The Roadmap project “Countering Illicit Arms Trafficking (CIAT)” enhanced the capacity of the Border Police (BP) in BiH and of 13 entity and cantonal Police Agencies to combat illicit arms trafficking across BiH and beyond, by developing a database on the legal transport of weapons, improving the SALW Identification Tool, providing specialized border control equipment, and strengthening inter-institutional cooperation.
The sub-project was based on the knowledge and lessons learnt during the previous CIAT project addressed to the BiH BP. The SOPs developed and the training rolled out for BiH BP were used as a role model and a good starting point in the process of providing the tailor-made support to other police agencies, in view to enhancing their capacities to better fight illicit SALW trafficking.
The project contributed to Roadmap Goals: 2, 3, 5.
Key results achieved:
- The sub-project developed and consolidated the National Database of SALW Transport Licenses. To this end, regular consultations were carried out with the 13 government entities involved in this process – the Ministry of Security as future owner/holder of the database, and 12 law enforcement agencies as end-users. Relevant modules were developed and tested by the end users prior to deployment. In addition, the sub-project provided two users’ manuals for administrators/sub-administrators and end-users. The national database strengthens supervision capacities of legal trade and it primarily serves to monitor transport of SALW, enabling data collection and exchange of information among the institutions involved in the process of legal trade of SALW, associated ammunition and dual-purpose goods. As such, the database enhances inter-agency cooperation at national and regional level between the MoS, the owner of the database, and law enforcement agencies that were given access to the software.
- The sub-project further improved the SALW identification tool and supported its deployment to other police agencies. This was accompanied by the delivery of equipment for the use of the tool. The upgrade of the tool comprised of three phases, 1) detailed analysis of the system and implementation of the SALW catalogue, 2) registration of collected SALW and 3) reporting and final testing. To support the best use of the SALW identification tool, 23 laptops were delivered to the law enforcement agencies / end users with installed software. The upgraded SALW identification tool is used by the BiH Border Police and other law enforcement agencies to assist their identification of firearms and ammunition during inspections and seizures.
- Comprehensive specialized equipment was provided to 14 law enforcement agencies. 19 videoscopes (endoscopes) were provided to 14 law enforcement agencies: State Investigation and Protection Agency – SIPA (1 videoscope), Federation MoI (1 videoscope), Brcko District Police (1 videoscope), 10 cantonal ministries of interior (1 endoscope for each cantonal ministry) and Republika Srpska MoI (6 videoscopes). Practical training on the use of the videoscopes was also provided to 98 police officers. These police officers subsequently acted as trainers for their respective agencies to conduct specialized training on the use of the SOPs and specialized equipment provided through the project.
- Additional specialized equipment was provided to the Federation BiH and Republika Srpska authorities, as well as to the Border Police of BiH and 11 other law enforcement agencies to enhance their capacities for detecting illicit firearms. This entailed two mobile detectors for explosives and narcotics, 100 remote surveillance cameras, 60 binoculars to the Border Police, additional 30 videoscopes, six augmented vision binoculars. In addition, the project team accommodated the request for specialized equipped - two stereomicroscopes - for the forensic centers in Federation BiH and Republika Srpska to better support Border Police, Prosecutors’ offices, and law enforcement agencies in their investigative efforts.
- The project organized an extensive training program for police officers from 13 law enforcement agencies throughout BiH. 2,053 officers were trained countrywide on firearm detection using specialized detection equipment and developed SOPs (1,892 men and 161 women).
- Based on the developed and approved concept through inter-agency collaboration, the sub-project rolled out joint exercises on detecting and investigating smuggling of firearms, ammunition and explosives for police officers from 14 agencies and with the active participation of BiH Prosecutor’s Office. Following a pilot exercise with 25 police officers from all agencies, two joint practical exercises were carried out with 56 police officers.
- At the same time, the project team provided support to the SALW Coordination Board in BiH in finalizing the Small Arms and Light Weapons Control Strategy in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2020-2024, including proofreading, translation, design, and printing of the document. The Strategy was endorsed by the Council of Ministers BiH on 26 February 2021.
- Overall, the sub-project built the identification, prevention of diversion and criminal pursuit capabilities of BiH authorities and law enforcement. The efforts resulted in good engagement of all law enforcement agencies, including prosecution units. This ability to more frequently and more accurately identify SALW diversion from legal trade, traffic and smuggling across borders, as well as operationally exercised inter-institutional cooperation, paved the way to better identification, prevention and prosecution of firearms related crime.
Implementing period: July 2019 – December 2022