EU needs to limit “cloned” car registration to combat vehicle crime
During the meeting of the Network of EU Contact Points for Tackling Cross-Border Vehicle Crime (CARPOL) which took place on 19-20 March, there was a discussion on how to combat vehicle crime within the EU more efficiently, both improving vehicle registration and inspection procedures, and introducing the 17- digit VIN for agricultural and construction machinery.
The meeting was opened by the chief of the State Police of Latvia Ints Ķuzis, who approved the international operation “Archimedes”, implemented by Europol in 2014, when 13 luxury cars stolen in the EU were found in Latvia. At the same time Ints Ķuzis indicated that the increase of the number of new car thefts that we notice also in Latvia demonstrates that a particular attention must be paid at EU level to combat this type of crime.
“Each year around 800 000 cars are stolen in the EU, and only half of them are recovered, because these vehicles are being modified or “cloned”, for example, by changing the VIN numbers, therefore it should be necessary to turn against registration of such modified vehicles”, admitted the representative of Finland Mr Jari Tiainen. He pointed out that one of the problems is that the damaged vehicles are often transferred from one EU country into another and registered without identity verification. “It is understood that the police will not be able to fight this problem alone if there will be no support from the institutions of vehicle registration, and EU countries have to find common approach to the issue of vehicle registration, for example, by developing a new EU directive,” said the representative of Finland, who acknowledged that also in Finland there is a large market of used cars and there is no information on how many of these cars are “cloned”.
During the meeting experts also discussed the possibilities for improving cooperation among public and private sectors, got acquainted with the latest technological solutions for the fast detection of theft, adopted the long-term work programme of CARPOL, as well as discussed the issues related to CARPOL work during the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the EU.
Fighting vehicle crime is important for vehicle owners, law enforcement officers, insurers and the general public because these crimes often involve not only violence, but also other illegal activities committed by organised crime groups dealing the drugs or firearms and engaging in human trafficking.
CARPOL is the European network of national contact points for tackling cross-border vehicle crime and was established by the EU Council Decision in 2004 with the aim of strengthening coordination and co-operation among police services and other law enforcement authorities, as well as with other competent public and private organisations and EU agencies.
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