Study to support an evaluation of the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training (CEPOL)

Mulhouse - France - 17 March 2022 - Portrait on back view of french national policeman standing in the street for the traffic circulation, photo by pixarno/Adobe Stock

CEPOL is the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training – an agency of the European Union dedicated to training law enforcement officials. Researchers assessed the effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU-added value of CEPOL and its working practices.

What is the issue?

CEPOL is the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Training – an agency of the European Union dedicated to training law enforcement officials that is based in Budapest, Hungary. This crucial role aims to equip European law enforcement officials to protect human rights, prevent and fight serious crime and terrorism and maintain public order, with a view to creating a common EU law-enforcement culture. The institution was founded in 2000, and its current legal mandate took effect from 1 July 2016, resulting from the 2015 Regulation (EU) 2015/2219.

How did we help?

RAND Europe and Ernst & Young (EY) assessed the effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, coherence and EU added value of CEPOL and its working practices since 2015; and described the lessons learned and elaborated recommendations to better respond to the challenges posed by the constantly changing environment against the background of the current authorised financial and human resources for CEPOL. This project was commissioned by the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME) of the European Commission.

What did we find?

  • CEPOL's key programming documents consider and reflect the objectives of its legal basis and the priorities of the EU Agenda on Security.
  • CEPOL's objectives are relevant to the EU needs and challenges defined by key strategic documents, and CEPOL's training offer is relevant to EU member states' needs.
  • There is scope for CEPOL to better reach its substantial target audience by further investing in the ‘cascade effect' and developing its online offer.
  • The yearly development cycle for CEPOL's training activities is deemed too short, jeopardising quality.
  • Training activities outsourced to CEPOL's Framework Partners for development and delivery are less exposed to CEPOL's quality assurance mechanism and thus vary in quality.
  • Participants selected for CEPOL's residential training do not always have a suitable level of expertise or seniority.
  • CEPOL's Cybercrime Academy is perceived as an important step to address emerging needs. However, there is room for continued growth in this area.
  • CEPOL activities are widely recognised for building trust and facilitating the development of cooperation among law enforcement services.
  • CEPOL's work in third countries is highly valued by informed stakeholders, though some within CEPOL's governance lack awareness of these activities.
  • While there is a good relationship between the CEPOL Executive Director and the Management Board, Management Board meetings are hampered by representation issues, low engagement by some members and a disproportionate focus on administrative matters.
  • CEPOL's relocation and consistent staff turnover has resulted in a shift in corporate culture, and there are challenges in attracting appropriately qualified staff.
  • CEPOL's remit and activities appear coherent with and complementary to other relevant actors at the EU level.

What can be done?

The study produced nine recommendations:

  1. Expanding CEPOL's target population through cascading and e-learning
  2. Reforming the development cycle of outsourced training activities
  3. Refining the quality assurance of CEPOL's training activities
  4. Selecting the right participants for CEPOL training
  5. Developing CEPOL's cyber offer
  6. Raising awareness of CEPOL's support to EU external action
  7. Encouraging participation and streamlining procedures within CEPOL's Management Board
  8. Restoring CEPOL's corporate culture
  9. Enhancing CEPOL's coordination with EU institutions and justice and home affairs (JHA) agencies.