The joint task of the railway companies and the railway police forces is to protect people, property and assets from disruptive or criminal activities and ensure order on railway premises. The increasing development of Europe requires more and more actions from rail organisations beyond their national interests. This means that railway police forces and European railway companies have to work together more closely. As a result, in 1980, a group of railway companies and railway police forces decided to join forces and set up a European association called COLPOFER. With increasing awareness concerning security issues within the UIC, the organization subsequently became a Special Group of the UIC. Since its creation, other European railway companies and railway police forces have joined COLPOFER.

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COLPOFER includes representatives of railway companies and of police authorities in charge of the surveillance of the railway environment. COLPOFER has currently 32 member organizations from 25 European countries.