Israel PalestineMissions OperationsReport

When European police officers train their Palestinian counterparts, it gives COPPS

Training in Ramallah of Palestinian police officers (©JB / B2)
Training in Ramallah of Palestinian police officers (©JB / B2)

(BRUSSELS2 to Ramallah) Meet a French CRS, a Finnish policeman, a carabineer Italian alongside Palestinian police officers, in Ramallah or Jericho, it is not uncommon today, for anyone who can penetrate the heart of the structures of the very young Palestinian police. B2 went to Ramallah, and was able to talk to various European officers as well as their Palestinian counterparts.

A very young police force who is just 22 years old

This Palestinian police force is very young. It was created in 1994, the day after the Oslo and Jericho-Gaza agreements which established the Palestinian Authority. A youth which has disadvantages – it is necessary to train, equip, structure – but also has advantages. More recent, it is sometimes better able to adapt to changes in threats and techniques, says Emmanuel Merlin, French CRS who arrived in the mission two months ago. Hence the interest of a mission like EUPOL COPPS (1). “The Palestinian police structure is well advanced. This young police has the means of its performance. It is now up to us to lead them towards autonomy,” completes Stéphane Vidal, in charge of shooting training and logistics.

Support against cybercrime 

The Palestinian police and EUPOL COPPS want to go further. And face new challenges such as cybercrime. It was the Palestinian police who identifiedé this need. For two months, the EUPOL COPPS mission provided the police with a European expert in this field, the Finnish Tommi Rautanen. For the past month, he has been training the police forces in modern techniques. “The staff is very motivated — he remarks —. But there will be a need for more substantial training afterwards.” (3)

Need for women in the police

Another vector that must be developed: women. " The police is not really seen as a sector where women should work. Whereas in the criminal justice sector, the rate of women in the prosecution service or among judges is quite high” analysis Lena Larsson (2). There are only 3% women in the police. But the need is real. “We must push for the inclusion of women” she adds. The juvenile protection unit needs women, if only to enter a house where a case is reported. To be able to stop and search women as well. Especially since the most "crimes currents relate to domestic and marital violence, according to Emmanuel Merlin, French CRS, trainer at EUPOL COPPS.

Better define responsibilities between Palestinian institutions

If lately, the emphasis has been placed on improving decision-making processes in police and justice structures, Europeans now want them to operate autonomously and in the long term. “We would like to see more legislation, rules, division of responsibilities between institutions” details the Swedish Lena Larsson (2), deputy head of the EUPOL COPPS mission who receives B2. "This means in particular clearly defining who does what, what each person's job description is, defining roles and responsibilities". 

A legislative patchwork

The problem is that the Palestinian legislative system is a real "quilting", qualifies Giovanni Galzignato, the head of the “rule of law” section of the mission. In the West Bank, the system is based on the Jordanian model. That of Gaza is based on the Egyptian model and the Israeli government is part of the legislative landscape. Lhe mission is working on the tools needed to harmonize this system. The division between Gaza and the West Bank, like the absence of an effective Palestinian national parliament that can to legislate, complicate the work of Palestinian police officers as well as Europeans. 

Strengthen the legislative framework

For Lena Larsson, it is therefore necessary “strengthen the Palestinian legislative framework and legislative procedures”. There is a clear lack of structures. We don't always understand “how a law is passed” she comments. The procedures are not always the same, partly because it “there has not been a parliament for a very long time”. The system works in a way and following the best practices. There is a lack of “institutional memory”. 

(Johanna Bouquet)

To be continued :

  • Tommi Rautanen: a Finnish cybercrime expert in Palestine
  • The fingerprint processing unit
  • EUPOL Copps on his way to a new mandate *


Since 2006, the European Union has decided to set up a support mission for the Palestinian police, called EUPOL COPPS. A mission created as part of a two-state solution, Israeli and Palestinian, living side by side, which Europeans have always advocated. While the road to peace has never seemed so far away, the ambition remains intact: to provide the Palestinians with a modern, structured police force, which respects certain rules of law, and effective.

(2) Lena Larson

Swedish, Lena took up her duties in Ramallah on July 16, 2015, during the continuation of the EUPOL COPPS mission. She worked for nearly a decade for the Swedish Foreign Ministry, her home country. At the European level, between 2011 and 2013, she held the position of Head of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Office for the EUJUST LEX Iraq mission.

(3) A broader definition

In the Palestinian police, cybercrime is understood in a much broader sense than in Europe. This is any criminal case that involves the recovery of data from a computer or mobile phone.

B2 Writing

© B2 - Bruxelles2 is a French online media that focuses on political Europe (powers, defence, foreign policy, internal security). It follows and analyzes developments in European policy, unvarnished and without concessions. Approved by the CPPAP. Member of SPIIL. Please quote "B2" or "Bruxelles2" in case of recovery