09/15/2009

European police launch online community for cops

Associated Press

ROME — European police forces launched a new online community Tuesday for cops to blog and send instant messages to one another so they can share advice and beef up security in the EU zone.

The online community began in January as a pilot project involving police from Italy, France, Ireland, Romania, Interpol, Europol, and the European Commission. On Tuesday, the network was expanded for use by law enforcement agencies across the EU.

On the secure portal, officers can blog, share documents and even send instant messages to one another and share information about projects and practices. Main areas of discussion are preventing child pornography, violence against women and drunk driving, officials said at the launch Tuesday.

Olivia Poupot, of the French police, praised the networking site for its ability to "communicate the common challenges and objectives of all countries and then apply them back home."

The community was the brainchild of Turin police officer Filippo Dispenza, who set up a telephone hotline in the mid-1990s for different law-enforcement agencies to share information.

"This Internet function is the most modern development of that hotline's principle," he said.

The community, open only to authorized users, is part of the European Commission's interactive epractice portal, which aims to help authorities across the EU zone communicate better.

For more information: http://www.epractice.eu/

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