THE BIO-CRIME MODEL OF COOPERATION
The European Community is facing an exponential increase in transnational organized crime (T.O.C.) characterised by the fact that carrying out a criminal activity in one country generates negative effects on many other countries. Illegal pet trade is a classic example of this criminal phenomenon that generates a huge business with high economic profits.
According to the Decision 1082/2013/UE of the European Parliament and of the Council on serious cross-border threats to health, preparedness and response planning is an essential element for effective monitoring, early warning of and combating serious cross-border threats to health.
The core of the best practice is represented by the development of a formal cooperation agreement
among the main actors involved in tackling Transnational Organised Crime (TOC) related to the illegal animal trade and spreading of zoonotic diseases, i.e. Justice, Veterinary Public Health and Law enforcements on the two sides of the border.
The Public Entities involved are Procura della Repubblica di Udine and Staatsanwaltschaft Klagenfurt, Veterinary Services of Friuli Venezia Giulia Region and Land Kärnten, Polizia Italiana and Austrian Polizei. The Bio-crime Centre has an office inside the International Police Cooperation Centre (IPCC) of Thörl-Maglern and two local units at the Central Veterinary Directions of Friuli Venezia Giulia Region in Trieste (Italy) and Land Kärnten in Klagenfurt (Austria).
This model can be easily replicated and scaled up on a European dimension because the IPCC, Justice and Health infrastructures already exist. It is only a matter of increasing cooperation simultaneously on the sides of each border.
Chapter 4, Organised Crime and Tax evasion, page 30
"...The group agreed that a multi-agency approach was required to tackle a trade that was high value, easy to undertake and pan- national. It looked at two existing networks where this is already being trialled. The Biocrime project was first established between the Friuli-Venezia Guilia and Carinthia Regions to prevent illegal trade in animals at the Italian/Austrian border, and focuses on the human and animal health issues arising from the illegal pet trade through a multi-agency approach. Operating under Decision 1082/2013/EU and with EU financial contribution under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), this cooperation operates under a formal agreement with the International Police Cooperation Centre (IPCC) at Thorl-Maglern, allowing veterinarians, public prosecutors and police to collaborate. By providing training and setting up protocols to deliver cross-border cooperation, the project has already established that 53% of pets traded illegally across the Austrian- Italian border had no documentation. As there are 43 IPCCs around Europe, the Biocrime project could be easily scaled up."