The demand for illegal firearms influences the illegal supply of firearms across different routes of trafficking. In order to respond to crime effectively, Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) must improve and adapt their investigative means to the more sophisticated conditions of the firearms trafficking, apply special investigative techniques, and strengthen the international cooperation.
Project ECOFIT -Options for EnhanCing Operational instruments in the area of FIreams Trafficking, funded by the European Union’s Internal Security Fund – Police, has identified the best policy options for enhancing effectiveness and efficiency of the operational cooperation between LEAs in the fight against firearms trafficking.
The final conference held in the framework of the project, the webinar “Enhancing operational cooperation in the fight against firearms trafficking” held online on the 10 of May 2021, offered the unique opportunity to:
• Present the key findings of the project, and the best policy options to increase the operational cooperation among European countries and with Southeast European countries
• Provide recommendations and guidelines to better put into action the operational cooperation
• Discuss with experts future challenges in light of the EMPACT Firearms Operational Action Plans and the priorities of the 2020-2025 EU Action Plan on firearms trafficking.
The event was attended by representatives of the law enforcement authorities, SELEC, OCSE, UNESCO, UNODC, INTERPOL and UNDP, as well as by members of the academia and private organisations.
During the meeting, the Director for Operations of SELEC, Mr. Valentin Niculescu, mentioned that the trafficking of firearms continues to represent a threat for the countries in Southeast Europe which are acting either as source, transit or destination, depending on the demand and on the supply capacity, often linked to smuggling of various other commodities, drug trafficking or violent crimes, smuggling of migrants, a/o.
Within project ECOFIT, SELEC has been in charge of mapping through a database and drafting an assessment of the five operational instruments identified as potential areas of improvement: Data Collection, Data Sharing, National Firearms Focal Points, Joint Investigation Teams and Controlled Deliveries. SELEC also organized 5 online workshops on “Gaps and improvements in the fight against firearms trafficking”
Link to the project website: https://www.transcrime.it/ecofit