Study visit to the Netherlands on how to fight small arms and light weapons

March 13, 2023

EUAM Ukraine in cooperation with the Netherlands National Police organized a study visit on small arms and light weapons for representatives of key Ukrainian institutions on 7 – 9 March. National experts from the Law Enforcement Committee of the Parliament, the National Police of Ukraine and the forensic institutions of Kyiv and Kharkiv had the opportunity to get acquainted with the Dutch experience in combating the illicit trafficking in firearms, the regulation of the circulation of civilian firearms, as well as cooperation and coordination at the national and international levels.

The study visit helped with the establishment of professional links between Ukrainian experts and their colleagues from the Dutch Police, Europol and the Netherlands Forensic Institute. An extensive professional discussion included issues of particular importance to Ukraine, such as firearms register and other databases, exchange of information related to firearms, including ballistics, criminal intelligence and prosecution of firearms-related organized crime cases, tracing the lifecycle of firearms, etc. In addition, the need to bring Ukrainian legislation in line with the EU Directive on control of the acquisition and possession of weapons (2021/555) was emphasized, and the study visit participants had the opportunity to discuss in details issues related to the classification of various types of firearms, their deactivation and demilitarization, as well as appropriate marking.

Based on discussions with representatives of Europol and Dutch police officers involved in the implementation of EMPACT* priorities, it was noted that to date there is no evidence of significant movement of firearms from Ukraine to EU member states. However, in order to increase cooperation between Ukrainian law enforcement agencies and their European counterparts, it would be useful to establish a single firearms focal point in Ukraine responsible for analytics and information sharing related to firearms (nationally and internationally). Best EU practice suggests that the creation of such a focal point significantly increases the efficiency and effectiveness of information exchange and the implementation of plans on combatting illicit arms trafficking.

The study visit on small arms and light weapons is one of EUAM Ukraine’s ongoing efforts to support the actions of Ukraine’s civilian security sector to strengthen the regulation of civilian firearms and combat illicit trafficking in firearms.

* the European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats (EMPACT)