The impact of artificial intelligence on police work - Future of the police: the intelligent ability of managing real police work and European security

Eurofedop (Europese Federatie van het Overheidspersoneel) organised this meeting on 15 February 2021 via videoconference on the topic “The impact of artificial intelligence on police work - Future of the police: the intelligent ability of managing real police work and European security”, convinced of the important contribution that police trade unions can deliver to the fight against national and international crime by joining forces at international level. The seminar was organized with the support of EZA and of the European Union.

EPU, the European Police Union, member of Eurofedop, has set up a project on minimum standards that have to be ensured so that police officers can assure maximum security in European countries. After the completion of a first phase in 2017 on the need for effective professional equipment and training, now the project has entered into a new phase, with the completion of a study on socio-economic factors and social security regulations that apply to police officers in Europe. Many discrepancies still exist in this regard between European countries, of which a majority still deny the right to strike and collective bargaining to their police officers.

Right-wing extremism has been recognised as one of the main security threats that police officers are confronted with today on the European continent. The fight against right-wing extremism is a collective task for the police, justice, politics and the whole of society, in defence of democratic values.

Police officers have the task of providing security for everyone in society. They cannot take sides. They have to interfere whenever a law has been broken, but in order to be able to do so, they need to be given the tools for this. Police officers are considered everywhere of siding with the government, but in reality, police officers have to be apolitical.

Citizens’ unrest is growing in Europe and the way the police have to react to this has to be closely investigated. The EU has to become stronger and more independent from the US in the field of security, but every country has its own system and this will make collaboration difficult. All security sectors have to cooperate in creating as much security as possible.

The possible use of artificial intelligence (AI) in policing is not yet clear. It has to be used in a responsible manner. Currently, different institutions such as the European Parliament and the Council of Europe are discussing the need for working out a legislation on AI. Police trade unions should get involved and take part in the discussion, for example in the ad hoc committee of the Council of Europe.

The refugees and immigration question puts a lot of pressure on police forces, especially in the South of Europe. A representative from the Spanish Police Confederation, working on the Canary Islands, participated in the meeting and made a strong appeal to the EU for sending help to address a situation which has completely gone out of hand in this part of his country.