Frontex and Moldovan authorities practice detecting firearms

In November, Frontex held a firearms detection course in Ungheni, Moldova, together with the Moldovan Border Police and Member States’ experts.

As the current conflict in Ukraine may have a long-term impact on weapons proliferation in Europe and beyond, it is important to treat the trafficking of illicit firearms as one of the key law enforcement priorities. The risk of smuggling of firearms and ammunition through the EU’s external borders has recently increased as criminal networks try to exploit the situation.

During the training, Moldovan border police and customs officers had the opportunity to refresh their knowledge of methods of illicit weapons trafficking, to upgrade their detection capabilities, to practice how to operate equipment, as well as to conduct a detailed assessment of risk indicators linked to potential traffickers and to recall the necessary steps following a detection.

Frontex developed a specialised handbook to help law enforcement officers detect firearms. The handbook puts together the recent developments and best practices existing on both European and international levels to support national border and customs authorities in both EU and non-EU countries to reinforce their operational response against arms-related crime.

The handbook contains the latest information on firearms, their parts and ammunition, associated documentation, and the phenomenon of firearm trafficking itself. It also provides guidelines for border control and further handling of seized weapons.

The course was organised under the umbrella of the EU Hub for Moldova which supports the cooperation on internal security and border management between the EU, its agencies, the Member States and the Moldovan authorities. It was organised as part of the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) Firearms. EMPACT brings together police and law enforcement authorities of EU Member States, European agencies and international organisations to jointly strengthen Europe’s borders and internal security.