Scotland welcomes INTERPOL to Glasgow for week of waste crime action

date05 June 2016

As the World celebrates World Environment Day, Scotland is gearing up to welcome representatives from across the globe to Glasgow for a week of tackling environmental crime.

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INTERPOL’s Pollution Crime Working Group (PCWG) will meet in Glasgow for the first time tomorrow (Monday 6 June) for a three day conference to share experiences and explore new ways of disrupting global pollution crime.

The PCWG brings together 30 countries from around the world and high on this year’s agenda will be opportunities for the development of information sharing and intervention initiatives targeting the illegal trans-frontier shipment of hazardous wastes and other pollution crime priorities.

The event also provides an opportunity for Scotland’s law enforcement and regulatory agencies to highlight their work in tackling serious environmental waste crime through multi-agency partnership working.

On Wednesday this group will report to INTERPOL’s Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Committee (ECEC) Advisory Board, which is currently chaired by Calum Macdonald, Executive Director at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), and will also be meeting in Glasgow.

Calum Macdonald, Executive Director at SEPA, said:

“Environmental crime is a threat to the world’s environment and economy and we are at a cross roads in how we now respond to this crisis. It is not something that we can tackle as individual organisations or countries.

“Trans-national organised crime groups across the world change their operations quickly to evade our investigative actions, so we have to be equally dynamic and adaptive. That means we need to think differently and explore new tools to stay one step ahead. INTERPOL has been at the forefront of these transnational investigations since 1992 and in SEPA we’re looking to play our part in this work, while recognising that the scale and coordination of the efforts have to be increased and widened in scale and scope.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming our global colleagues to Scotland, showing how we’re tackling some of these issues, learning from experts from around the world, and committing to working with them to hit criminality hard, tackle vulnerabilities in the market that criminals can exploit, and prevent them from operating and profiting from crime.”

Joseph Poux, Deputy-Chief of Environmental Crimes Section, US Department of Justice and Chair of the Pollution Crime Working Group, said:

“Criminals do not respect borders. To the contrary, they use geographic boundaries to conceal their illegal activities and to provide “safe havens” for themselves and assets derived from their crimes. In addition, they have access to sophisticated tools and technology that allow them to better conceal their criminal activities. To combat these criminals and establish effective deterrence, all countries must work collaboratively to share information, develop investigative best practices, and coordinate enforcement strategies.

“This week’s meeting of INTERPOL’s Pollution Crime Working Group presents a tremendous and exciting opportunity for attending countries to take a major step to combat international pollution crime.”

Also on Monday the Cabinet Secretary for Justice chairs a meeting of the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce at the Scottish Crime Campus at Gartcosh. Police Scotland, the Crown Office, Local Authorities and the Third sector are all represented on the taskforce along with SEPA, where we are working together to detect environmental crime in Scotland making this one of the most hostile areas in the world for criminals to operate.

Deputy Crown Agent Lindsey Miller, who leads the Disrupt strand of the Serious Organised Crime Taskforce, said:

“By working closely together, COPFS and SEPA have successfully disrupted the activities of individuals and companies who have attempted to profit from environmental crime.

"A series of high profile convictions and the imposition of significant fines, and confiscation orders under the proceeds of crime legislation has shown that we will rigorously pursue those who seek to degrade our environment for their own greed.

"Scotland is leading the way because of the excellent partnership between SEPA and the specialist prosecutors tasked with tackling both wildlife and environmental crime and serious and organised crime."

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said:

“This Government is absolutely clear that there is no place for serious organised crime in Scotland and by continuing to work closely with the relevant agencies we are making sure this message hits home.

“Scotland is taking the global stage by welcoming INTERPOL to Glasgow for a week of waste crime action to share experiences in tackling environmental crime and discuss new strategies and techniques that can be used to benefit the environment both at home and abroad.

“I am extremely proud that this week of action is taking place in the Scottish Government-funded Scottish Crime Campus, which is a very visible example of the collaborative approach we’re taking to tackling crime. It is this kind of multi-agency partnership working that provides the best opportunity to catch these criminals which is why we now have a specialist wildlife and environmental crime prosecutor now based full time at the campus.”

ENDS

 

Notes to editor

 

  • A 2014 study estimated that crime associated with the waste industry impacts on the UK economy in the region of £568m per year.

 

  • The ECEC is made up of law enforcement officers, officials and experts from across INTERPOL’s 190 member countries – The Committee meets to discuss and agree new strategies and practices, share experience and expertise, and build the bridges of international cooperation necessary in the fight against international environmental crime. This includes tackling organised criminal trans-national wildlife, fishery, logging and pollution crime.