A historical framework of international cooperation against crime
International cooperation instruments have been put in place to deal with the increase in international organised crime. Collaboration between police corps in different States takes place through networks such as Interpol, Europol and Francopol.
It was indeed in the Principality that international cooperation became a reality, at the initiative of H.S.H. Prince Albert I of Monaco. The first Criminal Police Congress took place in Monaco in April 1914. That first congress was a success, and we can thus say that it was at the origin of the creation of the International Criminal Police Organisation – Interpol.
Interpol's main task is to facilitate police cooperation between different countries. This cooperation takes place in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It is based on compliance with national sovereignties. Cases of a political, military, religious or racial nature are excluded.
The cooperation takes place between the 188 member countries by means of various databases directly accessible through an international messaging system. The databases cover fugitives, missing persons (particularly children), fingerprints, DNA, works of art, drug seizures, counterfeit money, false payment cards, false travel documents and stolen vehicles.
As regards forensics, Interpol has an automated fingerprint search system, and a genetic profile database. For many years, Interpol has also invested heavily in identifying disaster victims, whether following natural disasters or those provoked by terrorism or organised crime.
Lastly, Interpol also provides a forensic service to assist member countries.
On 6 May 2011, a historic agreement on operational and strategic cooperation was signed between the Government of H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince of Monaco and the European Police Office EUROPOL.
The agreement should enable information to be exchanged to combat cross-border organised crime. The Monaco Police Service has been designated as the national point of contact.
Amongst the forms of crime covered by this agreement are drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings, crime related to trafficking in stolen vehicles, counterfeit money and false payment methods, and money laundering activities.
FRANCOPOL positions itself as the leading “international francophone network for police training”. The entity is not aimed at punishment, but at prevention. It is the first international association to bring together the francophone police community. It aims at optimising the action of police services and enabling them to better serve their citizens.
The goal of FRANCOPOL is to facilitate the sharing of best practices, as well as research and studies on police training and expertise. The aim is to become a centre of excellence for information sharing and emerging trends in police training.
Initial and on-going training are the most appropriate means to incorporate best practice. Dialogue, collaboration and transfer of knowledge and skills foster the emergence of innovative solutions.
To meet its objectives, FRANCOPOL, an apolitical organisation, insists upon compliance with certain values including:
- The promotion of peace, democracy and human rights
- Recognition of members' diversity
- Compliance with intellectual property rights
FRANCOPOL intends to remain a streamlined and effective body that is independent from international agreements. It wishes to make best use of information and communication technologies, and to foster meetings between researchers and practitioners. This knowledge sharing makes FRANCOPOL a new stakeholder when studying reforms of security systems.
The Principality of Monaco became involved in the FRANCOPOL network soon after its inception. Clearly, the Police Academy of the Police Department cannot rival some of its counterparts. Nevertheless, its active participation in the work of FRANCOPOL gives it a strong position enabling it to demonstrate its specific skills. Indeed, although small, the territory and Monegasque institutions offer the particularity of bringing some entities or services together under one roof. It is therefore sometimes possible to accelerate some procedures or to get feedback more quickly.
One example is the collaboration between Action Innocence, a Swiss NGO, and the Principality's Ministry of Interior in combating pedo-pornographic cybercrime. The Monegasque branch of this association makes available to the Police Service highly effective equipment to track illicit downloads of pornographic images showing minors.
Such collaboration between a country and an NGO can be envisaged and put in place rapidly in the Principality. It would be far more difficult to achieve this in another country.
The Principality's membership of FRANCOPOL is not only an opportunity for Police Service trainers, who have access to compelling data, but also a way for the Principality to affirm its diversity and to demonstrate its policing know-how.
Protecting marine areas
In terms of search and rescue at sea, by virtue of a Franco-Monegasque Agreement of 19 April 1999 implemented by Ordonnance Souveraine 14465 du 14 novembre 2000, the Marine and Airport Police Division joined the French rescue services under the aegis of CROSSMED.
Upon request and under the supervision of CROSSMED, the Division can intervene outside Monegasque territorial waters in search and rescue missions at sea.
Following the signature on 11 January 2005 of the RAMOGEPOL Plan between the Monegasque, Italian and French States, the Division was entrusted with the mission of combating pollution at sea. Representatives from the Division, together with those from the Fire and Emergency Service and the Department of Maritime Affairs regularly participate in meetings and exercises organised by the signatory States.
Lastly, although the Principality is not a signatory to the Schengen agreements, it is impacted by those regulations through the Franco-Monegasque Agreements of 18 May 1963. As a result of there being no borders between the Principality and France, Monaco is a (maritime) entry point to the Schengen area. Consequently, the controls of passengers and crews of pleasure craft and cruise vessels carried out by the Marine and Airport Police Division necessitate regular collaboration between this Division of Monaco's Police Force and the border police services in Menton, France.
This collaboration was formalised in the exchange of letters between the French State and the Monegasque State of 15 December 1997, implemented by the .