Waste trafficking and the overall problem of waste transport are matters that should be of concern to every one. Fraudulent individuals gain profit from breaking the rules, at the expense of society, the economy, the environment and above all of public health. Nowadays environmental crimes are clearly linked with organised crime due to the vast profits.
One of the key responsibilities of all police forces is to ensure the safety of the population. When the environment and public health are at stake, unwavering action has to be taken without delay, which explains why this phenomenon is one of the priorities for the police in Europe.
On 1 July 2010, Belgium takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and during this period, the Belgian Integrated Police are permitted to advance certain priorities financed by the European Commission.
Waste trafficking is without doubt linked with illegal waste transport. Hence, an efficacious way to tackle waste trafficking is to check whether the transport of waste products is carried out in compliance with the enforced rules.
To develop a European approach, police officers from 19 Member States attended a training seminar on waste trafficking and illegal waste transport on 18-20 May 2010 in Brussels.
Participants from Hungary, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Slovenia, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands and Belgium attended the training session which was a first definite step in the context of the Augias project, one of the main areas of interest of the Integrated Police for the upcoming Belgian EU Presidency.
The ambitious Augias project (named after the Greek mythological character of Augias with his dirty stables) will run over a period of two years. The project follows a fixed schedule of conferences, meetings and field checks during which experts and staff members will do their best to reach a mutual approach and to develop the necessary tools and to test the user-friendliness, accessibility and efficiency of the tools.
The goals of the project are:
- To get a clear and accurate view on the present situation concerning waste transport and trafficking in and around Europe;
- To inform police officers of the problem and to ease the enforcement of the legislation by developing a manual, consistent forms and uniform training;
- To develop a uniform, European approach of the phenomenon;
- To involve CEPOL as partner for the future;
- To ensure a cleaner and safer environment.
Although Belgium kicked-off the project, it was done in close cooperation with Hungary and the Netherlands. Hungary will continue the project during their Presidency in 2011 which is due to end in June 2011.
The seminar was developed in close cooperation with CEPOL. CEPOL’s involvement was to assist with specialised training methods and join the project as a partner. Theo Brekelmans, Programme Coordinator at CEPOL Secretariat, gave an overview of the concept of “Train the trainers” during the seminar.
Chief Inspector Erwin Verheuge of CEPOL Belgium, specialised in environmental crime and author of the handbook, said: “Each participant receives a handbook on tackling environmental crime. In this manual I have put 15 years of experience and it is a translation of the difficult EU Regulation 1013/2006 concerning ‘illegal waste transport’ The manual is mainly practice-based and is aimed at the field police officer. The purpose is to convince the police officers in the field, that illegal trafficking of waste is indeed a problem.”
In the autumn a large-scale international action will take place in order to control waste transport on road, rail and water.