Regional Customs - Police Workshop on Wildlife Enforcement

11 diciembre 2018

Under the auspices of the INAMA Project, an Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT) Regional Customs – Police Enforcement Workshop for Francophone African countries was conducted.

The Workshop was attended by 16 customs officers in the first week, where after 4 police officers joined in the second week.

Three ‘Train The Trainer’ events were conducted in 2018 under the auspices of the INAMA Project Phase 1. The second phase – i.e. IWT Enforcement Training - addresses enforcement and criminal investigation skills, risk management, and joint operations with police authorities.

The customs – police cooperation is important as customs seizures of illegal wildlife need to be followed-through by investigations and prosecutions in order to ensure the dismantling of criminal networks. 

The WCO Environment Programme received close support from the COPES Programme where specialist trainers delivered part of the training (i.e. week 1). It bears mention that the COPES Programme has also assisted the INAMA Project during previous IWT training sessions.

Various aspects were covered during the course, such as criminal investigations techniques, local legislation, questioning, note taking, retaining the chain of custody, admissibility of evidence, prosecutions etc., risk management, evaluation of the current IWT risk picture in the countries represented, technical CITES convention training, and police / customs joint operations.

Customs and police officers from Burkina Faso; Cote de I’voire; Cameroon; Congo; Gabon; Madagascar; and Togo attended.

Some of the objectives of the Regional workshop included, amongst others:

  • To raise awareness regarding IWT amongst the Francophone customs and police administrations.
  • To introduce attendees to WCO platforms, such as ENVIRONET.
  • To build technical IWT enforcement skills and knowledge with the attendees in relation to CITES (e.g. working and administration of the Convention, species identification etc.).
  • To build lasting relationships between customs and police colleagues, and to ensure the hand-over process between customs and police is streamlined.
  • To conduct joint planning aimed at IWT enforcement operations.
  • To jointly devise strategies to ensure arrests and persecutions (i.e. the dismantling of criminal networks).
  • To identify risks (per country).

The knowledge gained by the participants will support the WCO INAMA Wildlife Enforcement Operation PRAESIDIO that will be conducted in 2019.