Europol is adding a whiff of summer holiday fun to its hunt for hardened criminals. On its website, Europol (the Europe Union's police agency) has issued 21 original digital "postcards' addressed to the continent's Most Wanted list, which includes murderers, drug traffickers, and rapists.
Hoping to solicit help from the public, the online 2017 summer campaign that recently launched aims to play off obvious contrasts and personalizes the message.
In Spain, the postcard shows a beach with parasols, penning a message to Diego, a drug trafficker, telling him "the beaches of Spain are missing him" and asking him to "visit them soon."
In the Czech Republic, Europol promised a man accused of large scale fraud "a cold pilsner and a generous gift voucher" if he comes back. "We haven't seen you in a while! We have one more space left on our next ski trip, please come back to enjoy our beautiful Alps," the Austrian postcard beckons, showing snowy mountains behind skiers on a ski-lift. Attached to these "wish you were here" cards, a sheet describing the criminal is attached, including his name, age, crime and physical appearance.
It is not the first time Europol has used black humor to help track down criminals, French daily Le Figaro reports. Before Christmas last year, each day the agency posted photos of the fugitives most wanted by the 23 EU member-nations on the website's Advent Calendar.
The Hague-based agency says the initiative hopes to draw information from people in order to catch fugitives by finding out their exact location, when traditional investigation measures have not led to their arrest. In a press release, the agency points out that "while most of us are enjoying a well-deserved summer break, criminals are not taking time off from crime."