All along the EU’s external borders, Frontex officers help national authorities fight crime. Smuggling of drugs, weapons and stolen cars, along with trafficking in human beings and people smuggling, are all challenges EU member states face at their borders. Frontex officers are trained to detect crime and sent to various places along the EU’s borders to help national authorities fight crime and share their expertise.
Frontex regularly takes part and coordinates Joint Action Days – international operations that bring together national law enforcement authorities, international organisations and EU agencies, including Europol and Euro-just, to take on serious and organised crime. These operations are coordinated under the umbrella of the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT).
In its operations, Frontex deploys officers who conduct voluntary interviews with migrants to collect information about the smuggling networks. The agency shares this information with the national authorities of the countries hosting our operations for them to launch relevant investigations and arrests. It is important to underline that Frontex does not have the mandate to run investigations either on the territory of the EU or non-EU countries.
In 2020, 147 tonnes of illegal drugs were seized in Frontex operations. The number was 126 tonnes in 2019 and 158 tonnes in 2018.
In operations run by Frontex, hundreds of fraudulent documents are detected every year. Frontex has been deploying document fraud experts in joint operations at the EU external borders and supported the process of the identification and registration of migrants.
The agency has a Centre of Excellence for Combatting Document Fraud that supports EU member states and addresses the threats to EU’s security connected with document fraud. The Centre’s primary task is to provide support for combatting document fraud in joint operations. Frontex developed a reference manual for border guards containing images of passports, identity cards, and visas, to help them determine whether the document in front of them is genuine.
The Centre of Excellence for Combatting Document Fraud also contributes to the work of several Frontex units, including risk analysis, training, as well as research and innovation. In turn, the Centre will improve the operational response to specific threats observed at the external border based on information from those units.
cooperation with the EU Member States, plays an important role in fighting
terrorism and other cross-border crimes. The hundreds of specialised border
guard officers taking part in Frontex operations do this through screening,
registration, document checks and intelligence gathering at the borders. All of
these actions support Member States in identifying terrorism suspects or
persons of interest. Frontex also regularly provides intelligence to Europol.
Checks at the external borders remain one of the main safeguards of the Schengen area and significantly contribute to guaranteeing the long-term security of the EU and its citizens.
Fighting terrorism is also part of Joint Action Days – international operations that bring together national law enforcement authorities, international organisations and EU agencies, including Europol and Euro-just, to take on serious and organised crime. These operations are coordinated under the umbrella of the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT).