Interpol reinforces its fight against environmental crime

Crimes against the environment are a growing and serious international problem, and are committed in different ways.

Enviromental crime

Crime against wildlife comprises the illegal exploitation of worldwide flora and fauna, while crime involving contamination is business and refuse and dangerous substance disposal defy international and national laws. Apart from these crimes, new types of environmental crimes are emerging like the carbon business and crime involving the administration of water.

Interpol is fighting against environmental crime as there are no border restrictions, and this can affect the economy of a nation and its security. This is often carried out by organised criminal networks, attracted by the low risk and high level of profitability of such crimes.

The same routes used by wildlife traffickers between countries and continents are used by those organisations which traffic weapons, drugs and persons. Indeed, environmental crime tends to be associated with other types of crime, like falsifying passports, corruption, money laundering and murder.

Interpol and member states are conducting a series of operations and projects. There are currently five long-term projects which offer courses, operations, exchange of information and analysis of police information, providing support to member states in environment protection:

  • Project EDEN, illegal commerce involving electronic refuse and illegal elimination of pollutants.
  • Project LEAF, to combat illegal felling, illegal commerce involving wood and other related crimes.
  • Project PREDATOR, to improve the ability to fight poaching and the trafficking of large Asian felines and other species.
  • Project SCALE, to help member states to discover, prevent and neutralise transnational fishing crime.
  • Project WISDOM, aimed at the African sub Sahara and intended to neutralise and dismantle criminal organisations which are mainly involved in the illegal ivory trade based on elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns.

It must also be mentioned that the existence of the so-called NEST teams – National Groups Specialised in Environmental Security-. These are multi-disciplined teams of experts from different national organisms – police, customs, and environment and prosecution ministries – which join forces to preserve nature.

Finally, analysis of police information favours the process of taking decisions by helping investigators, administrators and other resources to use the available tools efficiently.

Analysts of Interpol police information can elaborate different types of products:

  • Analysis of networks related to organised crime networks and corporative structures
  • Mapping of the movements of ships, vehicles and persons.
  • Analysis of data taken from electronic devices for forensic purposes.
  • Analysis of images.
  • Determining of criminal trends and new threats.
  • Analysis of communication data related to telephones, bank accounts, emails and messaging applications.
  • Discovery of international connections between cases and criminals.


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