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Scotland hosts waste crime events

Scotland has welcomed representatives from 30 countries to Glasgow for a week of tackling waste crime.

Interpol’s pollution crime working group (PCWG) is holding a conference from 6-8 June to share experiences and explore new ways of disrupting global pollution crime.

The Group will discuss information sharing and intervention initiatives that target the illegal trans-frontier shipment of hazardous wastes and other waste crime.

Later in the week, it will report to Interpol’s environmental compliance and enforcement committee advisory board, chaired by Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) executive director Calum MacDonald.

MacDonald said: “Transnational organised crime groups across the world change their operations quickly to evade our investigative actions, so we have to be equally dynamic and adaptive.

“We are looking forward to welcoming our global colleagues to Scotland, showing how we’re tackling some of these issues, learning from experts from around the world, and committing to working with them to hit criminality hard, tackle vulnerabilities in the market that criminals can exploit, and prevent them from operating and profiting from crime.”

Joseph Poux, deputy-chief of the US Department of Justice’s environmental crimes section, said: “Criminals do not respect borders. To the contrary, they use geographic boundaries to conceal their illegal activities and provide ‘safe havens’ for themselves and assets derived from their crimes.

“To combat these criminals and establish effective deterrence, all countries must work collaboratively to share information, develop investigative best practices and co-ordinate enforcement strategies.”

Scotland’s justice secretary Michael Matheson will also chair a meeting of the serious organised crime taskforce which involves Sepa, Police Scotland, the Crown Office, local authorities and the third sector.

Matheson said: “It is this kind of multi-agency partnership working that provides the best opportunity to catch these criminals, which is why we now have a specialist wildlife and environmental crime prosecutor based full time at the campus.”

Deputy crown agent Lindsey Miller, who leads the ‘disrupt’ strand of the taskforce, said: “A series of high-profile convictions, and the imposition of significant fines and confiscation orders under proceeds of crime legislation, have shown that we will rigorously pursue those who seek to degrade our environment for their own greed.”

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