The World Customs Organization (WCO) and International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) have jointly released the “Customs-Police Cooperation Handbook,” a guide to further enhancing cooperation and collaboration between these two agencies.
The handbook was launched on March 23, 2018 during the 37th Session of the WCO Enforcement Committee (EC) under the theme “Customs Enforcement: Securing Trade and Travel.”
This guidance material aims to describe the complementary roles of each institution and identify the opportunities for collaboration, WCO said in a statement on April 17.
The handbook also provides an overview of the typologies of cooperation models that exist and presents the key elements and initiatives that can be implemented to foster better coordination and enhanced cooperation.
Finally, the guide contains an assessment tool that seeks to evaluate the state-of-play of relations between customs and police at national level.
“This year’s theme for the Committee reflected the increasingly important role played by the international Customs community in addressing cross-border security challenges while safeguarding the interests of legitimate traders and travellers,” said WCO.
Counting more than 150 customs delegates, the committee also saw the participation of other members of the enforcement community, including representatives from the CITES Secretariat, Europol, Frontex, the International Criminal Court, INTERPOL, the United Nations Counter Terrorism Committee, the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and the World Intellectual Property Organization.
Many participants expressed strong support for the joint work of the WCO and INTERPOL in developing the handbook, and emphasized the importance of efficient coordination in customs and police activities to avoid overlaps and waste of resources and to foster close cooperation, especially in information exchange.
The customs-police cooperation manual is addressed to both police and customs officers at all levels of hierarchy, said WCO.
“While it does not offer a ‘one-size fits all’ solution, it recognizes that countries have varying levels of cooperation in line with their national legislative and constitutional framework. As such, it provides recommendations on how to strengthen relations between Customs and Police, depending on the current state-of-play.”
The handbook is available to WCO members via the WCO website.
Photo courtesy of WCO