The role of Customs enforcement is to effectively protect society and secure the collection of legally due revenue by fighting against cross-border crimes. In discharging this mandate, Customs compliance and enforcement teams are involved in a wide range of activities ranging from combating commercial fraud; counterfeiting; smuggling of highly taxed goods (such as cigarettes, alcohol and motor spirits), and drugs and precursors; money laundering and terrorist financing; electronic crime; wildlife trafficking; smuggling of arms, nuclear materials, ozone depleting substances, toxic waste, weapons of mass destruction and trafficking of cultural artefacts.
In order to address existing and evolving challenges in the compliance and enforcement environment and based on the high-risk areas identified by its Members, the WCO adopted a new approach. Currently, the work is thematically divided into six Programmes addressing the following areas: Drugs and Precursors, Environment, Intelligence and Risk Management, IPR, Health and Safety, Revenue and Security. Other risk areas, such as electronic crime and trafficking of stolen cultural artefacts are also being addressed by a number of specific activities.
In order to assist its Members improve the effectiveness of their enforcement efforts and achieve a balance between control and facilitation, the WCO has developed comprehensive technical assistance and training packages in each aforementioned area, supported by a number of tools and instruments. For example, within the framework of the Revenue Programme, the WCO established the Post-Compliance Audit (PCA) training and developed the PCA Guidelines serving as a stepping stone in the implementation of the enhanced multi-layered risk management approach. The global intelligence and information gathering functions are supported by the Regional Intelligence Liaison Offices (RILOs) currently established in 11 countries across the globe.
Overall, the tools and instruments include not only the legal instruments, guidelines and compendiums, but also different types of software programmes and technologies, such as the Customs Enforcement Network (CEN) Suite, Cargo Targeting System, Technology Network, Interface Public-Members (IPM), Iris etc. All these capabilities will be further enhanced by other innovations.