Customs administrations around the world play a vitally important role in the fight against trans-national crime. In order to be effective they require the necessary hardware and software, as well as the related knowledge and skills to implement simplified and improved customs procedures, with modern customs operational techniques. In today’s digital age, a fast flow of information between countries, agencies and front-line staff is a key factor in effective border control and the disruption of illicit trade. Faced with the task of promoting greater connectivity and more harmonious interaction, the WCO is putting an ever-increasing value on technology and innovation.
The WCO Customs Enforcement Network became operational in 2000, but since then the CEN suite has grown to include a number of standalone applications. Complimentary and compatible in nature, the applications provide Customs with the latest technology tools within a secure global network to successfully meet the challenges of the digital age.
The Customs Enforcement Network (CEN)
As the pioneer of the CEN suite, the CEN application was conceived to assist the Customs enforcement community in gathering data and information for intelligence purposes. This module acts as a central depositary for enforcement-related information; its success resting squarely on the steady flow of quality data provided by all WCO Members.
An updated version of the CEN application was introduced in 2011. At its core is a database of seizures and offences as well as pictures required for the analysis of illicit trafficking in the various areas of Customs’ competence. A communication component facilitates cooperation between users at the international level, while the CEN website gives them the possibility to consult various enforcement-related publications such as alerts, analytical reports and informational bulletins.
In a constant effort to improve the application, new functions and features are periodically introduced to make the system increasingly user-friendly. From its accessibility via all browsers, automatic password expiry notifications, to a powerful search function for cases or photos, the ability to extract the search results to an Excel spreadsheet or upload a large number of cases at once via the automatic upload capability, the CEN application is developing to meet the needs of users across the globe, who contribute ideas on a daily basis into the CEN discussion forum.
The CEN application is essentially an analytical tool. Its functions allow users to mine data, which is crucial in terms of defining strategies, preparing risk indicators and identifying trends. The MS Access database that can be downloaded from the CEN, while the in-built statistics feature makes it easy to convert this data into tangible results. Intelligence is a vital element of enforcement, and the CEN application enables all WCO Members to access a critical mass of information which forms the basis of intelligence.
For more information on the CEN, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Customs Enforcement Network (nCEN)
The National Customs Enforcement Network (nCEN) is a system developed by the WCO to assist Customs administrations with the collection and storage of law-enforcement information on the national level, with the additional capability to exchange this information at the regional and international levels. Through the adoption of the nCEN, administrations have the ability to manage information on all aspect of their law-enforcement functions, including seizures and offences and suspected persons or business entities, within a modern national system that can be standalone or used in a networked environment. The Information Communication Interface (Icomm) included in nCEN allows administrations to exchange data with other nCEN users provided the existence of a legal premise, or to transfer the non-nominal components of the data directly to the global CEN database.
As a first step in the comprehensive global implementation process, a road-map document with a questionnaire and the security guidelines were sent out to all WCO Members in 2012. The assessment of questionnaires and pre-deployment missions are carried out to identify and mitigate potential risks with the implementation plan. Following the procurement of hardware and the installation of the nCEN software, training workshops, possibly combined with intelligence analysis training, are organised at the regional or national levels.
In order to face the challenges of the digital age, Customs administrations must commit to continuous improvement and modernisation of their procedures and operational techniques. In a global economy based on information computerisation, the nCEN enables Customs administrations to take large steps on the path to good governance, trade facilitation, stricter law enforcement and ultimately sustainable development and economic growth.
For more information on the nCEN please contact email@example.com.
The Customs Enforcement Network Communication Platform (CENcomm)
We are fast becoming a world economy based on the communication of information. The evolution of technology into our daily lives has allowed rapid global communication while business and social networking is shaping our modern society. The ability to exchange and disseminate information in a secure environment, especially when time is of the essence, is imperative for Customs during special border enforcement operations. With this in mind, CENcomm was conceived as a web-based communication system permitting a closed user group of officers to exchange messages via encrypted channels, in real time, for the duration of an operation or project.
Encouraged by the popularity of the application amongst WCO Members and eager to meet user expectations, the WCO has increased customisation of the system to cater to the needs of specific operations or user groups. For example, members of a closed user group can exchange information in a standardised manner with the use of templates available in CENcomm, which can be amended upon request to only include data fields which are pertinent to this specific operation. Subsequently, the organisers of the operation have the option of extracting the collected data for analytical purposes.
Accessible via the Internet, 24-hours-a-day, overcoming language barriers through its availability in five different languages, CENcomm is the epitome of global communication for law enforcement officers.
For more information on CENcomm, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.