From 30 March to 31 March 2021 the international workshop on the problematics of investigation of economic crimes "Combatting of Crimes against Environment" was held within the framework of the project No.EEZ/VP/2020/1 “Support to the State Police for increasing effectiveness and quality of economic crime investigation in Latvia” implemented by the State Police.
Approximately 120 participants of the State Police, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, the State Environment Service (SES), Nature Conservation Agency, Prosecutor Office and Multi Industry Specialized Prosecutor’s Office of the Republic of Latvia. The purpose of the workshop was to provide theoretical knowledge, practical opinions and recommendations in the field of investigation of economic crimes on the environment crimes and combatting thereof.
The workshop was opened by the Head of the State Police Armands Ruks, emphasizing the priority of prevention of environment crimes, and the speeches were made also by Pēteris Bauska, the Head of the State Police Economic Crime and Combatting Department (ECCD) and Vitālijs Polovinskis, the Head of the 2nd Unit of ECCD, emphasizing the important cooperation between the institutions, in particular with the SES. The Director General of the SES Elita Baklāne‑Ansberga also appreciated the current efficient cooperation between the responsible authorities in combatting of environmental crimes in Latvia.
During the workshop it was possible to hear the stories of experience on combatting of environment crimes from the Project OPFA-WASTE implemented by the State Police as well as the success stories of the ECCD. Besides, there was a possibility to acquire theoretical knowledge from the representatives of JSC VentEko about environment pollution - its causes, impact and consequences, as well as about the stages of expert-examination of environment pollution and problem issues. The representative of the field of justice of the USA also shared his experience in investigation of environment crimes.
Participants of the workshop had an opportunity to find put the vision of the representatives of the SES on the most typical violations and possible criminal offences against environment. Experts of the SES introduced with the operation of the manufacturer’s responsibility system and shared experience on the events, when attempts to avoid payments of the natural resources tax were made. Besides, the SES introduced with the requirements from waste management companies and what signs are characteristic to unlawful waste management.
In turn, the representatives of the USA Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shared knowledge and experience on environment crimes, their investigation process, harm to nature and the possibilities of elimination of their consequences. During the workshop the participants had a possibility to ask questions they are interested in and to receive an answer from the experts of the represented authorities in the form of discussion.
Taking into account that his workshop was held online, the participants assessed the course of the workshop, including technical solutions (programme, translation channels, online communication), very good and excellent, emphasizing that the topic of the workshop is currently extremely topical. Participants of the workshop have shared also their feedbacks and appreciated in particular the possibility to hear experience and success stories, at the same time having an opportunity to renew theoretical knowledge. The participants have mentioned that "in general the topics of the workshop were useful and they will already have certain guidelines during investigation of relevant criminal offences to follow and to what authorities to turn for help" and "it was very useful both, to refresh the current knowledge as well as find out the experience of the USA in the investigation of such crimes."
The international workshop on the investigation issues of economic crimes "Combatting of Crimes Against Environment" was organized within the framework of the European Economic area grant 2014-2021 programme “International Police Cooperation and Combating Crime” project No.EEZ/VP/2020/1 “Support to the State Police for increasing effectiveness and quality of economic crime investigation in Latvia”.