Greetings from The Slave Detective.
Well another interesting day.
On the 21st September 2011 I addressed CEPOL, the European Union Police Training College.
The subject of topic was Operation Golf. The Metropolitan Police and Romanian National Police Joint Investigation Team into Child Trafficking.
I have yet to outline this operation so maybe today is the day!!
So what is Operation Golf?
is a good link for a taster. (Copy and paste it into another page!)
I haven’t the space or probably the reader’s interest to delve too deeply into this subject. There are Links attached to this blog that help.
Basically in 2006 a Slovakian female ‘Anna’ was stopped by an eagle eyed immigration officer at Stansted Airport. It was noted that ‘Anna’ had entered the UK via Stansted six other times with her three children in under 12mths. She was of Slovak Roma Gypsy origin. The Immigration Officer spoke to her three children who were itemised on her passport (a vinaigrette). Strangely her children didn’t speak the same language. They hailed from Romania and a town called Tandarei, two hours drive east of Bucharest, the capital city.
Her secret was undone! She was earning £1,000 for each child she brought in and in fact had brought in 21 children. The other 18 were never traced.
Romania looked at this problem and noted that a further 1107 children were missing from Tandarei. They made a list of the children and circulated it to European Union members. This list is known as The Europa List. The Romanian’s had called their enquiry Operation Europa.
At about the same time (January 2007) Romania and Bulgaria entered the European Union (EU). Romanian Crime in central ballooned by 786%. Bulgarian Crime went up 250% in the same first quarter of the year. An epidemic crime wave had hit the streets of central London. It was all minor crime. Not minor to the victim, but pick pocketing, shoplifting, table surfing and other minor thefts. Begging doesn’t even feature in these figures!!! They were known as extension states to the EU which means that persons from these countries were allowed to travel freely within the EU but were not allowed to claim benefits. They had to support themselves financially. Its a shame no one explained this to The Roma Gypsy’s. They came in their droves.
It became very clear very quickly that there was a problem. The ‘Europa’ list had been largely ignored by most of Europe. Especially by the British Authorities.
Operation Golf began by running the analysis of the crime wave, who was being arrested and why this had happened. The results were staggering. 168 of the Children from the ‘Europa’ list were responsible for over 2000 convictions in 41 of the 52 Police area’s in Britain. England has 43 separate Police Force Areas, Scotland has 8 and Northern Ireland 1.
These 168 children had also been arrested with 350 other Roma Children not on the list. It emerged very quickly that a ‘Fagan’ gang was responsible. Roma Children were being arrested, their appropriate adult (every person under 18yrs must have an adult present at a Police Station) was usually an extended family member of Roma origin who appeared to collect the child and send them straight back out to earn more money.
Romania and The Metropolitan Police met, a Joint Investigation Team was formed or ‘J.I.T’. This ‘J.I.T’ utilised new legislation that allowed EU Member States to form a fast time alliance, sharing information, intelligence and best of all powers to deal with problems abroad without the red tape required by Mutual Legal Assistance procedures.
Mutual Legal Assistance or Letters of Request (LoR’s) is the system by which the Judiciary apply via The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), The Home Office and SOCA (Serious Crime Agency) to another country for evidence or assistance in a case or operation. Once it is sent to the Home Office partner in the Country being approached, it goes to their Prosecution Agent who then distributes it to a Police Agency. Its small wonder that LoR’s go missing or never get resulted.
The ‘J.I.T’ is assigned agreement to target a specific problem between two or more member states and may include non EU agencies as well. It’s fast time, proactive and gets the job done efficiently. There are of course problems. Different countries have their own legislation and procedures which are often at odds to the UK system. In Romania the Prosecutor decides which investigations the Police focus on. In the UK the Prosecutors (CPS) usually only become involved when Police are ready to take someone to court.
And so Operation Golf was born. Romanian Police became inbedded in the UK. 46 of the main gang members were identified as sending huge amounts of monies to UK from all over The UK, Spain and Italy. This was seriously organised crime. Intelligence established that these children were being sold to gang members, becoming ‘part’ of their family, being used as a commodity to earn the gang money by begging, shoplifting, pick pocketing, table surfing (distraction thefts at outdoor coffee bars and pubs), shoulder surfing (distraction thefts at ATM machines) and street robberies or ‘snatches’. Each child was worth £40,000 a quarter. Work the maths out for yourselves but the value of the children to the gang was in the millions of pounds. All of the money was being sent home to Romania to build marble palaces in Tandarei. This, in turn, attracted more poor families to want to be a part of the ‘Clan’, selling their children to the gang. It was in fact far worse than this. The children, usually young girls, were married into the family for a ‘Dowry’ of about £20,000. The poor Roma couldn’t afford to pay this ‘Dowry’ so they put their children up as collateral. Effectively putting the family in a debt bondage circle they could never escape from. If the gang wanted more children they would just approach the family and say their child was not earning the ‘Clan’ enough and another child was required. Each child was sent out to earn a minimum of £300 a day. They were not to come home until they did. The ‘Clan’ also then claimed addition benefits for the extra children, required to be housed in bigger homes, costing more Housing Benefit earning greater cash for the clan. The cycle just continues to spiral out of sight.
So this blog is just the tip of the story. Contact me if you want more!