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Minister of the Interior Ken-Marti Vaher to meet Home Secretary of United Kingdom Theresa May

8. June 2014 - 21:31

MINISTRY OF THE INTERIOR, 24.10.2012 - At meetings taking place in London on 22 to 24 October the Minister of the Interior Ken-Marti Vaher will focus on cooperation in combating organized crime. The visit will include studying the United Kingdom’s best practices in confiscating criminal assets, experience in implementing the Passenger Name Record (PNR) system and activities in youth related drug prevention.

“Organised crime causes excessive harm to the society. In today’s Europe, international cooperation and the speed and quality of the exchange of operative information play an increasingly important role in solving and preventing such crimes,” said the Minister of the Interior Ken-Marti Vaher.

“The confiscation of criminal assets is one of the most efficient tools in the fight against organised crime, because crime must never pay. The British authorities have been very successful in confiscating criminal assets and therefore we regard them as a great example in that area. In Estonia, we have taken clear steps towards strengthening the criminal assets unit of the Central Criminal Police. We want the unit to have the possibility to learn from the practices of other countries and be equipped with sufficient funds for carrying out confiscation operations,” added the Minister of the Interior at the meeting with the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom Theresa May.

Uncovering criminal organisations through individual cases may take years and we have to make the maximum use of all the available sources of information. One of the possible additional tools is the Passenger Name Record or PNR information gathered by airline companies. “As the United Kingdom is one of the experienced users of PNR information, we are interested in close cooperation and exchange of best practices in order to launch the system in Estonia in the nearest future as successfully as possible,” explained Vaher.

The Parliament of the European Union is currently discussing a directive on the use of PNR information in the prevention, detection and investigation of cases of terrorism and serious crime and in bringing the offenders to justice. Estonia has supported the implementation of that directive in the European Union, in strict compliance with the protection of the basic rights of individuals, particularly the right to the inviolability of private life and the protection of personal data. “Analysing PNR information will allow us to improve internal security and, among other things, compare PNR information with databases of wanted persons and sought items, gather evidence and, if necessary, identify the accomplices of criminals or uncover criminal networks,” stated Vaher.

Among others, the UK, Australia, the United States of America and Canada are currently using PNR information in everyday work.

Estonia also wishes to exchange experiences with British colleagues in the area of drug prevention. “The success of prevention activities depends on efficient cooperation between authorities and the involvement of the private sector and NGOs who are the main implementers of drug prevention projects. In drug prevention, evidence based activities aimed at young people is of particular importance, as that has a positive effect on young people’s attitudes and keeps them away from various addictions,” said Vaher. During the visit, the Minister of the Interior was given the opportunity to study specific projects that have been successful in drug prevention in the United Kingdom, like for instance Kickz, which was created in cooperation between the Metropolitan Police and the highest English football league the Premier League.