to information provided by the general public, law enforcement in Europe was able to track down 8 of the fugitives appearing on the website, 6 of them in a different European country than where they were initially wanted. In total, 14 wanted criminals have been arrested. Of the original fugitives on the list in January, 28 remain.
The ‘Europe’s Most Wanted Fugitives’ website shares information on high-profile internationally-wanted criminals, convicted of – or suspected of having committed – serious crimes or terrorist acts in Europe. Some of them have been sentenced to long or even life imprisonment. Recent uploads to the list are from Slovakia searching for the leader of a violent criminal organization, Belgium searching for a fugitive convicted to 25 years of imprisonment for multiple rapes, Denmark looking for two murderers, Latvia for a robber and Bulgaria for two murderers as well.
It is the first initiative on a pan-European scale to present a most wanted list on a common platform. Citizens in the EU and beyond can provide useful information via the website, anonymously if preferred. Europol has supported ENFAST with this project by developing a secure platform for the ‘Europe’s Most Wanted Fugitives’ website.