On 26 October, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, held a workshop for Polish Border Guard and Customs officers on combatting firearms trafficking together with the Central Forensic Laboratory of the Police (Poland).
During the workshop, the 20 officers were presented with recent cases of firearms trafficking observed at the EU’s external borders and honed their skills in securing detected weapons as evidence to enable further investigation and prosecution.
Most detections of firearms trafficking last year took place at the external land borders, where the smuggling is often small in scale and carried out by both organised crime groups and individuals who hide the weapons in cars or in travellers’ luggage.
While this is nothing out of the ordinary, fighting against developments such as trafficking of guns broken down into components, which makes them harder to detect, and the increase in postal deliveries of parts purchased online requires border authorities to constantly develop their knowledge and skills.
The workshop builds on Frontex’s previous work in supporting national authorities in combatting firearms-related crime. We recently published the Handbook on Firearms for Border Guards and Customs Officers, and held a firearms-related pilot exercise last year in several border crossing points along the Poland-Ukraine border. The handbook was developed under the umbrella of the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT). Through the deployment of the standing corps at the external borders and EMPACT activities, Frontex plays a key role in the fight against firearms trafficking and contributes to the protection and security of EU citizens.