October 18, 2019 05:35

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Customs on the front Line of drug prevention and combat: Final Part: Special support needed for the customs force

13:54 | 27/05/2019

VCN- The Customs’ drug prevention and combat department has achieved many good results. In order to carry out this difficult task however, they need specific policies similar to the policy for the Police force.

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Drug control and prevention team at Cha Lo border gate, Quang Binh Customs Department uses trained dogs to detect drugs on vehicles. Photo: Tuan Anh

Many problems

A representative of the Department of Anti-Smuggling Investigation (General Department of Customs) said: According to the current law, the regulations on the authority and duties of the Customs authorities in inspection, control, detection, handling ,buying and selling and transporting drugs across the border are limited. In some localities, there were cases, due to professional requirements, the police force and the Border Guards suggested to not arrest the suspects immediately but to apply professional measures to arrest the whole drug line.

But when the object is not caught, it is very difficult to hand over the files and evidence of the case in accordance with the law. Procedural conditions for drug cases must have exhibits and subjects to investigate and prosecute.

There are also no regulations and guidelines on taking samples, management and use of drug samples, pre-substances and drugs, psychotropic drugs for security, defense or regulations on the management and use of drug samples for training and improving professional skills for forces in drug prevention.

For organization apparatus, equipment and policy for the specialized anti-drug force of the Customs sector, the Prime Minister approved the program "Strengthening drug prevention and control of the customs sector". Following the direction of the Government and the Ministry of Finance, the Customs sector has focused on organizing a specialized drug prevention and combat force with a unified system from Central to local at 3 levels (Department of Anti-Smuggling Investigation has 4 units of sub-departments and teams), local Customs Department (12 units with the Drug Control and Prevention Team), and the Customs branches assigned drug prevention, Anti-Smuggling Control Team or Professional Team.

However, according to Anti-smuggling and Investigation Department, most customs officers who are assigned in drug prevention are not trained in investigating crime, so the ability and qualifications are still limited. In addition, the policy on employee rotation is still inadequate, leading to a lack of specialized human resources who have the knowledge and professionalism, affecting the effectiveness of the fight against drugs.

Recently, customs officers in charge of drug prevention and control in the customs sector have had to overcome difficulties they often work in ‘hot’ or remote areas to complete their tasks. They regularly face dangerous criminals and risks, however, there is no specific support policy. Meanwhile, the technical equipment invested at border-gate customs departments such as surveillance cameras, inspection machines, and goods and luggage scanners are now damaged by long term use or are outdated and do not meet requirements.

Regarding coordination, the implementation of the National Single Window has not really met requirements leading to a lack of pre-existing information for import and export goods, passengers, vehicles and luggage. The coordination among the front line forces in the anti-drug battle (Police, Border Guards, Customs, and Coast Guard) has positive changes but the exchange and feedback of professional information has not been carried out regularly and promptly, especially information related to subject, lines and organizations of drug crimes or results of handling cases and evidence related to crimes of drug trafficking that have been investigated.

After reviewing and evaluating the implementation of the Prime Minister's Decision No. 133/2002 / QD-TTg dated October 9, 2002, publicizing "Regulation on coordination between Police forces and Border Guards, Coast Guard and Customs teams in drug prevention and combat at border and sea areas”, so far the related parties have not agreed a coordination regulation on the fight against drug crime among forces to meet the task requirements consistent with the functions and competence of each force in the situation.

Need special policies

In order to achieve greater efficiency in drug prevention and control of the Customs, the representative of the Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department proposed to increase investment in equipment ,build a policy for officials and further improve coordination among forces.

In particular, in order to ensure regimes and policies and attract human resources, it needs to strengthen and develop a strong force for drug prevention and control in the Customs sector and needs to provide conditions for officials to complete the task. The Anti-Smuggling Investigation Department proposed leaders of competent levels to consider and publicize specific policies, supporting the specialized crime prevention and control force of the Customs sector in the same direction as specific support policies of the police force. In addition, the General Department of Customs proposes the Government and the Ministry of Finance purchasemodern container screening machines, goods scanners and specialized equipment for detecting drugs that will equip all customs units nationwide to meet the requirements and tasks of drug prevention.

Regarding the coordination between the forces fighting drug prevention and combat, it is necessary to unify and advise leaders at all levels in publicizing regulations on coordination in replacing regulations in Decision No. 133/2002 / QD -TTg. It is also necessary to build coordination regulations between the customs force and Police on drug-related crimes in the struggle with illegal trading and transport of narcotics through border gates. Especially in the areas of reconnaissance and investigation, it needs to study and develop a special battle plan together with specific tasks and responsibilities assigned to each force.

Since July 2018, (especially after the Directive No. 4550 / CT-TCHQ dated August 2, 2018 of the General Director of Customs on enhancing the drug prevention and fight work of the Customs sector) the Customs sector has chaired and coordinated with functional forces to detect 129 cases.

More than 1.6 tons of drugs and nearly 180,000 synthetic narcotic tablets have been seized, a record number of narcotics. Among the drugs, 218kg of heroin, 30kg of opium, 725kg of methamphetamine, 127.6kg of cocaine, 502kg of ketamin and 40.6kg of marijuana.

(Source: Department of Anti-Smuggling Investigation)

By Nguyen Quoc/ Kieu Oanh