Officials from environmental and law enforcement agencies from 30 countries are meeting at a three-day summit in Scotland, seeking to draw up a joint response to international waste crime.
The joint action is a part of Interpol’s Pollution Crime Working Group, which convenes today (6 June) in Glasgow and will seek to explore new ways of disrupting global pollution crime.
Countries represented at the conference include Canada, the United States, the Netherlands, France, India, South Africa and Spain.
The group will explore information sharing, intervention initiatives targeting the illegal trans-frontier shipment of hazardous wastes and other pollution crime priorities.
On Wednesday, officials will report to Interpol’s Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Committee (ECEC) Advisory Board, which is currently chaired by Calum Macdonald, executive director at the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).
Mr MacDonald, said: “Environmental crime is a threat to the world’s environment and economy and we are at a cross roads in how we now respond to this crisis. It is not something that we can tackle as individual organisations or countries.
“Trans-national organised crime groups across the world change their operations quickly to evade our investigative actions, so we have to be equally dynamic and adaptive. This means we need to think differently and explore new tools to stay one step ahead. Interpol has been at the forefront of these transnational investigations since 1992 and in our agency we’re looking to play our part in this work, while recognising that the scale and coordination of the efforts have to be increased and widened in scale and scope.”
Scotland’s law enforcement and regulatory agencies will highlight at the conference their work in tackling environmental waste crime through ‘multi-agency partnership working’.
Joseph Poux, deputy-chief of environmental crimes section, US department of justice and chair of the pollution crime working group, said: “Criminals do not respect borders. To the contrary, they use geographic boundaries to conceal their illegal activities and to provide “safe havens” for themselves and assets derived from their crimes.”
Scotland’s justice secretary Michael Matheson will also today chair a meeting of the Serious Scotland’s Organised Crime taskforce, Police Scotland, the Crown Office, local authorities and charities.
Mr Matheson, said: “This government is absolutely clear that there is no place for serious organised crime in Scotland and by continuing to work closely with the relevant agencies – we are making sure this message hits home.”
Lindsey Miller, deputy crown agent and leader of the Disrupt strand of the Serious Organised Crime taskforce believes Scotland is “leading” in tackling waste crime.