The IPA/2017 Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans Project has supported, from the very beginning, the establishment of the Fugitive Active Search Teams (FAST) Unit in Albania to enhance the competences of the Albanian State Police Officers engaged in the on-going investigations and search for fugitives.

Previously, in September 2019, the IPA/2017 CSCWB Project supported two Albanian FAST Unit representatives at the European Network of Fugitive Active Search Teams (ENFAST) Core Group Meeting in Krakow, Poland. During the three-day meeting, the most important issues related to activating searches for fugitives were addressed. Members of the ENFAST Group also expressed their positive vote for FAST Albania to participate as a “Candidate Observer Country” in the ENFAST working group. This vote represented a positive first step for FAST Albania to participate with the status of “Observer Country” in the future.

During November 2019, FAST Albania underwent a training about the FAST Operation Model, carried out by three Croatian experts. On 25 November, the functioning of the FAST Unit was regulated by the Instruction No. 684 “On the rules for conducting search and arrest of persons, as well as finding searched items”, signed by the Albanian Minister of Interior Sandër Lleshaj. Following this, the IPA/2017 CSCWB Resident Expert to Albania visited the FAST Unit Headquarters in Tirana.

Support from the Project to the Albanian FAST Unit will continue in the future. In February 2020, representatives from the Albanian FAST Unit will participate in the ENFAST group meeting in Croatia. During the meeting the status of Albania as an “Observer Country” shall be proposed and FAST Albania will be presented to other members of the ENFAST Group, who will make the final decision.