On September 14th, Karsten Bettels, Detective Director at the Police Academy of Lower Saxony and Course Leader of the International Cold Case Analysis Project (ICCAP), joined AMBER Alert Europe’s Advisory Board. With his accession, Bettels brings years of experience and expertise in matters related to missing person cold cases and respective training to the Foundation.

“It is a great opportunity to work with the network of AMBER Alert Europe, as well as with the PEN-MP and partners in interested third countries, to establish the International Cold Case Analysis Project (ICCAP) on a permanent basis and also to support and standardise training on missing persons and cold cases within the EU. I would like to support this with all my strength”, says Bettels about his accession.

Bettels joined the Lower Saxony State Police (Germany) in 1979 at the age of 17. After four years, he switched to the investigative branch, where he performed various tasks, including in the area of initial measures in homicides and missing person cases.

In 2004, he became Head of the Criminal Investigation Department in the district of Cuxhaven. From 2004 to 2005, Bettels led two special commissions to investigate missing and murdered children (SoKo Levke). Since 2010, he has been in charge of training homicide squad leaders at the Police Academy of Lower Saxony and has conducted analyses with students in more than 30 cold cases since 2014.

In 2020, Bettels stood at the cradle of the International Cold Case Analyses Project (ICCAP), an international cooperation on cold cases between police colleges and universities under the umbrella of the Police Expert Network on Missing Persons (PEN-MP), AMBER Alert Europe, and Locate International. Besides enabling young police officers and students to establish a close link between theory and practice in cold cases, the participants ultimately aim to help families across Europe to find closure after the disappearance of a loved one.

So far, 19 cold cases have been analysed in parallel international and national courses with more than 170 students. As a result, further investigation was triggered in some of the cases.

“The combination of young police students working with students from different faculties, with their state-of-the-art forensic, criminological, and psychological knowledge, offers tremendous potential for law enforcement to analyse missing person cases and cold cases as it can provide them with the information they really need. At the same time, students gain first-hand experience from working on these cases. It truly is a win-win situation.”