The European Network of Fugitive Active Search Teams (ENFAST), supported by Europol, is launching the 2022 EU Most Wanted campaign to focus on fugitives across Europe who are members of organised crime groups. Over fifty profiles of fugitives linked to organised crime groups have been uploaded to the website this year. The criminals in this year’s campaign are all wanted for serious crimes in Europe such as murder, trafficking in human beings, armed robbery and terrorism amongst other offences.
Targeting organised crime groups
This year’s campaign specifically targets the leaders and key members of organised crime groups. Some of the profiles highlighted in this year’s list include mafia bosses who have committed murder and massacred innocent people, drug traffickers, human traffickers, violent criminals who carry out murder or other violent acts on behalf of the criminal group, and money launderers and embezzlers. Similar to a business environment, the core of a criminal network is composed of managerial layers and field operators. This core is surrounded by a range of actors linked to the crime infrastructure providing support services. By targeting criminals in pivotal roles within these networks, the campaign seeks to topple entire organised crime groups.
Europol’s Executive Director, Catherine De Bolle, said:
“It couldn’t be simpler for EU citizens to take part in this campaign- one small action from you could mean that a dangerous fugitive is arrested and charged, saving potential victims. Check the website and help us find them.”
You could bring them down - #GameOver
ENFAST and Europol are asking EU citizens to visit the website and view images of these fugitives and check if they recognise any of them. As part of the campaign, murals will be unveiled to increase awareness of the campaign and to attract more media attention. The first mural will be unveiled in Brussels, Belgium on 28 September to mark the inauguration of the campaign. The imagery will focus on a house of cards, as the removal of a key figure in the criminal network by an anonymous tip could cause the whole organisation to fall.
The campaign will also appear across social media and there will be a call to action in all EU languages to reach as wide an audience as possible. The EU Most Wanted campaign has experienced significant success in the past with a number of anonymous tips leading to actual arrests. The website was originally launched in 2016, and since then 335 profiles of fugitives have been listed on the website. Out of this figure, 120 fugitives have been arrested with 43 of those arrests directly influenced by the fact that the fugitive profile had been published on the website. Since the launch of last year’s campaign in December 2021, there have been 10 arrests.
The evolving nature of cross-border crime has prompted national police forces in EU Member States to combine forces and use their expertise to ensure that it is impossible for dangerous criminals to flee and escape punishment. ENFAST aims to increase security within the EU by successfully tracing and arresting internationally wanted criminals who have committed serious crimes. ENFAST is an international network of police officers who are available 24/7 and can take immediate action to locate and arrest fugitives when necessary.