As years have gone by in my police career in interrogating suspects, doing house searches, escorting fraudsters to be remanded in custody in court, in trainings, conferences and with friends on a Friday evening, at some point there was a moment of clarity: we must begin to do things in a new way.
It's a decades old tradition that police officers and private companies' fraud managers sat in their silos and felt some intangible feelings of pride in their work but frustration for the poor results year after year. The criminals seemed to be living the high life and the worst individuals were never arrested. And the ones that were unlucky to be arrested, somehow escaped the judicial system with lenient consequenses, usually keeping their loot.
Vesa, Paul and myself decided to try something new. Let's bring the Law Enforcement together in a new way, we thought. The problem was money, though.
The economic downturn in Europe since 2008 seemed to strip all police organizations of half of their funds, and private companies were also cutting costs. None of the colleagues had any money or time to attend trainings of international cooperation, not from their employers pockets, and certainly not from their own.
Still at the same time, the European cyber security threats and payment data breaches seemed to reach new levels each year.
We formed the European Cyber Crime and Fraud Investigators (ECCFI) this year to try something new. By creating a non-profit association with sources of external funding, we could finance the trainings for hundreds of police officers in EU each year, and offering the private sector colleagues a network of motivated and skilled Law Enforcement officers to rub their heads together with.
The idea was, if we could get the Law Enforcement in one place, the private sector would surely follow. The need for cooperation was and is very clear.
So, here we are. This is ECCFI. It is just a start, but we are willing to try.
If you are reading this, you might be one of us - even if you don't know it yet. Keep an open mind and check the About ECCFI-page.
In any case: watch this space!
-Tero- May 21, 2017, The Hague, Netherlands