Harmonized Standard Operating Procedures (HSOP) – A Model for Cooperation

Maritime security threats are trans-boundary and mobile in nature thus pose a number of legal challenges for maritime law enforcement agencies in asserting and exercising jurisdiction, but also collecting and handling evidence and hence creating the building blocks of any investigation and prosecution.

Enforcing law at sea requires cooperation between more than one law enforcement agency: if assets are often provided by the national Navies, hence by military agencies, expertise on specific crimes can only be provided by specialized law enforcement agencies which are often non-military institutions, while investigation and prosecution are conducted by non-military actors. Collecting evidence at sea, handling the same to specialists, storing and handling the same to investigators and prosecutors is a collective effort which aim is a fair trial for those suspects apprehended at sea.

This collective effort benefits from the existence and implementation of a regulatory framework which encompasses the role of each agency into a more holistic approach. Standard Operating Procedures for evidence collection and investigation are an instrument for coordinating the work of all maritime law enforcement agencies toward a unique target: effective investigation and prosecution of maritime crimes.

Mr. Giuseppe Sernia

Will be leading the discussion on this theme at the conference