Frontex to help authorities fight gun smuggling

Illegal weapons play a key role in many of the most violent crimes in our societies. This is why combatting this crime is one of the key priorities for all law enforcement authorities in their duty to protect EU citizens and tackle serious and organised crime.

To effectively fight against criminal networks, law enforcement officers need to constantly improve their skills and stay up-to-date with the latest information on the ways the criminals operate.

Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, decided to help national border guard and customs authorities to fight arms-related crime and created the Handbook on Firearms for Border Guards and Customs Officers in cooperation with the border guard and customs community, as well as EU and international partners.

The handbook provides the latest information on firearms trafficking, tactics and equipment to be used during border checks. It builds on the experience and expertise of EU and international partners and contains information related to firearms, their parts and ammunition, associated documentation, and the phenomenon of firearm trafficking itself.

The initiative was supported and guided by the European Commission, both DG HOME and DG TAXUD, but also co-led by the European Firearms Expert Group, Poland, Slovenia and Romania. Other European and international organisations which supported the creation of the handbook include the Customs Cooperation Working Party, Europol, Cepol, Interpol, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, World Customs Organisation, OSCE, SEESAC and the EU’s Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine.

The handbook was developed under the umbrella of the European Multidisciplinary Platform against Criminal Threats (EMPACT) Firearms driven by Spain. It 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.