Geneva, 9 July 2001
CITES Tiger Enforcement Task Force
1. The first meeting of the CITES Tiger Enforcement Task Force was held in New Delhi, India, from 2 to 4 April 2001, with financial support from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Cambodia, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal and the Netherlands had nominated experts to be members of the Task Force, as had ICPO-Interpol. CITES Secretariat staff facilitated the work of the meeting. The Secretariat is distributing the outcome of the meeting for the information of the Parties.
2. The Task Force identified three areas upon which to concentrate its efforts initially; intelligence gathering, analysis and dissemination, guidance for specialized wildlife law enforcement units, and training.
3. Task Force members confirmed that many States, particularly in the developing world and in countries with economies in transition, do not have in place any system for the recording of information during the initial stage of any incident and the subsequent reporting of the information to a CITES Management Authority or other agency tasked with coordinating investigations and enforcement. The Task Force prepared a Preliminary Report Form, that is also designed to act as memory aid for field staff, which it offers to Parties as a model that they may choose to adopt, or adapt, for their own purposes. Recognizing that Parties might also benefit from advice on intelligence analysis, the Task Force prepared guidance that it hopes will be of assistance. The form and guidance are attached as Annexes 1 and 2.
4. The Task Force was firmly of the opinion, however, that the ECOMESSAGE format (as distributed with Notification to the Parties No. 966 and Alert No. 1) should continue to be used for the exchange of information at international levels; for example, between CITES Management Authorities and the Secretariat.
5. The Task Force also believed that it would be useful to prepare guidance for specialized wildlife law enforcement units, which could be used by those Parties that have no experience of this concept and that may be considering establishing such a unit, or those that may wish to strengthen existing units. These are attached as Annex 3.
6. With regard to training, the Task Force agreed that selected enforcement personnel in many tiger range States would benefit from receiving intensive and expert training in, for example, the skills necessary to conduct anti-poaching operations effectively, gather and use intelligence, target offenders, investigate cases of wildlife crime, collect evidence, liaise with other agencies and prepare cases for prosecution. To that end, the Task Force designed a draft programme for a two-week training course. Preliminary discussions have been held with a view to such a course being held at the National Police Academy of India in 2002. Donor support is now being sought to allow the concept to proceed.
7. On its final day in India, the CITES Tiger Enforcement Task Force met with chief wildlife wardens and Project Tiger Reserve staff from across India to learn from their experiences, identify problems and exchange ideas.
8. During its time in New Delhi, the Task Force also met with international and national non-governmental organizations and tiger conservation experts based in India, and attended an award ceremony for Indian forest staff who had demonstrated commitment to the protection and conservation of tigers. At the conclusion of its work, the Task Force held a press conference where it explained its role and raised the profile of CITES and tiger conservation. The event was very well attended by national and international media representatives.
9. Members will continue, for the meantime, to concentrate on training issues and it is hoped that the Task Force will meet formally again early in 2002.
Preliminary report form
(to be used for reporting incidents of wildlife crime, illegal trade,
poaching of endangered species or significant intelligence)
4. Type of event
7. Modus operandi:
9. Other relevant information:
10. Person reporting
11. Date form submitted
The following guidance should be used to assist in the completion of the form and as a memory aid for staff at the scene of the incident.
Date: indicate, as appropriate
– date of discovery
– date of incident
– date information received
Place: indicate, as appropriate
– full address (if known)
– nearest town or landmark
– map reference
– GPS coordinates
– type of place, e.g. forest, commercial building, private dwelling, railway station, airport etc.
Species: indicate, as appropriate
– common name
– sex (if known)
– live or dead
– type of specimen, e.g. skin, trophy head, medicinal product, leather articles etc.
Type of event: indicate, as appropriate
– full name
– age, including date and place of birth (if known)
– nationality (ID and passport No. if known)
– whether previous offender
Evidence: provide brief details of initial results, e.g.
– carcasses (whether any parts removed, e.g. horn or tusk) and plants
– scene of crime results (weapons, nets, lights, traps, poison, footprints, tyretracks, photographs)
Modus operandi: manner in which the crime was committed. For example,
– vehicle(s) used (provide registration number if possible)
– apparent cause of death
– method of killing, smuggling or concealment
– route used
Actions: provide details of initial work done by law enforcement agency or others at scene, for example
– filing or registration of case
Other relevant information: give details such as
– intelligence gathered
– any further action required
Person reporting: indicate
– full name
– rank or title
Guidance for reporting and intelligence analysis
The Preliminary Report Form should, where necessary, be adapted to suit local requirements. Field staff should receive guidance on the categories of case for which it should be completed and to whom it should be submitted. It should be stressed to field staff that accurate and timely reporting is essential and, importantly, welcome. Every effort should be made to dispel any cultural or traditional influences that may encourage the concealment of crime or poaching. Prompt and detailed reporting and recording must be given a positive image within the organization. Staff must be reassured that there will be no recrimination for the reporting of incidents.
The person or persons tasked with collating the report forms should, ideally, maintain a database of the information and be responsible for responding to input, or communicating the information to those tasked with coordinating responses. It is at this stage that consideration can also be given to creating ECOMESSAGES to pass information between agencies or at regional and international levels or waiting until further investigation is complete.
The CITES Tiger Enforcement Task Force identified that the gathering of information and intelligence is not, in itself, sufficient. Once gathered, intelligence must be analysed. Although computer software packages are available to assist the analytical process, much can be achieved by simple study of the data.
Analyses can be used for both operational and strategic purposes. They enable not only decision-making with regard to deployment, or re-deployment, of resources, risk assessment and targeting but can also identify the additional human or technical resources needed for effective response to crimes, legislative weaknesses, weak border points, and can assist in the design of awareness campaigns. Analyses should be viewed as a strong management tool to identify priorities and assess performance.
The intelligence gained from such analyses must then be used effectively and not just stored. Consideration will require to be given to how the information is disseminated. The preparation of alerts or bulletins for distribution has been shown to be very effective and demonstrates clearly that input is valued and acted upon. Intelligence can also be disseminated through formal and informal email networks or made available through secure websites. Potential recipients of analyses might include such as CITES Management Authorities, all national enforcement agencies, the CITES Secretariat, ICPO-Interpol and the World Customs Organization. Ensuring as wide a distribution as possible and relevant should help promote feedback, inter-agency cooperation and the submission of more intelligence.
Careful consideration should be given to what information can be made public and what ought to remain confidential. The level of confidentiality may also require to be defined and dissemination adjusted accordingly.
The Task Force recommended that the following fields or subjects should be examined when studying data that has been collected:
– to identify geographical, time of day, day of week, seasonal similarities, etc.
– to identify repeat offenders and common descriptions
– to identify likely offenders
– to identify poachers, traders, dealers, smugglers, financiers, buyers, defence lawyers (especially those incompatible with the accused’s resources), etc. that may be operating together or whose activities are linked
– to identify common or linked methods of committing crime and engaging in illegal trade, etc.
– to identify increased or decreased attention to particular species by criminals, locations, methods of crime and smuggling, etc.
– to identify common or linked physical and documentary findings, such as repeated use of same calibre weapons, poison, forged documents, etc.
– to identify the most vulnerable, illegally hunted, smuggled and traded species
Forensic science results
– to identify links between crime or illicit trade cases that can be demonstrated through such as ballistic, fingerprint or hand-writing comparisons, etc.
– to identify offenders who are most active and those committing most serious offences and deploy resources, surveillance and intelligence gathering against them
– to identify what is prompting offenders to engage in illegal hunting and trading
– to identify access and exit routes used by poachers and routes used by smugglers to transport specimens. Also to identify methods of transport.
– to identify places and countries where illegal specimens are sold in either transit locations or final destinations, including profiles of likely buyers
– to identify value of specimens at different points in the supply chain, i.e. financial gain by poacher, smuggler, traders and price paid by final customer, etc.
– to identify persons or companies that may be funding poaching or illegal trade or to identify whether profits from wildlife crime are funding other activities
Links with other crimes
– to identify any links with other crimes or illegal trades, such as narcotics, weapons, illegal immigrants, etc.
Guidance for specialized wildlife law enforcement units
The role of specialized units in addressing issues relating to wildlife crime and illicit trade in CITES-listed species has been identified by the Conference of the Parties on a number of occasions. The CITES Tiger Missions Technical Team found specialized units to be very successful, wherever it encountered them. Resolution Conf. 11.3 encourages Parties to consider the establishment of such units. The CITES Tiger Enforcement Task Force discussed this subject at length and agreed that the concept should be encouraged. The Task Force believed, however, that it was important to provide guidance as to how such units should be structured and operated.
The following were regarded to be important elements to be considered by any country planning the establishment, or further development, of one or several specialized units to tackle wildlife crime and illegal trade. They are not listed in order of importance. Some elements will be of greater significance than others, depending upon the country circumstances.
The structure and composition of specialized units will also be dictated by whether they are created at national, provincial or local levels or a combination of these.
Government support/political will
This element is absolutely essential. To be truly effective, the unit must have the backing of central and state/provincial governments as well as all other enforcement agencies.
Another absolutely essential element. The unit must be properly empowered to carry out its duties. Inclusion of multi-agency personnel will usually ensure that the unit has staff that is legally authorized to conduct effective operations. Alternatively, although it should not be necessary ordinarily, legislative measures should be enacted to empower the unit. This element is also closely linked with parity.
It is also important that the unit leader should be authorized, to as acceptable a degree as possible, to act on his or her own initiative to direct operations without having to constantly refer maters to a higher authority.
It may be very desirable for the unit to be empowered to include in its tasks anti-corruption work related to wildlife crime. If that is the case, it is essential that the unit, or some of its personnel, should be empowered under relevant legislation or policies to investigate/arrest government officials.
Clear, appropriate and experienced leadership is needed, particularly in the unit at operational level but this also applies to strategic management. Careful consideration should be given to which agency is given responsibility for overall management and strategic direction of the unit; a committee of relevant agencies may be preferable.
There should be no doubt as to the lines of command and responsibilities of the unit and its staff.
The duties of the unit should be clearly defined and understood by its staff and all agencies with which it will interact. These might include intelligence gathering and dissemination, investigation, coordination and prosecution, as appropriate.
An appropriate degree of flexibility should, however, be incorporated so that the unit leader can respond quickly to developing situations and allocate resources in an effective manner. A degree of mobility will also require to be taken into account so that staff can go where they are needed.
Linked to ‘Tasks’, it is essential that the unit’s work be properly focused so that resources are utilized in a meaningful, efficient and effective manner. It is also important, to achieve support from the public and other agencies, that the unit concentrates on priority and serious crime issues and does not become involved in ‘technical’ violations of national law or CITES.
This refers not only to the commitment expected of unit personnel but also to the manner in which the unit must be allowed to concentrate solely upon its tasks. It should not be allowed to be diverted to other duties.
Depending upon local circumstances, a ‘core’ number of unit personnel should be deployed on a full-time basis. Additional staff can be used to supplement and support activities as and when necessary.
The unit and its personnel should enjoy equal status with other official enforcement agencies, such as the police and Customs.
All unit personnel should be volunteers. However, selection procedures should be carefully designed to identify the most suitably qualified and appropriate staff, whilst remembering that appropriate training can compensate for any lack of previous experience. The unit must not be regarded as somewhere to which poorly performing staff can be consigned. Whilst staff should be encouraged to serve voluntarily in the unit, this should not be taken to mean their service will be unpaid.
It is important that the unit should include personnel from each of the national agencies that regularly engage in wildlife law enforcement, such as Forest and Wildlife Departments, the police and Customs. It should also, have ready access to the resources of those agencies that participate on an irregular basis. The involvement of personnel from a variety of agencies can also be an effective measure against corrupt practices.
The unit must have a budget commensurate with its activities and its leader should not be too constrained in its use. A degree of flexibility should be incorporated to allow for an appropriate response to operational requirements. The use of external funding from supporting donors should be permitted, where necessary, as long as control remains with the proper national authorities and potential donors are not allowed to dictate the unit’s activities.
Whilst this will be dictated by country circumstances, having the right people with the right support will probably be more important than the numbers of staff in the unit. Quality should be the focus, rather than quantity.
The unit should be properly equipped to enable it to carry out its duties. Equipment of a general and routine nature might include, for example, uniforms, vehicles, communications, firearms, surveillance gear, computers and associated software. Provision should be made for ready access to more specialized support, such as forensic science services, scenes of crime examination officers, and species identification experts.
All unit personnel should be adequately trained in relevant specialized fields and this should be an ongoing process. Training should be regarded as a priority investment activity for the unit’s staff. After gaining suitable experience, unit personnel should be utilized for the training of others.
The unit should be provided with sufficient time and resources to consider and identify strategic issues, aside from its operational commitments, or should be supported by an infrastructure that will consider these issues.
Unless there are very good reasons to suggest otherwise, the unit should be regarded as a long term or permanent structure within the country’s enforcement institutional and policy framework. This will provide for continuity, the acquisition of specialized experience and demonstrate to other enforcement agencies and the public governmental commitment to combating wildlife crime.
Steps should be taken to ensure that the purpose and tasks of the unit are publicized among all enforcement agencies and the general public. The latter aspect can have a deterrent effect for offenders and also encourage the public to supply information.
Every effort should be made to facilitate and encourage support to the unit from local communities, both in a formal and informal fashion. The unit should be encouraged to liaise with local community leaders and enlist their assistance in convincing citizens of the worth of its aims.
This issue is linked with ‘Parity’ and consideration may have to be given to achieving parity of salary among unit staff, regardless of the agency in which they would usually be employed. Bonus or ‘top-up’ salary payments are worthy of consideration to recognize the specialized duties that will be undertaken, as are allowances for field operations etc. These should also take account of the hazardous duties that the unit may engage in. Salaries commensurate with the work undertaken ought to also encourage resistance to corruption. Adequate insurance for staff should be regarded as essential.
The unit should be expected to maintain the highest standards of discipline. If a multi-agency approach is employed, the personal and professional conduct standards that are the most stringent should be adopted as the ‘norm’. Any deviance from the standards should result in a rigorous response, with expulsion of the offender from the unit being encouraged in serious cases.
Aside from the ‘core’ members of the unit, the concept of short and mid-term secondments from as wide a variety of enforcement agencies as possible should be encouraged to promote inter-agency cooperation, supplement numbers in the unit and spread knowledge and experience. Secondments to the unit can provide excellent training opportunities for personnel from various agencies and also provide useful insights for unit members to the work of others.
The unit should be encouraged to develop a network of informants as a priority task and this can be facilitated by means of reward schemes and confidential information ‘hotlines’ to allow the supply of information.
Cooperation and coordination
The unit should, ideally, act as a central repository of intelligence regarding wildlife crime and illicit trade. Every effort should be made to avoid duplication of effort among enforcement agencies and eliminate opportunities for informants to supply, and be rewarded for, the same intelligence to a variety of agencies.
If the unit itself does not investigate cases from beginning to prosecution, it should have a role to maintain an overview of serious cases of wildlife crime and provide assistance and guidance whenever appropriate.
The unit should be responsible for liaison on wildlife matters with appropriate regional and international law enforcement agencies and other relevant organizations, such as Interpol, the World Customs Organization and the CITES Secretariat. This should include the preparation and submission of ECOMESSAGES at the international level.
Any information received by the unit that relates to activities outside its remit, e.g. narcotics, trafficking in firearms, illegal immigration, etc., should be passed to the relevant agency as soon as possible and without hesitation. Such action should encourage reciprocal approaches.
Where a prosecutor is not included in the unit, every effort should be made to establish the closest working relationship possible with prosecution authorities. Raising of awareness in such authorities should be given priority and their support to the unit should be established. The unit may well be able to provide training for prosecutors. Case reporting and evidential requirement standards should be established. Prosecutors can also assist in identifying priorities and targets for the unit.
Whilst the relationship between the unit and a country’s judiciary should be maintained at an appropriate distance, it is very important that the unit raises awareness among the judiciary of wildlife crime and promotes their participation in appropriate sentencing and deterrent responses. The unit should also seek information and feedback from the judiciary on relevant decisions and issues that have arisen in civil and criminal cases and any problems with evidence or the manner in which investigations have been conducted.
Taking into account the comments above with regard to funding, the unit should be encouraged to establish close but appropriate links with national and international NGOs. Their importance as sources of information and expert advice and assistance must be recognized. It is essential, however, that their role should be restricted to support of the unit and that NGOs should not be allowed to engage in any operational activity without the agreement of the unit and prosecution authorities.
NGOs ought not to be allowed to undertake activities that rest more properly with government agencies, i.e. covert operations or the maintenance of databases on crime and criminals.
NGOs should be encouraged to discuss with the unit any research or trade surveys that might involve a covert element; if for no other reason than this will prevent NGOs accidentally intruding into the unit’s own ‘undercover’ activities.
|Site map||Search the site||FAQ & contact us||Home|