Three months after the launch of the ‘Europe’s Most Wanted Fugitives’ website, supported by Europol, 10 of the fugitives wanted by EU Member States have successfully been put behind bars. In at least six of these arrests, the leads provided via the website played a direct role in locating the fugitives, Europol said.
Earlier this year, the European Network of Fugitive Active Search Teams (ENFAST) created a dedicated new website (www.eumostwanted.eu) 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 success of ENFAST speaks for itself: there has been a significant increase in the number of arrests between 2011 (42) and 2015 (239).
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. 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.
Six of the arrests were facilitated by the presence of the fugitives on the dedicated website: either by information provided by the public or by the increased media attention. “The Europe’s Most Wanted Fugitives list gives ENFAST yet another additional and valuable tool to investigate the location of criminals,” said the current German ENFAST Presidency.
“The website involves the citizens of the European Union in the search for criminals, increases the visibility of the fugitives hence decreasing their possibility to hide. The success rate of the Europe’s Most Wanted Fugitives website within the first 3 months exceeds our expectations. The Europe’s Most Wanted website helps increasing security within the European Union.”
Six of the 10 arrests were made in a different EU Member State than the one where they were initially searched.
“The early success of ‘Europe’s Most Wanted Fugitives’ initiative is another great example of law enforcement cooperation in Europe to keep our citizens safe. Europol’s unique coordination and data-sharing platform, which connects 670 national and regional agencies, has played a critical role in helping our partners locate and arrest some of the most dangerous criminals in Europe. I am also grateful for the huge public support that has made this possible,” said Rob Wainwright, director of Europol.