Environmental crime is a relatively new, complex and multifaceted typology of crime. The negative impact of this criminal area has been outlined by Europol and the EC, which have highlighted its effects not only on Environment but also on economies and growth. Based on the Europol’s intelligence report on environmental crime as a new emerging threat (2013), the Council of the EU and the Commission triggered debates at operational and strategic level (such as Law Enforcement Working Party and C.O.S.I – article 71 TFUE) on the necessary response to tackle the phenomenon.
The results of this debate may be leading in the next future to reconsider the EU’s priorities in tackling major threats to the EU’s internal security, which might include environmental crimes in the EMPACT, the EU operational and coordinate response to major threats on internal security.
The Italian experience brought to consider Environmental Crime as a vast area of criminal and economic interest. In this light, a Joint Police Operation Waste Trafficking - JPO coordinated by the Applicant and supported by Europol, has been conducted in November 2014. The action involved 38 different Law Enforcement Agencies and customs from 14 Member States, active members of the “EnviCrimeNet”.
The results of the JPO were introduced to the LEWP and COSI (ex-article 71 TFUE). The operation has been positively welcome by many EU MS delegations, Eurojust, Europol and the Commission, which endorsed future similar initiatives.
The JPO and its outcome, along with the clear necessity to enhance operational capacities of EU police forces to tackle environmental crime, have inspired the concept of TECUM and its structure.
TECUM project is designed to fill operational gaps in cross-border fight against environmental crime, focussing on its organized crime aspect. During its 18 months of implementation, the project will engage in in-depth analysis of JPO results and related best practices, including integration of environmental crime dimension in general organized crime investigations. The analysis results will be discussed in a major seminar at half-project file, involving all EU MS, Europol, Eurojust, Interpol and other specialized agencies, as well as civil society and scientific community. It will constitute the basis for specialized trainings delivered to representatives of all EU MS and mentioned agencies, focussing on their operational implementation in a second major JPO – final holistic output of project implementation.
The results of TECUM will encompass consolidation of operational best practices for environmental crime cross-border investigations and improved technical competence of EU police forces and agencies (thanks to direct training of over sixty specialists and workshop involving over one-hundred). It will also ensure improved awareness on environment-related crimes through participatory events and a first-time assessment of public perception of this phenomenon, particularly on its organized crime dimension. The sustainability of the project will lie in transfer of all practices, material and data to specialized agencies such as CEPOL, Europol, Eurojust and Interpol, as well as to EU national police forces. It will be greatly enhanced thanks to the delivery of an operational database for cross border environmental crime operations: the application source coding will be transferred to Europol and Interpol, to allow its evolution and application in future JPOs and similar actions.
“TECUM (Tackling Environmental Crime throUgh standardized Methodologies) is an operational project which, merging analytical activities to police operations (JPOs), aims at reinforcing capacities of police services and specialized agencies in fighting environmental crime in its particularly dangerous organized crime dimension. The project will tackle illicit waste trafficking as well as related evolutionary forms of environmental crime, fronting the problem with an operational inter-agency approach, aimed at standardization of transnational investigation procedures. TECUM, in Latin “with you”, starts form a JPO implemented by the applicant in 2014, will enhance effective inter-agency cooperation and test its technical/operational contribution by implementing a major JPO on environmental crime in 2016.”
(Col. Battaglia, Project Director, Arma dei Carabinieri)